What's New in November 2014
LARGE Panoramas - Suitable for enormous prints metres wide.
With our little guy now four years old our weekends tend to fill up fast, but I've discovered a marvellous thing, the great outdoors is something in which he's keenly interested. Maybe it's my influence rubbing off on him, but he'll often remark upon the quality of the sunset or point out which trees he likes. A few trips to local parks and waterfalls lately have been acutely appreciated, such that they remain a topic of his ever flowing and imaginative conversations for days to come. My photographic excursions are always solitary rambles, but perhaps, with luck, not for too many more years.
So where did I manage to disappear to this time? I wanted to catch Kosciuszko with a hint of snow still dusting the landscape, so I headed straight there, crawling through the dark at a kangaroo safe pace. Gearing up at Charlotte Pass I trekked through the inky gloom, hoping the snow would be at just the right level. Too much and it would obscure my foreground, too little and it would lose the wintery feel. Approaching Semens Hut a large bank of the stuff completely covered the track and I all but lost hope. A long night of driving and walking for nothing it seemed. Then, amazingly, the hut presented itself from out of the murk with a pool of snowless calm surrounding it. Perfect! And just in time as the dawn was fast upon me.
I spent the heat of the day resting up and then headed down to the snowy river for the afternoon, occupying myself with finding the best composition to show off that icy blue, snow-melt water. The turbulent stream and exhilarating atmosphere of the surrounding peaks made for a wonderful exploration. I went back and forth a bit before choosing a spot. With tripod erected and camera pre-focused I somehow managed to fall asleep again whilst waiting for the light – no easy feat on a hard scrap of rock beside a boisterous river and probably a testament to the landscape photographer's primary skill, that of operating on little to no sleep until the shot is secured. That marvel of the modern era, the smart phone, having only recently made the acquaintance of this late adopter yet again proved its worth by issuing a call to arms just before the setting sun did its thing. I used a neutral density filter to slow things down, giving the scene that milky water and buttery smooth tonality. Nice.
Re-energised by getting a good shot (it's an addictive feeling as any photographer will tell you), I drove north mentally picking out dawn locations. A few hours later however and it was clear that my brain was cashing cheques my body couldn't supply. A "powernap" found me missing the sunrise and most of the next day. I headed off again determined to explore the mid-north coast of New South Wales. Over the course of the next couple of days I got as far as Port Macquarie and explored the Queens Lake area a fair bit scouting for shots before turning tail for Newcastle, and finally winding up at Redhead Beach where the shark tower begged to be photographed.
I wanted dawn at Redhead, but knew I'd already used too many days so settled for sunset only to discover excellent light that worked out beautifully. I had some trouble keeping people out of the shot, it being a popular little spot. Children seemed naturally drawn to the tower. I guess it beckons them as much as it did me. Having exhibited another landscape photographer's skill, the ability to stand still for hours waiting for a chance, I think they must have taken pity on me. The magic moment, just as the sun dipped below the horizon arrived and I had the scene mostly to myself. Ribbons of colour adorned the sky. I ended up shooting a near 360 degree panorama. Glorious, and sufficient mental fuel to carry me south.
I spent a dawn at one of the many Sydney beaches, then took off towards Victoria and home, but angling west enough to convey me across the desert-like plains to the NSW's Riverina district. As drives go it was exceedingly uninteresting and as such something of a challenge. The remoteness started to eat at me, as my mind spun tails of break downs and baking heat, with miles of nothing in all directions. Just as I was starting to think I'd made a poor choice the One Tree Hotel presented itself and I immediately knew I wanted to do a star shot. That wondrous gadget told me to expect a full moon right over my scene. I waited for hours as the sun sank and the moon rose right on cue, the stars filling the night sky with a shroud of festive lights. Nice, and well worth the slightly scary drive.
No idea where I'm headed next, photographically speaking, but certainly I can see playgrounds and parks in my near future. Ah to be young again and so full of energy!