What's New in January 2019
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Photographer's Blog - Monday, January 14, 2019: Wilsons Prom & More
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Firstly let me wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope you got through the holiday period and emerged unscathed into the bright new world of 2019. It's been a bit of whirlwind of activity here, but I find myself with a moment of peace just now to catch up on this blog. As usual I'll try to describe, at least briefly, the trips that lead to these images.
Of the several days away in this period many elapsed without my camera making it out of the bag. That's just the nature of landscape photography; it devours a whole lot of time in travelling, scouting, and waiting for some exciting light. Sometimes a week can disappear with nothing to show for it. Then suddenly you can have a single amazing day that keeps on giving from sunrise right through until twilight, which is how the Wilsons Promontory shots evolved in this series.
The day in question began at Tongue Point. Hiking out to it in the pre-dawn murk was a little unnerving. Cobwebs are never my favourite thing. However, before too long I was standing on the exposed bluff in the still night air and listening to the waves swishing against the rocks below. "Now what", I thought. Coming here had been a last minute decision, so I had no idea what the dark shapes before me foretold.
I swung my head torch around looking for any obvious route across the watery void and up, onto the rocky outcrop that is Tongue Point. Finally I picked a line and began climbing over the many car sized boulders stacked precariously against one another. In the grand scheme of things it was only some moderate scrambling, but at night, with a heavy pack and in the dim light of my torch I somehow managed to turn it into an epic adventure.
Hauling myself onto a granite plateau I shook off the last few minutes of struggle, and surveyed the scene in a pre-dawn glow. Gorgeous! Storms seemed to be brewing on multiple fronts with me in the middle. I stood alone atop the striking tor, the ocean below and the mainland spread out before me, rising to hills beyond.
The air had that clear, sharp taste to it that warns of an impending downpour. It occurred to me that being thus unprotected whilst the weather worsened might be less sane than my nocturnal approach, so I hastened to work on a composition before things became serious.
Occasionally the wind would pick up and rain would halt progress, but these bouts were followed by an eerie calm perfect for getting a dawn shot filled with drama. Eventually I departed, predictably finding the way back much safer in the clear light of day.
I paused on the headland to capture the point from the opposite view, looking out to sea with the clouds thundering ominously around me. Incredibly, heading back inland, I found yet another grand view overlooking the Darby River. A snaking s-bend, leading the eye towards the light. Lovely. Three images before breakfast, an unheard of success rate for me and it didn't end there.
After a day of scouting the coastal tracks out of Tidal River, I ended up atop Mt Bishop for sunset, fatigued and somewhat drowsy from too many pre-dawn starts. Arriving several hours ahead of time I set up my gear and waited. Numerous people came and went. I dozed for a while, lying down on the rocks, my pack under my head. I rose now and then to check the light. Nothing yet, just overcast flat grey in all directions. Back to sleep.
There is a certain contentedness that finds me in such periods of pause. Too often our time is limited. We rush from place to place, task to task, sometimes barely acknowledging the world around us. Waiting for the light, is the opposite of that. It involves submersing oneself in the environment. The rock on my back, the ocean breeze, the distant roll of waves far below, the warmth of the sun... Wait, did I say "the warmth of the sun?" Wake up!
Without warning the low angled golden sun hit a gap in the clouds, fought its way through a bank of thin mist, and lit up the valley like a stage show. Wow. With the camera already prepared I had only to capture the scene. The conditions lasted for seconds only, before the low cloud rolled back and obscured the view permanently. Game over. Final score four images in one day, a personal best.
The photo from Mt Hotham's "Razor Back" and that of Mount Stapylton in the Grampians were both captured during our little father-son hiking trips. There's been a few of these increasingly frequent outings. My photography tends to provide the motivation, but more often than not we just have a great time exploring. Even if it's places we've visited many times before there's always something new to discover. That lure of what's just around the corner, or over the next rise. If you can afford the time and the travel, nothing quite beats it for making memories.
I think that about wraps it up for another blog. Next time I write, it will be about an extended trip up north into Queensland, focused on the Glasshouse Mountains, but with plenty of stops along the way to hunt for beauty and drama in this splendid country of ours.
So until next time, may you also find some moments of extraordinary peace.