I like hearing your story about seeing the lens on display, and seeing the print! Moments like that are what make impressions on us. I've had several moments like that, but they usually have something to do with exotic sports cars or women, haha. It's a shame the specialty camera shops are going away, or at least they are here.
Yeah, the Camera Exchange still exists as a camera shop, but its moved out from Melbourne (too expensive) and its just a shadow of itself, unfortunately. It was almost like a museum, with the range of second hand gear. A lot of Nikor gear from the late 60's and 70's. Alas, just not the market these days
I would love to visit Australia someday, especially that valley with the dinosaur-era trees still growing there. I know it's restricted but somehow I want to go and take pictures of it.
Wollemi pine, I presume. That's out near the Blue Mountains (some hours drive west of Sydney). A stunning place to visit (the Blue Mountains).
I'm also amazed at the wildfires you have in your rainforests down there...where the tree sap is about as flammable as gasoline...so it doesn't matter if it's a wet season, you can still have forest fires...that's crazy! The cedar trees and pine trees we have here in Tennessee, have highly flammable sap...but it's nowhere near that bad. They would not burn easily after days of rain...and most of the hardwoods would not burn at all in the wet.
Eucalyptus (gum) leaves contain a small amount of flammable oil, which means they burn really well, even when green off the tree. The forests tend to be dry in the summer, rather than a rainforest, and very moist in winter. Spring creates a great deal of growth, leading into summer, when it starts to dry out. As a natural process, the trees drop a lot of leaves in this dry time, leading to a high volume (2-4 inches) of dry leaf matter on the ground. This acts as a mulch, to slow the drying out, and reduces the evaporation from the tree (less surface area). But, if a fire starts, then its an issue.
Oops, I'm getting onto one of my pet subjects and way off topic....sorry to the OP....