What's New in April 2015
LARGE Panoramas - Suitable for enormous prints metres wide.
South Australia is deceptively larger than it seems from a quick glance at a map. There are some brilliant places to visit, but they tend to be separated by endless hours of driving. With this thought in mind I decided to focus most of my efforts in one area rather than my usual pattern of erratic and widespread travel. Thus it was that the wonderfully dramatic Flinders Ranges became my home for a week.
I like clouds in my landscapes, but as any visitor to outback Australia will tell you they are hard to come by. This trip was no exception. Almost every morning the sun rose into a blank empty sky and set into one equally devoid of those puffy white billows for which I longed. After a while, however, the shear grandeur of the Flinders Ranges eclipsed my skyward deliberations and in any case some cloud did eventually turn up.
The main event was a hike up St Marys Peak, something I'd been wanting to do for years. I began walking by torch light just after mid-night and summited well in advance of the dawn so as to have plenty of time to compose my sunrise shot. As a result I had the absolute pleasure of descending the mountain well before the heat of the day hit. It's a long, steep walk in a hot and unforgiving environment, but well worth it. I'd put it on my personal top 10 best day walks in Australia just for the thrill of the summit view alone.
I spent the rest of the week re-exploring scenes I'd shot in years past and also finding new ones including the Elder Range. Sitting there, all alone, watching the morning light slowly paint my scene, the vast golden landscape seemed less harsh and more inviting, almost gentle in its enormity, a caress of immeasurable eons acknowledging my existence with a wink and a nod.
After my week was up I grew restless and decided to head for the coast in search of some clouds. The unfortunately named Coffin Bay became my destination where I discovered one of the best hamburgers I've ever had in a little seaside café. The chef was also an off-road enthusiast and offered some good advice warning against driving on the ever flowing Gunyah Beach Sand Dunes that I had wanted to shoot.
Shortly there-after I found myself a-foot on said dunes, once again walking over a hot, unforgiving environment under an empty sky. By far the biggest issue was wind, and more specifically windblown sand. Within seconds of opening my camera bag the stuff was everywhere. With my big umbrella up and my whole weight braced against it, I was just able to keep the gale at bay.
On the way home I revisited the popular Fleurieu Peninsula where some serious cloud finally arrived at the delightful Second Valley. I had my position set up by lunch time and simply waited. Just as the sun began to set the cloud to the west cleared while the storm over the east persisted offering pockets of brilliant golden light that spot lit the hills. These gaps were small. Cloud shadows wandered across my scene, sometimes hiding the pier and lighting the hills, and sometimes the opposite. Finally a single moment occurred when light filled the valley whole, allowing me to capture one of my favourite shots, a perfect way to end my grand South Australian road trip.