digital limits

By accident I  discovered  the limits of the dynamic range on my Sony A7 R111 digital camera  whilst on a recent  landscape photo session in Waitpinga late this summer.  

Even though I was photographing in the early morning light,  the camera could not cope with the dynamic range between the dark shadows at the base of the cliffs and the highlights of the sun in the clouds. An example: 

The pictures  that I made when I was at the foot of the cliffs that morning were similar, only the highlights were even more burnt out. I did not realize this had happened  until I uploaded the digital files onto the computer and looked at the images on the computer screen. I eventually deleted these. 

Edgelands 1

I have just realised that I have been quietly picking up an old project----namely,  Edgelands--whilst I have been haphazardly photographing for the Fleurieuscapes project. I hadn't realised that I had been making photographs of drosscapes, as I just did  the photos in passing, and then forgot about them. They sat in the archives until I revisited the site on a  recent poodlewalk.  Then I remembered making the photos. 

'Edgelands' refers to  those non-descript spaces that lie  between the urban and the rural. They are  an ill-defined, constantly changing boundary that separates the city from the countryside. These transitional zones and disregarded spaces can be found anywhere that urban development meets open land. 

The environmentalist Marion Shoard called these spaces “edgelands”  and adding a description of these kind of spaces:

The edgelands are the debatable space where city and countryside fray into one another. They comprise jittery, jumbled, broken ground: brownfield sites and utilities infrastructure, crackling substations and pallet depots, transit hubs and sewage farms, scrub forests and sluggish canals, allotments and retail parks, slackened regulatory frameworks and guerilla ecologies. 

 Shoard usefully  defined these edgeland spaces as “the interfacial interzone between urban and rural”. 

walking along back country roads

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. 

processing 8x10 b+ w

With autumn arriving in South Australia  I have  started  to pick up my large format black and white view camera photography, especially the 8x10 Cambo monorail.  

The conditions are right: overcast skies, little wind and softer  light. Well, these conditions  lasted for a few days before  a cold, gusty  south westerly wind swept across  the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula.  

This kind of  large format view camera photography  has been in the background as I do not have a darkroom at the studio;  nor do I have access to one in Adelaide now that the Analogue Lab has closed.  My last session of processing sheet film was done in Melbourne in 2018,  using Stuart Murdoch's darkroom! 

black and white

I have struggled post-processing  this tree or scrub  on the Heysen Trail in Waitpinga. It had lots of promise  for a black and white image when I came across it whilst walking the poodles   late one  afternoon.  That was over a year ago now,  and it was when Suzanne was walking the last stages of the Heysen Trail. 

I recall  that  it was on  this occasion  when I was crouched amongst the pink gums  setting up the camera that I began to realise that what is called  the scrub or bush in Australia is actually a number of  very different bioregions;  and that we really do need to move beyond an undifferentiated, colonial sense of “the bush” as an amorphous sameness.