This year during the early winter (ie ., June) I shifted from photographing in the littoral zone to photographing along the back country roads in the local Waitpinga region. This scoping image of two trees on Pitkin Rd, which was made whilst I was on an afternoon poodlewalk, is an example of what I have been tentatively exploring:
During June I scoped, then sifted, the images around Waitpinga into several photographic possibilities. Some actually looked okay and worth re-photographing with my film cameras. I slowly started to re-photograph with my medium format film cameras (a Rolleiflex SL66 and a Linhof Technika 70 with 6x7 and 6x9 film backs) --in both colour and black and white. One step at a time.
It's an exploratory exercise because I am still not sure of the mood that I want to evoke with these kind of pictures in agricultural landscapes. Well, I do know that I want to avoid picturesque pictures of the trees, roads and bush, and to create something more in the line of darker or brooding pictures of the landscape. Maybe it will only be the black and white pictures that will give me this---ie., spooky greys and shadows to do the heavy lifting? Otherwise I may need to start photographing at night.
I really don't know at the moment as I am still finding my feet. Hence this kind of experimental exploration:
So why dark or brooding pictures?
One reason is that I am often walking with the standard poodles along these backcountry roads in the low light as we--usually Kayla and myself-- start walking around 30-50 minutes before sunrise. The landscape is quite gloomy then, as we set out on our poodlewalk. It changes dramatically after sunrise.
Another reason is that the native vegetation in this agricultural landscape is not in a good condition and it is not being looked after. The roadside vegetation is often quite thin, and there is a lot of canopy dieback in this Waitpinga section of the Mt Lofty Ranges.
Once this exploration/experimentation produces results close to what I am looking for, then I will start using these kind of large format cameras. There is no point in using them until I know what I am doing--it's too cumbersome a work flow for me without a wet darkroom.
I guess the question is: how do you photograph the Australian rural landscape in the second decade of the 21st century?