on location in Waitpinga

Now that summer has passed  into autumn I've started using my  old 8x10  Cambo monorail. This morning was the first time I 'd used the camera since late spring. I was a bit rusty and  things didn't go very smoothly.  I made a number of mistakes on the shoot.

It was a local  photoshoot that I'd previously scoped,  and I'd  been  waiting for  the right conditions for the photoshoot:

Over the summer I'd  changed the lens  on the Cambo from a Schneider-Kreuznach  Symmar 210mm to a  Schneider-Kreuznach  Symmar  300mm in preparation for  photographing the silos along the Mallee Highway in the next month or so.  The  former lens  didn't cover  the camera's rise and fall  movements very well, especially with the front standard, which  needed  to be raised quite high to get  the  top of silos in the frame.  

Richmond, Melbourne

When I was in Melbourne recently, I continued my  photographic exploration of  the Southern Cross Railway Station and the inner suburb of Richmond.  I hung around  in the former and I continued with my walking the latter. 

I had  briefly visited Victoria Street, Richmond,   with Stuart Murdoch after  our  Kodak shoot for a quick meal at the no frills Thy Thy restaurant. Whilst walking to the restaurant  I noticed that the Victoria Street  part of Richmond had radically changed from the one that I knew when when I lived in Melbourne in the late 1970s. I was working as a conductor on the trams and studying at Photographic Studies College. 

There were no Vietnamese restaurants anywhere in Victoria Street, Richmond.  The notable ethnicities  were Turks and Greeks.  Then Richmond was  identified as Struggletown. It was a working class suburb with cottages, pubs and factories. Richmond, by all accounts,   had started to become a little Saigon in the 1980s.

 Richmond  today is in the process of gentrification,  as a result of the exodus of manufacturing to the outer suburbs thereby making the inner city a much more pleasant place to live. Victoria  St is still  a gritty street,  and it has a vibrancy that Adelaide lacks,  and  what inner city Adelaideans long for and Sydneysiders now miss.   The Gouger Street precinct near the Adelaide Central Market doesn't really cut it. 

I  only had time for a couple of quick, hand held  snaps at dusk with the digital camera before the evening meal.  When walking back to the car after the meal I decided to return to Richmond  the next day  and  walk  Victoria St. I wanted to see if it was a food strip or more akin to an urban village. 

photographing in the Coorong

We stayed a couple of days at Salt Creek in the Coorong on our way back from Adelaide from Melbourne so that I could pick up the second part of the edgelands project after a hiatus. I had been working on the Australian abstraction and Fleurieuscapes projects and I wanted to concentrate on  the edge lands associated with  the River Murray. I wanted to check out whether the  Coorong offered  any possibilities. 

My starting point was  a  familiar spot that I knew from when I briefly photographed  here several years ago,  and I was quite happy to return there and  begin to photograph in terms of South Australia landscapes. We arrived  at Salt Creek in the late afternoon and  I checked  out the location  for a 5x4 shoot  whilst we were on a poodle walk in the late afternoon light.

I was thinking  of constructing this low lying lying landscape into  horizontal strips of land, sea and sky. The lush afternoon light made  the image  too picturesque, and  it placed too much emphasis on  natural beauty for the edge lands project. When  I photographed the next day with the 5x4 Linhof it was in  flat morning light so that  this landscape  would look more stark and weird.  

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.