Saturday, April 26, 2008

Looking For A Sign

Forget Sightseeing, Let's Go Sign-Seeing


This week's Photo Hunt theme is "unique, funny signs". Yeah, I've shot a few of those in my time. From some very distant parts of the world, using a variety of cameras. So here we go .....

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


April 2005. Gold Coast, Queensland. Canon EOS 3000.


With my background in science and mathematics, I was intrigued by this huge street sign that pointed the way to Infinity. But there were no complicated calculations involved. Infinity is not a suburb, just the name of a nightclub. In order to get the perspective I wanted for this shot, I had to stand on a narrow median strip as puzzled drivers wondered what this crazy tourist was doing. I shot only one frame, because I figured I had nailed it.


May 1999. Juneau, Alaska. Ricoh Instamatic.

I shot this during an unforgettable cruise around the Alaskan ports. The Red Dog Saloon in Juneau has featured on my blog in the past. It has a great atmosphere, plenty of buzz and plenty of humour. This shot, taken in challenging light, shows an interesting piece of signage. The little trap says "Texas Bear Trap" and the huge one says: "Alaska Mouse Trap". In the early days of the Saloon, the owners used to send a donkey down to the wharf to attract tourists. The animal bore a sign that said "Follow my ass to the Red Dog Saloon."

You can read my teetotal guide to Alaskan pubs at Called To The Bar.


August 1999, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. Ricoh Instamatic.

This is probably the most famous piece of signage anywhere in Australia. The highway sign showing camel, wombat and kangaroo contrasts beautifully with the white-grey bitumen and the crisp blue sky. Little did I realise when I did this Outback trip that I would place two chapters of my novel "Vegemite Vindaloo" slap-bang in the middle of this spectacular piece of the country I live in.


September 2006. Albury, New South Wales. Pentax K100D.

Clear blue late-spring sky. Bright red roof. Highly visible yellow signs. Does the one to the left of the TV aerial make sense to you? Does it? Really? Look again. It says "Keep Right, Mate" but the arrow points left. You can catch it at the famous Ettamogah Pub, where it is a famous landmark on the roof of a pub - along with an Aussue ute, or utility vehicle. The photograph below was taken at the same place on a stormy day last month, March 2008, and gives you a better look at the sign, through a 300mm Sigma lens.


It was harder shooting this against the dark clouds, but you can see the other sign more clearly than you can in the earlier shot. Loading Zone? On the rickety tin roof? Yeah, right! But remember - anything's possible in Australia.

September 2006. Albury, New South Wales. Pentax K100D.

This shot of the sign with the fake bullet holes was taken behind the Ettamogah Pub, near the souvenir shop. Just don't fight over it.


September 2005. Bala, Ontario, Canada. Canon EOS 3000.

I actually pulled up to shoot this photograph on a bridge over the beautiful Bala Falls in Muskoka, a region that figures in my forthcoming novel. Looks like just another sign, right? Now look at the image below, which is simply a cropped version of the original.


Despite the sign saying "Danger", there's a bloke on the rocks below the bridge, fishing in a spot he probably frequents all the time.


March 2008. Albury, New South Wales. Pentax K100D.

Remember the Queen in Lewis Carroll's "Alice In Wonderland"? The Queen who said the rule was "Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow but never jam today." This sign greets patrons (and countless tourists) at the Ettamogah Pub. And in case you think of returning the next day for several free cans of icy-cold Aussie-brewed Foster's beer, the sign will thwart you once more. It's always there!

46 comments:

Mima said...

You've got some great signs there, I think my fav is infinity, although the free beer one comes a close second.

byrningbunny said...

You're the earliest photo hunter I've ever seen! Great signs

San said...

KEEP RIGHT...on shooting these, mate.

the amoeba said...

Free Beer Tomorrow has been emblazoned on a famous fish fry stand in Boothbay, Maine, for at least as long as I lived there. Good fish'n'chips too.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Some amazing photos David. I do wish I had your talent to take pictures, I love taking photographs of my animals and of course Amy but can never seem to find a subject of extreme interest (to others I mean).

CJ xx

Katney said...

I love all of your signs and am always on the lookout. Mine, which, as always, will appear when it is Saturday here, required a trip half around the world, too. I posted a few odd signs a while back and am collecting for another similar post, but the one I am using for PhotoHunt is rather unique.

Stop by and visit, as I have expanded on the comment I made to you about how my mother learned to drive. I really don't know a lot about it, as it happened about twelve years before I appeared on the scene, but there were enough tidbits from their year in the desert to make it worth the telling.

Lana Gramlich said...

I love the signs--particularly the last one! *LOL* The dangerous water reminds me of when I worked for the hydro company at Niagara Falls. Every morning I had to shoo fishermen out of the Niagara River before they opened the dam & swept everyone over the Falls--not even 200 yards away. Had they even slipped where they were, there'd be no rescuing them. It seems fishermen don't acknowledge danger--even when it's imminent. Now THAT'S fanaticism.

willow said...

Free Beer goes hand in hand with Infinity, right? Fun post, thanks for the chuckles.

imac said...

OK - now you showing off here David, so many funny signs.lol.haha.
I must say they all good.

aims said...

Ahh! Bala! Made my heart ache David!

I didn't know you had camels in the outback! Do you really?

lime said...

the aussie sense of humor is distinctive and clear in those signs, mate!

Tammy said...

I have to go with the free beer one as my favorite. LOL

raf said...

Thanks for deSIGNtour. Good smiles!

imac said...

Come and visit my Photo Hunt.

Corey~living and loving said...

great post for the theme David. I am having such a hard time this week. sigh.....we'll see what I can come up with.
have a great weekend.

CAROLYN said...

ROFL! These are hilarious David!

Infinity- that way ;D

The Red Dog Saloon sounds like my kind of place! Those traps are cool :0)

I love all the signs with "mate" on them- especially the one that ends with "no fights mate." Clever!

I wonder how long folks have been waiting for that 'free beer' ;D

Rhea said...

Love the idea of the sign on the donkey saying, "Follow my ass." hehe Great advertising!

Angela at mommy bytes said...

Wow, those are awesome signs! My favorite is Infinity of course.

Katie said...

Thanks for a quick trip around the world of fun signs! I look forward to checking out your archive of posts and photos.

SandyCarlson said...

I'll be back tomorrow for a free beer before I start out on the road to Infinity! Great sequence, David.

Kathryn said...

Those are hilarious! I love the Free Beer Tomorrow sign. Classic!

Moosekahl said...

Should I include an Alaskan Pub Crawl if I fly up there for an interview?

Uncle Joe said...

Tomorrow always promises to be a better day.

Blog Princess G said...

I know that bridge in Bala... hey, that was you there too wasn't it? :)

Lori said...

What a neat post. I love all these signs - very original. Makes me want to come visit.

(Sorry I've been so absentee as of late...it's crazy busy at my house these days!)

Stacey Huston said...

Great signs. Love the infinity..loved them all.. lol

littlepolaris said...

I like the infinity sign. Very unique.

Kimberly said...

Brilliant shots, David! Love the first especially. You couldn't have framed it more perfectly, and I like the metaphysical implications of it.

Maggie May said...

The signs in Australia look so more personal than the ones in Britain. You've got some good shots there. I guess we are all heading towards the first!
You captured the character of the country, I think. Not that I've been!

alicesg said...

Very interesting signs. I too love to capture nice and funny signs. Have a nice weekend. :)

sandyshares said...

signs always intrique me and usually I'm laughing. these are superb!!thanks for camera recordings I always like to know what camera. I shall be purchasing one next year.. sk

Shrinky said...

Aw, wonderful David, some great signs there. I once followed a sign that pointed to "Paradise" when I was in your neck of the woods, it was a long scramble up and took a few hairy climbs down to find, but it was everything it promised to be when I found it - a huge waterfall tumbling into an isolated lagoon. Best swim I've ever had!

Hilary said...

Great signs.. fun stuff. :)

Colin Campbell said...

These are great David. Bonza Mate! Aussie signs tend to be a little more understated than the equivalent American ones.

Hammer said...

Texas doesn't have any bears as far as I can tell but oddly enough we are seeing tons of Alaskan Mice :)

rdl said...

nice collection. love the infinity one.

Eaglehawk said...

"To Infinity and Beyond!" I love it.

diXymiss said...

Another great collection of piX. My fave is the "infinity" sign... If you have kids under 13, I'm guessing you've probably heard this infamous PiXar line: "To infinity and beyond!"

Misty Dawn said...

Your stories and insights in your posts never fail to teach me or entertain me ... or both ;-)

Jenty said...

LOL, my favourite has to be the last one!

TorAa said...

They are all great signs,
but (excuse me, I'm living in Norway)
why is it so important to show more than one sign relatet to the subject?

Lack of ---

Jo Beaufoix said...

I love those signs. Especially the last one.

ancient one said...

You have some great signs! I looked at the keep right sign and never noticed the arrow was to the left. Good Post!!

Sarge Charlie said...

Helloooooooooo down under, that is a nice collection of signs

leslie said...

What a great collection of weird signs, David! love 'em all. :D

Anna said...

Boy do I love signs and these are great!