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Photographer's Blog - Thursday, November 2, 2017: Adelaide & Surrounds
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With only three days spare I once more set out in search of landscape images. The weather was cloudless and windy to the east and north so I headed west instead, making for Adelaide. It's a long drive in the dead of night. Big freight trucks rattle along and the occasional lonely town slips past, but mostly it's just hours and hours of staring into the little cone of light in the darkness. The South Australian border came and went, then finally the steep descent into the city began, fortunately still well ahead of dawn.
One good thing about nocturnal photo scouting is that it's usually very easy to find a park. That sorted, I walked up and down the riverbank in search of the perfect vantage point. Familiar with the scene from previous attempts it didn't take long to narrow it down. I was keen to catch the deep velvety blue of pre-dawn; just enough brightness to illuminate the image, but before the sky became pale and the city lights dimmed. As luck would have it, some rain clouds rolled in right on cue, further adding to the drama.
Starting a trip with a cracker of a shot, always lightens my mood. This is what it's all about really. I'm not sure anyone outside of us weird landscape photographers quite understands the motivation. Possibly fishermen/women. The kind who drive for days, hike up a stream and sit of hours without catching a thing, and yet can't help smiling the whole time. Anyway, I rode that wave of excitement just long enough to relocate to my second intended location at Semaphore, had a quick reconnoitre and retired to a parking bay for much needed sleep.
I awoke in the late afternoon with the sun cooking the car's interior and a thumping dehydration headache. Aspirins, water, grab a muesli bar, the camera bag and it's time to get to work. As is often the case, however, clouds were the issue. I walked up and down Semaphore Pier establishing some good compositional ideas, but there was just no getting around the lack of clouds. When the sun set I shot the scene anyway, but left feeling like it needed more. Back at the car I reviewed my options, checking the weather app for the umpteenth time, and decided to stay put and try for dawn.
The alarm woke me at 5am and I blurrily scanned the sky. Nothing. Not even a wisp of vapour. With my heart not really in it, pulled my kit together and wandered back onsite setting up my tripod and waiting. When sun crested the horizon behind me the sky was still empty. I packed up and began a dejected stroll, turning for one last look. Hey, what's this? Clouds. Out of nowhere, racing into the scene, just as the first light of day paints the jetty with gold. Hah!
My time was now limited, but my mood was definitely hopeful once more. I scouted some more piers near the city, then made the decision to head south and return to a very familiar little Second Valley. I've lost track of the number of reshoots I've attempted here over the years. Given the distance involved it might seem odd to invest so much into one place, but there's something that keeps drawing me back. The gorgeous rolling green hills have such potential to really come alive if only the conditions favour them.
My luck held and the ever present wind stopped, the clouds, which are usually absent or blocking the sun, actually caught some sunset colour and pockets of soft light slipped through to highlight those amazing contours. I slowed the shutter right down, and reshot many times so I could cherry pick the best of it.
Driving off excitedly and spent the first few hours mentally reviewing places close to home that I might still be able to reach before dawn. Eventually I settled on Mount Arapiles, mainly because I know it so well from a youth spent rock climbing. My luck, though, didn't seem to travel with me back into Victoria, so the camera remained in the bag and I drove the last leg home, still very happy with what I'd achieved in such a short period.
Where to next is always the question. I've more landscape ideas for Arapiles and the Grampians, plus some huts in the high country to do, so stay tunned for the next blog. There's also a faint chance we might make a family trip to Tassie if I can find the money.
All the best dear readers!