|First order of priority: breakfast! Aldgate Providore and Cafe in, uh, Aldgate.|
|The Aldgate Providore is a Spanish-themed cafe-restaurant with great food. Dave orders up a fine breakfast --|
|-- and spectacular coffee! Suitably refueled, we're off to --|
|-- catch the fall colors at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden on a cool, calm morning in late March.|
|March is the beginning of fall ... in Australia, of course. Oak trees know about this ... ripe acorns prove it.|
|Eurtopean and North American trees are glorious in this season.|
|The Mount Lofty Botanic Garden is 100% irrigated from storm water catchment. The lake at the heart of the park|
is actually the catchment area, from which the water is pumped in all directions.
|The park is situated high in the hills -- cooler even on very hot days. March can be astonishing hot,|
but on this autumn day it was cool and nice.
|The "bog garden" is a duck pond at the very lowest point of the park...|
|...and home to many plants that look utterly alien.|
|The view over the water catchment lake from the far side...|
|...where glory vines are changing color in honor of the season.|
|Only "imported" trees change color in the fall. There isn't a single Australian native that does it.|
|Follow the paths through and around some really beautiful old trees on yor way back to the parking lot (or|
car park, if you want it in the native Aussie), and then you're on your way...
|After checking into the Milang Lakes Motel by Lake Alexandrina, we went directly over to|
Clayton Bay ... always wanted to photograph the sunset from there. Let's show you why...
|That's the marina in the middle of the shot. The town stretches off to your right.|
|Silver gulls are the most common seagulls you'll see in South Australia -- but far from the only ones.|
|You'll see silver gulls on every beach in the state, and along most of the rivers in any proximity to the sea.|
|Clayton Bay is home to a very active boatie community -- it has a busy marina (see the above picture).|
|The sun is almost down now. We sat on a bench on a bluff right above the water, waiting for the moment...|
|Digital cameras hate these lighting conditions. Shots captured on the automatic settings are|
invariably poor. So -- switch to full manual right about now.
|A flight of ducks heading back up to Lake Alexandrina for the evening, and...|
|Photography meets art! A rare, utterly perfect shot.|
|And here's why we've always wanted to photograph the sunset from Clayton Bay. Wow.|
|Taken at almost the same moment as the shot above -- this image doesn't use any of the camera's|
filters or arty techniques. All "normal light" shots were done on full manual ...
|...and the sun was gone in another minute. Next? Dinner, please!|
|Dave gets creative with a signboard beside the jetty. Wow -- what an effect!|
We'd gone out for three days on this trip, so we had time to dawdle, no reason to hurry over anything. Only one thing was time sensitive: Monarto Wildlife Park, which closes its gates at about 4:00pm, so you need to get there early-ish. This was reserved for the second day of the excursion, so on the first day we could afford to meander... and we did!
On many of these trips we'll start out with breakfast in Aldgate. There's a couple of places we know there that are terrific for brunch. A favorite is the Aldgate Providore and Cafe, which is a Spanish-themed cafe-restaurant with very different, and very good, food ... and extremely good coffee.
From there, we circuited Mount Lofty a little way ... and in true meandering fashion, stopped again. The Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens is one of our favorite places, especially in fall. The park changes so much from season to season ... see it in this post, in all its summer green, in 2013. Caching the fall colors just right is not easy. Too early, and you see nothing; too late, and the trees will be stripped by a high wind.
March can be very hot in South Australia. In other years it's been over 100 degrees Fahrenheit on this date, but this year we were lucky. The weather was cool, a little overcast, with skies clearing as the day progressed. Nice.
From the botanic park, we headed directly to Milang to check in at the Milang Lakes motel. Didn't take photos on this occasion, because we've photographed Milang so often already. If you'd like to fill in the blank, see this post: Milang and Lake Alexandrina -- wetlands, sailboats, big skies and a lot of history. That shows all, tells all.
And as soon as we'd unloaded the car we went directly to Clayton Bay to do something we'd always wanted to do: photograph the sunset from there. These pictures show why!
Then it was back to the motel for supper and a quiet night's sleep. In the morning, we planned to photograph dawn over the wetlands, as we always do, before heading over to Monarto for a date with lions, giraffes, antelope, rhino, zebras, meerkats! Couldn't wait for this ... and we'll start the Monarto pictures in the next post. There's quite a lot, so it'll take two posts to cover even some of them.