at Magpie Springs

This outtake from a photoshoot at Magpie Springs  in early autumn 2015  highlights how the little details  on the land that are usually overlooked can make a subject for a photograph. It is a photo of natural decay that is outside  the 18th and 19th century tradition of English rustic landscape painting, which in Australia, would become paintings of rural Australia featuring farmland, country lanes and river scenes. 

Rustic landscapes do not depict a famous spot, view or monument; rather their intention  is to represent the countryside and rural life. They do so in an idealising manner. It's an ideal landscape  exempted in the pictures of wineries, food and colonial architecture designed in a picturesque setting for  the tourist with taste who  is able to view, and describe  the land in terms of pictures.  

These would be pastoral landscapes as they both celebrate the dominion of mankind over nature and the scenes depicted  are peaceful, often depicting ripe harvests, lovely gardens, manicured lawns with broad vistas, and fattened livestock. The settlers  has developed and tamed the landscape – it yields the necessities we need to live, as well as beauty and safety. 

7.25 am

Yet another picture from Halls Creek Rd, Waitinga, which is located in  the southern Fleurieu Peninsula,  South Australia:

This one was even more planned than the other pictures that I made on Halls Creek Rd:---the time was down to the minute in order to ensure that the early late autumn morning light fell across  the twin trunks of the eucalypt.  Without that early morning light the picture would have been dull and flat. I would have walked past the scene. 

along Halls Creek Rd, Waitinga

Halls Creek Rd is a part of the Heysen Trail. It runs not south and and it is where I often walk in the evening with the standard poodles. It  offers protection from the strong,  southern coastal winds and it has lovely afternoon light.   

This picture was made in the  late winter. There are fields where sheep and cattle graze  on the western and eastern sides of the road. This, in effect, is a strip of roadside vegetation between farmland.  A lot of the spaces on the Fleurieu Peninsula are like this. Most of the land has acquired capital value and has become a commodity. There is no Arcadian  natural simplicity that stands in opposition to, and a compensation for,  urban life in the postmodern city here. It is the landscape of white settlement. 

It all looks quite different in late spring as the green grass has dried  and it has become a golden brown. It would be a different photo in summer. Late spring, however,  is not a good time to walk along  back country roads,  such as this one  with the standard  poodles.  The dried grass seeds along the side of the road become caught up in the poodle's woolly coats and they are very difficult to get out. Miss one and they spiral their way  into the body within 24 hours. 

photographing at Venus Bay, Eyre Peninsula

This picture of  porous limestone rocks was made at Venus Bay on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia in 2013. It is just south of Streaky Bay.  We were on a weeks holiday there with Heather Petty. Whilst there I  avoided  photographjng the panoramic  landscape views of the  cliffs and the Great Australian Bight and focused on the details which fascinated me.   

It had been many years since we had last been there,  and I'd never forgotten this part of the Eyre Peninsula.   Yanerbie, with its massive white  sand dunes that extend up to 4.5 km inland from the coast, was firmly planted in my memory, and  it is a favourite  photographic location of mine for photographing  landscapes in South Australia.  Landscape, currently has an inferior status in the  contemporary visual arts. It's not a fashionable subject in the art  institution. 

The picture was made on the headland of Venus Bay in the late afternoon along the western part of the South Head Walking Trail which offers views of the eastern end of the  Great  Australian Bight. The small settlement of  mostly fisherman  style shacks that hug the coastline of the bay,  borders the headline,  and  the trail  around it offered an interesting early morning walk for the poodles.  

roadside vegetation

This picture was made one afternoon along Halls Creek Rd in Waitpinga on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. Halls Creek Rd is part of the Heysen Trail,  and  I often walk along there on a  late afternoon poodlewalk in the winter time. It's fenced on both sides of the road, it is protected from the southwesterly winds , and the western sunshine gently lights up the vegetation.

It's a pleasant walk in the late afternoon and  I've made a number of photos/studies  of the roadside  vegetation along this section of the Heysen Trail.  This was one of the first: 

On this occasion I exposed  some old Portra NC 160 ASA film that had been sitting in  the 6x7  film back of the Linhof Tehnika 70 for 5 years or more.  I thought that I'd better finish the roll  of film and  have it developed as I had nothing to lose.  Though the negatives were a bit flat and the colours  were washed out  the  digital  files were okay when  I scanned the film. Some  of the pictures looked a  bit odd,  but I didn't mind.