As we head towards the tail end of another year I thought I'd better catch up on blog posts. Firstly I'd like to thank everyone who helped spread the word of my little exhibition in Bendigo back in September. All the wonderful compliments were much appreciated, as were, of course, the support of those who purchased exhibited pictures. There is always something very gratifying about seeing work I've laboured so hard over come to life in big prints. Thank-you all.
Now, onto the usual meat of these ramblings, namely trips and new images. Let's see. I don't have too much to present in this round, though it hasn't been for want of trying. Maybe my standards have risen, but I've withheld a number of new images, despite the time invested in capturing and producing them. The test I come back to, for gallery inclusion, is "would I hang it on my wall?" If something is "nice", that's not enough for me. It really needs to be both beautiful and compelling, as well as technically without flaw. All the more so in this digital age where we are inundated with a constant stream of imagery.
One excursion up Mt Buller, including a hike to the snowy summit with our boy, and few days around Lake Eildon yielded several "nice" images, but nothing sufficiently remarkable despite recording each dawn and sunset. Although we bush camped each night, and stayed clear of ski lifts, Buller was costly enough that I felt under some pressure to find a composition. The light, however, didn't play ball. Rather than dwell on it, I changed gears and just enjoyed our father-son time with some tobogganing, which he loved. The great thing about being a Dad is that you get to re-experience all those fun activities you'd forgotten about since childhood.
Fortunately I did have some luck on two other trips. The first, being the most photographically lucrative, involved a couple of winter assaults on Bluff Hut in Victoria's Alpine National Park. Initially I tried approaching from down at the Howqua river near Ritches Hut and launching up through the scrub towards the Bluff, but the "track" was completely overgrown. My GPS was not accurate enough under the trees and steep valley walls. After flailing about for a while, it was only the sound of the river that guided me back to safety.
I abandoned the quest and returned another week, this time 4WD-ing through the night as close as I could and then snow shoeing it up from the road by torch light, to get ahead of the dawn. I found Bluff Hut after a couple of hours and had plenty of time to compose, but it kept snowing pretty hard until mid-morning. I came away with two version of the scene and really liked both for different reasons. One shows a clear, crisp, starkly white landscape, the other, shot during the snow storm, almost makes me shiver to look at it. The snow is streaking down in lines, almost obscuring the subject. I couldn't decide which I liked the most, so I've included both.
On the way out I came across a forest scene with icy white clinging to every branch. It was snowing lightly, but the sun was trying to penetrate the low clouds, causing brief moments of brightness, followed by extended periods of low visibility. I set up my gear and settled in to wait, reshooting several times over the course of an hour or so. Every so often I had to shake the snow off my big umbrella and wipe down my lens. Eventually the conditions cleared without losing the mystical atmosphere. Job done!
By this time my pack was almost invisible under a layer of white, and my muscles ached from standing still so long in the cold. When I got to my car, it was likewise carpeted in ice and the drive out was quite an experience. Roll back, edge forward, rinse and repeat. Several hours later I was out and heading for Mansfield happy with the images I'd found. Note to self, two sets of chains next time.
My favourite photograph in this series, however, was taken far from any mountains. Another exploratory trip with our boy, this time down to the Mornington Peninsula yielded a wonderful coastal sunset, full of magentas with a blazing yellow sun. The sky had been blanket grey all day and the tide wasn't where I'd expected it to be, so I was very excited to have the vista suddenly explode with colour right on cue. My little assistant was calling out the wave conditions to help me time each shot. Fun!
At this point in the blog I usually wrap up with some future trip ideas, but this time I've got nothing planned. I'm unlikely to sit still for too long, however, so rest assured more photos will be coming soon. So until then, thanks for reading, and I wish you all the best.