Thoughtfactory’s image-text blog

an experimental image-text blog based in the southern Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia

Posts for Tag: Waitpinga

Edgelands-2

There is not much in the way  of an edgeland  in the landscape  around the coastal township of Victor Harbor.  The suburban edge of the town backs onto farming properties. It is a similar situation with the other townships in the southern Fleurieu Peninsula.  So it  is difficult to continue working on this long term project. 

However, the  old Victor Harbor Council's dump, which  has been closed down for some time,   has become an edgeland on the Waitpinga outskirts of the township. It is a home for rabbits and occasionally cattle wander through.  I have previously photographed here.  

experiments: fuzzy abstracts?

I have been tentatively experimenting with an abstract approach to photography in low light situations. as a break from working on the newsletter and the Walking/photography exhibition at Encounters Gallery.   

The low light scenario happens at   the end of the poodlewalks with Maleko when we are   returning   to the car along the coastal path at  dusk. When start to return when it  is too dark to photograph amongst the coastal rocks. However, there is  still light and colour  in the sky over the southern ocean so I can hand hold the digital camera (a  Sony A7 R111) to make a photo.  

A recent  example of the experiment:

It's an experiment because this kind of subject just doesn't work as an abstract when everything is in focus--I've  made several attempts and it looks ugly.   I've also tried  it with the lens wide open and the foreground of the subject  in focus--but it  is a nothing  kind of image.  Nor does it work when there are small pockets of clouds in the sky over the sea. 

photo session at Kings Head

A behind the camera photo of a  small photo session at Kings Head on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, which  shows how my photography  incorporates poodlewalks.  The standard poodles are my companions. We walk together to a location and they stay with me when I take time out from the walk to photograph. Then we walk back to the car. On this occasion it was Maleko who was my companion. 

It's dead simple medium format photography using a   "workhorse" Rolleiflex SL66 film camera:--a simple and stripped back film camera from the 1970s.  There are no  technological features to set up  or any  AI.  It's just composition, light and exposure all done 'in camera'.  This allows me to reconnect to the process of slowly making a photo, as well as also requiring me to  decide upon the outcome before the shutter button is pressed.  

photography as placemaking

The picture below is of  a  large format photo session at Pitkin Rd in Waitpinga on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia engaging with the materiality of the  land: fields, trees, creeks, roads, bridges, signs, rural life of this particular place. It is of a patch of countryside  that emerges from a sense of an intimate relationship to a particular ‘patch of land’.  It is more than space---which is an empty  area or a homogenous,  geometrical space. 

 It is true that representations of  landscape has been  unfashionable  as the recent  photographic  emphasis is on the metropolitan urban where most people live. Landscape is conventionally seen as a  anachronistic genre, part of a old, privileged tradition ‘overthrown’ by Modernism and now of little or no relevance in our overwhelmingly urban, more or less progressive, global culture.  It is seen as the mundane representation of a “mere place”;  an inferior sort of environment that is of little or  no interest.    

The above  picture  is photography as placemaking. An example.   In my  case it is part of the  retreat  from globalisation, given that the second great wave of globalization that started in the 1980s is now over with the  emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The assumptions of this photography as placemaking approach is that place is a social product and that photography fixes the gaze and pins it down.  The gaze works within the limits of both the moment that is photographed and the spatial limits of the frame. The photographic frame restricts the gaze. The photograph is limited by the perspective of the camera  and the subject is forced to subject their look to the gaze of the camera. 

a coastal landscape

This scoping image of a landscape  was for a future 5x4 photoshoot, and it  was made on a recent late afternoon poodlewalk during the Covid-19 lockdown in South Australia. The lens on the handheld digital camera  is pointing  towards Kings Head  on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula

Landscape here refers to the practice of visual representation of space. Photography doesn't just situate landscape in a physical context,  it also situates ourselves in it. The framing, focus and depth of field  of the camera identify our position as the  viewing subject. When we "see " a landscape we situate ourselves in it.  

The idea behind this coastal landscape  photo was to use this  particular  perspective  to  show the edge or relationship between wilderness of the southern ocean and what is traditionally  called a human altered landscape--in this landscape the agricultural land and its buildings. The privatised land comes down to the edge of the coast. The  public spaces are  the coastal rocks and a narrow path between the fence of the agricultural land and the  edge of the cliffs. 

connections

The  b+w  picture below is of roadside vegetation in Waitpinga on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula. It  is from the archives,  and  it was made with a large format camera--a 1950's  Super Cambo 8x10 monorail. 

I used this  picture of the local landscape as my contribution to the online print viewing/sharing of the Melbourne based Friends of Photography Group (FOPG). I've linked up  with FOPG due to my isolation  as a large format photographer in Adelaide.  There are very few people doing this kind of slow photography in Adelaide, and I have little connection to, or empathy with,  the few that  are.  I decided to  share some of my photos I've made  of the local landscape in  Encounter Bay/Waitpinga  with FOPG,  since  most of the photography the members of  FOPG do  is orientated towards the genre of  landscape.    

I am on the fringe  of FOPG due to living in Adelaide. It's not practical  for me  to attend their face-to-face print viewing sessions in Melbourne, but I  did plan to go their field trip to Apollo Bay and the Otway Ranges in April. Unfortunately,  that field trip was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  I plan to submit a photo of the  Waitpinga  landscape from those that  I have been making during the lockdown to their upcoming online exhibition.  

digital limits

By accident I  discovered  the limits of the dynamic range on my Sony A7 R111 digital camera  whilst I was on a recent  landscape photo session in Waitpinga in South Australia  late this summer (mid-February).   

Even though I was photographing in the early morning light,  the camera could not cope with the dynamic range between the deep  shadows at the base of the cliffs and the highlights of the sun in the clouds. Using Lightroom 6  I was able to recover the detail at the base of the cliffs in post processing, but not in the highlights. 

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's hard disc  and looked at the images on the computer screen. I eventually deleted these. I  had to admit  to being  somewhat surprised. Taken back actually. 

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!