photographing in the Otways

On our way back  to Adelaide from Melbourne we stayed a couple of days  near Johanna Beach, which is  close to the Great Otway National Park.  This stay had been planned  by Suzanne a couple of months ago. 

I had tentatively  planned to add onto this  stay some photography of  the effects of the bush fire at Separation Creek   and Wye River along the Great Ocean Road.  However, the  length of time it took to travel the distance to these localities and coastal towns was too great to photograph in the early morning light or at twilight.   

So I took the opportunity of the stay to go photographing in the rainforest  of the Otway Ranges. This is a scoping image made with my  digital camera--the Sony NEX-7 whilst  taking a walk along the Old Ocean Road:

I was exploring the rainforest outside the national park--the Otway Forest along the Old Ocean Road from memory. I used my baby Linhof---the  Linhof Technika 70---with  its 2 6x9  Linhof film backs: one was loaded with  colour film (Kodak Portra 160)  the other was loaded with black and white film (Ilford PanF Plus).  Alas,  I  had inadvertently loaded the colour film the wrong way.  So I've only  got the black and white  film negatives.  

on the road to Melbourne

I've just returned from the  Melbourne trip via the Great Ocean Road and several days in the Otway's and in  the Coorong. 

On the way over to Melbourne we stayed overnight at a dog friendly place called Old Dadswell Town on the Western Highway. It  is between Horsham and Stawell.  I was carrying the 5x7 Cambo monorail  to begin to photograph  the silos along the Wimmera section of the Western Highway,  as I was hoping for some overcast skies. It was not to be.  The weather  was bright, sunny and hot.  I made no photos of  the silos.

I did manage to take some snapshots at Old Dadswell Town in the late afternoon as a form of consolation:

Old Dadswell Town  is a quirky place  full of collected junk,  and it refers back to the Australia of the 1950s, the Mad Max movies and the tourist pioneer theme towns. We had the place to ourselves on this occasion. 

trip to Melbourne

We  leave Adelaide for Melbourne tomorrow morning.  We are staying  at Safety Beach  on the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne with my sister Karen.  Jyl, my other sister,  will  be driving down  from Canberra. It's a family reunion of sorts---my birthday.   Ari, our 14 year standard poodle, will travel with us. We will be away from Adelaide for around 11 days. 

It's a holiday and a photo trip. Whilst Suzanne stays with friends in Geelong  for  several days  I will be photographing in the city  of Melbourne, picking up from where I left off when I was exploring Richmond in 2015: 
With a bit of luck  I'll may even  be able to do  some  large format photography in a topographical style  with Stuart Murdoch,  after he finishes teaching for the day at the Northern College of the Arts and Technology.   Weather permitting,  of course. 

We return to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road and then the Coorong National Park. We have  planned to spend a  couple of days in the Ottway's so that I can explore the bush around Wye River  and Separation Creek, where the recent Victorian bush fires occurred. Then we have a couple of days  in the Coorong on the way back to Adelaide so that I can attempt to photograph the landscape. 

Australia Day weekend photoshoot

This behind the camera picture  was taken whilst  I was on  an early morning photoshoot along the Heysen Trail,  with my Linhof Technika 5x4 during the Australia Day weekend. The Heysen Trail photoshoot  was combined with a poodle walk.

I have avoided the beaches this weekend due to  the families  having summer fun on, and taking over,   the beaches The summer fun  also includes  playing on the rocks around Petrel Cove or climbing  Rosetta Head in thongs.  As expected there were more casualties  at Petrel Cove. It is obvious that people do not read the warning signs by the steps  to the beach or on the rocks; or if they do read them, then they ignore them.    

On the morning of the photoshoot the light was dull and flat.   I would have preferred  the soft, early morning light, which was there  when I had previously  scoped the  site,  but it was not to be.  I waited for a while to see what was happening with the cloud cover,   but I realised that  there was little point in hanging around waiting for better light to eventuate. The  cloud cover was  far too heavy.   

landscape and history #1

Whilst on the recent early morning poodle walks I started work on the second part of the Fleurieuscapes project.  

The history  of the region after the dispossession of the  Ramindjeri people (who lived at Encounter Bay and around Cape Jervis)  is one of clearing the land  for cattle and sheep farming.  This clearing  of the bush represented development and progress for the white settlers. 

I  wanted to show  this history  of the landscape photographically.  After a lot of scooping with the digital camera (Sony NEX-7) I decided to photograph a stark tree in front of a cleared field along Baum Rd in Waitpinga.  This is the photoshoot with the 5x4 Linhof (Technika IV) from early this morning before the hot, dry north-westerly wind started in force and the temperature became unpleasantly hot. 

I did two interpretations.  The first  one took advantage of the  flat light whilst  it was still overcast,  and the second one was  made when the light cloud cover had started  txobreak up and there was some early morning sunlight on the subject.  I couldn't make up my mind which interpretation would work  best. I won't know until the sheet film has been  developed, scanned, and uploaded into Lightroom. 

Fleurieuscapes: the exhibition

The  Fleurieuscapes exhibition at Magpie Springs in South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula has been hung,  and everything is ready for the 2pm opening on Sunday afternoon, the 17th of January.  The theme is people, space and place and this is the first part of the project. Rage second part is more historical in  orientation and the palette is darker.  

The exhibition  has been expanded from the Red Room, the main gallery  room,  to two rooms;  and it now consists of 22 images instead of the initial 16. The  images were made with medium and  large format  cameras,  and there is  a mixture of colour images and black and white ones, with the colours one predominant.  

Petrel Cove: am

This seascape is Petrel Cove in the early morning. It is part of the Fleurieuscapes  project that I have been working on  since we shifted to living at Victor Harbor. 

The picture  was made when I  had returned to  the car after a  poodle walk  along Deps Beach with Ari and Kayla. I was taken by the softness and the quality of the light. 

The sea is a big part of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula ---playing on the beach, fishing, surfing etc-- and I struggle to find  a way to photograph  it. How do you do it? It's a slow working it out and hoping that an opening will eventuate. The opening would be  a photograph that's a doorway that is photographically interesting.

The classic seaside/beach photography project is  Joel Meyerowitz's  1979 book Cape Light: a book of  colour photographs of the seaside resort of Provincetown, Cape Cod and its soft natural light  made in the summer of 1976 with an 8x10. It is  considered a classic work of colour photography and the  8 x 10  camera meant  that his  stance  towards  summer cottages and ice cream shops  was both one of patience and meditative.  The images are  in and around his house in Cape Cod and  the mood is one of languid, forever-long summer days. These are not really colorised or pumped up. 

rockpool photoshoot

A digital version (using the Sony NEX-7)  from  the  photoshoot with  the Rolleiflex SL66 (both colour and black and white) this morning. I had come across the rockpool  yesterday when I was  on a poodlewalk with Ari and Kayla. I needed cloud cover and a low tide to be able to do  it.

I had to wait for the low tide so that I could access the site. I  needed the cloud cover to soften the early morning sun whilst I waited for the tide to go out. Even then,  I was photographing with the sea swirling  around my shoes and tripod  legs.  

Mosquito Hill fire

There was a fire yesterday  on the Fleurieu Peninsula at Mosquito Hill  near the Scott Conservation Park, which is north east of the river town of Goolwa on the River Murray.  The fire burnt around 130 hectares of scrub and farmland around Mosquito Hill during  a day of high temperatures and strong winds. Sheds and a greenhouse were destroyed, but no houses and, thankfully,  no people died. The roadside ignition point was  a site on the Goolwa Rd. 

I went and scoped the  fire area this morning. It took me an hour or so of driving around after going to  Mt Compass to find the burnt area, which is mostly farmland.  I didn't really know the bush fire area that well--it was bounded by Goolwa Road, Kokoda Road, Deep Creek Road, Trig Point Road, Olsen Road and Cleland Gully Road--- 

I wanted to see whether the area  was accessible  and what the various objects  (trees and farmland) looked like. Would it be suitable for dark landscapes?  

Fleurieuscapes 2: Granite Island whaling site

My online research has indicated that the Ngarrindjeri bore the brunt of frontier European violence before and after the formal occupation of South Australia in 1836,  which  was premised on dispossession of its Aboriginal population of their land.  Women were kidnapped by bands of sealers operating from Kangaroo Island and the coastal camps in South Australia; the Ngarrindjeri people were attacked by men overlanding sheep and cattle to Adelaide; and when settlers  occupied the land to pasture their sheep, many used poison and guns to protect their assets.

I've been searching and scoping for Fleurieuscapes 2, which is  the  significant  historical sites of the Fleurieu Peninsula from the vantage point  of the traditional owners (both the Ramindjeri and the Ngarrindjeri) It is an exercise in historical remembrance in  post-colonial Australia. What I scoped was the site of the whaling station run by Captain Blenkinsop at the  scruffy and run down tourist precinct of Granite Island:

The whaling site  was hard to find,  as there were no  obvious historical signs marking the location.  The  tourist signs were all about the wild life and  the walks.   So I had to figure out where the best  protected site for whaling  would be approximately, then hunt around for any historical markers in the vicinity.