returning to the Edgelands project

When I was  on a photo camp at Lake Boga, near Swan Hill in Victoria,  I was able to do  a bit of 5x7 large format photography. I haven't used this Cambo monorail  for some time, primarily because of  the difficulties I'd experienced scanning the negatives on my  Epson  V700 flatbed scanner. I found it easier to use the 5x4.  

This  was an early morning photo session on  Pental Island along  the banks of  the Little Murray River.  I'd scoped the location  on a previous visit.   

It was a return to the Edgelands project, which has been on the back burner for a couple of years.  I haven't known what to do with the body of work in this  project after the initial exhibition at Manning Clark House in Canberra in 2014, apart from  continuing to make the odd large format photo. I kept thinking about to continue with this project. 

One possibility that came to mind was to expand the project into a photobook I thought whilst I was on location at Pental Island     One possibility would be to produce a  second edition of the initial exhibition catalogue,  which was a picturebook with a mixture of word and image, by making it more open ended.  

The idea behind the second edition would be to make a photobook in which there is a tension between word and image,  the pictures rather than the text are the dominant  element,  and to emphasise  the meanings being achieved through the reader continuously moving back and forth between the text and image. What I would  try to avoid is having a single narrative or story so as to make it a more open  to a variety of interpretations. 

granite formation

The changeable weather conditions of late  has provided a space  for me to explore the coast in the early morning light and  to  I scoping  for suitable subjects for some large format photography. In this instance it basically  5x4 colour using the old Linhof Technika IV or the Cambo 5x7 monorail.       

I haven't really found much to work with, but this  granite formation looking towards King Head and the wilderness lodge is one of the more promising possibilities that I have across.   

I haven't been doing much large format photography along the coast for a while --only hand held medium format lately. Hence the specific scoping.  Most of what I see in the morning ---eg., seaweed  amongst  granite rocks--is ephemeral, as it is usually  gone by the next morning.  It is either washed away by the sea  or blow away by the wind. 

Nor can I take the 5x4  or 5x7 out and hope that I come suitable seaweed to construct  a still-life.  It's only now and again that I find seaweed pods washed up on the shore. 

It is best to use subjects like granite formation and just wait for an overcast  early morning with little wind and soft  morning light. The large format then highlights  the tonality and colour in the granite. 

aerial photography

Yesterday was my first attempt at aerial photography. Chris Dearden  flew me along the  southern Fleurieu Peninsula coast from the Murray Mouth to Newland Heads then back to Goolwa in  his recreational Sonex aircraft --- a Xenos motor glider. It's a great little fixed wing  aircraft. 

I had to make the photos of the coast through the perspex  canopy at a 45 angle in order to avoid the aircraft's wing. I   used my old  Sony NEX-7 digital camera  with a 35mm Leica M lens. I didn't even bother to use the Rolleiflex TLR medium format film camera that I had with me. it sat behind the seat untouched  for the whole trip.  

A photo of the mouth of the River  Murray, which is where we headed first after leaving Goolwa airport. 

coastal granite

Thanks to Madeline taking Ari for a walk this afternoon  I was able to walk along the foreshore rocks with Kayla and Maleko this Sunday.

There were  heaps of people  walking along the cliff top path, which is part of the Heysen Trail,  in the afternoon sunshine--with children, in groups, with their dogs.  They were still walking at 5pm. 

I suddenly realised that it was a long weekend--Queens birthday weekend.  People had come down the southern Fleurieu Peninsula coast for the weekend.   

re-photographing

The wet,  cold  stormy weather has passed. It is still cold in the morning (I wore gloves on the 7am poodle walk  this morning),   but the wind has dropped, the sun has returned and the sky is blue.  I've picked up my cameras again,  and I've started thinking about photography.  -

I picked up the Sinar F2 5x4 yesterday, got  my pack out, and loaded the battery into the light meter  only to put it down again as I didn't have anything in mind to photograph.    However, I used the digital on yesterday's  evening  poodle walk.  The picture below  is a scoping  study that I made on this morning's poodle walk  along  Baum Rd in Waitpinga using my Sony  (APS-C)  digital camera:

I have photographed this tree before--probably a couple of  years  ago.  It was 5x4 film and I  choose an overcast day with light rain to obtain the dull, gloomy look. I  wasn't all that  happy with what I did in colour.

The Mallee project

The  Mallee group of photographers meet for lunch today at the Ramsgate Hotel in Henley Beach, Adelaide   to discuss the exhibition schedules of their lens-based photography work about the Mallee.  The Mallee photography group is small --it consists of Eric Algra, Gilbert Roe and myself--- and it recently came  together through our mutual interest in exploring the Mallee photographically.   

None of us live in the Mallee, but  each of us has developed a broad photographic  interest in exploring  the South Australian  and  the Victorian  Mallee.  For some  of us, especially Eric,  this interest  goes back several years. What is interesting is that we  approach the Mallee from diverse perspectives.  

What we  decided  over a convivial  pub lunch on a windy winter's day was to come together to put on a series of group exhibitions over a period of years as we gradually built up a body of work about this region of southern Australia.  We decided to exhibit  on a small scale in  Adelaide in late 2016, then produce more work for the Ballarat International Foto Biennale in 2017, then doing extra work to exhibit in some regional towns in the Mallee--eg., in Mildura or Murray Bridge.   This  photography gallery in Mildura was mentioned, for instance, as was this one in Murray Bridge and this one in Horsham.   

in the Victorian Mallee

I spent 4 days camped at  the Ouyen caravan park with Gilbert Roe  so that I could photograph some of the  grain silos in and around Ouyen  on the Mallee Highway with my large format cameras.   I managed to photography 5 silos--those from Ouyen to Linga--using a 5x7 monorail (for colour)  and an 8x10 monorail (for black and white).   

The next stage in the silo project is to camp at Murrayville so that I can  photograph the silos in and around that hamlet. I prefer overcast conditions  for this kind of photograph the silos, which makes life difficult,  as such  days are few and far between in the Mallee.  It's normally bright, sunny and cloudless. 

I also took the opportunity to start to explore  with my digital camera the countryside of  the Victorian Mallee, which is still economically based around dryland farming and large cereal farms. Even in  late autumn the northern Mallee was dry, hot  and dusty  with dust storms.  The agricultural landscapes  look as if it has extended periods of dryness that cannot simply be put down to intermittent drought. That dryness causes hardship to the local communities, the unravelling of the social  fabric, and the steady decline of the population in the towns and hamlets with their derelict houses and abandoned tennis courts.  

at Salt Creek

I've just returned from  spending  4 days on a photo shoot  in and around Salt Creek near  the Loop Road  in the Coorong  National Park. Some of the photos  made  on the trip were in the National Park itself,  whilst many of the others were made outside it. 

This was a snap made in the early morning light when I was returning to the Subaru after a photoshoot for the second  part of the edgelands  project:  

The colours of the samphire that borders the various clay pans are quite intense at the time of the day. The colours become  bleached  outside of the 'magic hour' in the morning and evening. 

sea fog

The last few days on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula coast have been, warm,  humid and very still with dense sea fog moving across the  coastal landscape in the early morning and evening. 

These are unusual conditions,  and I tried to explore them photographically, but without much success. The seascapes that I did were dull and flat,  whilst the various photos of trees and vegetation in the fog were cliched rather than poetic.