Jeremy Kruckel: Blog en-us (C) Jeremy Kruckel [email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:23:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:23:00 GMT Jeremy Kruckel: Blog 80 120 First Solo Show I am currently having my first solo art show at the Sunshine Art Spaces Gallery in Sunshine, Victoria, Australia. For those that can't see it in person I have put together the collection here.

The show is broken into four parts; Natural Light, Artificial Light, Long Exposures Midday Sun, Short Exposures at Night. They are printed in a variety of sizes up to A0 which is 1.1m by .9m (huge). Each photograph is available in most sizes, A3,A2,A1,A0. And each work is made as a limited edition with only ten of each size available. Rather than listing which photograph falls into each category you will have to try to look closely and see if you can decide where each belongs. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] with any questions.


Natural Light

Using the moon as a giant Solar Reflector is a great way to light the subject. Using apps you can look up where the moon will be in the sky and in what phase and plan ahead. In these four images the moon ranges from quarter to full and is positioned behind or to the side of the camera. As well the gradual motion of the moonlite over time gives more depth than a stationary light source.


Artificial Light

Capturing images with multiple sources of man made light is a great challenge. Lights from R.V.s, headlamps, torches and fires all add to make a unique shooting experience. Some of the exposures have light present at all times where others are lit briefly then left to allow natural light to come through.


Long Exposures Midday Sun

Dense filters were used to capture motion under the harsh midday sun. With the long exposures motion that is brief, like tourists walking in and out of frame, were lost but lingering motion, like the eddy in the pools, were reinforced.


Short Exposures at Night

Shorter exposures at night require additional light sources. Using traditional off camera flashes, torches and headlamps are all great sources of light but some experimentation is required to get a desirable effect. And there is nothing like the excitement of putting an expensive flash in a Zip-Loc bag, tying it to a rock and submerging it in a lake, just part of the process.


Pella Church, Pella, Victoria, Australia - (2hour)

Gibraltar Falls, Namadgi National Park, ACT, Australia - (30min)

Queens Bath, Kaua'i, Hawaii, U.S.A - (5min 16sec)

Rose Lake, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada - (28min 30sec)

Glowworm at Lake Elizabeth, Victoria, Australia - (103sec)

MacDonnel Ranges, N.T., Australia - (20sec)

Forest, Victoria, Austrlia - (30sec)

Pella School House, Victoria, Australia - (32sec)

Loch Ard Gorge, Victoria, Australia - (30sec)

Gibraltar Pools, ACT, Australia - (49sec)

Orroral Homestead, ACT, Australia - (8sec)

Wannon Falls, Victoria, Australia - (6sec)


See all the photos here (not in slideshow)

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:25:52 GMT
MKII So I have started working on the MKII. Its a bit of work. With the Barina I did all the work over 2 years bit by bit but with the Combo all the work is coming at once, its a lot of back and forth to Bunnings!

But anyway on a side note the HDD in my laptop died recently and today I finally got around to sorting it out. So now I have a SSD in the laptop and processing is fun again. So here are some photos I just processed from April that are new to me as well, as I took them some time ago and haven't seen them since.

Tomorrow is more work, then hopefully will get out Sunday to take a picture or two. Picking up a second hand camera body Sunday so that I will have a backup as my camera charger also broke this week. Wild.

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Fri, 27 Oct 2017 11:53:29 GMT
Heading Home Again July 12th

Was warm when I went to sleep around 11pm, didn't sleep well due to excess of energy drinks, but at 6am it was back to -4. Pretty consistent really, -4 for the last 3 or 4 nights straight. Time to order a heater on E-Bay.

Got up and left in decent time, on the road by 8am and into the next town, where I am now having coffee and writing this in a nice little, but cold, cafe! The plan is to drive a bit today, make my way towards Melbourne and crash for the night, nothing on the books but driving. Time to enjoy my coffee.

Got into one of the audio books I was listening to in the car and just drove for a bit. Ended up just outside of Canberra and decided to head Melbourne way. Made it a little while further but started to get tired and so took a break at a rest area. Had some lunch and watched a little bit of a tv episode then headed on my way. Made it to the used book store in Holbrook and made a few purchases. Continued on for only a few km down the Hwy before calling it quits. Just relaxing now and listening to more of the audio book. Will be a quiet night. Tomorrow I am back in Melbourne in the afternoon, then its time to clean out and start work on the MKII!



July 13th

Another cold night but in a reasonably nice location. Headed toward Yea Victoria to see a significant fossil deposit with some of the oldest plants ever found, and possibly the oldest early 'fish' as well. It was quite the site. I went to the info centre, which was super modern and nice, and asked about the site. They had a little brochure about it that was quite well done and free! Headed off to the actual site and it was pretty wild as well. Its just a cut out of the road where they did some road works. When they were lifting the rock from the road works they found the fossils and just marked it as a protected location. So its a just a cut out just on the side of the road with a sign saying you are not allowed to take any of the fossils. Pretty neat, hopefully people will head the sign!

Then it was a quick visit to the local used book store and a nice coffee at the coffee shop as always with the used books in hand.

It was then off to Melbourne.

It was a great relief to get back to Melbourne knowing that the little car had done such a big trip. Time to start on the upgrades and get back out on the road as soon as possible for as long as possible! I traveled over 11000km since leaving Rainbow weeks ago.

Michael had lined up a few projects for me upon returning to Melbourne and I will also try and help him with a few of his own projects. But now its time to relax before heading off to the next adventure. Which was a 6 week trip back to Canada to visit my family!

View from one of my favorite spots on flowerdale road!

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) australia barina camperina camping car camping night photography Tue, 17 Oct 2017 04:25:12 GMT
Castle rock and shooting stars. July 11th

It was just as cold as all the other nights but it was still just fine. Still learning the ins and outs of the Camperina and have big plans for it! Headed out to the sandstone caves that were in the area and they are pretty amazing. You can walk a fair way in them. Its a protected site as it has significance to the local indigenous population but has been set up well for people to see and experience it and learn a little at the same time. For me it was all about the pictures! One thing I did find that was cool was etched marks of emu and kangaroo prints in the soft sand stone. I'm not sure if they would have trouble dating it or not because its in such a soft medium (sandstone) but lets just agree to say that they were old etchings. Along side those were groove marks in the stone from sharpening tools, axes and such.

Notches in the Rocks

Next destination was back to the sliding spring observatory. There I had another wonderful flat white and went through the exhibit they had set up. I got some useful information of things to look up online and watched part of an excellent documentary. Then I ventured outside, which was quite blustery and cold, and into the observatory proper. After climbing 4 flights of stairs I was rewarded with a view of the Telescope. They even have a little area set up just for photographing the thing. Also watched a bit of a documentary on how they polish the glass but as the building was not heated, for obvious reasons, I soon left as I was slowly freezing to death.

The Telescope!

It was into town for a refuel and back on the road to Mudgee. I had always wanted to return to a place called 'castle rock' in Munghorn gap outside of Mudgee to photograph the formations at night. I hit the info centre on the way to see if I could camp there like Dom and I had done in the past but unfortunately that was something I had to organize prior with Parks NSW rather than the info centre and they had closed by then. I decided to risk it and just go and if I got too tired just stay and leave early. I am not setting up a tent or anything, just parked really. So off I went with pizza in hand, had dinner while waiting for the sun to set then parked up and headed off in the dark on the 4km walk to the rocks. I had forgotten this small detail from the last time I was there, 4km in 4km out in the dark, good times.

Anyway once there I had the opportunity to shoot the stars before the moon came out. I was there for the moon so I was just waiting really, need it to light the foreground. I took lots of the Emu in the sky and possible caught some interesting meteors and other lights, but I will have to look closer. Once the moon was up I was rewarded with the most amazing moon rise I have ever seen. I wish for moments like this I had a really good telephoto lens to capture it, but unfortunately I had the wide angle on as that was the plan for the evenings shoot. Once up in full I proceeded to shoot what I hoped would be good shots. They didn't quite work out as planned as there was a lot of light pollution around which I was surprised by, but those are the breaks, hopefully something nice came of one or two.

Upon the top of Castle rock.

Back at the car I decided that I wasn't tired and wanted to knock out a few km's towards Melbourne. I found a highly rated rest site in the town of Ilford, which was only 90km away, and thought that would be a good destination for the night. Headed off going slow, watching for roo's, singing all the way. I was quite pumped that hopefully one of the pictures I took might have something come of it.

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) australia barina camperina camping car camping night photography Tue, 17 Oct 2017 04:01:30 GMT
Minus wha? July 10th

I should mention that the last few nights have been pretty cold. I remember wanting to see how I would handle it being colder. Well three days ago it was -2, two days ago a balmy -1 but last night was -4 or more. Now just sitting in the car which was 3 but is now almost 5 waiting for the sun to come up and warm this place up. And just now the sun breaks through. 8:26am -3. Just Skypeing with dad and Opi while I wait. Its now 9am and 0 degrees. hooray for the sun.

I went on a 12km walk recommended by Graeme and it was excellent. I was off to see the 'Bread knife' and 'spire'. It was an incredible 4 hours of hiking which I haven't done much since I left. After this giant walk it was off to another lookout to see where I had just been but from a distance.

It was off to the sliding spring observatory. There I had a coffee and a chat with the workers to find out that the observatory was under maintenance and so I should come back tomorrow and see it. I have decided to do just that. They open a little later at 10am so that should give me time to check out the sandstone Caves that are in the area as well. I did buy a book about astronomy while there.

After that it was in the car and to a rest stop in Binnaway. Here they have a beautiful system set up for campers. Camping and toilets are free, but if you want to splash out you can get a hot shower, 5min for 2$, and a power outlet, 3 hours for 2$. So I have parked near a power outlet and am running my big laptop off of it (somehow I got three hours free, i'm not complaining) and tomorrow I might splash out and have a hot shower!I

Just looked up the weather and it says it will only go down to 5 degrees tonight, I hope they are right, a warmer one wouldn't hurt my feelings tonight!

To see all the pictures click here.

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) australia barina camperina camping car camping night photography Sat, 22 Jul 2017 03:02:10 GMT
There will be dust July 9th

Whoa, I am so glad i made it out of the Pilliga Forest!

The day started with Tea and conversation with Graeme and Kath. Such a lovely couple. I gave them my DVD that I purchased in Winton as I had finished with it and thought they might find it interesting. Before leaving I was sure to grab their email address so that we might connect again come christmas as they live in melbourne.

Before I left Graeme gave me some advice on the roads and things to look out for and I headed towards the campsite they recommended in the Warrumbungles. I also offered to buy some prints from Graeme, as he is quite the painter, but he refused and gifted them to me. I will have to get him something nice for christmas!

The first site I stopped at was called sawn rocks and its this most interesting geological formation of rocks looking like hexagonal tubes. Really quite incredible! Then it was off to the visitors centre in Narrabri where I got a map and an update on the accident from the day before. The info lady was not sure the but road had not opened until well after 3pm, so good thing I didnt wait, I was already at the glacial retreat by noon on that day!

I told the girl at the visitors centre I wanted to see the Salt Caves and she said the road would be alright but was all dirt. It was intense! I made it in and out again and am very thankful for that. It was deep dirt for parts and I made a video of it which I am excited to see. On the way back out I hit a dip so hard that dirt caught the front bumper and blasted sand over the windshield, it was like something out of the movies!

At 5:30pm I made it into the Warrumbungles. Many Roos on the road but I was safe, slow and steady. Once at the site I met a nice couple who walked with me to sort out my tent site, very kind. Now I am here relaxing and having some wine. I have been craving it since I noticed Graeme drinking it last night. Sweet red and some calm down time. Tomorrow will be a big day I think, maybe a big hike and a trip to the observatory? who knows?

Might have a quiet night tonight and just coast on conversations from Graeme. Such a wonderful person!

Partial view from the look out. Was too stressed from driving to really take it in!

My little Camperina

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:10:42 GMT
Kath and Graeme July 8th

Woke up to everything being frozen. It was -4 over night and the little camperina did just fine. Though I didn't want to get out of the covers. I will have to get a little heater I think for next winter to take the edge off in the mornings.

Drove to Moree today to check it out. It was a pretty cool town and had a great camping store where I found a few more items for the MKII. Possibly an aus pig stove. Very cool.

Tried to head south to Narrabri but there had been a car accident with a fatality and so the highway was closed. Made my way back the way I came about 60km and then headed south. On the map I got from the guide at the info centre it showed a camp called rocky creek glacial area. Decided to check it out and have some lunch and what I found was quite the site showing how the glaciers ground their way south. Also got to meet Kath who convienced me to stay the night as it was such a magical place, and glad I did. After a lunch I went wandering only to find Kath doing the same thing, after some gossip she introduced me to her husband Graeme and we had tea together. This turned to an excellent long conversation about art and all things. Later in the evening the clouds were doing something special so Graeme ran and grabbed me from the car to show me which turned into a few more hours of wonderful talks about life.

This to me is the most important part of this trip. Making these connections with people and becoming better from it. I even discussed this thought with Graeme and he was happy for me to have discovered this. These relationships are what makes life memorable!

Kath and Graeme were happy to give me the intel for the area so it looks like i will be busy for the next few days before I move too far. Life is great. Goodnight.

To see all the pictures click here

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) australia barina camperina camping car camping night photography Wed, 19 Jul 2017 03:28:30 GMT
Batteries! July 5th

Got up early in hopes of catching Leith installing his artwork but was just too far away. By the time I got to the site Leith was all done and relaxing at a near by beach. So I took a few snaps then headed to hang on the beach with Leith. After a quick swim it was of to Byron bay for some drinks and dinner with Leiths sister and niece. Was a great evening out and I got to stay at Leiths parents place (in my camparina) with ample amounts and Tea and conversation.

To see all the pictures click here

July 6th

Went with Leith and Eli to Eli's dads old place. Was pretty neat off grid old house that was being reclaimed by nature. It was pretty amazing. Even found Eli's first car! Then it was back to Leiths place for some tea and then I headed out and west towards Tenterfield. Just a bit of driving and then stayed in Girard State forest for the evening. A few tv shows were on for the evening as it was a bit cold. It rained quite a bit throughout the night.

To see the pictures click here

July 7th

Drove from Girard State Forest and into Tenterfield where I got to see Australias largest cork tree. Even parked the old Camperina under it! Then headed to Glen innes to pick up some local maps and then had lunch at a rest area near by. Am at a rest area now that is well off the highway and it looks like I may be the only one here which would be a nice break! Very lovely basic rest area.

The info I got has me excited for an area a few days from here where I am hoping to maybe see an observatory which would be great!

Just heard on the ABC radio that Elon Musk will be providing South Australia with the largest Lithium Ion battery in the world by December this year to be used with the Solar and Wind farms in the area. 100Megawatt battery. Should be cool to follow and if it all works out it will be the largest battery in the world and South Australia will be a world leader in storing renewable energy. Pretty cool.

To see all the photos click here

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) australia barina camperina camping car camping night photography Sun, 16 Jul 2017 01:51:56 GMT
On the road again June 29th

Had morning coffee with mike in his converted mini bus and talked more about additions we would both like to make to our rides. His is custom built as well! Talked a bit more about the history of Australia and in general just good banter. But after about an hour it was time for both of us to make a move and so I headed off. Its a bit cooler today, only 25 degrees.
I'm here in longreach now and thinking that maybe I am going to skip the Qantas Founders Museum for this trip and come back when I am with someone as I think this attraction might be more enjoyable with someone else. So Dad or Jason or Jay, might be some incentive to come visit me! Now to find out where to go today.
Made camp in small town called Bogantungan. There isn't much here, but its off the highway so that's nice. Just relaxing. Wanted to push on a little further but the next good stop isnt for another 236km and its already 4:30pm so its best to stop now. Will try to make the coast tomorrow, though that may not happen. The weather right now is rainy so I am just inside listening to some music and thinking what I would like to do. I have books, games, movies, photos to process and wiring to do but am not sure what to do. So will just relax and have a wander. Maybe an early night tonight so that I can do some serious KM's tomorrow.


June 30th

A big day of driving for me. Did almost 800km on my own which got me from Boguntogun to Hervey bay. Once there I stopped at Doms place and had a chance for a shower then shave, then met up with Dom after her soccer game for dinner. Early to bed after a long day.

July 1st, 2nd, 3rd

Just a relaxing day hanging out at Doms. Time to clean out the car and give it a Vac, do some dishes and Laundry. Checked out doms office and just hung out. Did a little nature walk and went to the local opening of Naidoc week. Was nice to just relax without having to drive anywhere.

Only took out the camera once and got a picture of a sea eagle that dove down and grabbed what I thought was sea weed. Dom later confirmed that this was the case, and is currently using it for nesting material.

July 4th

Left Hervey bay around noon and headed off to meet Leith in Balliina for the next day. Had quite a drive ahead of me. I did  a fair bit of driving and ended up in a rest area just south of Toowoomba. It was nice and quiet but not very big.


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) australia barina camperina camping car camping night photography Fri, 14 Jul 2017 08:18:44 GMT
July 29th, DINASAURES!! June 28th

Woke up and wished the couple next to me safe travels. I had been told that the town of Winton was having communication issues and so eftpos was not working, but as fortune would have it by the time i got there everything was working once more. Got some fuel and had a breakfast sandwich (fancy) and a flat white then headed to the dinosaur museum.

Its proper name is Australia's Age of Dinosaurs Museum and it was pretty amazing. Its not like a typical museum, and its brand new, opened only in April. Its split into three parts; the lab, the collection and the canyon.
From reception you walk outside to a temporary lab building where they are cleaning fossils. Here you get to touch, yes touch, really dinosaur fossils and see a whole array of other fossils that have been found. All the time being guided by some passionate guides. Then you get to see the fossils being pried out of the rock by expert bone cleaners. And not behind a glass wall mind you, they are there, right in front of you, you can reach out and touch them, or ask them questions and they are happy to answer.
Next, you return to reception where there is a small theater set up with the collection, here you see a total of four individual dinosaurs, all very significant finds, and watch a small video explaining each. The first and possibly most famous is Banjo (named after banjo patterson, the writer of Waltzing Matilda) a veloceraptor type dinosaur that is completely unique and found only in australia, formally named Australovenator. You get to see his bones or about 45% of his skeleton, all that was collected. Then you get to see Matilda a bontosaurus type Dinosaur formal name of Diamantinasaurus Matildae (see the naming connection). And two other dinosaurs, one similar to Matilda and one similar to Banjo but with a great portion of the skull intact. It was interesting to learn that Banjos teeth grew in like sharks teeth, over and over though out his life.
The third section, you take a small shuttle(soon to be fully electric which is exciting!) that brings you to the canyon where you find interpretations of dinosaur life. A billabong where you find bone, small dinosaurs running and common plant life of the time. Its all fairly new and not complete but if really incredible anyway. It was a great day and i was at the museum from 11am until almost 5pm.
The day ended with about 60km of driving towards longreach and then some luke warm beers! Yum!
Its  now 9pm and i just finished having coffee with Mike from Brisbane. He is traveling around in a converted toyata bus and is now headed back to  live with his daughter in Brisbane. He is 81 and super interesting to talk to. It turns out that since alice springs we have been traveling the same route, though i am a little quicker. Today we covered about the same distance and he ended up staying with the 5million steps guy on the other side of Winton last night. It was great to see his custom made bus and get some ideas. It was also great to hear all about working on the stations as he did when he was younger and hear about times have changed, some good things, some bad, but how proud he is of Australia and being Australian.

Another great day. I wish i had about 4 years or so to do this trip right. But we can't do everything. All i can do now is look forward to the MKII and all the excitement i will have in it. That being said i think part of the reason i am getting the attention i am is because i am in the Barina. I mean, it sticks out. I am often jammed between gigantic RVs with full kitchens and bathrooms. Yet i am happy as a pig in mud working on my laptop, or watching a show, or sitting outside my awning reading a book when the flies aren't too bad. People see what i am doing and want to know where i'm going, what i have done, what i should do. Everyone is keen to help and to hear stories of their country through my eyes. And once they get talking to me they want to ask me about the Barina. You have a deep cycle? dual battery system? and awning? and your running two laptops? leds? who installed these? are you a sparky? and on and on. One thing it is forcing me to do is keep the interior of the camperina clean, people always want to have a look see, i wouldn't be surprised if it starts showing up on Facebook sometime soon.The good ol camperina!
A long and fulfilling day, i'm out.

To see all the pictures click here


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Australia Barina Camperina Camping Car Camping Mon, 10 Jul 2017 07:44:37 GMT
A Long one June 27th

Got up in the morning and went for walk to see if i could find a fresh water croc but no such luck. I did get to see some red-claw yabbies getting caught in nets and shown how to kill/prepare them from a guy out on the water in his kayak. On the walk back i got to see a few new to me birds which was quite interesting. Headed into town to refuel at get groceries.

Also stopped at the pub that was made famous from Crocodile Dundee, cant remember the name but thats what happens(McKenzie maybe?).

At one of the rest stops i met a man doing a walk from Darwin to Canberra. Had the most wonderful chat with him about all kinds of things. One of the interesting points was a talk about perception. He was telling me that he ran a company with 15 employee and people perceved that here was a sucessful guy, running his own company, he really has it made. But the truth of it was that he was filled with stress and working all the time and it was causing health problems. Now that he is walking he says now he has people coming up to him in cars saying how stressful this walk much be and he laughs and says that he has never been happier and stress free. As long as he has a bit of shade and some water life is good. He even said that the people would sometimes say they were stressed because they had to depend on  this car to get them from point a to b without breakdown or running out of fuel and he would laugh and think how lucky he was to not have to depend on a vehicle. It was a very eye opening conversation about perception. Hopefully i can apply this idea into my general day to day life. We also talked about Australias inflation rates and what is going to happen to Australias economy in the future. He talked about it with a keen interest and came up with some points that i had never considered but agreed with him once he explained his stance. Super interesting guy and i wish him all the best on his adventure! He really liked my Camperina! I gave him a small tour and he thought it was pretty luxury!

One thing i have realized today is that there is so much more to do in this area and i have the full intention to come back. So i will have to make and plan to come back here, possibly in the MKII, but need to assure that i have more time. I would have spent 3 or 4 days at corella lake and some of the other places i have stayed. I would need more solar though so i could keep ahead of the game battery wise.

Just at a rest stop now and have just met a couple from South Gippsland in Victoria. They are really nice and have convienced me to stay here for the night as the other rest stops are about the same and that the town of Winton is having power issues. Later that evening I scored a beer from the neighbors. The husband came by for a chat and was told by his wife that he could not drink alone, so he brought be a drink and we stood outside the camperina and had a chat about all kinds of things. They travel for 3 months of the year during the Victorian winter.

On a side note i also locked myself out of the car for the first time in Cloncurry, but Opi has taught me well and i had a hidden key that i was able get back in with no worries at all. Even chatted up the lady from the Info centre, where i had locked myself out, while breaking back in. She was asking me about the camperina and the solar panels and once in i gave her a brief tour of the inside. She thought it was funny but what a great idea.

I think I need to say that travelling like this is just cool. Its hard to describe but everywhere you go if you make the effort to talk to people, they want to talk to you, and want to share their stories . And I think your life is richer the more people you talk to and the more of these stories you hear. Travelling like this gives you the opportunity to talk to so many people. I was hoping to find tonight, though i didnt, a group that stayed at devils marbles with me. They recognized me when we stayed at the waterbore rest area the next night. Then last night we both stayed at the lake together, though we didnt know it, and when i was leaving the station and closing the gate there they were so i held the gate for them. And they said 'hey, we recognized your Barina!' And i said 'where are you headed?' they said they were 'headed to winton' and i joked and said i will 'meet you at the next rest stop.' And before we had even had lunch there they were in the grocery store at Cloncurry! And so we had a little chat and I wished them well and to 'see them at the rest stop.' Its just a joke because who knows how far each of us will drive or how long we will drive. And now i find myself a little dissapointed because i didnt get to meet up with them again, and i wonder if they are parked as well thinking of me and waiting for the little Camperina to make an appearance. Its makes me think of how lucky i am to just meet people everywhere i go.
Enough blabbing its too long already and its too late, nighty.

To see the pictures from the day click here


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Australia Barina Camperina Camping Car Camping night photography Sun, 09 Jul 2017 09:35:33 GMT
Retired at last June 25th

Getting into the swing of things, up by 8am. Then just decided to relax. I was the last to leave the park around 11am. Just read a bit, played some games. Theres no rush, im retired.

Got to the little town of something between mt iza and berkly homestead. It had  the word moo in it. camooweal or something? Was  a little town of 390 people. Got fuel for 1.55$ which isn't the best but far from the worst i have seen and then grabbed a six pack of 4x Mango that was on sale.

Stopped about 100km down the road to enjoy an afternoon drink and eat lunch. Then had more of a read. At about 5pm i decided to drive 40km to the next rest area with a washroom and glad i did. Not only is the washroom nice, but the area is huge so no one is crowding in. Should be a quiet night tonight, might go and do some pictures and look for scorpions agian. But for now i am going to watch the last episode of misfits, thanks to michael, and then have some dinner. Also a drink, i am retired!

June 26th

Got into Mt Isa in good time. Had coffee and internet at the info centre then checked out the releigh river fossils which were pretty cool. Even introduced by david attenborough.

Just at an old abandond town called Mary Kathleen. Its pretty weird but may push on in a few for the night. There is a lake near by so i might check that out instead.

The lake is amazing, Corella Dam its called, and its a very cool place to be. I talked to some people about birds, fresh water crocs (which i am hoping to see) and the fact that this lake was made to feed the town of Mary Kathleen. All interesting. I am here camped by some kind people who were happy to have me squeeze in next to them. I thought this would be a baron place but it is essentially a village, with a population more then the supporting towns. Ive asked around and some people have been here for months. There are yabbie pots in everywhere, boats, kayaks everything, on this little lake half the size of leach lake, likely smaller!

Will be trying to get some shots toinght of the stars and such as that seems to be the trend, but am in a photo editing mood so might give the old deep cycle a good work out. Just doing some photos from flinders ranges now. Will try to get caught up as i have fallen behind. What a very cool place though, and as always very cool people.




[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Australia Barina Camperina Camping Car Camping night photography Sun, 09 Jul 2017 09:31:42 GMT
Devils Marbles has WIFI June 23rd

Bit of driving today. Back to alice about 90km, refuel and hit up the local grocery for a re-supply then north to wyclife well, home of australias UFOs, 400km away. A quick pit stop and refuel then back on the road for the last 30ish km to get me to devils marbles. And who do i see upon entering but the couple i met june 19th at the rest area. I will be heading over there shortly once the heat of the sun is gone. For now i will hide in the breezy (i have a fan) barina and relax.

Had a good evening with the two couples from SA talking about Canada and photography. They were once again very gracious hosts. Then it was off to bed. Another relaxing day.


June 24th

Went for a little hike around the devils marbles. There i ran into a willy wag tail who was all about grabbing the flies from around my face. He would come within mm of my face and snap up the flies. At one point i thought he might just land on my head and move around with me like you see other birds on elephants and such. Then I checked out the day  use area which now had WIFI. Crazy!

Past that just driving to Tennant creek for some Fuel and then to berkley homestead for a top up. About 20km further east i have set up camp. Its only 3 pm but i think i am done driving for today. Just rest in the shade of the car with the windows open and fan on, currently 34 degrees inside 39.5 out. movie time!

The car park became very full and i was stuck between french and german tourists. Surprising as most of these car parks that dont have toilets are usually not very popular! But i did take a few pictures just to get out. thought i dont think they are anything special. Also looked for scorpions but came up buttkiss.

To see the pictures from this day click here


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Australia Barina Camperina Camping Car Camping night photography Thu, 06 Jul 2017 23:47:09 GMT
A night of music June 22nd

Tea with Meenu and her family (one Aussie and one German), breakfast and many chats later i left my fellow travelers, as they were headed south and i north, and continued on to Alice Springs. Once there it was a quick fuel up followed by a jaunt westward into the macdonnel ranges.

Finding a camp there was a bit tricky as it was quite a lot busier then last time i was there but once settled i went for walk. Later, while relaxing with a coffee in front of the camperina, i was invited to another campfire. There there was a couple coming down from tennant creek on their way home. The lady had been on a book tour about her journies all over the world on motorcycle and they were both musicians and told us stories of travel and played some music. It was all a bit much for me so i snuck away to take some photos but before i met a couple from Mississauga Ontario, who were surprised that i knew where that was until i explained i was from Bracebridge!

To see all the photos click here



[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Australia Barina Camperina Camping Car Camping night photography Thu, 06 Jul 2017 23:45:23 GMT
A Night With Meenu June 21st

I checked out a few opal/fossil places before i headed out but did not find much of interest. The fossils were a neat thing but i imagine well over priced and i didnt really need one. It was then driving through the flats until reaching the SA/NT border some time later. On the way I did manage to spot some Wedge Tailed Eagles who were kid enough to stay around while a shot a few pictures!

There i set up camp with many others and enjoyed a bit of relaxing before venturing out and meeting some fellow campers. There i met a lovely couple traveling in an older campervan with a big white shepard name Meenu. They invited me for dinner but i politely declined as i had just eaten but asked if i could join them and their fire. They were more then happy to have me and once i found out that they had no chairs of their own i happily gifted two extras i have been carrying since melbourne! They were very excited and much tea was drunk. An absolutly lovely couple.

To see all the pictures from today click here

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Australia Barina Camperina Camping Car Camping night photography Sun, 02 Jul 2017 03:31:25 GMT
Pedy June 20th

Up at a reasonable time and off to cooper pedy. First stop was the visitors centre and then off for some accomodation. Found a place that has me sleeping underground which is the thing to do here. Just working on some photos for a project for michael but is taking some time. Its 2pm now and will pull the plug on it soon. Going to head into town and get a permit for the national park here called the breakaways and then wander around the shops until about 2pm when I will head off to the national park for sunset. Once back at my place i will see if i can sort out the rest of the pictures!

Met up with the two couples from last night at the lookout. Was great to have another good chat and someone to hang out with during sunset. After the sun was down we agreed to look for eachother on facebook and follow one anothers travels. Great evening. Now i am just back in my underground hollow. First I will l work on some photos for a bit then time to relax in my underground room with maybe a movie or something.
Tomorrow i may hit one more attraction and then head northward towards alice. Im not sure how far i will make it but we will see!

Some of the formations have names like 'The Two Dogs' but i have forgotten most of the names now. Its a very cool area. A bit of driving on some pretty rough roads for the little camperina!

Also got a photo of one of the underground churches!

To see all the photos click here

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Australia Barina Camperina Camping Car Camping Travel Sat, 01 Jul 2017 23:47:06 GMT
Coober June 19th

Up at a good time, first to leave the site again. The camp site was above the clouds in the early morning! see pictures.

I headed back into Port Agusta and got a new front tire put on the car. Once that was sorted I decided on a new route. Rather then going 10400km west, and then back the same route, I am headed north through the centre and then east into Queensland. Aside from about 400km right in the middle it will be all new to me. I really wanted a route that was significantly less KMs but also was a loop rather than a out and back trip. So in the end this is about the only way to do it. But its handy as I was headed to Coober Pedy anyway and now its part of the route.

So from here its up to Tennant creek then east to Mt Isa and Longreach, then back down. Now i'm throwing around the idea of hitting Canberra, on a Sunday, to get in some dragon boating, as i will have all my kit with me, and it would be great to paddle with the crew again!

Today feels good. Having a plan really makes a difference, rather than just driving to drive. Also the new route only has be driving 200km per day, though i might do more then that some days. Thinking of maybe getting a fancy accommodation  in Coober Pedy if its priced right, do laundry and such (just a cheap cabin) but if not there is always Alice Springs or beyond.

Met a  lovely group of Grey Nomads headed to Darwin and joined them at their campfire for the evening. Was great to chat it up about Canada and Australia and future travel plans. Headed to bed with the smell of campfire smoke on my clothing. We hope to meet up again in Coober Pedy.

One photo came out funny but I kind of liked it. There was an RV with blue lights on it lighting up my car, so when I reset the white balance it made the sky yellow. I think it looks like I was camping in a methane cloud.

To see all the pictures click here


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Fri, 30 Jun 2017 09:21:40 GMT
Hawker and Quorn June 17th

Got up early and did a 2 hour hike up mt somthing. 3km distance with a 1km elevation gain. Was a good walk in the sunrise. Once back to the camperina it was a quick shower then down to Hawker for some free WIFI. On the way saw a giant wedge tailed eagle but getting out of the car i spooked him. Also got a few nice shots of the ranges on the way down. Even had the moon in a few shots!
Once in Hawker it was a nice coffee and emails back and forth. Then decided on a camp a few Km down the road called woolshed rest stop. It wasn't a super eventful day but still nice warm weather. Just watched some shows once in the car as there was not much to do at wool shed.

To see the photos from that day click here

June 18th

Got up early again and headed to Quorn for some breakfast and more WIFI. There i was able to skype with my dad and brother which was pretty cool. Got a bit more organized and headed into Port Agusta. Was feeling a little under the weather so just hung out and saw the arid botanic gardens before finding a camp early and resting up.

For Pictures from this day click here

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Fri, 30 Jun 2017 09:14:08 GMT
Relaxing in the Flinders June 16th

Ended up last night that I was in a pay area, maybe, oh well. If you don't post it how am I to know. Left early as planned and made my way up to the flinders ranges. I was looking at distances but must have been tired and was not paying attention. What I was looking at yesterday was 5200km to ningaloo reef, a place i would like to visit. But today on the way to the flinders ranges i was thinking, geeze thats a long way and i think i want to be back in melbourne by the end of july, maybe a bit sooner. 5200km last night came with the realization that that  it's only one way, meaning 10400km round trip. So today i was crunching the numbers, doable but I don't think it would be enjoyable. it was well over 300Km per day and i think that that is just too much. So today i have been dealing with the realization that on this trip anyway whale sharks might not be happening. But its something that i will be doing in the future, perhaps in the Mk II. So today was a little hike to some aboriginal art work and then booked into a real campsite with showers and the lot here in flinders ranges, by real camp site i mean i had to pay.
Decided not to rush and just relax, already considering spending a second night here, as i had a few things on my mind that i wanted to take care of. One of those things was flipping the mounts for the solar panel around. As is sits now, the underside of the panels are taking a beating from wind, rocks, bugs and so by swapping the mounts now the tops of the panels will take the brunt of the wind etc, leaving the under wiring safe. So thats one thing down. Tomorrow i think i will do a hike and decide what to do then. As for a route from here now i am really not sure. Another place i wanted to hit was Katherine in the nothern territory, but there is a lot between here and there that i have seen before and the numbers say i would have to average a min of 200km(on the nose) each day. More deliberation is required. At the moment perhaps i should check out coober pedy and then maybe head and do the nullabore a bit then just slowly make my way back. I suppose another thing that is on my mind is that when i had the service, the mechanic peter told me that i would likely need 3 new tires, which isn't a big deal however it would mean probably loosing a day or two getting them installed etc. Which i will  look at once i get to port agusta either tomorrow or the next day.
Got the hammock set up and am relaxing here at the car. Got the awning set up and am having a few ciders. all is well.

To see the Gallery click here


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Australia Barina Camperina Camping Car Camping Thu, 29 Jun 2017 02:03:57 GMT
The land of Emus June 15th

Emus, at first I thought it was the land of goats, but its not, its Emus (and goats). Left the camp site early to get ahead of the Km's. 137 to Broken Hill. Once there it was off to the info centre for a coffee and of course some Info. Got word that the place to check out was a place called the living desert and so headed there. Its an area the town has put together with a predator proof fence containing natural flora and fauna. It was pretty neat, and the long walk even had a watering station. Then it was back on the road to head towards the flinders ranges and not far out of broken hill is where i ran into a group of 7 Emus traveling together. I stopped for a few snaps which drew their attention and then came right up to me. Knowing that they have a pretty hearty kick i stood and whistled when i felt they got too close. Was pretty neat thought, they were right into figuring out what i was about.

Driving and more driving. Made it to a place called Peterborough South Australia. Here at an impromptu camp with a bunch of RV's. The other site said it was RV friendly and didn't want people sleeping in passenger cars, so i left so i wouldn't get bothered. So now at a site that doesn't say anything. Should be alright for the night, there are a few RVs here as this site is much less busy then the other. Just watching some tv and folding laundry, editing photos etc. Its like i'm at home.. though i suppose for the moment i am at home. Well time to hammer out a few emails and hit the hay. talk soon
Oh while driving i had a few good ideas for the Mark II. I look forward to building it after this trip!


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sun, 18 Jun 2017 01:43:24 GMT
Mildura and abound June 14th
Stopped in Mildura to re-supply and do some laundry. Then decided to head to Broken hill. So many goats! The first camp was a bust as it was under construction but the next one was nice, though fairly busy. Went out and found some scorpions with my new UV light which is way better then the old one. Was also looking at the map and just how far i have to travel. Its a lot further then i thought as i have a few deadlines, but i think i am going to push on for now and see how it goes. I will have to do more then 200km a day though. Will just have to see.

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sun, 18 Jun 2017 01:42:58 GMT
Rainbow and a Service June 12th

Had a productive day on the computer at Diannes's while waiting to see if the mechanic was going to be able to sneak me in for a service later in the day. I did have a chance to hit the local IGA and restock on supplies and the fish and chip shop for an afternoon treat. In the end the mechanic couldn't squeeze me in but set me up for 9am on Tuesday morning. Watched a few more small home programs on TV with Dianne and called it a night.

June 13th

Had the car serviced in good time by a great mechanic named Peter in Rainbow. He found a few issues that i will need to take care of over the next while but shouldn't be an big issue. After that was done i said goodbye to Dianne and started the big adventure west. Found a campsite at the pink lakes of Murray Sunset national park and made that my destination. Stopped a few times along the way in hopes of some wedge tailed eagle photos but they didn't work out. The camp site is pretty cool, right on the edge of a pink lake. I will do a few photos tonight.
Photos came out alright, even caught the second biggest shooting star i have seen, as a few weeks ago when i was in Pella i saw one even bigger that split apart in the sky. But still pretty cool. Maybe i will be lucky enough to find one of them one day. How cool would that be?

Going to watch some TV curtasy of Michael then hit the hay. Was thinking of doing a moon shot but its not out yet and i might not stay awake long enough.


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sun, 18 Jun 2017 01:42:21 GMT
Pella Church June 11th

Had a great day with the rainbow crew running all over. Pella Church, ross lakes, and more. After this it was time for Michaels art opening at Turbo Gallery here in Rainbow. After a little speech and some nibbles we headed back to Diannes for coffee, and then to the local pub for some eats.
After we had eaten we joined Dianne for some documentaries on container homes which was quite enjoyable. After a few episodes Michael and I decided to hit the road back to Pella Church to see if I could snap a few photos. Once the camera was in position there was nothing to do but wait so we set up the camp chairs behind the Ute and put some tv shows on his newly installed tv and watched the night away.
I should have got a picture of that, would have been quite the scene!


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sun, 18 Jun 2017 01:06:55 GMT
Rainbow landing June 9th

Left the city at a decent time, with railway shows in tow, and headed east to meet Michael back in rainbow in two days time. Was a bit of driving but ended then day in a place called Broken Bucket. Its a pretty good campsite in the middle of nowhere. Close to Murray Sunset National Park. It doesn't have drinking water but anything else you could need.

June 10th

Chilly again. 3.5 Degrees and in the fog. Waiting for sun to break through to recharge my deep cycle and get some heat going. Its now 10:30am and still 7.5 outside and a balmy 14.7 in the car. Still waiting for that sun to break through!

Headed to Rainbow to see if Michael had made it yet or not and arrived about 3pm. Watched a bit of a movie and had a bite to eat before seeing if Dianne was home so that I might have a place to camp for the night. She was and we got on to talking about houses made from shipping containers. Was a great evening in rainbow again!



[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sun, 18 Jun 2017 00:00:39 GMT
Adelaide bound June 7th

Brrrrrr..... Day started with a temperature of 0.5 degrees. Bit chilly but was find bundled up in the Camperina. I am quite confident the Barina could handle well below zero temperatures before there would be any issues. That being said I cant wait till its warmer in the mornings!

Made it to Adelaide in good time and had another wonderful meal with Em and some great shows on Railways of the UK which was a lot of fun.

June 8th

Walked into Adelaide and had lunch with Em and then had a walk through the botanic gardens. Then it was another nice night with Em watching a doco on pedators of the ocean. Good times.



[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 17 Jun 2017 02:41:23 GMT
Seals and such June 6th

Headed to Portland and the info centre to find out if any more whales had been spotted but no luck. Then headed to Cape Nelson and Cape Bridgewater. There I saw Yellow Rock, enchanted forest and the Cape Nelson lighthouse before going on a 10km walk to see the seal colony. At the enchanted forest I saw come cool art, artificial and natural which made me think of Michael. The petrified forest at the seal colony was also pretty cool.

The CampBarina was the star of many photos! Was a fairly long day all around. Ended the night north of Mt Gambier on my way to Adelaide. Should be an easy day tomorrow just a bit of driving.

To see all the photos click here


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 17 Jun 2017 02:38:26 GMT
Logans Beach Whales June 5th

Left Melbourne at a decent time, was out of the house by 9am. Just a few stops on the way to pick up a few items then it was off to Logan's beach for whale spotting. Spotted about 4 southern wright whales before the weather turned. Just hunkered down in the car for now, grabbing a bite to eat, and if the sun shows again I might see if I can spot some more.

Too cold to stay watching too long, I was lucky to see what I did. A mother and a calf!

Headed off toward the camp site, but stopped at a place called the crags on the way. Also bought myself a new pot for cooking as the camping one didn't fit the stove so well.

Once at the camp site I had a look at some of the photos and rearranged some of the stuff in the car. Still lots to sort out but time to relax as the rain sets in again. See you tomorrow.

Click here for the gallery


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Mon, 12 Jun 2017 05:49:06 GMT
The Launch is tomorrow Heading out tomorrow to get it started. I have a date in Rainbow this coming weekend and then I am free to head west. Tomorrow I will go coastal and look for whales on my way to Adelaide. Hang with Em for a few days before her big trip over seas and then continue on. Should be good. Took a proper picture of the car so you can see everything, clean and dirty, in high res. I will be bringing supplies for projects on the go so all will be well.

So here we go!



[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sun, 04 Jun 2017 08:57:15 GMT
More mods, shes almost ready! May 22nd

Yesterday was a good day. Met up with Michael in rainbow. once again we arrive within minutes of each other with no contact for days. Then it was off to the new rainbow school to see the work in progress where we met with Dianne with whom we would be spending the night. She introduced us to a man named Mel who was kind enough to take us to the Pella church and museum and show us around. Part of the tour included playing an organ, over 100 years old, from melbourne. After this we met up with the nhill photography group doing a session on night sky photography. A few shots with them had michael and i itching to do more so we headed off on our own to an old limestone kiln Mel had shown us earlier.
Then it was back to Diannes place for some coffee and chats. Little did i know that my Camparina idea was not so unique as Dianne had and Echo that she made in to a camper and called it the Echobago. But she was more then impressed with my wiring of batteries and whatnot!
Today is just a lazy clean up the house day. Out for breakfast like coffee drink with michael then to the hardware store for some supplies. Fixed some switches that i have been meaning to fix for over one year and made a velcro placemat for my laptop as well as some other odds and ends. Then a quick lunch break with michael and back to fixing things. I think its time for a break and then a camp this evening in yapeet. All going well so far. loosing some weight in the car of things i dont need. All is well.

May 23rd
Spent the night with Michael on the shores of lake albucuta spotting owls and having a campfire. The next morning we went for a little walk to get inspired. I spotted some birds i have never seen before and michael came up with some art ideas that we will hopefully be installing next weekend. Then it was back to Rainbow for coffee and a hair cut. After brief chats with the ladies at the hair salon i worked on some photos as michael had some appointments. Also more tidy up work on the car. I think the car will be a constant project as i figure out whats needed and whats not. Its getting more comfy everyday and somehow more spacious.
Out for dinner with some locals at the pub then back to Diannes for a sleep in the utes and Camperinas.
May 24th
After a short meeting Michael and I headed back to lake albucutcha for some more photos but seeing how it was already noon we decided to part ways. I headed to Horsham for a resupply and then back to Ratzcastle as I enjoyed it so much the first time. This time there were already 3 RVs there and another arrived after me. I talked to some of the people there, nice as always, and then hid away the rest of the evening in the camperina as it was raining. But i did get to test the home cinema set up.
PACIFIC RIM on the 11.6" monster screen with audio pumping though my car sound system. Awesome!!!!
May 25th
Its my grandmas birthday today, Happy birthday Omi! Today was a bit of driving. Im trying to keep to my rule of no more then 200km per day but today i went a little over. I made my way to Mt Gambier, probably one of my favorite towns in all of australia, and checked out the aussie disposals and used book store. Picked up a book by asimov and would you believe it, Gary Gygax. Dont know who that is? Shame on you!
With Rain on and off i hit robe again with memories of Jay. Stopped at the old prison or GAOL as its called and then helped a young couple jump start their RV. After  i had them going again we talked for a bit and they were envious of my dual battery set up, and i was envious of their spacious accommodation, but not their fuel milage. After robe it was out for dinner, a bit of subway, then as rain is again on the horizon i decided to call it a night in the coorrong. Just getting the Home AV system set up for... i think it will be Enders Game tonight.
Catch you all in the A.M. Plan is to hit Adelaide by about 5pm and hang with Em for a few days to celebrate the Koscars (awards for our Dragon Boat club) Night.
May 26th,
Made my way to ems place in Adelaide with a bit of relaxing and car cleaning on the way. Once arrived it was beers and showing off the new digs, both standard and wheeled versions. A wonderful steak dinner and an invitation to do a parkrun 5km run. Early to bed for me.
May 27th
A 5km Parkrun was a great way to start the day. Then it was hanging out with Em at a cool little micro brewery where i learned heaps about distilling. Then it was a evening out with Em and Dane celebrating what it is to be Komodo. Many drinks were had, too many in fact.
May 28th
The day began with a great practice session in the Dragon Boat with the Adelaide team Em has join, Water warriors. Then it was out for some breakfast and a walk through the old market. Coffee and put put boats. Then it was time for me to make my way back to rainbow to meet michael. It was a bit of an effort, maybe 400km but i got there in the end. A little bit of singing made the trip a little shorter. Once there it was drinking wine and talking about camperinas and echobagos again.
May 29th
I had coffee with Jen, which is an artist Michael had brought up to rainbow, and many chats about each of our families histories. Jen is super interesting and open to talking about what it is to be Australian and her identity. After a big day in Rainbow which had me making modifications to the Camperina and reading a bit it was time to head melbourne way. Michael would do it in one go but i decided to do it in two, camping at the site i hit first out of melbourne about a week ago. A bit of watching a movie then time for bed.
May 30th
Arrived in Melbourne safe. The test run was a success. Time to ditch some things and make some more mods but because i brought tools with me there wasnt that much to do. Will just relax and slowly do things over the next few days.
June 3rd
I did some things! I have been doing bits and bobs here and there but today time was dedicated to getting the barina going again. More bins means more organization, which means more space. Cleaned up some of the wiring, which will have to be redone later on the road and michael made me some sweet brackets for the solar so i will collect more sun more often! Also worked on the curtains and got an RV leveller so I will know that i am level when I park for the night. Check the pictures! The red light is for watching movies, you can see the little red lights on the bottom right they are left to right, USB, Switch for usb, Switch for red light.
[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Barina Camperina Camping Car Camping camping barina Sat, 03 Jun 2017 08:37:52 GMT
Camperina May 19th
Test Barina day one.

Today I started my trip about noon after doing a load of laundry and hoping for it to dry. But with rain on the way I decided to just hit a laundromat on the way out and dry things that way. So off I went via the shops to Bachus marsh where I dried my cloths and caught up on  a few phone calls. It was there that I also hunted down a spot to stay for the night and decided on a state forest out side of Arrarat. Great spot but the rain never stopped so I spent a bit of time inside the Barina listening to music and playing on the computer until it was bed time. Which is now, goodnight
May 20th.
Stopped to put the inverter on the VSR so that it could charge while driving. So I have the laptop plugged in and charging. Had a good sleep last night though went to bed a little early and so it wasn't a restful sleep as I was in bed too long. Got up and made coffee, had breakfast and am on the way. Just hoping for some sunshine so i can charge my deep cycle battery, its just been running down and down the last few days while working at it at Michaels, plus i am constantly charging phones and gps and running the radio, i mean its almost been a week without getting too much of a charge. It also has an automatic cut off once it gets low but i don't want to get it there. The sun is starting to peek though so hopefully that will do the trick.
4:30pm. Ratzcastle state forest.
Found an awesome spot for the night. Also worked a bit on the car. Got the usbs at the front hooked to the VSR as well so now power up front is coming from that instead of deep cycle saving me even more power. I found i was only using this usb while driving anyway so might as well be smart about it. So now the plan is to hook up the other dual usb port to the deep cycle in the back where it would be easier to use. The sun did come out but a bit late and low through the trees to have much of an effect. But a little went back in which was great.
Its also Jay Simpsons birthday today so i have purchased some Whiskey and am having a drink to him tonight! I remember the time we took michaels ute to robe. We stopped for the first night at dadswells bridge and then naracorte. There we polished off a bottle between the two of us. I felt terrible in the morning but Jay was fine, and because of that im not sharing my bottle with him this time, well not in person anyway. Happy bithday jay! Hope you have a great one. I'll be sipping away to you tonight under the stars (hopefully the rain wont come back) and having a read and relax with the animals. Didnt see a blue tongue yet, but am hopeful. Wish you were here!
Took some pictures and now i hear what i assume are field mice running around the outside of my car. going to put the food in here with me in hopes they will find something else to do tonight,and its almost time for bed.
[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Tue, 23 May 2017 02:30:11 GMT
No wasted space Had a thought last night about the gap between the pod and the awning. It is about 22-23cm wide and it looked pretty terrible. Another issue I was facing was charging the battery as I wanted to give Michael my 60w solar panel as it was a bit bulky for my ride, so I was looking at 20w to save on space. What I found was a 5w panel, with dimensions of 25x19. How handy, 4 of them in parallel gives me the 20w I was after and run the long way I get an overall size of 1m by 20cm (with rail). So I built a frame with some metal Michael had. Popped it all together and strapped it down. Now I have solar all the time without the need to pull it out of the car. And it looks pretty slick.

Beyond that it was fit the curtains that Kez stitched for me last night. I will still need to sort out 4 of the windows, but I have 2 of them 50% done. It will be a project for while I am on the road. I also picked up some food today to start it out. Looks like I will be going tomorrow and heading west to Rainbow to meet Michael for a bit, then off to Adelaide for the weekend. Then back to Melbourne to pick up supplies and last modifications. Also made it a bit more homey in there with quick access to umbrella and other things!

Test flight starts tomorrow!


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Thu, 18 May 2017 08:11:59 GMT
Curtains! Curtains! I have the material but no curtains yet! I think this will be a project for while I am on the road!

The mods start out with Kez helping me bind up my mattress cover so that it fits tight around the shifter and parking break. This was done using custom made ties! Then a quick wash of the new fitted sheet (as this was the choice sleeping spot for the dogs and cats) and into the car.

Michael took a day off early from work for us to drive across the city to pick up some Awnings (one each) and then a deep cycle battery for him. 105ah we decided would do the trick! So the next project for me was installing the mounting brackets for the awning. A quick test at night showed I needed a few more bolts and what would become a custom tool.

After taking the angle grinder to a new spanner I managed to get it to the point that I was happy. Something else will break before the awning comes off!

I also covered the brackets with tape just so they take longer to rust (hopefully).

And then, because why not, I cut out a little piece of carpet to act as a sunshade for the GPS. They don't like getting too hot and I don't like having to remove it from the window so this seemed like a reasonable solution.

Next I put the original boot carpet back in to save on material and made is all pretty even though you wont see it in the end.

Fixed down the yoga mat, which just adds a little more insulation and comfort to my bed.

While I was out today I also thought it was funny that my sweet ride is still smaller then most SUV's.

I also decided to try out the awning in the driveway and its awesome. Also a shot of the bed all set up with my cushion on the shelf.

So next is build a wall for the shelf to keep items in. I bought a hinge already for this just need to get motivated. Then fit out the curtains and take if for a test ride.

Test ride might start tomorrow (thurs) and go to next Thursday. Wish me luck!

Now here are the progress photos!







[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Wed, 17 May 2017 05:22:52 GMT
It didn't burn down Mounted the controller in a better spot and linked up some fuses. Can now run the VSR through the controller which is handy as now I cant hurt the battery. Got a gps for the front and wired that up for power. Also installed a toggle switch for the 4x4 lights which is much better. Installed the inverter beside the battery so I can charge the laptop from the deep cycle battery.

After that I wired up michaels 4x4 light, reading light, switch box with voltmeter and another light at the back of the box for him. Now we just have to get him a battery to run it all, but I tested it with mine. Tomorrow its awning shopping and battery for Michael.

I will have to sort out curtains still as well as another switch in the boot for a light and maybe some more usb ports. should be good.


Here are the photos, good luck.



[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sun, 14 May 2017 09:29:14 GMT
deep cycle Yesterday I picked up a Deep Cycle Battery (AGM) so there is no off gassing while charging in the car. I also cut a hole into the floor for the battery to sit into which cause a little bit of saw dust to fly. After that I just worked away on the wiring.

So today after a quick vac of the car it was off to start building the shelf. Its pretty good as it is now but I need to finish the carpet job then hang some hardware off of it. Then I will wire up the inverter and set the VSR the way I want it. While I was working today I was charging the battery with my solar panel so now I am keen to keep that in the car as well, though it is a bit large. Tonight I am off to an art opening that I hung with Michael on Sat so the rest will have to be done tomorrow.

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Thu, 11 May 2017 05:19:58 GMT
Barina update Had a successful day yesterday and managed to pick up a piece of MDF board for the boot and some hanging wire for curtains. Managed to get the boot sorted out size wise but had to wait for the new tire so that I could put the spare tire back in the boot.

Today was another good day as I managed to pick up a mattress topper (king size) that I could cut down to fit in the car. I finished up the height of the section in the boot and then cut the mattress to size. Tomorrow it will be finish the carpet in the boot and Kez is going to sew me up a fitted sheet for my custom mattress, then its just sort out the shelving system and reinstall the deep cycle battery (which I still have to purchase) then take it for a test run and see where I need to put the usb ports as well as lights and curtains. Then I suppose I will need to bug proof the windows as well. That's about it. Should be a good day tomorrow pending the weather is nice. Check out the pictures!


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Tue, 09 May 2017 11:43:26 GMT
The camping Barina Yesterday I had a chance to start on the re-fit for my little Barina. First to come out was the back seat. I was surprised by the amount of weight saved by removing the two sections of the rear seat. Will make adding the weight back in less of a worry. Next out was the front passenger seat which was not as smooth as it could have been. The base was attached with a stripped screw so I lost a few knuckles getting it out! But once out the amount of space in this little car was really appreciated!

Today I started building the bed frame inside of the car. Tomorrow I will finish that and start the shelving. But a trip to Bunnings will be required for some more bits and pieces before I can continue! Check out the progression! It ends with a semi complete carpet job before I ran out of light!



[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sun, 07 May 2017 09:40:56 GMT
Kats Visit To Australia Saturday.

We left Canberra early Saturday morning and headed towards Melbourne, stopping in Holbrook to check out the land-locked submarine and get some breakfast. From there it was a straight-shot off to Melbourne with the first stop being the Dandenong ranges and the lyrebirds hidden within. After seeing many sulfur crested cockatoos, we headed onto the lyrebird track with hopes of finding a lyrebird or two. Kat managed to spot one in the first few hundred meters which was pretty cool. From there we found some giant man-made nests as art education projects which were pretty spectacular as well. Even on our way back we saw wallabies and a few more lyrebirds. After our short tour of the Fern Tree forest, it was back into Melbourne proper to hang out with Ben, Cushla, Marlon and Xavier. A great BBQ feast put on by Ben finished a long but great day in the car.

Day 1 selfie


Giant Bird Nest


It was up early for a Father’s Day breakfast with Ben and the family then Kat and I headed to Phillip island to check out the cape barron geese, seals and the penguins. The geese were all taking care of their young ones so we got the chance to see goslings at various stages of development. While on the Cape Woolamai walk Kat was quick enough to spot an echidna on the path which was exciting! After the walk, it was off to Cowes for some fish and chips and then to the Nobbies to see if we could spot some seals. We did (sort of) but they were very far away, barely visible to the naked eye. We also got to spot a penguin under the board walk, Kat’s first. Then it was off to the penguin-parade where many penguins were spotted and fawned over. After that, back to Melbourne we went to crash back on Ben and Cushlas floor.



Little Penguin



After breakfast with Cushla, Marlon and Xavier, we headed down to the great ocean road for some poorly attempted whale-watching but some successful koala spotting. We also got to feed some of the local birds which would land on our arms and heads. From there it was off to Apollo bay for some late lunch/dinner. We ate and then headed to Lake Elizabeth where we set-up the tent and went for a hike to see glow worms. Along with our glow worm hunt, we got to see ring tail possums. Kat really enjoyed the glow worms, possibly the best part of the trip!

Glow Worms


The morning started with Kookaburras singing - as well as finding their way into our tent and car to flap around and eat our food. Once packed-up, we headed back to Lake Elizabeth to see if we could find a platypus, and with some luck and diligence we were lucky enough to see one in the wild for a few minutes. Once the little Barina climbed out of the Lake Elizabeth area, we headed down the hill to the Twelve Apostles and the Loch and Arch where I managed to get some good long exposure photographs. After the Apostles, it was back to Melbourne to hang out with Michael and Kerrie. Dinner, wine and art, like the classy campers we are.

Platypus in the wild

12 Apostles

Loch and Arch


Wednesday saw us up reasonably early and packing the car for the start of the second half of the adventure with Michael Shiell on-board. Ultimately we left Melbourne just after lunch with classic sugary slices in-hand and a bottle of whiskey in the boot. West was the direction taking us first to the giant koala in Dadswell bridge and then wine tasting in the Grampians region. From there it was off to Dimboola and the Pink Lake. After a brief walk at the Pink Lake, it was through a little desert and to Mitre Rock, but not before finding a side-neck turtle roadside. After clambering around Mitre Rock for a while, it was a blinding drive to Naracoorte for whiskey, campfire and pictures in the dark.

Dadswell Bridge (Michael Photobombing)

Pink Lake

Michael at Mitre Rock

Tent, Barina, Fire and Stars (yes the tent is bigger then the Barina)




Once the Barina was packed, it was time to go to the caves. We arrived a bit early as South Australia has a 30min time zone change but the lady at the counter was nice enough to let us into the Naracoorte visitors centre early. There we crawled through kid-displays, read about the exhibits and the history of the caves. We also got to see a giant wombat with sleep apnea and a giant kangaroo with Parkinson's. The animatronics in the park were a little dated, but we all agreed that if someone upgraded them It just wouldn't be the same. After the visitors centre it was off to the wet cave for some free exploring which both Michael and Kat enjoyed. Here was a cave you could explore at your own pace and as you did the lights would slowly turn on and light the way for you (so you never really knew just how far you could get into the cave until you got there). The next cave was a fully guided tour of Victoria fossil cave. At about 15m underground we got to see the bones left by animals as far back as 400,000 years. They estimate that the cave will have bones from as far back as 500,000 years but at the moment they don't have a paleontologist to excavate the area.

After this, it was off to Mt. Gambier in the pouring rain. There we got Michael a jacket so he wouldn't dissolve in the wet, and because the weather was so bad we decided to grab a delicious lunch, explore the local library and even go see a movie. Post-movie was relaxing in the camper we had hired for the night for drinks and long chats (most of which Michael remembers…I think).

Michael taking pictures in the wet cave

Fossils in the cave


A bit of driving got us to the coast in Nelson for a brief break and some roadside chips. Then continuing along the coast we headed to Portland in hopes of spotting some whales. Unfortunately, there were no whales to be spotted even though one mother and her calf had been spotted only one week ago! After this, it was off to Warrnambool for one last chance to spot some whales. No luck again. Off to Dunkeld we went to see an artwork Michael had installed earlier in the year. On the way to Dunkeld, Michael was brave and took my little Barina through some pretty washed out roads. After a quick clean out of the car and some fresh coffee, it was back to Melbourne in record time.

Exploring the shoreline

View out to sea


​A quick tour of the sights of Melbourne had Kat and I walking around the CBD for a few hours hitting all the important stuff. Libraries, sports stores and the market. Then it was back to Michaels place for a quick siesta (for Kat) while Michael and I watched the most amazing Australian movie. Then once we were all recharged the three of us headed out for a night on the town. Michael had never been to the casino so we headed there for some fun, fire and ice cream. We also partook in some refreshments at a bar under the bridge linking the two sides of the city and later for dinner.

Melbourne Sights

State Library


More casino

Refreshment under the bridge



Quick jaunt home for Kat and I (Canberra bound)  with various breaks along the way.



​Kat had a meeting with her potential new boss while I tried to recuperate from all the driving. In the afternoon we met up for wood fired dinner out as well as some micro-brewery drinks and some live local music, which I really enjoyed.



We were  off to Yankee Hat to see the aboriginal rock paintings. Unfortunately the gate to the parking area was closed due to flooding so I parked up on the side of the road. In the areas where the flooding was too much to find somewhere to hop across I did the polite thing and piggy backed Kat to the other side while my feet to soaked. Fortunately I only had to do this three or four time. Kat called me a pack mule as I had to wear my backpack on my front and carry Kat on my back across rivers. After the rock art I took Kat to the deep space communication centre which is always a hit. There we had a big feast of burgers and chips. Then off to Tidbinbilla nature reserve to get Kat's last main animal off her list, the emu. Also more platypus as well as some more Koalas.

Deep Space Centre



​I escorted Kat on the bus to Sydney for a fun day of walking around the CBD and seeing the sights. We wondered the gardens and got to touch the Sydney Opera House. We made plans that next time we would take the walk that takes you on top of the Sydney Darling Bridge. After a quick bite to eat for late lunch/early dinner it was time for me to catch my bus back to Canberra and for Kat to head to North Sydney to visit her friend.


World famous low bridge (1.9m)


It was a great trip, with great friends. Kat was a real sport with all the driving and Michael was happy to take over some of it! All in all we did about 4500km and the car was a champ going through deep water, up soggy bumpy dirt hills and keeping us charged and going all the time. It was able to do this while carrying 3 adults with full camping gear plus laptops, cameras and various other electronics as well as charging them all at the same time. Ahhhh my little Campervan Barina!


Michael Caught me in the act of photo editing while out there.


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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Mon, 03 Oct 2016 07:03:56 GMT
160811 Review of pictures from Rainbow Just doing some editing on my new computer (new to me) and wanted to compare the way I process on this one vs my old Asus.

And I was quite surprised by the results.

Have a look and tell me what you think. Every monitor is different so it will be interesting to get your feedback!

This was edited on the ASUS. I don't think I was ambitious enough to bring out the stars.

This was Edited on the new machine. I decided to try and bring out the stars a lot.

I might have a play with it some more and try to bring down the fire in the second image, but I quite enjoy the stars.

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Australia night photography Thu, 11 Aug 2016 07:17:02 GMT
160423 Cotter Dam and Gibraltar falls On Saturday night I headed out to photograph Cotter dam, about 30km from home, and Gibraltar Falls about 50 km from home.

The moon was going to be in the East, at my back, while shooting the Dam and then later in the night, 2am would have been ideal but I didn't make it that late, Gibraltar Falls with the moon to the North also at my back. I had a tea break between shoots cooking on my camp stove in the dark. Was a great way to spend the evening until some Boguns (Hicks) showed up and started shooting fireworks off of the falls.

Some interesting shots and I also got to see three wombats, about 40 Kangaroos and 110 rabbits! Enjoy


Cotter Dam lit by the Moon!

Gibraltar falls before the fireworks.

Too see all six pictures from the night click here

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sun, 24 Apr 2016 09:45:00 GMT
Remember that time I went to Sweden? It has been a while since I have posted photos from Europe, but they are coming. This month I have made a vow to get them all processed and get my overfilled Hard drives sorted out! So here are some photos you have not seen yet!

In September 2015 Sue (Doms mom) was coming for a visit and Jax and Brent (Doms sister and soon to be brother in law) were already visiting. Sue was flying into the UK and training to Stockholm where Jax, Brent and I were going to meet her Via Ferry from Helsikini. The ferry was similar to the one we took to Estonia earlier in the year. Our bunks were one level below the vehicles which we thought was quite funny, but it also meant that we were on the level with the hot tubs. Living in luxury sailing across the Baltic (Gulf of Bothnia) while also floating in a hot tub! I had forgotten my swim suit so I stayed in and watched 'the giver' , a movie, on my phone.

Once in Stockholm we had just 6 hours to run around the city and see the sights. I tired to play tour guide by hitting as many significant sights as possible. Stockholm in six hours is not enough time. We didn't have time to explore many of the sights, just quick glances and off to the next one. It was still great to see and it was a great time over all. Even got Sue back to Helsinki which was the plan all along!

The Statues!

The people!

The location!


To see all the photos click here!

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Fri, 01 Apr 2016 21:00:00 GMT
160227, Orroral Homestead Last night I headed out to the Orroral Homestead about 60km south of Canberra. There in the middle of a field is a Homestead from the days of Stock Stations originally purchased in 1837 by William Herbert. (Click here to read more about Orroral) This homestead is not from 1837.  I have just purchased my first off camera flashes and a few other goodies and wanted to try them out. With my new kit I was able to fire the flashes and camera remotely from a distance. This gave me the opportunity to move around the site while adjusting settings without having to walk back to the camera each time. I already know what would make my life easier if I do more of these shoots so I will start saving my pennies for them.

This shot that I ended up with is of the Orroral Homestead with stars and the light of Canberra in the background. It was shot as a series of photos that had me moving flashes about the area in an attempt to be creative. It came out not too bad for a first try and so here it is. Its shot over a series of 9 or so photos. Next time I will make sure the weather is better as some of the clouds that were floating by ruined some of the stars in the background. Lessons learned for next time. Best viewed full screen by clicking on the image twice.

Orroral Homestead, 50km south of Canberra


Orroral HomesteadOrroral HomesteadThe Orroral Homestead in Namadgi National park in Australia's Capital Territory.

Orroral Homestead again!

After a bit of critiquing I have corrected a few issues with the image, see if you can spot the difference. Which do you prefer? Leave a comment and tell me which one you like and why.

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 27 Feb 2016 14:00:00 GMT
160212, Australia Night Sky I took my new little car out of Canberra and into Namadgi National park in hopes of taking a picture of the night sky without light pollution. Even after getting about 70km (as the bird flies) you can still see the light in the photos. You could see it with the naked eye but not like in the photos. All in all was a good trip out. got a few more km on the little car and I got to spend a little bit of time practicing photography. That being said I realized that I have forgotten a lot of things while out there. What settings to be on and such. I will be more prepared next time as I am sorting through my camera bag as I type. Will also be throwing some flash into the mix next time, I hope anyway.

So here is the picture that I was somewhat happy with by the end. Hope you enjoy it as well. Best viewed in full screen with the lights turned off. (click on picture to go to picture site, click on picture again once there)

Yankee HatYankee Hat

The nights sky as seen from Yankee Hat, Namadgi National Park ACT.

Yankee HatYankee Hat

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 13 Feb 2016 09:45:00 GMT
160109, Australia, Great ocean road On Saturday Dominique, Kerrie, Michael and I all piled into Kerrie's car to head down to the Great Ocean Road to see the damage from the recent bush fires as well as to have a visit with Ben and his family. It takes about two hours from Michael's house to get to the coast and it was a fairly busy day as there was a race in Lorne, so we had a lot of traffic to contend with. Once to the burned section of the great ocean road it was like being on a different planet. It has this burnt out smell and all of the trees that were standing were black trunks with brown leaves. Sometimes there were just black trunks, and sometimes there were only black stumps. We drove through many kilometers of this burnt out area. Just before arriving at Ben's place at Kennit River the lush great forest came back. You can see from this photo how close the fire was to where we were visiting.

Part of the Great Ocean Road that has been burned in a recent bush fire.

Once we were settled at Ben's cabin we had some flying visitors which Michael and Kerrie were excited about as they said they had never had wild king parrots interact with them. These parrots you could tell knew humans meant food. I tried to snap one photo of everyone with at least one parrot before they decided we weren't worth the effort.





Sorry, no picture of me with them, and to be honest I don't think I held one, too busy taking happy snaps with the Nikon! Like this one..

King ParrotKing Parrot

King Parrot up close.

After having a wonderful dinner with Ben and his family the four of us piled back into Kerrie's car and headed to lake Elizabeth to see the glow worms and stars. Because it had been so dry for so long the glow worms were not blanketing the forest as we had seen previously, however it was the first time we ever went there and didn't get rained on! I did manage to take a few picture of the nights sky which was part of the plan. Kerrie and Michael were kind enough to tolerate me and my camera while Dom had a snooze in the car. I managed to take a few nice photos but unless you see it full size it isn't anything special. But I did learn a lot about what I can do and have plans to go bigger next time I am in an area with little light pollution. Was a great day out on the coast and a big thank you goes out to Michael for driving both ways, as we did not return to Melbourne until a little after 2am!

A few shots of the night sky stuck together!


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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Thu, 28 Jan 2016 07:56:25 GMT
151211, Australia, Canberra in the Botanic Gardens Today I went to visit Dom while she worked in the Botanic gardens here in Canberra.  After we had shared a Chicken Parma for lunch, I headed off into the field to see if I could capture some Crimson Rosella's and a Bower Bird that I had seen when I first entered the park.  Both of those species ended up being a bust but I did have a chance to get some pretty goods shots of these guy. Gang-Gang Cockatoo and Glossy Black Cockatoo's.

Just a few close up but it was pretty neat to shoot them. Enjoy.

Gang-Gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum)Gang-Gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum)Gang-Gang Cockatoo
(Callocephalon fimbriatum)

Gang-Gang Cockatoo

Glossy Black-CockatooGlossy Black-CockatooGlossy Black-Cockatoo
(Calyptorhynchus lathami)

Glossy-Black Cockatoo

Red Center area of the gardens.

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Fri, 11 Dec 2015 09:37:55 GMT
151031 Hoping to use a new technique I was hoping to take a second picture of the Carillion here in Canberra at night to use in the Canberra Photographic Society's competition but unfortunately the weather came in and blocked the stars. However earlier while the weather was not great I headed down around sunset in hopes of just taking some practice shots into the sun to try another technique I have recently learned about. It wasn't the intention on this shoot but I ended up with a reasonably nice sunset shot which I have submitted to the competition.

This is just a single image shot straight into the sun!

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 31 Oct 2015 12:39:43 GMT
150807, Narbonne I really enjoyed the idea of the overnight sleeper train from Paris to Narbonne. The was to take about eight hours and I found out that I was responsible for waking up at the right time and getting off at the right station. With my alarm set for six in the morning, as I was to be off the train at seven, I got out of bed only to realize later that I hadn't updated my clock to the new time zone so I was up an hour early. Lesson learned.

Once in Narbonne I made my way to the info centre to get some maps so that once Dom arrived we could make the most of the day. I was not open when I got there so I found a spot to sit along the river where I got to watch fish jumping and feeding  for about a half an hour. After the info centre I headed back to the station to meet Dom. Her original train had been delayed and so I just went for a little walk but once we met up we went off to explore the town. 

The old road from Via Domitia

One of the man sites that we wanted to see was the Via Domitia, Which is an Ancient town from 21 centuries ago and joined Italy and then Spain in the second century BC. It was uncovered in 1997.

Next was the Horreum. Here is an excerpt from the visitors guide.


The galleries built at the end of the 1st Century B.B. and are located 5 meters below ground level.

These subterranean galleries which might have been a public warehouse (Horreum in Jatin), don't really have equivalents in the Roman world. They are the only antique monument which can be visited is in Narbonne. Noticed in 1838, they were partly explored between 1935 and 1941.

The wings constituted of a central hallway flanked by tiny rooms, each one opened by a narrow doorway without any closing system. The total building is barrel vaulted. The wings cross each other at right angles and must have formed a 38x49 meter U plan developing around a central solid block which has not been excavated so far.

Inside the Horreum

After this it was off to explore the many churches as well as some of the other sites like the 'Merchants Bridge'  the  Market hall as well as the 'house of the three nurses'. We also went into the crypt of a church where they were doing excavations. It was pretty neat to see the bones of people laying all about!

Inside the church crypt

House of the Three Nurses (built in 1558)

We then retired in our little B&B for some rest and relaxation where we sipped on wine and watched Storage wars on TV, a Canadian made show.

To see all the pictures from this day click here

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Fri, 30 Oct 2015 03:54:30 GMT
151028 Joined the photo club I have joined (almost) the Canberra Photographic Society now that I am back in Australia, and had the assignment to photograph the Canberra Carillion. I decided that since it was close to the house I would try and get some night shots of it to stand out from the crowd. After about 45min of shooting this is what I ended up with.

Its a stack of about 300 pictures to get the star trails, and then a few other pictures to pull out the details in the Carillion and of myself off to the left on a bench. Enjoy

Carillion in CanberraCarillion in CanberraA night shot selfie in front of the Carillion in Canberra Australia

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Australia Canberra night photography Wed, 28 Oct 2015 12:45:00 GMT
150806 Paris France On the 6th of August I got up just after 3am and walked the 6km to the nearest bus station that was running at that time. During the length of the walk I watched lightning in the distance light up the sky again and again wondering if I was about to get soaked. Once I arrived to the bus shelter the sky opened up and let all the rain come down, I was happy I had made it just it time. From there it was a short bus ride with other travelers off to the airport. A quick recheck of my big bag, carrying everything I would need for the next month and some of Dom's stuff, and through security to wait for liftoff. First stop was Oslo Norway where I would grab a coffee and relax waiting for the next flight. The leg from Norway to France was still on the same Airbus 380 but had only about 30 people total, including crew, on it and so it was a relaxing flight with room to stretch.

The empty plane ride to Paris.

Once I landed in Paris Charles De Gaulle it was off to the train and head into the city center. My first stop after the train was the Luxembourg gardens. This gave me the chance to sit, have some water, and get out my camera. The temperature was about 33 degrees and I had a full day of carrying my big bag all around the city.

Luxembourg Gardens

After the Gardens it was off to the main attraction the Eiffel Tower. On the way I passed by the Hotel des Invalides, the resting place of Napoleon. At the garden containing the Eiffel Tower I was surprised how busy it was. Paris is like being at Disney World. The amount of people and the length of the line to get into the 'attractions' was mind blowing. I thought that if it wasn't too busy i could run up quick and get a photo and head off to other sights, but the line just to walk up the Eiffel tower was so long that I wouldn't have been able to see any more of the city. So I plopped down in the grass in the shade of the tower and had lunch, snapped a few photos and continued on.

Eiffel Tower

My next stop was the Palais de Chaillot and then the Arc de Triomphe which was always showcased in the 'Tour de France' and so I had always wanted to see it. The Arc is huge and was very cool to see 'in the flesh'. At all of these touristy places there were many people selling water, selfie-sticks and all kinds of souvenirs. It was crazy to see just how many people were selling things on the street.

The Eiffel Tower from the palace.

Arc de Triomphe

By this time it was getting quite hot and I was running out of water so headed dow the Avenue des Champs Elysees looking for some water as I went through garden after garden. In the end I found a small corner store near the Musee d'Orsay and had a break and a drink in the shade of the building. It was good to get off my feet for a few as the bag was starting to get quite heavy. I think it was somewhere near the 20kg mark and it has been a while since I have hiked around with a big bag like that. After my break it was off to the Louvre and then 'Notre-Dame Cathedrale'. Again the lines for these two places were so incredibly long that you would need a day to see each one.

Eiffel from the bridge.

The Louvre.


I decided to head towards the train station as I was getting pretty tired from all of the walking I was doing and along the way I stopped at another giant garden which also housed a zoo. From the garden you could hear a lot of the zoo animals and so I say sipping on a nice cold coke while enjoying the animal sounds and wonderful garden sights. The zoo also had a free section featuring animals from Australia so I also got a quick dose of down under before continuing on to the train station.

Once I was checked in at the train station I got a quick sandwich and headed down to the river to eat and enjoy the sunset. At the river I realized that I was right in the middle of a shanty town set up by the locals that were selling wares on the street earlier in the day. I felt a little out of place but the people there were quite nice and even offered to share their drinks with me. Shortly after it was onto the train for my overnight journey to meet Dom in Narbonne.

To see all the photos from the day click here.

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 05 Sep 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Travels with Dan and upcoming travel plans While Daniel was visiting I went with him to some favorite locations like the open air museum, Suomenlinna and the Finnish natural history museum. While there I tried to take photos of things I had never seen before. It was a good challenge and I enjoyed going to these places with Daniel.

Old cabin door.

A hidden owl hunting a mouse in the bear exhibit.

Now for a travel update:

Tomorrow, Aug 6th, I am heading to Paris, via Oslo, then to Narbonne on an over night train. From there we will be spending two nights in Carcassonne before traveling and staying a night in Andorra. Then off to Spain to stay with friends and travel across the country only to return to Helsinki on Sept1st. Hopefully we will get Portugal under our belts as well. Once back in Helsinki we only have a few days to settle before Dom's sister comes to visit for a few days. After that my brother is coming to visit the same day, Sept 19th, Dominique flies to Australia and then he and I tour Helsinki, Tallinn and off to Iceland on our way back to Canada. From there its a whirl wind of action until I fly out to Australia on the 15th of October.

So I just wanted to say, I am not sure how often I will be here to update the blog, but once I am back there should be a lot to talk about!

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Tue, 04 Aug 2015 22:45:00 GMT
Lapland With Dom and Daniel On Friday the 17th of July Dominique, Daniel and I all met in Rovaniemi, all coming from different places. Daniel had taken a train the night before to arrive at the train station in Rovaniemi around 10am. I had taken a bus from just south of Rovaniemi, a place called Ranua, and was on my way to meet him at the train station. Dominique had made her way to the airport in Helsinki and was flying to Rovaniemi and then hiring a car and picking up Daniel and I from the Train Station. Once we all met up it was a quick dash to the local supermarket to grab a few last food supplies and then hit the road while eating lunch. Dom was the pilot for this adventure so I navigated us out of Rovaniemi and we headed north on the 79 towards a national park called Pallas-Yllastunturi. Only a few kilometers out of Rovaniemi and we had crossed into the arctic circle. It came so quickly that we did not stop to take a picture and made a note to stop on the way back.

Daniels video of Reindeer on the road.

For the next few hours we would be heading almost due north, a distance of about 220km, towards and into the national park. Not long out of Rovaniemi we saw one or two reindeer off to the sides of the road and Dom was pretty excited to see them in the wild. But after another hour of driving and many, many reindeer on the road, we were getting tired of always being on alert and just wanted to get to the park. Once there we asked one of the park employees at the visitors centre where would be a nice place to set up for the night and he suggested a camp hut on a lake Pallasjarvi. He said it would likely not be busy and he was right. We had visitors on and off in the evening but no one except us and 2 others were staying the 'night' (the other two took one of the other huts about 1km east of us).  It was a real neat experience to see the sun all through the 'night'. I wanted to make a time lapse of it but all the foot traffic had me worried about the camera walking away. So I made a few shorter time lapses. While there we went on a few short walks along the shore and just relaxed. I boiled us lots of water and read while Dom and Daniel did crosswords. It was a truly special place and I am sure we all wish we could have spent more time there.

A photo of Dominique and I on the shore near the hut.

A view of the shoreline.

Lapland HutLapland HutA Hut in Lapland Finland taken at 11:30pm.

Our hut for the night.

A selfie at Midnight. Reading, boiling water and being investigated by a Siberian Jay (Bottom left)

The next day took us back to the main visitors centre and off into the fells for a 10km hike. The hike took us up high into the fells above the tree line, which is quite low in elevation because of how far north we were. These fells are a popular skiing area during the winter. On the fells we could see quite far but also got to see some more reindeer as well as a ptarmigan and its babies. The hike took us up to the top of the highest 'peak' in the area of just over 800m.

Heading off on the 10km hike.

Ptarmigan with two babies ( top right and bottom left, good luck seeing them)

At the summit

View from the summit.

Reindeer on the fells.

After coming back down from the fells it was back into the car to head west to a town called Muonio on the border with Sweden. We all wanted to see Sweden and had heard that Muonio was a nice little town. Well it was a very small little town, but we stopped at the shop and had a quick drink of coffee and ginger beer and headed to a bridge just south of the town that went all the way to Sweden. When I say all the way I mean the bridge was about 100m across. we were going to walk into Sweden but the bridge didn't have a walkway so we piled into the car and drove across. Because it was a rental we were not supposed to but we figure if anything went wrong we could just push it back over the bridge. And just like that another country was on the list of places visited.

70m from Sweden!

Swedish selfie.

From there it was back into Finalnd and heading south. Dom didn't want to have to drive so far the next day as we were hoping to make good time into Rovaniemi as we wanted to see the Arctic center. So we drove and tried to camp along the way in the park but could not find a suitable site for two tents where we would not be bothered by foot traffic and decided to stay at camping park in Kittila. It was a nice little park,  the manager spoke almost no English but I managed to indicate we were in a tent and needed a spot. In the end it was only 10 Euros and we had washrooms as well as a full kitchen, but we chose to cook on the camp stove anyway.

Next morning was off to Rovaniemi, remembering to stop at the Arctic circle sign, and the Arctic centre. The Arctic centre was pretty amazing and had an exhibition on about Rermans in Rovaniemi during WW2 which was very interesting. After that it was to our hostel called 'Rudolph" to shower and relax a bit with the only English channel showing some gardening show. It is funny how interesting any TV show is when you rarely watch TV. I learned a bit about plants and am keen to try some things once we are established in Australia! For dinner it was off to a fancy restaurant where we all shared our dishes of various versions of Reindeer including; stew, dried neck, sausage, and a few others. Was very delicious and a great night out with Daniel and Dominique.

Stopping at the edge of the Arctic Circle.

The Arctic Centre.

The next morning came all too soon. Dom headed off to the airport and Daniel and I had a wander about the town until our ten hour train left from Rovaniemi. On the train there was time to nap and read and just relax. It was a great trip but all too short.

To see all the photos click here

To see all the interactive photos click here (the big ones)

To see more blogs click here

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Fri, 17 Jul 2015 18:30:00 GMT
150715, Finland, The Ranua Zoo On the 15th of July I caught a 10 hour train north from Helsinki to Rovaniemi which was just over 850km. After arriving in Rovaniemi I had a few hours to burn before my bus left to take me to Ranua, about 80km due south, so I headed into town and to the local knife shop. It was a great little shop that had washrooms and coffee, both of which I needed. In the shop was a mini museum of knives made by the company from the early 1900's up to present. It was neat to see how they had changed over time, and the employee was happy to answer all my questions about the knives and what they were used for. I would end up buying two knives from this store, however neither would be for myself! Once on the bus it was a quick jaunt down the road where the bus driver overshot my stop and so I had to walk about 500m back with all my camping gear to the Ranua Zoo campsite. The bugs were in full force and because I had such a big bag with me I couldn't get away from them fast enough. I was the only one in a tent that night as all of the other visitors were in RV's. Also the campsite had a sauna but I had no towel and so I just called it an early 'night'. I say 'night' because although I wasn't in the arctic circle the sun went down at say 12:05am and was up again at 1:20am, so the darkest it got was sort of a nice orange sunset.

My tent for the night.

The next day it was straight into the Ranua Zoo which was the reason I was there. I have been to a lot of zoos now and enjoy them both with other people, in that you get to share experiences, and solo, in that you get to sit there for as long as you want and take as many pictures as you want. So my plan was to get in early and get some shots of the animals before too many people showed up. I was not the first one in the zoo, but probably the 4th or 5th.

I can't say enough nice things about the Ranua Zoo. Its enclosures were very large so the animals had space to roam and because most of the animals were native the enclosures could just be built right in the forest without changing anything. This way smaller native animals could still move through the enclosures and you would often see squirrels and smaller birds living along side the 'residents'. Most of the zoo also had an elevated walkway that allowed you to feel like you were really in the forest, which you were, but also kept the people organized and on the path, which I liked, keeping the forest undisturbed.

The walkway through the forest zoo.


Bear enclosure. Can you spot the bear? 2/3 to the right, 2/3 to the top (click on image to enlarge)

The bear. Zoomed in picture from above.

A lot of the animals, especially the birds, were rescues from the wild. Many had some physical problem and so were not released back into the wild. Those animals that came to the zoo and were able to be rehabilitated had be re released into the wild, and that is always nice to see. So this zoo was sort of an animal rescue and zoo in one. All of the animals that were not rescues, like the polar bears, were part of a breeding program to keep the population going.

This guy had some wing issues and was no longer able to fly.

Polar bear relaxing.

A few of the highlights for me were seeing baby beavers (sorry no good pictures). Seeing lemmings, new to me, and watching them do what lemmings do. Polar bears are always a big deal and I was there when they were getting fed. The feeding process was quite funny. You are on this elevated platform maybe 3-4 meters above the enclosure and I was thinking to myself 'I wonder how they feed them, it would be funny if they just lobbed fish into the exhibit from up here' and as if on cue a zoo employee showed up with a big bucket of quite large fish (dead fish) and just started throwing them in from on high. The sounds a fish makes hitting a rock from falling 4m up is pretty interesting, but the bears did not seem to mind. The real show came when they fed the bears apples and carrots. The staff were able to throw these a bit further and so the bears had to work a little harder to get them as most of them went into the bottom of the pool. I never thought a polar bear would be so excited to chase and eat carrots but these were preferred over the fish! It was good to see the wolverines as well, as they were quite active on my 3rd or 4th lap of the zoo. I got to see the infamous Supikoira (raccoon dog) although they were just sleeping, I was hoping to get an action shot. I did manage to get a nice shot of an arctic fox though, half way through his summer coat change.

Lemmings hanging in a tree, because why not?

Polar bears love carrots!

Wolverines playing around.

Arctic fox.

Just after lunch I decided to head out on a nature walk outside of the zoo just to get back into the wilderness. There was no one else on the trail so I had a nice quiet walk through the woods and along some small lakes. It was nice to get out and not think for a little bit. It did start to rain on me so I took refuge in one of the shelters provided by the state and waited it out. Once it stopped raining, which was quite heavy at time, I headed back into the zoo for another lap only to find all the the animals hiding from the rain, or just drenched from it. It made for some interesting pictures.

One of the provided shelters along the walk.

A very wet owl.

At about 7pm I collected my bag from zoo staff, who were kind enough to hold it for me, and headed back to the camp and set up for my second and last night at the zoo. It was a great day with  probably 8 hours spent at the zoo and 2 spent hiking outside the zoo so by the time I had dinner and set up my tent I was pretty beat. The next day I had to catch a bus and meet Daniel and Dominique for the second half of my Arctic Circle adventure and so I was glad to get a little extra shut eye that night.

To see all the pictures from the zoo click here

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Wed, 15 Jul 2015 08:30:00 GMT
150702 - Tvärminne Finland for a bird survey and some banding On Wednesday Dominique and I hopped on a train that would take us to her boss' (Aksu) hometown of Karis. Once there we headed to a local pizza chain called Kotti Pizza for some dinner. We had some time to burn before Aksu got back from dinner. He had been kind enough to ride bicycles to the train station for the past two days so that we would have something to ride around the town. It was a bit of fun riding around on single gear bikes with old school peddle brakes. We had a few options of where to go but decided to stay close as Dom was having trouble reaching the ground while on her bike, it was not set up for someone of her height. We headed to some nearby bird hides to see some of the birds in the area. Once we found one of the bird hides we also found that there was a bird's nest on the ladder up to the lookout.

Bird's nest on bird lookout platform.

Thrush eggsThrush eggs

Eggs in the nest.

Aksu later told us that the bird hides were not used much so there is a good chance the eggs will make it. After the lookout we headed to Aksu's house where we found a note saying that the key to the house was hidden for us and there were ciders and beer in the fridge and chips on the table, so Dom and I headed in for some evening snacks. Once Aksu got home with his wife we chatted for a bit and then headed to bed as it was a 5am start the next morning.

After a quick and delicious breakfast of coffee, yogurt and cloudberries we headed to the first site, which was right in Aksu's backyard to band some birds. These were some blackbird chicks and Aksu realized that they possibly had an interesting wing mutation.

Black Bird NestlingsBlack Bird Nestlings

Baby blackbirds.

Dom holding one blackbird chick while Aksu bands another.

After banding those chicks we headed off in the car to Tvärminne, which is on the peninsula that is the southern most point of Finland. From there we hopped into a little boat and headed out into the archipelago. The main purpose of the trip was to do an annual count of Common Eiders. Our first bird survey site was occupied by an eagle, which is probably why there were not many baby birds in the area.

Heading out to the first site.

Eagle leaving the lookout.

It was a cool little rock island way out from shore. I wandered around checking out the rock pools for life while Dominique and Aksu did the survey. Once done we headed to the next island which turned out to be the most exciting of all of the (~7) islands we visited that day. At the second island we were able to find some Arctic Tern chicks. We caught and banded three of them and another one was freshly hatched and so we let him be. But it was very cool to find them and Dominique enjoyed holding them. I even managed to find one but let the experts pick him up, once held he skwaked the most out of all three, so I consider my find the best.

The lookout on the rock island.

Arctic Tern Nestling with unhatched eggArctic Tern Nestling with unhatched egg

Baby arctic tern and hatching arctic tern.

Arctic Tern ChickArctic Tern Chick

Can you spot the Arctic Tern?

Dom holding one of the Arctic Terns that was banded.

Over the next few islands we got to see some birds like goosanders and oystercatchers and also found a nest of whitethroats. Dominique and Aksu had seen the mother feeding and so hunted down the nest inside a juniper tree. Aksu was pretty excited as it would be the first time he had ever banded whitethroat chicks. At first there were thought to only be four babies but in the end a total of six came out of the nest.

Whitethroat nestlingsWhitethroat nestlings

A nest of baby common whitethroats. Six chicks in total.

Whitethroat Nestling Being HeldWhitethroat Nestling Being Held

Aksu holding a baby whitethroat.

On one island Aksu and Dominique even saw a snake, but i was not quick enough to see it which is too bad because there are only a couple of species of snake in Finland. I did get to see frogs though, which is also pretty special as Finland only has three or four frog species.

Frogs in a small rock pool.

It was a great day on the sea and many thanks go to Aksu for making it all happen.

One of the survey spots with Dom and Aksu scanning for birds.

Barnacle Goose.

To see all the photos from the day click here.

To see more blogs click here.

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 08:00:00 GMT
150624, Finland, Helsinki, Flying Squirrels On Wednesday our friend Sanna was kind enough to organize a trip out to see a flying squirrel. Sanna studies these flying squirrels and the one we were going to look for had a tracking collar on it so it was easy to find. She told us that it was not guaranteed that we would see one but we were lucky that night as we got to see not only the mother but also a baby.

The mother climbing out of her home.

One of the babies sticking his head out of the hole in the tree.

The baby running up the tree. Hard to see but he is there.

On top of that we got to see the mother fly, a distance of about 50m, across the forest. The pictures are a bit dark but it was about 11:30 at night, and they were pretty far away. It was great to see such an animal in the wild and with such a great group.  We had people from Catalonia, Spain, France, Canada, Italy, Portugal and of course our local Finnish guide. All of that in only a group of 10 people.

To see more blogs click here.

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Wed, 24 Jun 2015 19:30:00 GMT
150619- Midsummer in Helsinki Finland Friday June 19th was a holiday here in Helsinki for the celebration of Midsummer. Most Finns head out into the country to little cottages with no electricity and no running water to enjoy the quieter side of Finland while those still in the city head to gatherings to celebrate the day. Dom, myself and a few other friends - Sara, Alvaro, Sanna and Irena - were part of the latter group.

We headed off to Seurasaari open air museum where we watched a parade, some Finnish traditional dancing as well as a marriage ceremony. Then it was off to the ocean side to see the burning of bonfires and sing some Finnish songs. Our group changed location for the lighting of some more larger bonfires set out in the ocean on islands. It was a very unique experience being surrounded by all the Finns celebrating this holiday, I got a real sense of community. There were even some shops set up at the museum including one blacksmith stall that had about 4 or 5 employees all taking turns at the mini-forge creating things for people. They had a really nice selection of forged goods like axes and knives but i managed to get away without buying anything!

Finnish Dancing.

Some of the bonfires and Finnish singalong.

In one area of the park various sizes of stilts had been left for people to use and this was a very popular thing. As we were walking by we noticed that one pair was not being used and Sanna (Finnish) said that she could use them, and so she proceeded to try them out. I think they were a bit taller then the last pair she had used and so was a little less successful then she had planned.

Sanna on the tall stilts.

But Alvaro (Catalan) was keen to try so Dominique and Sara (Catalan) helped him up and take his first steps. Needless to say it was laughs all around.

Alvaro trying the stilts.

On the way back to our bus we ran into friends from Melbourne Australia who were visiting Helsinki for two days and had only landed the night before. It was really something funny to see them surrounded by all the Finns at this celebration, and we agreed to meet for a meal the next day. Once we were back at our house I headed out to the high lookout near by to take a picture of the sky at 1am trying to show how bright it is even at that time. It's funny because for my birthday I got a lens so that I could try more star pictures but have not seen the stars here in Helsinki for a month or more, and it will be another month or more before I see them again!

The night sky in Helsinki June 20th 2015 at 1:00am.

We did meet the Aussies (Tim, Lisel and co.) the next day for a lazy afternoon meal that was all veggie and all delicious. I am sure that all six of us ate to our limit as it was buffet style. It was really great to catch up with Tim and the family and we look forward to hearing how the rest of their trip went once we get back to Australia ourselves and visit them.

To see more of my blogs click here

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Fri, 19 Jun 2015 15:00:00 GMT
Quick test on a new photo Just wanted to test out what happens when I link to this picture.

Hopefully it works, and if so expect more of these in the future!

You can zoom in and out with the mouse wheel or the buttons at the bottom. You can also pan the picture by clicking and dragging. And do not miss out on the full screen button beside the zoom buttons!

May not work on mobile devices


Click on the picture below (you may need to download a Microsoft plugin)


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Wed, 17 Jun 2015 13:15:00 GMT
Mosel and Castle Eltz On our last day in Germany I had planned to visit Castle Eltz. But before leaving our little town we headed up the hill to visit the local castle. Again we were too early and it was still closed but it was a nice walk and we really didn't have time to tour it anyway.

The castle behind our B&B.

View from the castle. Our B&B is on the far right.

Eltz was a little ways in from the Mosel river and because of this it has been untouched for over 850years. It has been passed down by generation to generation, over 30 in all, and is still used by the Etlz family as a summer home. The walk to the castle in through the woods and as you round a bend in the trail to view opens up and you see Eltz sitting alone. It is surrounded by Eltz river in a most peaceful valley. Crossing a narrow walkway brings you into the castle and a short tour takes your through various living quarters where you get to see many original rooms, or parts of rooms from hundreds of years back. As well in the armoury and knights hall you get to see various weapons and armours from many generations. There is even a vault filled with precious artifacts that have been collected over the years. I thought it was a great experience all around, but to add to it our tour guide mentioned that the owners might be around and we happened to have lunch at the table next to theirs. We had a little laugh as they were with some other castle owners from the UK and they were complaining to each other about castle taxes and so on.

One of the first views of Eltz Castle.

Inside Eltz

After Eltz Castle it was back to the airport Hahn for our last German snack before flying to Tampere in Finland, where we would scramble to catch a cab to the train station and train back to Helsinki, then catch the late night bus back to the apartment. It was a great trip and one I planned almost solo. Dominique really enjoyed not having to figure out everything as she has been planning our trip to France and Spain for a while now.

To see all the pictures from the trip click here.

To see more blogs click here.

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Wed, 17 Jun 2015 10:30:00 GMT
150616, Germany and the Rhein River On the 15th of June we left Schweinfurt headed for Frankfurt and further on to Hahn airport where we had hired a car. From there it was a bit of backtracking to get to the Rhein, but we quickly found a nice B&B and headed out for dinner. We were recommended a restaurant across the way and headed there. The people in the restaurant did not speak English well but we managed to get our orders in including wine. Never have I tasted wine so sweet. After our bellies were full it was back to the B&B for some relaxing and planning of the next day. We were both pretty tired from the journey and it wasn't long before we were both asleep. I did not take one picture that day, we were too busy traveling bus, to bus to car, it was all just a blur.

The next morning, after a quick bite at our B&B, we walked through the town and up the hill to the castle in Bingen. It was a good little hike and once there found that the old tower was open and we were allowed to climb about three flights of stairs and stand on top of the tower and look over the whole town. It was a great view of this little town on one of the bends in the Rhein river. From there we meandered our way, along the Hildegard walk, back to the B&B. On route we got to see a fountain with some neat art showing Hildegard of Bingen.

Dominique and I in the tower at Bingen.

A detailed view of the fountain in Bingen.


From there it was along the Rhein stopping at castles along the way. Because we are such good travelers we were up before most of the castles were open. We kept arriving at the castles 30 min before they opened but thats ok, because there are a lot of castles. The first one we did go into was Burg Sooneck. It was a little castle with quite a view! There was a short tour inside the castle but the outside, to me, was more scenic.

The first closed castle, Romantik-Schloss Burg Rheinstein.

Burg Sooneck.

After Burg Sooneck we made our way to the town of Bacharach and explored the old town. So many of these German towns are just amazing, with just one and a half days to explore the Rhein there just was not enough time to see everything! From there it was to Sankt Goar for more exploring through the old town and churches. At some point we did stop for a bit of a bite and I ordered a very German pretzel. We also did a tour of Burg Rheinfels in Sankt Goar of which I still have hundreds of photos to sort though!

One of the many towns. That is a guard tower in the background.

One of the old buildings. Look how even the ladder has a lean to it!

A house built into the wall of the Fort.


Shortly after Sankt Goar we headed away from the Rhein and to the Mosel river and found another great B&B, Landhaus Schne, in a town called Alken. It also had a restaurant and that's where we had more delicious food, I another meat platter and Dom had her favorite dish the Spatzel. I also remember having a few glasses of some sweet wine which was also delicious. A great way to end another amazing day in Germany

To see all the pictures click here

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Mon, 15 Jun 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Würzburg On Sunday the 14th of June Heike drove Dominique and I to visit Würzburg. This is where my grandmother and grandfather went to school. Würzburg was hit on March 16th 1945 by 225 British Lancaster Bombers destroying about 90% of the city (About 1,127 tons of bombs were dropped in 17 minutes). Click here to read more about Würzburg in World War II.

It was really interesting to visit Würzburg and to see all the sights my grandparents had grown up with, both pre- and post-war. The first place Heike took us was to Marienberg Fortress to see the gardens and the view that overlooks the city. In the inner court there was the original keep from around 1450 that also held the dungeon which we were able to walk in and out of. Over the centuries fortifications were added and it was neat to see the difference in building techniques. I thought it was really cool that the parking for the Fortress was in the old moat.

The Garden View.

The Inner Courtyard with well on right and original tower on left.

View from the gardens of Würzburg.

After Marienberg Fortress it was off to the Würzburger Residenz which is a UNESCO world heritage site. It was mostly destroyed during WWII but one of the best parts of the Residenz survived: the frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. I was not allowed to take pictures of them but if you click here you can see some examples of the frescoes that are there. After a nice coffee and cake at the Residenz cafe Heike headed the the garden outside to read, something she said shes always wanted to do, and Dominique and I headed into the Residenz for a guided tour. The guided tour was excellent, informative but also entertaining. I thought that the first fresco was amazing, so much so that I bought 5 post cards depicting all parts of it. The other rooms in the Residenz were also very amazing. The painters and sculptors worked hand in hand so you could not tell what was sculpture and what was painting.

After the tour Dominique joined Heike in the garden as I ran around the building with my camera trying to capture it all.

View of the Residenz from the Residenz garden. (Dominique and Heike are on the bench on the far left!)

The back of the Residenz.

We then left the Residenz and walked into town a little to see some of the historical sites and a monument to the second world war. There there was a model of the city just after the bombings showing how many of the buildings were destroyed. Heike told us that the temperature of Würzburg was so hot from all the bombs that buildings that didn't even get hit would just burst into flames and were destroyed that way. We also went through a few churches on the way back so I could take some happy snaps.

Entrance to one of the churches.

Inside one of the churches.

After that it was off to a restaurant/vineyard between Würzburg and Schweinfut where we met up with Jörg on his motorcycle and Anna in her new car. There we had another amazing dinner (the sausage platter for me) and then headed back to Schweinfurt and Heike's parents house for a few more drinks.

The restaurant.

It was really great to see Walter and Erika again. I told Heike that Walter is famous worldwide: the last time he was in Canada he taught me this great card game, which played many times. I enjoyed the game so much that I have taught it to friends in Canada and Australia and call it 'Walter's game'. After a few drinks Walter and Erika left us with some great steins for us to take home with us.

Once back to the house it was time for Dom and I to pack as the next morning Heike would drive us to the Schweinfurt bus station and we would be on our way from Schweinfurt all the way to the Rhine. It was a really great experience for me to see Schweinfurt and surrounds with extended family and I am truly thankful for the experience. Thank you again to everyone.

To see all the pictures from the day please click here.

To see more blogs click here.


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sun, 14 Jun 2015 15:00:00 GMT
150613, Bettenburg and Bamberg and Schnuedels On the 13th of June, Heike, Dominique and I all hopped into Heike's car and we headed off to Bettenburg. Bettenburg is a small castle north east of Schweinfurt where my Grandfather was sent during the war. It operated as a school for children around the area. It was thought that it would not be a target because it was far away from cities that were producing items for the war. The castle has been turned into a restaurant and some sort of meeting building since then but we were able to have a little wander without being bothered. Heike told us that her grandma said that when they dropped the bombs on Schweinfurt the children staying at Bettenburg were able to see the fires in the night sky from the school, a distance of almost 30km.

Bettenburg school.

A statue in the gardens at Bettenburg.

From there it was off to Bamburg to see the old town and the gardens and more churches. After arriving we walked along the river by 'little Venice' and then to a 'gate house' bridge. The gate house was quite interesting with its murals and unique feel. We then went through the old town and on to the church, but not without first stopping for an iced coffee. We soon reached Bamberg cathedral with its amazing sculptures including a famous sculpture called 'the Bamberg Reiter' (Bamberg Horseman). This was a very busy Cathedral with a lot of art and sights to see, including a Papal grave, where pope Clement II is buried. There is also an organ that was built in 1976, after the war, to replace one that had been destroyed.


Little Venice in Bamberg.

Bamberg Bridge Gate House.

Bamberg Reiter inside the Cathedral.

More Sculptures inside the Cathedral (man on far right holding his own head).


Once out of the cathedral it was off to the gardens which I thought were quite amazing. Very busy and filled with life.  It was another beautiful day out and about in Germany and we were lucky to have such a good weather and an amazing guide. Even on the way back from the Garden we stopped in the old town and Heike got us some of the local beer that is brewed in Bamberg. It is made with hops that have been dried over an open flame to give it a smokey flavour. I really enjoyed both of the varieties that we got though I am not sure how Dom felt about them.

Bamberg Gardens.

Once back in Schweinfurt there was a big BBQ put on by Heike and Jörg, where we met some of their friends and had a BBQ dinner in their backyard. There were many stories from all over the world as Heike and Jörg's friends were well traveled. We even got a little bit of history about the schweinfurt Schnuedel. Its was a great evening in with some wonderful food cooked by Jörg. (On a side note I have never seen anyone start a bbq with a heat gun before). Once again another great day with our wonderful hosts!

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Here are some more High Res photos for you to enjoy.


 Bamberg Gardens


Bamberg Castle.


Bamberg Castle.


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Bamberg Bettenburg Sat, 13 Jun 2015 15:00:00 GMT
Schweinfurt; Churches, Animal park and Family History On our first full day in Schweinfurt we decided to take it easy and explore the city. Heike was kind enough to take us on a short tour of the city after a wonderful breakfast at home. First, Heike showed us the easy way to find the house again once we decided to come back, just up the road from the bus station, then she took us by an interesting building used for family meetings. It was under construction so no exciting pictures. She then took us to the St. Johannis Church where my grandparents were married in. It was quite a nice church with a lot of interesting things to take pictures of. There is a unique painting within the framework at the front of the church that I don't think was there when my grandparents married. I even found a 'hidden' painting that was directly above the baptismal water facing straight down. Anyone taller then 120cm would not see it as they would be above the painting. I had to put my camera into the basin where the holy water would regularly be and shoot straight up, so it's not quite perfect. It was originally painted in 1367.



St. Johannis Church

The altar painting

The church and its organ.

A photo of a painting painted directly above the baptismal font.

From there Heike took us to the market where she snapped a quick photo of Dominique and me in front of the Friedrich Ruckert statue for us to send to our Grandparents as they were very excited that we were there exploring their hometown.

Statue of Friedrich Ruckert.

After that Heike went real shopping and left us to our own devices but suggested two great coffee places for us to try out during the day. So we headed off to the info center to get a town map and started exploring the town. First it was just some amazing old buildings that I took many pictures of and then we found one of the old city walls that was used to defend Schweinfurt from the Catholics of other cities (Schweinfurt was the only Protestant town in the area). We then went to St. Salvatorkirche and its famous weather vane that was referenced by Friedrich Ruckert in the 'Trumpet Angel' saying "In the last rays of the setting sun I saw that he (the weather vane is a person with a trumpet) is not in such a good mood, since he trumpets out of the city, while his backside turns towards the city itself".  Next was one of the coffee shops Heike had suggested where we both got an iced coffee. In Germany they make iced coffee with ice cream rather then just ice, so its a much sweeter treat.

The entry to the Info centre.

A typical alley in Schweinfurt.

The wall and tower around Schweinfurt. Taken from the old moat.

Church with famous weather vane.


After coffee we headed off and passed by the Roth Bier (Beer) factory.  My brother and I would always get souvenirs from this place when anyone from my family came to Germany to visit. From there we went off to a local park called Motherwell where we saw some local sculptures followed by my grandpa's old house.

Roth Beer Factory.

A heron in Motherwell park.

My grandpa's old house (I think)

After all this it was back to town to see the Stone Arch Bridge which is part of a tower that dated back to the Carmelite monastery founded in 1367. After a short snack in front of the wall we headed across the street and into the Heilig Geist-kirche. Again another sizable church with its own unique decorations which made for some interesting photos.

Part of the old monastery from 1367.

The wall behind the monastery.

Heilig Geist-kirche

Inside the Church.

Inside one of the side rooms of the church.

After all this walking we headed back to the house and met with Heike who made us coffee and fed us some homemade cake. Heike then took us in her car to see my grandma's old house site as well as a place my grandparents would visit, a restaurant called Schiesshaus. We also got to see a little rest area that my grandparents paid to have rebuilt in the forest right near there. From there we took a trip to the Stadt Schweinfut Wildpark which is basically a free zoo that is run on donations. There is no entry fee and the place is quite big for a town of only 51,000. There we got to see Goats, Boars, Owls, Moose and even a Lynx.

A great grey owl.

A lynx.

A moose with ducks.

Once we got back to the house we had a few moments to wind down and then headed out to dinner with Jörg, Heike and Anna. It was a great meal out at this restaurant that I think was run all by one woman. It was pretty busy but the food was delicious. This was my first attempt at paying for dinner but Jörg beat me to it! That night I went by myself back out into Schweinfurt to attempt some night photography. Anna was kind enough to let me borrow her tripod and so I was able to capture a few interesting shots.

Rathaus (town hall)

Friedrich with the tower of St. Johannis-Kirche.

The doorway to Heilig Geist-Kirche.

It was a pretty lazy day of just exploring the small city but it was all excellent in my books. And we again thank Heike, Jörg, Anna and Mark for being such amazing hosts.

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Fri, 12 Jun 2015 17:00:00 GMT
Frankfurt Hahn to Schweinfurt After a pretty decent sleep at our B&B hotel at Frankfurt Hahn we stepped back into the airport for a nice, and inexpensive, airport breakfast. I am not being sarcastic, the price was crazy cheap and the food was fresh and really good. We caught the Bohr shuttle to Frankfurt HBF (train/bus station) which was about 1.5 hours long. I didn't realize just how far it was from Frankfurt, when I was doing my research for this trip on google maps it looked a lot closer, but we made it anyway. Frankfurt HBF, or more so the bus terminal, isn't the cleanest place in the world. And some of the characters there were a bit questionable.

Once in Frankfurt Dom and I headed south to the river and walked along it until coming to the area of 'old town' Frankfurt. We walked around for a bit around the old town and checked out this neat church.

Frankfurt Cathedral

We then found a little deli where we had a delicious sandwich and shared a coke, again for a crazy cheap price. In Germany food seems to be very inexpensive, especially compared to Helsinki! Dom had arranged for us to meet one of her friends from Melbourne now living in Frankfurt at 3pm at the opera house so we had time to explore and make our way there.

Town square in Frankfurt.

An example of one of the decorated buildings.

Two carvings holding up the wall.

Click here to see all the pictures from the day.

We walked through more of old town Frankfurt and then headed to 'My Zeil' which is a giant mall. I had read that the architecture of My Zeil was pretty cool and wanted to see it. It's this amazing glass structure that is sort of shaped like a funnel which then goes through the middle of the mall. Inside the mall there is an escalator that takes you up 4 flights in one solid ride right beside the downspout of this giant glass roof. Very cool mall.

Inside My Zeil

From there we meandered through a park with lots of ducks we had never seen before and then up and out to the opera house. There we met up with Dom's friend and headed back into the older town market for some applewine. Apparently it was a big deal in Frankfurt to have this as a drink and so we sat back and relaxed and caught up. It was at this time when someone sat beside me and lit a cigarette, then promptly left again. It was at that moment as well that i noticed my bag was missing from under my chair. I manged to spot my bag walking away in the crowd and took off after it. The guy noticed me running after him and so took off and after about 50m from the place we were drinking turned left down an alley. I was gaining on him and yelled at him to drop the bag. I think he thought I was closer to him than I was so he dropped the bag, probably so he could go faster. When he did he tripped himself up and took a tumble on the cobblestone walk. I grabbed my bag and started to run at him, but he scrambled onto his feet and ran. I will still about 10m away from him and now I had the heavy bag to run with, so I just turned and started walking back to where we were sitting.  When I rounded the corner with bag in hand I got a round of applause from the other people there drinking, it was a fairly busy market street, and I nodded my appreciation for their concern. Once I got back to the table I found Dom hugging my camera and asking me what happened. All she heard me say was 'where is my bag?' and then I was running, but I had left my camera on the table in front of me and Dom snatched it up as she didn't know what was going on. But she was proud that I got my bag back.

The opera house.

One of the food stalls in the market.

Ice cream truck.

After finishing with drinks it was back to the bus depot to catch our cheap bus to Wurzburg where Jörg picked us up and drove us the rest of the way to Schweinfurt. There we met up with Heike and Mark and headed out to a lovely pub for dinner. It was so great to finally be in Germany and be there in the company of such nice people. Dominique and I can't thank Heike, Jörg, Mark and Anna for making our short time in Germany so amazing! It was then back to the apartment for a coffee and debrief before bed and the start of an amazing trip!

More Germany adventures to come in the next blogs!

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Thu, 11 Jun 2015 19:15:00 GMT
On the way to Germany, first stop Tampere Dominique and I took the roundabout way to Germany to save a little money and also to see more of Finland. Our plan was to take the Onnibus from Helsinki to Tampere in the morning and then catch our Ryanair flight to Frankfurt Hahn that evening, giving us the whole day to explore Tampere.

Tampere is not a real tourist town. It has some pretty nice old town sections and some nice churches which we did visit, but the town itself is not very big. We managed to visit two of its malls. The Onnibus dropped us off on the east side of town about 6km out of the city center and it was there we got to experience the first mall, which was under construction but still pretty neat. After a short walk to get downtown we checked out the second mall which was very clean and modern. It even had this machine producing a smoke screen (from dry ice probably) from which adds were projected onto. It was kind of cool as all the kids near it wanted to run though the screen and play in the waterfall of smoke. I dont know if it was a great way to advertise as we watched it for a few minutes and I cant remember one ad or what any one product was for, mainly because i couldn't see them through all the kids.

We then did a small tour of the city center taking us along the now seemingly common love lock bridge.

Love bridge filled with locks.

We found what we are pretty sure is an art piece hanging from wire above one of the main city roads. It sort of looks like dirty laundry being hung out to dry.

'Laundry' art work.

Then we toured a few of the churches which are always interesting. I seem to be getting quite the collection of church doorways and church organs! After that we walked through a park where we found an art piece by an artist we were familiar with from Helsinki. The artist makes models of older people but gives them proportions of children so they just look weird all around. Here is one of those creations taking a long pee into a small lake.

The long pee.

After that we had a few hours to waste so we spent some time reading and surfing the net on the lawn in front of one of the churches and then continued into town and found a small little coffee shop where we had hot chocolate and tea and many conversations for a few hours. Then it was time to catch the Ryanair shuttle to the airport which was about 30min away. The airport is small, something similar to avalon airport in Melbourne. You even get to walk out onto the tarmac before getting onto your plane. The flight was not super exciting but it was interesting that they never turned down the lights, being that it was a 10pm flight, and the people on the flight were pretty loud. We touched down at Frankfurt Hahn just before midnight and stole away to our automated hotel room. We had prepaid for the room and so they just sent us a room number and code for the door, that way we didn't have to check in, just get there and go straight to sleep, very handy.


An interior shot of one of the churches.


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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Wed, 10 Jun 2015 19:15:00 GMT
Tallinn Estonia On Monday the 8th of June Dominique and I hopped onto a ferry headed from Helsinki to Tallinn so that we might see the Tallinn old town. Dominique had found a deal online that got us a small berth on the ferry over to Estonia and then just a regular ticket back to Helsinki the next day. On the way to Tallinn the ferry also went very close to Suomenlinna Island where we had been before, so it was fun to see it again flying by on the ferry.

Suomenlinna gate from the ferry.

Our sweet room on the ferry.

We left Helsinki at about 10pm and arrived in Tallinn at midnight but were not allowed to get off the ferry. Then at 6am there was a wake up call as we all had to be off the ferry by 7am. And so it was that Dominique and I were exploring the old town part of Tallinn at 7:30am before any of the shops were open. It was really great to see the city so quiet and without other tourists. The only thing was that we both wanted a coffee but all of the shops were still closed. After a quick tour around the old town we found a coffee shop that was up 2 flights of steep stairs inside one of the old castle tower walls. There we found a great little coffee shop and had cappuccinos overlooking one of the yards from the castle wall, it was a very cool experience to sit there and think just how long those walls had been there. I thought it was really great that you got to interact with the old city walls rather then just stare at them.

The stairs on the tower.

Dominique having coffee on the wall.

Behind the flags is where we had our coffee.

After coffee it was time to explore old Tallinn with the shops and churches now open. We saw many scenic views of Tallinn and many little shops. We also got to climb up 60m to walk on the top of a church for a different view of the city. Although the view was nice I thought that the walk up to the top was very interesting as it was very narrow and very steep and there were people going both directions, which made it all the more fun!

View from inside the church.

Dominique standing on top of the church.

View from on top of the church.

We continued to explore the old city of Tallinn, going down alley ways and finding new sites. At about 11am we were starting to get hungry so we headed out of the old city to see if we could find some cheap eats. What we found was a sort of market near the train station which had a few bakeries in it. For 1.20 Euro we managed to get about 2 kilos of delicious breakfast/dessert pastry. We then headed to the nearest park and had a quick snack. The park was well kept and had a fountain that we could watch while eating. And the birds there new how to beg for food so we tried not to feed them too much.

The park where we ate our pastry.

After following the walls around Tallinn we headed back into the central area and checked out a few more shops. We then stopped to have some lunch at the market square where I had one of the best pulled pork sandwiches and Dominique had a veg sandwich.

Tallinn Market.

By this time we were starting to get a bit tired and so retreated to a little pub off of the main street. There we drank away the afternoon trying out different Tallinn ciders and beers. For about 3 hours we drank and the total bill came out to 16 Euro, we were both excited about that as 2 drinks here in Helsinki cost more than that. On our way back to the ferry we were going to get some alcohol at the low Estonian price but the 'Super Alko' was packed with people and it was not worth saving the few Euros to stand in line and so we just continued onto the ferry. Once on the ferry we just bought some alcohol that was a little more expensive than in Tallinn but still a lot less expensive than Helsinki. Then we had a few drinks on the ferry ride back home. It seems like we drank a lot but I think for the whole day we maybe had 4 drinks each over about 5 hours, so it was not really that much. Once we were home it was time to pack as we had to catch an early bus to Tampere for the start of our Germany adventure!

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Tue, 09 Jun 2015 19:15:00 GMT
Another night at Nuuksio On Friday I once again hopped on the bus and headed for Nuuksio Park for another night of camping. I had no real big plans, like a hike here or sightseeing there, but just wanted to get out and use my camping equipment. Once in Nuuksio I meandered towards the campsite that was a little north and west of the campsite I used last time. Taking trails I hadn't taken last time to see more of the park. The first new to me trail was, for lack of a better word, the blue trail, which took my up high to get a view of some of the surrounding lakes. It felt like being somewhere in Ontario, maybe French river or La cloche ranges, so it was an odd feeling for me. Another similarity was that on this trip the mosquitos were out. Although I think their season has just started so they were not in full force yet.

Following some others on the 'Blue Trail'

Once I arrived at the campsite, called 'Iso Holma', I set up my tent and hammock.

Once I was set up I checked the weather on my phone and it was supposed to get down to about 6 degrees. That surprised me as my head was in summer camping mode and I had hardly packed any extra clothing and I had brought only my summer sleeping bag, probably rated to about 15 degrees. I also noticed that the ground was a little damp where I was so I shifted my tent to a higher, dryer location. It worked out best anyway as in the end I had a much nicer view from my hammock.

View from the new campsite.

I went to bed at a decent time even though the sun was still well in the sky. I don't think it ever became dark that night. I know the sun was to set at 10:30 and also knew that meant it would be dusk until 11:30 or later, but i felt like it never really got dark. When I woke up at 3am it was still that dusky light and i was able to read my watch in my tent fine without any light. According to my watch, the temperature in the tent was a balmy 5.8 degrees. I was wearing everything I had and it was still only on the brink of being ok. It was a cold night but still i enjoyed it.

New campsite.

Here in Finland you are not allowed to collect firewood for camping, they don't want you messing up the nature, and so they provide you with ample firewood as well as saws and an axe so you can make a fire as big or as small as you like. They also provide fire pits with water bucket and some of them even have metal grills so you can cook your meals. I think this is a really great way to do it as the camper does not need to carry so much gear and the forest is left in its natural state for everyone to enjoy.

The firewood and tools at Iso-Holma.


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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 06 Jun 2015 13:30:00 GMT
More old photos from Bali In May of 2012, Dom, Dom's brothers and her mom and I flew from Australia to Bali for a few days. It was a short flight from Melbourne where we were living and Dom found a good deal for all of us to go. After landing and getting visas we all piled into a Taxi and were off to the hotel, there we were greeted with fresh juice and flowers. The next day we relaxed at the hotel and just tried to get our bearings. We met with a tour guide named Sadu and agreed on a tour set for the next day.

Our Hotel

On the tour we had a chance to see some live theater, then head to look at some homemade jewelery. The buildings were quite amazing and old- looking, but they were a lot younger than I thought: it was just that they were made from volcanic rock which deteriorates a lot faster than the granite I was used to. Great for photos though.

A shrine made from volcanic rock.

It was then off to the monkey forest where we got to see a lot of monkeys! Steve even had a candy wrapper stolen from him by one of the residents. The next stop after that was a buffet lunch overlooking a volcano. It was very scenic and I tried my best to capture it. Then it was down the hill to some coffee plantations where we tried some local coffee including the famous Luwak Coffee. Luwak coffee is made from the coffee beans that have passed through the digestive system of a Luwak, an Asian Palm Civet found in Bali.

Monkey thief.

From there it was off to some temples and even though we were running a bit behind schedule Sadu and the driver were happy to keep going and take us to all the places. As I recall the tour ran from early in the morning until well after 9pm, it was a full day and Sadu made it great!

Sadu feeding us fresh chili.

If you ever get a chance to travel to Indonesia I would recommend it. It's very exciting to experience the different culture and the people of Bali were very welcoming and happy to explain their traditions.

Bali dogs.


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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Tue, 02 Jun 2015 19:00:00 GMT
Some old photos you probably have not seen Haven't been up to much this week so I will share with you an old story that I have never published. With all the hussle and bussle of moving country I never got a chance to share these photos before now. So Here are some new, but older, photos.

Before leaving Australia in 2013 Dominique and I went to Cairns in Queensland Australia. From there we traveled up the coast to the Daintree forest. We both were hoping to see a cassowary in the wild and we were lucky enough to get that chance. The Daintree was really something quite special with all of its sights, sounds and smells.Our first day we went to the Daintree information centre where we got to learn more about the plants of the area as well as getting to see some animal species in captivity (usually rescues).

The second day was spent on a river tour on the hunt for big Salties (Saltwater Crocodiles) and we were lucky to see one weighing in at 300kg (as I recall). We also got to see some young ones up and down the river. Our guide was pretty awesome in that he wanted us to have a good time, even if that meant going over the allotted time limit. The tour was put on by Bruce Belcher’s Daintree River Cruises.

After that it was a relaxing in a local Daintree pub where I tried the crocodile burger, and which was delicious.

We also traveled via the inland highway to Cooktown. There we got to see where Captain Cook, discoverer of Australia, repaired his ship in 1770 after damaging it on the Endeavour Reef. It was a cool little town and we stayed at one of the caravan parks really utilized their pool as it was quite warm out.

Through the entirety of this trip we were in a little rental car called the Getz. Dom and I have spent many kilometers in one Getz or another and so the little gutless car has a special place in our memories. We used all our camping gear and so stayed in a tent for every night during this week long trip except for the last where we celebrated the success of a trip, organized by yours truly, in a semi fancy hotel in the heart of Cairns.


A Joey (baby Kangaroo) at the Daintree zoo

Baby Crocodile in the wild on the river tour


Burtons Legless Lizard ( Lialis burtonis )Burtons Legless Lizard ( Lialis burtonis )Legless lizard found in Cooktown Queensland Australia.

Legless lizard in Cooktown

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 30 May 2015 20:00:00 GMT
Rock Church and Kamppi chapel of silence After going to the Natural History Museum the other afternoon Dominique and I headed over to the Underground/Rock church as I had wanted to see what it was all about. Dominique knew where it was as she had lived right across from it when she first moved here to Finland though she had never been inside.

The rock church entrance / Self portrait (I'm on the far left)

The rock was blasted out to create a crater in which the church was built. Then a giant dome roof was build over the crater. It's all very cool inside with the blasted rock walls, and the ceiling is all copper. I have heard that the acoustics inside the building are pretty fantastic as well.

The church's copper ceiling


It was a pretty touristy spot and there was even a little souvenir shop inside. In did not have a lot of people but it had enough wandering around and talking, though you were supposed to remain silent. I managed to take a few pictures without being too loud.

The interior of the church

We then headed back into the main hub of the city where we checked out another church that was on my list though this one was quite small but very unique. Once inside I did not want to use my camera even on quiet mode as it would have been too disturbing so I took one picture on my phone. I did capture the building from outside with some people in the foreground to show how big the building is.

Interior of the Kamppi chapel of silence

The kamppi chapel of silence

On the way home we also walked by this building. I have seen something like this a few times when people build decks and docks around trees, but I have never seen one so fully incorporated into a building!

Tree growing through building


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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 23 May 2015 17:15:00 GMT
Finnish Natural History Museum Part 2 I recently returned to the Finnish Natural History Museum with Dom and we did a proper tour of the entire building. The dioramas that they have are really quite incredible and I attempted to capture some images that showed the creativity of the people making them. It was a challenge to shoot a lot of these shots as most of them are through glass with many lights reflecting in many different directions, so I had to get a bit creative with where I stood, the angle and so on.

At one point (the fox cub with mother fox in the background) I had to get Dom involved in standing in a funny way to block some of the reflections. It was a really good chance for me to learn more and get more experience with the camera. One lesson from today was to check the focus (I mentioned this in the portraiture blog) and what I found in this scenario was that the camera was auto-focusing on the glass rather then behind the glass on the subject. There were a few ways around this but in the end I set the camera to manual focus and shot everything full manual (that is to say I was in charge of Iso, exposure, aperture, and now focus) so there was a bit of camera adjusting as I went around the ever-changing lights of the Museum. In the end though I was quite happy with the number of interesting (to me anyway) photos I got of the dioramas.

Baby foxes with mother in background.

For the most part post-processing was mainly cropping and white balance adjustment because of the incandescent lighting, but I had planned to take some photos further. For example In the photo with the Lynx and Partridge I took two photos, one with the lynx in focus and one with the partridge, then stuck them together. In order to accomplish the same picture without editing I would have needed a tripod, which I didn't have with me. It was a good challenge and gave me a chance to stretch my, albeit short, creative wings.

Lynx and Partridge, two images into one.

After seeing the final products I do wish for a few things from my lens. I currently have a 35mm 1.8 and a 118-250mm 3.5. This means in short that the 35mm can let in more light, better for low-light situations like inside a museum, but the 18-250mm can capture more things with its wider angle. In the museum I stuck with the 35mm as I would rather have narrower angle to shoot but let in more light for a higher quality picture. However, because I was so close the the dioramas I really had to get creative to capture the images or just focus on one subject; having the wider angle would have been great. (Just had a look at the Samyang 10mm 2.8, retails at 427 gbp, or 601.91 euro or 817 Canadian dollars, I'll just hold off for now). The lions and zebra photo is where I feel like if I just had that extra field of view that a wider angle lens can grant, it would have really made that image pop. But I am really also very happy with what the 35mm can do, and so for now I will stick with it and get some great shots!

Lions and Zebra


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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Wed, 20 May 2015 19:30:00 GMT
Portraiture amongst the cherry blossoms Today Dom was kind enough to walk to the park with me and allow me to try out some portraiture with my new lens. The park I wanted to go to was the park used for the 'Cherry blossom festival' earlier in the week. I was hoping that the cherry blossoms would still be in full bloom and would make a nice backdrop to the photos. Arriving at the park I was not surprised to see about a dozen people with cameras also trying to capture the cherry blossoms, what I was surprised by was how many other couples or more were there trying to shoot some portraiture as well. There were 'models' being ordered about, some people with sophisticated lighting and others, like myself, just trying things out. It was neat, kind of like an impromptu camera workshop. So after just a short time I told Dom that I had done what I set out to do and we would just have to see how they look on the big screen.

Once I got a chance to look at the photos I was happy with the pictures but I also learned a few things. One of them is to have some sense of what you want in a picture. Portraiture is not my thing, I have never claimed otherwise, so I did not know that I was going to have to tell Dom to move here, stand this way, look that way, smile, don't smile etc. So the Dom was always saying 'what should I do?' and I had no answer for her, simply because I did not know what I was doing or what I should be telling her to do. Another important thing I learned is just to have a little more detailed look at the photos in the field. I try to avoid this as I don't want to be spending half the time looking at the back of the camera checking the photo I just took to see if it's 'just perfect', but what I should be doing is checking to see if it's 'good enough'. When I got home and looked at the pictures a lot of them suffered from not having the focus where I wanted it to be, and so were promptly deleted. This really limited my end result in pictures.

Through this exercise I also wanted to gain some experience in Lightroom processing the photos. I do a lot of landscapes and wanted to try out some people shots and see what could be done. This is just a matter of colour correction and cropping, nothing too special but at least I could experiment with it. That is all part of the fun with Lightroom. However I had just read an article that said photographers spend a large amount of their time processing rather then taking photos, and this is something I am trying to avoid. I want to be out there taking the photos, not sitting in front of the computer nitpicking them. So I try to streamline the processing process and do as little as possible. Here are the results. (please understand that Mozilla browser makes the photos appear slightly dark, where internet explorer and safari make them a lot darker then they really are)

Dom shooting the gun, large aperature

Smallest aperture has things in background more in focus, because it was 8 at night I had to bring up the ISO which gave

the image a softer feel. But the metal around the base of the trees is not appealing.

Almost the same photo as above but with a large aperture which blurs the background.


I think the photos turned out pretty good considering that there is no flash and for the most part the sun was behind the clouds. It was also 8:30 at night so the sun was already well on its way to being set. I wanted to come out at this time or later to catch the setting sun and play with that light, but the location was hidden a bit buy a large building which also made it a bit darker. Next time I will have to research the location a little better!

So all and all it was good fun and I got a few nice photos out of it.

You can see all the ones that worked out by clicking here

You can see my other blogs by clicking here

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sun, 17 May 2015 19:15:00 GMT
The Seurasaari Open-Air Museum On Saturday Dominique and I went to Seurasaari Open-Air Museum located on an island just west of the city center here in Helsinki. The Museum allows visitors to walk the park freely but asks that you pay 8 euro if you want to experience the exhibits inside some of the buildings. Dominique and I signed up for the full experience and wandered directly to the Antti Famstead Cafe! There we had a fine Finnish coffee and decided what we wanted to see next.

Finnish coffee

We toured around the Antti Farmstead and then had a peek inside some of the buildings. I was impressed with the designs of the wood stoves in the kitchens as well as the smaller stoves in almost every bedroom. From there we followed the path which has us going by a giant windmill then through the forest to the Yusupoff Stable. I really enjoyed the Idea of the stable as it was a wooden structure but painted to appear as brick with even fine details like the archway and keystone.

Wooden doors painted like brick and board.

Across from the stable were many store houses that were moved from all over Finland and were originally built long ago. One preserved feature from this site was an old Tar Pit, which i had never seen before. A short walk from there brought us to the cottage of Aleksis Kivi where he had written two of his plays back in 1863. Not far from there were some church boats which were used to bring the congregation to the church on Sunday. These boats were simple wooden boats that held up to 22 people. Then it was into the Karuna Church, which had this amazingly old feel to it.

Inside the Karuna Church

After the church it was more windmills and many smaller buildings from Lapland which is the far north of Finland. There was even Kahiluoto Manor from which you could view outside of the fence. I am not sure if the manor is open during the summer but it might be something to go back and have a look through. On our way back out of the Museum we passed by a feeding area for the local birds and squirrels where I tried to get a picture or two of the squirrels. This was quite difficult because the squirrels kept thinking I had food for them and would come too close for me to take a picture. At one point, when I was sitting to get lower, they were walking across my legs to get closer to my hands searching for a treat.

Squirrels getting too close to focus. This on is standing on my knee and that stick.

On the way back into town we stopped at the Sibelius Monument which I had heard of from the Sibelius museum we visited earlier in Turku. It was quite a neat piece of art to see and resembles something like the pipes of an organ and there is a bust of Sibelius as well.

Sibelius Monument (you can see a person standing under to give you an idea of size)

It was another nice little outing where I got to get a little practice in with the camera and learn a little about Finnish history. There may have been a little bit of rain here and there but it was still worth the walk. I hope to get back to the west side with the camera as there were a lot of parks that i have not yet visited, and maybe I could try getting some better shots of the squirrels!

To see all the photos from the Day click here

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 16 May 2015 19:15:00 GMT
Vappu and Sima On May first here in Finland they celebrate something called Vappu. As it is known in English, Walpurgis day is celebrated by having a giant carnival in the major towns and cities. I was fortunate enough to avoid the rush downtown but on the May 1st holiday Dominique invited a few people from work to join us for a pot luck style picnic. There was a ton of food and we even got to try some homemade Sima, which is the traditional drink of Vappu. After lunch it was a short walk with everyone to the bird hide near our house that overlooks the bay. Almost everyone there was very interested in finding new species to knock off their twitcher lists and really enjoyed the walk. Then it was back to the house for some intense games and even some live music provided by Alvaro, our Catalonian friend. It was a great way to spend our first Vappu.

Now back to the Sima. While we were having lunch I was told that Sima was quite easy to make, and you can make an alcoholic version simply by letting it ferment longer than a few days. That evening I looked up the ingredients and found that it is simply made with sugar, water, yeast and lemons. I promptly went to the store only to discover that they were all out of Sima ingredients because it was Vappu. I persevered and found a store that had the ingredients I was missing and headed home to make my first batch, or half batch as it was, of Sima.

Simply bring water to boil, add sugar and lemons, bring back down to room temperature, add yeast and let sit for 24 hours. After that, take out the lemons, put in sealable container, add a little more sugar and seal. At this point the Sima gains approx 0.5% apv per day.

Boiling sugar water, soon to add lemons in foreground

So after about 8 days Dom and I popped our one cork (unscrewed the cap)  and enjoyed my Sima creation. It was super fizzy and so half exploded all over the kitchen, but it tasted great!


Exploding Sima


To see my other blogs click here

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Fri, 15 May 2015 19:00:00 GMT
Porvoo Finland Dom and I went to Porvoo on Saturday to get out of town and explore a little more of Finland. It is one of the oldest towns in Finland and is one of the few remaining still built of wood. To get there it was a quick hop onto Onnibus and in about 45 min we were there. After getting off the bus our first destination was the old Cathedral.

Porvoo Cathedral

After walking through the cathedral we walked down to the river and slowly made our way into town. Dom had decided on a destination that involved coffee and cake but we were in no rush. Wondering along the river and through the narrow cobblestone streets was very interesting. We talked about how bumpy it would be to ride a bicycle and I was reminded of how my Grandpa had told me that after World War II they used lengths of old cable welded together as there was no rubber available for tires. I can only imaging how bumpy the ride would have been then!

We found many antique stores to go in and check out and each had its own selection of goods. There were a lot of items I wanted to pick up but  I decided to save my money rather then spend away (but I will be returning for the antique shopping when I have a little bit of money).

This antique shop had an Ontario License plate for 20 Euros ( Just under the yellow Kansa sign)

After many different antique stores we finally made it to the 'Russian Tea House' where we had coffee, tea and Runeberg cakes for lunch. Runeberg was a famous Finnish poet who had lived and died in Porvoo. He had had a wife that made him these very delicious cakes which became very popular across Finland, so famous in fact that they were given the name 'Runeberg Cakes' and can be found all across Finland. Very tasty indeed.

After our cake break it was back out through town and into a 'prehistoric hill fort'. The fort itself had been documented when first built and so Dom and I were confused as to how it was 'Prehistoric', but a little investigation by Dom found that the plants found on this hill were from very specific areas of Asia and must have been brought here prehistorically. Because this site had been once used as a natural fort, it was assumed that the first people to come through would have used it as a fort as well. It was a steep hill climb up to the natural fort, but well worth it!

The view of Porvoo from the base of the prehistoric hill fort

Next it was back along the river but this time I wanted to be on the other side as I had seen a lot of pictures being taken of the water front and I wanted to take a similar picture. There are a series of houses that are right on the riverfront and I have to assume that they were once used for loading and unloading boats but now make fancy, if crooked, homes.

A view of the old town from across the lake

After our walk along the lake to the other side of town it was time to find some real lunch so it was off to the local supermarket for some cheap eats. Because we were not eating at a restaurant we headed down to the river to have an impromptu picnic. After that it was a few more antique shops and then into the old brick storehouse for a few drinks. The one we went to was called 'Porvoon Paahtimo' and it had a great atmosphere and location right on the river. There Dom and I tried many different ciders and chatted the afternoon away while we waited for our bus home. A great little day out and I thank Dom for coming up with the idea.

More pictures from the day can be found by clicking here

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[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Finnish Porvoo Sun, 10 May 2015 17:45:00 GMT
Architecture for Jay Jay asked me earlier in the week to take some shots of the Architecture here in Helsinki for him. After picking up my camera today, it was getting its sensor cleaned, I went for a walk around the city center trying to find some interesting buildings to shoot. I knew where a few were as Dominique and I had walked by them last night on our way to dinner. So here are a few of the buildings you would see if you came to Helsinki and walked around for about 30 minutes.

You can find all of the pictures from today by clicking here


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Thu, 07 May 2015 04:00:00 GMT
Sauna and BBQ Just went out for a day with Dominique's friends from academia to a Finnish Sauna at the edge of the ocean. Here, we could have Sauna and then take a dip in the freezing salt water. Very refreshing. Then it was time for a little BBQ, drinks and chatting. I learned a little more about what some of Dom's colleagues do in their fields. It was nice to have sauna once again with those that first introduced us to it. Thanks to everyone!

As always here are some photos of the day or click here to see them all.


A view from a beach around the bay from our Sauna


Cooking over the open BBQ


A Barnacle Goose


To see more blogs, Click here!

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 25 Apr 2015 14:00:00 GMT
Nuuksio Park I went to Nuuksio park on Wednesday to explore and take some pictures, but also to get in a little bit of Finnish camping. A short train ride, to a short bus ride, to another short bus ride and I was walking in the park. The total trip to get there took just over an hour to travel the 47ish kilometres and cost 5 Euros. While walking in the park I was reminded of how heavy backpacks can be. I had loaded my bag poorly due to last minute additions and the added weight of the new camera and lenses really surprised me (The camera and lenses weigh more then my tent and sleeping mat).  But I knew I didn't have all that far to go and just trudged along. The weather was for the most part decent, but the wind was picking up quite a bit and blowing in quite a bit of cool air which was refreshing.

You can see my route from the main road in by clicking here.

Once to the camp site I relaxed for a little while in my hammock before setting up the tent, hoping that the wind would die down a little. The wind did not let up so I decided that it was time to set up the tent so that I could get some refuge from the wind inside while i read a book. This was no easy task as I had first thought. The tent has been packed in its storage bag since Dom and I went Canoeing last year and so I assumed the nylon had shrunk a little, as they tend to do. So when I was putting in the main pole, which was taking a little more pressure then usual, it snapped at about the half way mark and ripped through the top of my tent. What was supposed to be a nice upside down 'U' shape was now an upside down 'V' shape. At first I thought 'That's it, I will have to head back home.' but then I took it as a personal challenge to come up with a solution and pretend that I was stranded somewhere and had no choice. After a few failed attempts using some tape and rejigging the tent poles I managed a reasonable solution using half of one of my walking poles. It wasn't perfect or permanent but it would easily get me through the night comfortably and that was the goal. 

Fixed tent with Hiking Pole

At around 9pm when the wind had finally died down I went to the state-supplied wood shed and cut some wood to length and made some kindling to start a fire. In Finland the parks provide wood as well as a saw and small axe for cutting and chopping the wood down to size. All I had were matches and no newspaper to help assist the fire starting I just used a squirt of the hand sanitizer I had with me, and that worked like a charm and had the fire going in no time. I was waiting for the sky to clear so that I might try out the new lens with some night sky photos but unfortunately it never did, so after about 2 hours of campfire I got some water, put out the fire, and called it a night. I woke up a few times during the night hearing the rain starting and stopping, but it came as no surprise as the weather forcast had called for it.

Rain on the tent from night before

The next morning I made a similar route back out to the main road and then to the main visitor centre in hopes of getting a nice coffee to warm up with. Unfortunately lunch had just started being served and there was a line of about 50 people all hoping to get lunch, I thought that was too much, so I headed back out into the wilderness and enjoyed some nice trail mix while listening to the birds. I once again hopped on the bus and headed into Helsinki to enjoy a coffee with Dominique at her work. The trip did not go as planned but it had some fun challenges with the tent and the fact that I forgot a lot of basic items like dish soap. I will be more ready for the next trip, which might not be too far away as Nuuskio is so convenient to get to.

If you would like to see all the pictures from this trip click here.

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:30:00 GMT
Turku Fish Market After spending a night on our sweet floating hostel Dominique and I headed into Turku proper to spend some time and relax before our bus ride back to Helsinki. The day before we had headed through the city centre during the local election campaign and had be accosted by people wanting us to vote for their chosen candidate, of course we didn't speak Finnish so we didn't know what they were saying. Dom had come up with a good way to avoid this situation by speaking english very loudly and repeating the word 'tourist' as much as possible. So today we tried to avoid the Central business district, as it was voting day, which took us down a street running parallel with the river. The street was full of people and temporary tent enclosures housing many pans of fried fish and other delights. The market was incredible and I had never seen so many fish, cooked in various ways, in one place at one time.

Offerings at the Fish Festival

The street was bustling with people eating amazing amounts of fish. Dom and I had just had a late breakfast and weren't feeling terribly hungry and so we passed thinking it was just another sunday market. We later found out that it was a 'Festival of Fish' which is only held a few times a year in Turku and so I regretted not trying some! It all looked delicious and lots of fun. There were balloons for the kids and a bit of music and other market type items as well as candy that could be purchased at the lively event. Its something to look into for the future as a bus ticket is only 10 Euro both ways and would be well worth it to go to the next one! After the fish market we walked back through town and to our bus pick up and headed back to Helsinki. It was a lot to do in one weekend and Dominique was quite the trooper staying awake as long as she did as she had just gotten back into Finland Friday afternoon. 

To see all the pictures from this weekend click here.

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:00:00 GMT
Turku Castle Turku Castle was a new experience for me as I have never been in a European castle before. It's sometimes hard to believe that the construction on this castle started sometime in the 1290's. The tour started through the the main section of the castle which included the prison and the queens' chambers, and various other rooms that were used for prison/chambers. There was also a lot of authentic furniture from various time periods and various tenants of the castle. After a lot of stairs and a lot of rooms we got back to where we started where a lady informed us we were now at the halfway mark and suggested we dump our backpacks as we had kept them from the start rather the using the coat check. But we persevered through the second half of the inner castle with our bags. This section included more prison/chambers and even a chapel. Another small but important room we discovered was a secret toilet room just behind the main throne, which is probably one of the most important rooms in the castle.

Some Drawings Inside the Castle

One thing i found quite interesting were the toilet rooms. Originally they used chamber pots which were emptied by the labourers. But later they just added additions to the exterior of the castle on the third floor. They looked just like present day out houses but stuck to the side of the castle three stories up. And you would just use them and the rain would wash it away. It must have been a bit of vertigo when you first peered out the hole just before sitting!

Once we finished the second section it was off to the outer section of the castle. Since we were walking right by the coat check and saw that there were lockers big enough for our bags so we ditched them and continued on. In the outer section of the castle there were again many rooms, including a prisons/chambers where you could see the elbow wear marks of the occupant on the window sills.  The outer section also had many miniatures that pictured historical events which were entertaining to take photos of. Later in the outer wall you could put on old armour. Dom tried out a chainmail shirt and crossbowman helmet while I tried on the full plate mail helmet. The full plate helmet was interesting in that I had probably only 45 degrees of rotation left to right, I can only imagine that if you were wearing full plate armour this would be limited even more. How they fought in that stuff is beyond me, though I did feel well protected.

Dominique In Her Chainmail Shirt and Crossbowman Helmet.

The Castle was quite interesting and there was so much to see and do. Turku Castle was a great example of how good a museum could be, as Dom and I had no shortage of interesting things to see and do even though we could not see the entire castle due to a live concert going on. It was well worth the price of admission and I look forward to the next European Castle Dom and i visit, which may be Neuschwanstein sometime in June.

Too see all the pictures from this Adventure please click here!


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Tue, 21 Apr 2015 17:00:00 GMT
Turku - First Impressions Early Saturday morning Dominique and I hopped on the OnniBus and headed west to Turku. Turku was founded near the end of the 13th century making it the oldest city in Finland. Our main goal for the day was to head into the city and see the cathedral then head out of town and see the castle.

The cathedral was a very interesting and very difficult place to photograph as I had to be mindful of people, as well as quiet, and shoot in the low light. It was a good challenge and I managed to get some interesting shots. Because the light was so low, there was a fair bit of post-processing, but that was ok as I needed some more practice with lightroom.

To see all the pictures from the morning click here

The Cathedral


The Organ pipes in the Cathedral


Painting, Stained glass and painted ceiling

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Dodging the rain drops I wanted to get out this week and take some city shots during sunset, as I have been learning a new technique for taking pictures directly into the sunset. So, between rain clouds I headed into Helsinki proper and tried to find something interesting to shoot, even though it was just for learning purposes.  What I learned from this trip is that even though the sunset lasts 30-60min you really need to have a good idea of what you want to shoot. I found myself walking around the city finding a lot of interesting things, but no scenes in which the sun/sunset would play a major role (the whole purpose of the trip). In the end I managed to capture enough images to take home and process, which at least allowed me to practice. Here are a few of those pictures: they are of the Russian church here in Helsinki as well as the Main hall, and the Botanic Gardens.

To see all the photos taken that evening click here.

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Wed, 15 Apr 2015 18:00:00 GMT
Suomenlinna On Sunday the 29th Dom and I hopped on a ferry and headed over to Suomenlinna. Suomenlinna is an inhabited sea fortress built on a total of six islands and is part of the city of Helsinki. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site. Construction started in 1748 to protect against Russian expansion.

A great site for history on Suomenlinna can be found here.

After arriving at the island Dom and I went for about a 1 hour walk just exploring the first main island to see what we could see. We found a few tunnels through various buildings as well as a prison that had been converted into an athletics centre. Because the temperature was still just a few degrees above zero my hands started to get cold from the camera and we took refuge in the Museum cafe. There we had a coffee and hot chocolate to warm up and then headed back out to the south end of the island. We found many more tunnels to explore as well as cannons set up around the perimeter. It was quite an interesting landscape with the rolling hills of bunkers and the many cannons or cannon mounts all about.

Shot from inside the tunnel

The rolling hills and cannon


After a few pictures we headed back to the museum to eat our homemade lunch and then to continue on into the museum proper. The museum was inexpensive and quite interesting. It had, both Dom and I agree, the best feature film from any museum we had visited which was a history of the island and its inhabitants. It was interesting the whole way through and very informative. After the film I saw the rest of the museum and island in a different light. As a little bonus there was even a photography exhibition going on in one of the galleries in the upper level of the museum.

The Suomenlinna Museum

Inside the Museum

From there we meandered back to the ferry pick up and drop off where I had one last coffee before leaving the island. Overall it was a great little day trip with lots of interesting history and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about the history of Helsinki.

To see more pictures from Suomenlinna Island click here

While on the island we also noticed some children that had dressed up, much like Halloween in North America, and walked around carrying sticks decorated with ribbons.  Virpominen, as its called, is when all the children dress up like witches, and carry brightly-decorated willow branches door-to-door to wish "Happy Easter" to their neighbors, receiving candies in return. Many of the children would say:

Virvon, varvon, tuoreeks terveeks, tulevaks vuodeks; vitsa sulle, palkka mulle!
I wave a twig, for a fresh and healthy year ahead; a twig for you, a reward for me!

It originates from Russian and Finnish traditions mixed together. Even though it was not Easter yet the children were out. This may be because of the 4 day weekend approaching where most Finnish families leave the city and go to country cottages, missing out on the larger city candy haul. We even had some children come by our home later in the day but were caught empty handed and felt bad about missing this important holiday. I will be off to the market now to prepare for the Easter weekend so we are not caught out again, as our apartment is in need of some willow decorations!

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sun, 29 Mar 2015 08:00:00 GMT
A day at the Helsinki Zoo The Helsinki Zoo is located on an island about 4km from our house so yesterday I packed up my camera gear, made myself a lunch and started walking. I left the house at about 9.20 and arrived at the Zoo shortly after 10.00. The admission was 12 Euro, which I think is pretty inexpensive for a zoo, and in I went. My first goal was to see the feeding of the Dwarf Mongoose which was at 11.00 in the Africasia building. It was quite a cool building with all kinds of terrariums set up with a variety of mammals, reptiles and inverts. The feeding started at 11.00 sharp and almost everyone in the zoo at that time, probably about 14 people, was there to see it. The zoo staff handed out hand fulls of meal worm to any child that was willing to hold one of the wiggling bodies to throw over a waist high wall to the waiting mongooses. It was all in good fun, except for the meal worms, and over quite quickly. Then everyone packed up and headed off to the next show. I hadn't had time to explore the building proper so I just went back to the start and did another lap.


Dwarf MongooseDwarf MongooseA Dwarf Mongoose from the Helsinki zoo in Finland

Dwarf Mongoose

On my second lap I challenged myself to spot as many frogs as I could in this one exhibit. Once spotted I was surprised just how good at camouflage these little guys were. In all I managed to pick out 8 of them before I gave up.


KorkeasaariTwo FrogsTwo Frogs hiding on a log at the Helsinki Zoo in Finland

You can see two in this picture


After that it was through a short tunnel and into the Africasia Tropical house where there were fish, monkeys, cayman, sloths, birds and turtles. I tried to capture the Cayman's eye which was a challenge because of how small and how far away they were. Also I really enjoyed see the Poison Dart Frog because as far as I know they are extinct in the 'wild' and so it was really special to see quite a variety of them in one area. There were 3 species in one terrarium, though I only managed to see 2 of them, I did manage to see 5 at once.

Helsinki Zoo FinlandCaymanA Cayman at the Helsinki Zoo in Finland Cayman

Helsinki Zoo FinlandPoison Dart FrogA Poison Dart Frog found at the Helsinki Zoo in Finland

Poison Dart Frog

The zoo had many more exciting parts to it and some of the highlights were Wolverines, which I had never seen before, Martens and lots of Owls. The otter also stuck out but they always do. They also had a large large cat section featuring the 'Feral cat', which just looks like a house cat hanging out in a giant exhibit. But the overall highlight for me were these two thing; in second place, the skunk exhibit. "Come see the skunk, see his bushy tail, see him stand on his front legs and run backwards. What, you didn't get a good smell? That's ok, stick your head in this tube and push a button, and get a blast straight to the nostrils of his, or hers, potent perfume."

You put your nose to the silver button at the top and push the button below to get a real taste of skunk

And yes, I did it.


And highlight number one was being able to see and get real close to the brown bear. They were only about 1.5cm of plexiglass between us so it was quite cool. You could also have your lunch in a cafeteria where you could see through the protective glass while you ate. Because it was the middle of a Tuesday and not the warmest outside only about 4 people at a time were viewing the exhibit.


It was a great to spend a day at the zoo with my camera, hopefully one of the pictures I took will really stand out. It was a long day though as I got home sometime after 16.30. Covering just over 16km by foot also added to the relief of getting home and relaxing with Dom. To see the route click here


Please check out the gallery for more images from the zoo here

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Wed, 25 Mar 2015 15:07:54 GMT
Camera Maintenance Well it seems my Camera has got some dust on the sensor. Not sure when this happened but it is what it is. So I have been doing a bit of research and there are a few things to do. One is to run the on-board image cleaner which I did a few times without great success. Next is blow air over the sensor and dislodge some of the dust so I will be looking into getting a little blower to do that. They are not expensive but at the same time I do not expect much from it, though its worth a try for the price. Next is using a special paint brush to brush the sensor, that will be the next step for me if air pressure does not work. Then the final, but also the best way, is a chemical and a special wipe that goes across the sensor. This seems to be the best but also most expensive way to clean your sensor but it does come at a cost. Apparently this voids your cameras warranty. I am not sure how one could tell but I suppose if you did the wrong thing and scratched your sensor it would be on you. But its got to be clean to take good pictures.

If you would like to test and see how dirty your sensor is first make sure your lens is clean both front and back then set your camera to the smallest F-stop (ie 22). Point the camera at a flat bright wall (white or off white works best) set the camera to ISO-100 or as low as you can go. The set the exposure for about 2 seconds (this will vary on how bright it is. you do not need a lot of light, indoor away from direct sunlight is ideal). Stand about 1 meter from the wall and then focus your camera on something far away (ie half press the shutter release while focusing down the hall) and then point your camera back to the wall. Now depress the shutter release the rest of the way and move the camera around a little bit (this insures the image will be blurry). Now take that photo and have a look at it. Any black dots will be dust and you might have to go through a little camera maintenance yourself.


Here is what sensor looks like after doing the test photo. All of the blurry dots are dust on my sensor. I only noticed the far left-center one in some of my shots but then started to see more once I was aware they were there!

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) camera Maintenance camera sensor cleaning sensor Sun, 22 Mar 2015 16:25:35 GMT
North of Jyvaskyla to Kinnula On Saturday morning we all piled in to a little VW and headed about 160km north of Jyvaskyla to a town called Kinnula. From there is was a few more Kilometers down a freshly ploughed road. Once we arrived we had to get the fire going so that it would warm up the cabin. Then it was off into the wilderness to hunt for Golden eagles. We broke into two teams, those with cross country skis and those without. Here in Finland they have this soft rubber boot which has some ridges to it so that it can hook up to the cross country ski which I thought was quite unique. So off I went with the walking team into the bush to get a head start on the ski team. We headed into the bush and within a few minutes we had already seen some wolverine tracks and an area where a woodpecker was bringing pine cones to break them open. The woodpecker had made a grove in the side of an old tree trunk that was leaning at about 45 degrees. The grove varied in thickness along the trunk to accommodate the different sized pine cones. Below the trunk pine cones were strewn about. Something I had never seen before.

Jaakko, on the ski team, was first to spot the golden eagle and so called to us so we could see it. We saw it some distance away in the sky and all followed it in hopes of finding its nest. We then met up with the ski team and Jaakko climbed a tree in hopes of spotting the nest from afar. We split off into three teams this time with two ski teams and one walking team, all going various directions.Our walking group bumped into one ski team sometime later where we observed two golden eagles at once, apparently something quite rare. Some of the Finns were quite excited to see that.

That night was time around the camp fire while we waited for the other fire in the smoke Sauna to warm up. There were stories and drinks and a recap of the day. We also had time to go to a near by lake and take a few night shots. There was nothing exciting going on with the sky but it was nice to get out and shoot a few pictures with other enthusiasts. Then back for an hour or so of Sauna. Dom and I then headed to our bunks to call it a night which was too bad as we missed out on a little tiny bit of northern lights!

The next day we headed out destined to find the nest, unfortunately we lost some of our team members and were unable to locate the nest. We did find however various lichens as well as some interesting fungi. Our group talked about the birch tree and all the gifts it has in the way of food and starting fires. Here in Finland there is even a sweetener called Xylitol, which I have been told is a Finnish product and it comes from the birch tree as well. (Xylitol is good for your teeth and a bunch of other things so it seems to be the winner of sweeteners in Finland.) We also followed moose tracks, jumped over small rivers and lost Stephen's phone. For lunch hiked to an old pine forest and ate sandwiches made by our host Stephen and even partook of a little ginger beer.

All in all was a great little trip and I thank Stephen, Jenna and Jaakko for making it all happen! Thanks guys.

Too see all the photos click here

Here is a link to the map of the walk we did on Saturday.


Two short time lapses from the trip


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Wed, 18 Mar 2015 17:47:01 GMT
jyvaskyla After taking the Onnibus (happy bus) from Helsinki to Jyvaskyla, a trip of 3.5 hours, I was greeted with drinks and a friendly game of poker. After loosing my 5 euro to the house it was time for more drinks and sauna. There was much conversation and even more drinks in the sauna where I learned more about Finnish culture. This sauna was different then the last sauna I was in as this was an electric sauna, which meant that the heat was more dry and intense and it didn't have the same feel or smell as the dark smoke sauna. This sauna was more traditional in the sense that it was co-ed and everyone was in their birthday suit.

Everyone in Finland has so far exceeded my expectations in welcoming people from outside their country. There was a lot of talks about heritage and the passing down of knowledge, something we don't do in Canada anymore. The talk was quite specific about nature and the collecting of mushrooms, identification and preparation. It makes sense that this knowledge is passed down as here in Finland it is 'every man's right' to collect mushrooms anywhere in Finland, and on a daily basis you will see people out collecting. On that note another of the 'every man's right' is the right to fish, tom sawyer style with line pole and hook, at no cost. This is starting to look like the type of place that could be quite interesting to explore being that you can camp almost anywhere, fish and collect edibles, and see some interesting nature at the same time.

The next day (Friday) was a day to relax and take in Jyvaskyla proper with a short tour through the town with Stephen as our guide. We had a coffee in one of Jyvaskyla's oldest buildings then had a short tour of the university, meal included! It was time for coffee and snacks with the students of academia over conversations continued from the night before. After that it was back to Stephens to recharge and out for a night on the town. This Included a bar with board games, a fancy restaurant, and then some bar hoping. Was quite a night out. Dom even tried a drink here called 'kala pallo' (English it translates to 'fish ball') which was Absenthe and Fishermans friend liquor.

To see all the pictures from this weekend click here

Here is a short time lapse of the Onnibus, well waiting for one anyway.


Here is the restaurant that we had coffee at in the morning.


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Wed, 18 Mar 2015 09:47:16 GMT
My eyes... they burn!! So the sun does shine here in Finland, and when it does, it's intense! Some school bags, a water tower and a squirrel, oh my!

I took my camera for a short walk around the parks in the area to see what I could find. I was hunting for plant related scenes to enter into a local photo competition but had no luck finding what I was looking for. In the end I just snapped a few random pictures to say I did.

A school nearby had all of the children's jackets and bags dropped out front of the building. I am not sure why this was the case, but I thought it was funny anyway. Just after taking the picture the principal of the school was walking out and asked what I was doing. I explained that i thought all of the bags on the stoop were interesting. He said it's alright to take pictures as long as none of them have children in them. I said no worries.

An exciting water tower that looks like a UFO hovering in the distance. Up close its a monster of a thing.

And a happy snap of a local Squirrel. Unfortunately he did not want to pose.

Well nothing more exciting then that today I am afraid.


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Tue, 10 Mar 2015 10:00:00 GMT
The sun did shine The sun did shine today. We had big plans to go for a walk today on the coast, but the sun did not shine, so we stayed in and played games. Then at about 5:00pm the sun came out just as it was starting to set. How nice. Hopefully tomorrow will be nice and I will head out and do a few errands.

But on to more exciting plans. Next weekend on our trip up north, its been requested that we bring sleeping bags. I'm not sure if this means we will be going hiking and camping but it does add a bit more excitement to the already exciting trip. The plan at the moment is for Dom to give a quick talk at Stephens University, then head back to Stephens for poker and sauna night. At some point we are going to go looking for some sort of eagle so that should be fun. Maybe that is where the sleeping bags come in? Will be fun either way.

No news to report today. Just a kick back and do nothing day.

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sun, 08 Mar 2015 18:24:09 GMT
The sky does clear sometimes I needed to prove to myself that the sun does shine here in helsinki and that what i saw just a few weeks ago wasnt some illusion. So I set up the camera last night to so a time lapse (I was hoping to catch the stars in the sky) and it shows that the sky does clear. You can clearly see the moon in this series of pictures which proves the sky does clear sometimes! This was shot over about 4 hours during the night.

helsinki time lapse

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 07 Mar 2015 09:50:03 GMT
Time for Time Lapse Just before i left Canada i was experimenting with some long exposures and exposure stacking with my camera with limited success, but as a side note of doing those things i made some fun time lapse videos. I would like to experiment more and do more of these but with Helsinki being always overcast i will have to focus more on the people and places that are not so affected by weather. On the weekend of the 14th we are headed 200km north of here to visit my friend Steve in a small city. Hopefully there i can grab some interesting shots.

For now check out some of my accidental shots!


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Thu, 05 Mar 2015 21:12:13 GMT
A night at the Finnish natural history museum Last night was spent at the Finnish natural history museum with Dom and her colleagues from academia. There was the closing celebration for the 25th spring symposium hosted by Helsinki university. It was quite a neat experience being in the museum at night with drink in hand and modern music in the background. On top of that there was a great spread of food put on by the hosts of the symposium. But the coolest part for me was the chance for only the Plenary speakers of the symposium (and husband) to see the, as of now, unfinished mega fauna exhibit at the museum. The story goes something like this; a private collector paid from his own pocket for the creation of 4 full sized wooly mammoths and a few other creatures like the wooly rhino. These animals are huge, with the wooly mammoth standing over 3m tall. The idea for this private collector was to make his own museum but funds ran short. And so he donated these massive creations to the museum and is now sponsoring that exhibition. It was very cool to see it in the making and we got to touch the wooly rhino that was still in the process of being built. Very cool experience to be taken around the 'background' of the museum by the director of the museum himself. Unfortunately i thought taking pictures of the unfinished exhibit would be taboo so here are a few happy snaps, taken with possibly the worst camera phone in the world, of the area in which we had our party.


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Finnish Finnish natural history museum history museum natural Thu, 05 Mar 2015 20:00:00 GMT
Finnish Sauna Yesterday, or should i say last night, i got to experience Finnish Sauna. As part of a reward for one of Doms talks we got to go to a true Finnish Sauna. What this involves is driving out of the city a little way to a business specializing in Saunas. It was also on the shore of a small lake, which is important. From here you strip down to your swim suit and head into the special wood smoke sauna. Here they have prepared the sauna for use by burning a fire inside a small sauna cabin. Then they let the fire die out and leave the hot rocks for you to splash water on to get the heat and humidity up in the small cabin. The smell of wood smoke infused the air but was not overwhelming. Once your body was heated to an almost unbearable temperature you would get out, run down to the lake and go for a short but not quickly forgotten swim in the lake amongst the ice. There was a small current there, provided by a small prop, that kept the ice from freezing over that part of the lake. Then once fully 'chilled' you would head back to the warm Sauna. You would think that at this point you would run to the sauna but something takes over and you don not feel the need to rush. Your skin tingles for a bit and then your body adjusts and suddenly 2 degrees of air on your wet cold body feels quite warm and inviting. Its quite a nice stroll back to the sauna, aside from those of us in bare feet who had to walk on the ice, and then the warm embrace of steam awaits you.

Once back in the sauna i was welcomed with a 'sauna song' which had a dark and looming cadence but was not a dark song. The darkness of the Sauna and one voice booming while the water hissed on the rocks was surreal. During the song the singer would blow air on his neighbors (which is forbidden in Sauna unless you are singing that song, and the blowing air feels as though its burning your skin) which was all part of the song. Quite a unique and unforgettable experience for me.

In the end there were 4 jaunts back and forth to the lake, or 'bath' as the Finnish call it, and it was a great experience i think for everyone that went and i consider myself lucky for being able to experience something so unique and with friendly locals to guide us through the process.


[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) finland finnish sauna sauna Tue, 03 Mar 2015 22:36:45 GMT
the last day at wilsons and some nice night shots

the last day at wilsons and some nice night shots

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 29 Jun 2013 18:42:26 GMT
2nd day of wilsons prom, this is roaring meg campsite

2nd day of wilsons prom, this is roaring meg campsite

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 29 Jun 2013 18:41:04 GMT
Wilsons prom not too long ago

Wilsons prom not too long ago

[email protected] (Jeremy Kruckel) Sat, 29 Jun 2013 18:40:09 GMT