leaves + bark abstract

The south westerly wind has gone. Temperatures are on the rise. The summer heat has arrived for Adelaide and the city will swelter with the heat. I'd given up going to the coast to take large format photos and decided to concentrate on doing abstracts in the reserve near the studio.

It was easier as the cloud cover early in the morning  provided me with cover from the early morning sunlight.

I'll  take the negatives back to Adelaide today  to have Atkins Technicolour  develop them. I'll scan them when I return to Victor Harbor on the weekend. I'll  then upload  them to see how the  the film versions  are different from the digital ones.

on location

I decided to do an 8x10 abstract  of the bark of the river gum  from Arkaoola  in the reserve opposite the studio at Victor Harbor.

I made a couple of black and white photos--one on each side of the trunk. It was still too windy to go to Kings Head  with the large format gear. The south west wind will slowly die out over the next couple of days then the temperatures will rise to around 40s C. 

bark abstract

This is an abstract of the trunk of a river gum in the reserve across the road from the studio  in Encounter Bay,  Victor Harbor

The tree  that had been bought down from Arkaroola by Suzanne's mother as a seedling back  in 1982 . It was planted in the reserve and it is now a solid tree.  

I am fascinated by the river gum's bark.  It is quite different from the local river gums in terms of  both texture and colour. 

I've taken a number of photos over  the Xmas break with a digital camera--a  Sony NEX-7--- mostly as a study  for a large format shoot. I am thinking about  using the 5x4 Linhof  in an early morning shoot.

a portrait

I  don't do portraits very often because I am not very good at them.

I also struggle with the lighting. I've been  using natural lighting from a window,  but I find that it  is too harsh and contrasty. I don't really have the studio equipment to do diffuse the lighting; or increase the lighting from above. 

a lucky break

It is over 40 degrees in Victor Harbor,  a hot north wind has been blowing since around 10am, and   the  forecasted cool change is slow in coming. I managed to do some photography early this morning for an hour or so, before the weather changed to the intemperate conditions.  

The pictures  were largely scoping studies for latter film shoots.  Normally I only see this part of the coast in the late afternoon when it is shadow, and I had several ideas that I wanted to explore in the early morning light.


I've started constructing a website or a gallery of my  photographic projects whilst I scanned and post-processed  some  8x10 b+w negatives.  It is very basic and minimalist  gallery at the moment.  I'm  slowly edit the images for the projects,  starting from the Bowden project in  1989. 

I eventually got sick of sitting in front of a computer so Ari and I went off on a photoshoot in the afternoon:

I was  reworking this picture. The tide was low so the location was accessible.  The gas cylinder had collapsed since my last visit a  couple of weeks ago.


My b+w 8x10 negatives are on the way back to the studio after being processed by Chris Reid at Blanco Negro in Sydney. It seems that most of them are okay in terms of exposures and that only two sheets were fogged.

I've been going through some of my 2011 digital files  to dump the ones that are no good and to look  for ideas for the next 8x10 shoot. I was using a cheap Kodak EasyShare camera then  and most of the work t was playing around with abstractions  of dried saltponds  on the rock floor  at my feet. 

These salt pond abstracts are interesting  visual ideas, but they are in locations that  are too difficult to carry  an 8x10 monorail to.They belong to the sea abstract book. 

There is little work on visual  abstractions  in Australian modernism, even though modernism was meant to be the turn away from  visual figuration to abstraction. 

Abstraction, as it were, was a privileged space of visual modernism (eg., Kandinsky, Mondrian, Malevich). These artists made anti-materialist   claims that actively cultivated particualr forms of subjective transcendence from the practices of everyday life. It was  a retreat into idealism--self, mood, dream and spirituality---that ignored the social experience of abstraction.

A photographic abstrction needs to be premised on  photography's indexical  presence--the index is the name for the inscription of presence that appears to deny the evacuation of the figural in the abstraction.   

scoping for 8x10

Whilst my 8x10 black and white negatives are being developed by Chris Reid at  Blanco Negro in Sydney I've have been  looking out for, and scoping, more subject matter.

This picture is one possibility. The form is okay and it is  reasonably easily accessable  from the car park at Petrel Cove:

I  pre-visioned the picture  in black and white:

It looks okay. The rock face works better in black and white.

The problem  I have is that I don't have many other pictures  lined up  for the 8x10   apart from a  studio picture.

hard to find

I went searching for this "rock face" this afternoon and I couldn't find it. I found the area but I could not the rock. It was very different this time because it was heavily overcast, with rain threatening so  and there was no sunlight  on the rocks.

It's a minute section of some rock form on the foreshore. I was probably lying on on the sand to make it. That would make it rather difficult to reshoot with a large format camera, which is what I was considering.

This happens to me a lot. I take some snaps on a poodlewalk and I forget their location. Most are just a detail. I then spend ages trying to relocate the detail.