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.
Unfortunately for me, the exposures that I made using the old Linhof Technika 70 using a 6x9 film back were terrible: the shadow areas were underexposed and the highlights were blown out. The above picture was the best version--I have cropped out the burnt out highlights.
There is an early interpretation of this image that I published on my black and white Tumblr blog. The shadow areas are okay in this version, but the highlights in the top right corner are blown out. I knew they would be when I was making the photo as it was summer time and the light was still contrasty in the late afternoon. I couldn't wait for the sun to dip behind the background hills. I made the photo and hoped for the best. It wasn't to be.
This subject needs to be re-photographed. I went looking for this curved branch on a morning poodlewalk with Kayla amongst the scrub in the Heysen Trail in Waitpinga. It took me a while to find it. Taking a hand held digital scoping photo with the Sony a7R111 reinforced my view that this kind of subject is more suitable for black and white film than colour.
It's a tricky subject to photograph due to the wide dynamic range between the deepest shadows and the highlights. It requires a long exposure, an overcast day, soft light and little wind. These are unusual conditions along the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula.