What's New in April 2018
LARGE Format - Suitable for enormous prints metres wide
Greetings once again. Another couple of months have slipped by us since my last blog, so I thought I'd better write up my recent images. They are all reasonably local, no more than a few hours drive away. Whilst each required multiple separate trips to get the light at its best (one took decades!), they share in common one feature, being fairly family friendly. This year I was able to enjoy each with our seven year old boy who loved the experiences. So fellow parents reading this, here are three hiking locations you can reach from country Victoria or Melbourne.
First up is Ritches Hut on the banks of the Howqua River not too far from Mansfield. I'm sure you can google the access well enough, just head for the popular Sheepyard Flat and then drive further up river to Eight Mile Camping Area. The roads are dirt, but well maintained.
From there it's a comfortable 6km hike, with only slight altitude gains and some nice views. The high track is recommended over the low alternative mainly to avoid river crossings. It does get a little narrow in places with the hill falling away to the river on one side, but nothing too serious. However, in terms of parental duties, be aware there can be snakes. Camping at the hut is fun, though obviously bring warm clothes. Normal hiking etiquette applies, so be prepared pitch a tent if it gets crowded.
The next location I'll describe is The Pinnacles at Phillip Island. This scene has plagued me for years. Decades even. I've been back so many times I've lost count. I think I'm finally pleased with this image, though I'm sure I'll return again, there's just too much photographic potential despite the endless difficulties with tide, weather and light.
Our boy loved this spot. It's an easy walk of maybe an hour to make your way along the beach, up onto the headland and over to the cliff-top. From there you can sit and stare out into the ocean whilst the sun goes down. Scrambling down to the rocks below isn't child friendly, and best left to crazy photographers and rock climbers. However, the view is almost as good from above anyway.
Lastly I'll mention the third photograph in this series, and my favourite, Mt Rosea in the Grampians. I first hiked Mt Rosea some 40 years ago in the company of my father. He was a patient and caring man, with a grand love of the outdoors. I would have been alive with excitement and wonder, and keen to show him I could keep up. As I recall it rained heavily that night. I remember our little red A-frame tent leaked and we awoke to a minor flood under our sleeping bags!
Fast forward a generation, and I found myself leading my own son up the very same peak. This time it was my turn to help him over the bigger boulders, and answer his enthusiastic questions. Unfortunately the wind was blowing a gale when we reached the top, but I made some careful compositional notes, and marked GPS co-ordinates for a return attempt.
That opportunity didn't arise for six months or more, mainly because I needed both a favourable weather forecast and the time to invest into it. Hiking up in the pre-dawn dark (alone this time) I was glad I'd marked my preferred composition and could easily return to it. Almost impossibly the ever present wind was so low as to be nearly dead calm, allowing me to capture the foliage at its best when the sun rose directly into my lens, casting deeply yellow rays across the beautiful landscape.
So that's it for another blog. I'll be heading north for my next images so please drop by again. All the best dear readers.