Quartz, Newland Heads

From a  return visit to an old favourite coastal location to check it out--a rocky outcrop at the base of the Newland Head cliffs in Waitpinga. 

I remembered the strangeness of the site and I wanted to check it for The Littoral Zone project. Mind you that was in the winter the last time I was there.  What of the early spring? Would the strangeness still be there? 

The soft light after the sun has gone behind the cliffs is the best time. The colours in the detail are what caught my eye this time. 

at Wallaroo

I spent several days camping at Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsula with Gilbert Roe, a fellow photographer based in Adelaide. We spent the time  exploring the region with our cameras:  Gilbert was using his pinhole camera and I was working with  my  large format cameras. I concentrated on the silos.

 This is one image that I made in the late afternoon with both the  Cambo 8x10 (using black and white film) and the  Cambo 5x7 (using colour film):  

It  was a trial run for me in terms of  camping whilst  being on the road with  the large format equipment. Renting a house,  staying in a cheap motel, or a cabin in a caravan park,  is too expensive these days. Camping was a  trial run because our camping gear is very old and basic,  and I haven't been camping for 20 years or more. So I needed  to see whether this mode of accommodation would work for me as a way of doing the photography road trips. 

aboriginal presence at Encounter Bay

I've started  to research what happened to the Ramindjeri people, the traditional owners of the land,  after the conquest of their lands and British settlement of  the Fleurieu Peninsula. The settler history is a narrative of  from pioneer port to seaside resort' and this narrative is premised on the the ‘great Australian silence’ in regard to Indigenous people and their history. 

The research is  for the second historical  part of Fleurieuscapes project.  The art historical context of the project is that Australian arts practice abandoned the landscape in the 1960’s at the end of Modernism, the last major figures being Williams, Nolan and Olsen as arts practice entered post modernity and deconstruction. Whilst there are notable exceptions (Storrier, Robinson etc.), landscape representation was left to Aboriginal peoples as Aboriginal painting emerged from the deserts of Central Australia. 

The second  part of the Fleuriescapes project looks at the  significant  historical sites of the Fleurieu Peninsula from the vantage point  of the traditional owners (both the Ramindjeri and the Ngarrindjeri) in  a post-colonial Australia. This history is one where many of the traditional people living on the Fleurieu Peninsula and along the Corrong  were massacred. Those who survived had the power to govern their lives removed, as well as their connections to the land and the space, and as well as their language to articulate their view of what had happened to them. 

The picture below is of the site of an old sealing/whaling station at Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor  that preceded British settlement. The contact  is circa 1830's,  and one of the prime reason  for the Europeans to make contact with aboriginal people was to seek women. Eventually,  some of the Ramindjeri men and women  worked as harpooners and whale spotters. 

 There was another  sealing/whaling station at  Granite Island in Victor Harbor  Many of the Ramindjeri people succumbed to the small pox epidemic which swept the area in the 1830s and then to general disease.  In 1872 the whaling industry, which had started on Kangaroo Island around 1806,  and which produced whale oil  and bones for export,  closed down due to a lack of Southern Right whales.

Fleurieuscapes: out take #1

This image is an outtake from the 15 images that have been selected for my  forthcoming Fleuriescapes exhibition  at  the Magpie Springs Gallery in 2016.  Apart from me nobody thought much of  this particular  image:

The  digital files (ie., scanned 5x4 and medium format negatives)  for the exhibition are with  Atkins Pro Lab  and I will check the small test prints  when I return from  my  New Zealand in the second week of December.  The exhibition, which  will be  in January/February  2016,  is from a  body of work that has been made  over the several years that we have been coming to Victor Harbor as  weekenders, and then more recently,  from when we started to live on the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula early in 2015.

at Hayborough, Victor Harbor

This photo is from an  early morning photo shoot at Hayborough, Victor Harbor in  South Australia. It is looking west to Granite Island. Rosetta Head, or The Bluff,  is in the background. 


This was made  in  autumn  in 2015. Autumn is a good time to photograph  along the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, since the weather is more stable and predictable. The weather during spring is all over the place. 

We had just shifted from living in the CBD  of Adelaide to the coast  at Victor Harbor,   and I was looking  to start work on  the Fleurieu Peninsula  region as a place in which we belonged. 

silos + coffee with photo friends

I started  on the  large format silo project yesterday evening with a  black and white   shoot of the silos at Talem Bend using the 8x10 Cambo in late afternoon.  However,  the conditions were not ideal  for this kind of photoshoot.  

The sun is now quite intense even before it disappears below the horizon, and the clouds that I wanted  for cloud cover did not eventuate.   There were  clouds  in the sky when we were in Adelaide,  and it looked promising as we drove along the south-eastern freeway to Talem Bend.   But the clouds  hugged the coastline of the Fleurieu Peninsula coast,  rather than moving inland across the Murraylands.   So, to my dismay,  it was clear blue sky at the silo location.  

The next stage of the silo project was  organized today whilst  I was in Adelaide having  a coffee with Peter Barnes and Gilbert Roe at Cafe Troppo in Whitmore Square.   This stage  consists of   a photo trip with Gilbert  in mid-October 2015  along the Malle Highway ---probably the section between Pinaroo in South Australia and Toolebuc in Victoria. We have agreed to  camp at Ouyen and  to make trips  out from that base.  Gilbert will be using his pinhole camera.  

abstractions: an exhibition?

I've been mulling over where to next after the Edgelands exhibition  at Manning Clark House in Canberra in November 2014. What project do I pick up and start to work on? Something that is different from the topographical approach of Edgelands. 

I thought that a  modest exhibition of abstractions would  be an easy step as I can select the images from  the archives. They'd be a mixture of colour and black and white and they would include abstractions from the urban and the natural environment. I'm not sure where the exhibition would be at this stage---probably in Adelaide and possibly at the Light Gallery in late 2015. 

Abstractions are a bit passé these days ---retro probably, given the  current emphasis on street photography.  Or  its a niche,  even though abstraction has been intrinsic to photography. On the other hand, there  is the retrospectivity of contemporary art that is nostalgic for, or repurposes,  Modernist art.  We could do without modernism's  main themes: the transcendentalthe contemplative and the timeless.  

sea abstract #2

The weather has been stormy along the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula these last few days. So I have sat on the rocks on the edge of the boat ramp at Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor with a digital camera making abstract photos of the water.

I've done this before and I wanted to experiment with no sunlight and the early morning sunlight. Looking at the uploaded  images on the computer screen afterwards I can see that sunlight works  best.  The lack of sunlight makes the image very drab and flat.

I've started   a little series  of sea abstractions in the form of a DIY book.

an encounter with photographers

I've come down to Victor Harbor after a three week absence, which  included a small  trip to Melbourne.  There has been a lot of rain on the Fleurieu Peninsula recently, and it was difficult to access Kings Head this afternoon  due to  the landslides along  the Heysen Trail. It was very muddy.

On the way Ari and I met a couple of photographers walking the Heysen Trail on their  way to Kings Beach. They werre  taking lots of photographs.   One  photographer had   a big, fancy  Nikon DSLR with a zoom lens--he also had two standard poodles which I'd  previously seen --- whilst  the other had a Mamyia DM22 medium format camera , which he had bought second hand  from a guy in Japan for around $3000.   It was cheap because it had a 3 year  old 16 megapixel digital back.

These kind of cameras are  not readily  available in Adelaide second hand.

As  we walked along the trail towards  Kings Beach I mentioned the medium format guy that I once started out with an old  Mamiya RB67, but that I found it heavy and had swiched to Rolleiflexes.   He added that he also  had a Mamiya RZ33 in his studio but  that it was too heavy to take into the field. 

When I remarked about the cheapness of the digital back  he said  that it wasn't  necessary to go beyond a 33 megapixel digital back,  unless you were doing billboard posters. That was useful information for me.

What I gleaned from the brief encounter was that a  new digital medium format camera is now under $15,000,  and  it can be acquired for around $10,000 new. Suddenly a digital medium format camera  becomes feasible.

Ari and I  pushed on to our favourite  location at the foot of the Newland Cliffs to check out the tide and  the wind conditions for an early morning shoot. The two guys weren't interested in coming down to the rocky outcrop--it was in deep  shadow and the rocks  were very wet and slippery.