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Photographer's Blog - Wednesday, September 20, 2017: Hotham & Huts
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So here we are again with another exciting instalment of my life as a landscape photographer. Ha! Yeah, okay, that was a bit much. As you can see from the images, I haven't exactly journeyed to distant realms these last few months. That never ending duty of keeping ahead of the bills has placed my focus elsewhere for the most part. However, I did manage to see the snow once this season, and hopefully made the best of it.
With my wife and our little boy on a plane to Sydney for a family event, I was free to go in search of photographic potential. Getting them to the Melbourne airport on time for a pre-dawn budget flight was nothing short of a nightmare. What Machiavellian mind created that twisted hell I know not, but suffice it to say some peace in the mountains was certainly welcomed afterwards.
Having shot at Mt Hotham many times over the years, I wanted to try something different and capture Hotham Heights Village nestled on its lofty perch and surrounded by peaks. I spent the day scouting and watching the snow boarders, and then, when twilight approached and everyone else was off the slopes I set to work. There was a small window of opportunity whilst light still remained and before snow ploughs began roaming the hills like hungry giants. That last lick of deep orange really added to the drama.
Happy with the shot I moved off the summit, not just to avoid the prices, but also to be in position for my dawn location at JB Plain Hut. Spending a freezing -7 degree night in the car, I was up and ready to shoot the sunrise well before first light. Rewarded with golden light painting the trees, I captured the scene just at the critical moment before contrast overwhelmed the white snow, and left one happy camper. Call me crazy, but that's my idea of fun!
Descending down past Omeo I had the tradition hot pie to warm my soul, and continued on to Swifts Creek, seeking out Moscow Villa Hut once more. Avid readers of this blog may at this point question my sanity, but I'm pleased to report that I was not attacked by dogs this time. In fact, I had the pleasure of having Bentleys Plain Reserve almost entirely to myself. I explored some of the tracks, caught up on sleep and generally waited until sunset. When it arrived I'd had the camera levelled and set up for a good hour and needed only to fire a few shots and the job was done.
My High Country Mountain Huts project seemed to be coming along a treat, but there was time for one more. Scooting over Licola way, I ventured back into the Alpine National Park for second (or was it third?) attempt at Moroka Hut. On my first visit to this location I was somewhat intimidated by the seemingly endless dirt roads, some snow covered, that wound and twisted their way through the vast park. On this trip, a certain familiarity overcame this apprehension and the real joys of this adventurous vale became apparent.
It's a tricky hut to photograph well. The scene calls out for some additional element that will raise the stakes. Fortunately during this dawn I managed to catch it with a heavy layer of frost, hopefully satisfying that requirement. It was bitterly cold, and being the middle of winter I decided a small fire was not out of the question. As golden light tickled the trees I was all set up and ready for the shot.
All too soon my time was up and I was heading for home again. I stopped off in Melbourne to see some family and couldn't help myself but attempt one final image of the city on my way through. It wasn't to be, but I gained some knowledge that will be useful next time.
Which leads nicely into, just where might that be? Well this time I really can't say. As I write this, it's now spring so good hiking weather. If we can manage to stay healthy, I suspect our lad and I might take on a mountain somewhere.
Good night all, may your own travels be safe and your dreams peaceful.