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Hunter Valley Zoo

We headed inland to what is known as wine country to the Hunter Valley Zoo for a social day with the Newcastle Sundance photography group.We had the most wonderful day chatting and catching up with everyone, and it made me realise just how lucky we have been to see so much of the world and so much wildlife in their natural habitats

I loved the zoo as a kid, seeing all the different animals and learning about them, but as I’ve got older and maybe a little wiser, and definitely because we’ve been lucky enough to travel, I’m not so sure anymore. There is still a part of me that loves watching the animals and watching the kids see their first lion, meerkat or koala and the grins on their faces and I hope that like me they wish to see them in their natural environments when they grow up, and because of that they will work to help save those environments and animals, but there is also the part of me that hates seeing them behind the wire and cages.

The rationalist in me knows that zoos (well most) serve an important part for many endangered animals through breeding programs, such as the African lions that Hunter Valley Zoo currently have. They were originally from Taronga Zoo and we’re successfully bred, and now their offspring are part of breeding program too.

The zoo is smallish but packs a lot into their space without it feeling cramped or overdone. Obviously there are lions (1 male 2 females), camels, antelope, sheep, goats, koalas, kangaroos, reptiles, birds, monkey’s, and the ever so cute meerkats, who at the moment have some babies and I can’t tell you how much cuteness their is baby meerkats.

It’s a great zoo for kids as the animals are easily seen, the kids can get up close and personal with sheep, goats, koalas, kangaroos and some of the birds. These attributes also make it pretty good for photographers too 😊

Here’s a selection of some of my shots from our day out:

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When the Posties come to town

On Sunday we headed up the Hunter Valley a little bit to Cessnock where the inaugural Australian Postie Bike Grand Prix was taking place. Yes a race involving those wonderful little postie bikes is actually a thing and I was lucky enough to get media access to the track. Unfortunately it was about 38 degrees Celsius in the shade so standing alongside the bitumen street track was very hot work!

The race was held in the streets of Cessnock’s Central Business District and each team will consist of two riders and two pit persons. Apparently the Honda CT 110 Postie bike is the ideal platform for such a race and the team’s had done a wonderful job of marking up their bikes.

Eighty teams contested the 24 lap qualifying sessions during the day and then at 3:00pm the Australian flag was waved and the Australian Postie Bike Grand Prix was underway with the team crossing the line first sharing the spoils of the $1000 first place prize.

The event overall was very well organised with track marshalls, first aid staff, markets and jumping castles and I think it was a credit to everyone involved for how well the day went and to Cessnock council and businesses for getting behind a very unique event.

As is usually the case with these events my favorite crazy photography mates from Newcastle Sundance were there making sure that the action was covered from all angles – I’m sure the riders are going to love what we all managed to capture for them.

The race was a good opportunity to keep honing my ‘panning’ skills – a photography skill that blurs the background whilst keeping the racer in focus creating that feeling of motion. It can be quite difficult to master and each time the settings are slightly differby depending on the conditions under which you are shooting. I was pretty happy with my shot rate but I did shoot static for a bit in the middle (which you’ll be able to see in the full set of images) as with bigger lenses it can be a bit physical particularly in the heat we were in.

Here are some of the images from the day:

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The full set can be found on Flickr (be warned there are over 250 photos!) here.

 Copyrighted. All images and rights are reserved by Emma White / The Whiteview Photography. You are welcome to post via a direct link. Please do not crop, copy, reproduce or distribute in anyway without permission. If you would like to use any of my pictures – for personal or commercial usage – please contact me so that we can discuss what  options may best suit your needs. If you have any other questions, please drop me an email.