This collection of new photographs is the result of several journeys, some more successful than others. I could write about the surprising bit of luck finding colourful light over Portland’s Cape Nelson lighthouse whilst on a father-son trip. Or the quiet, almost cathedral like atmosphere we found at the Redwood forest the next morning. Alternatively, I could pontificate whimsically about the glorious morning I had in the Blue Mountains where golden sunlight flowed like wine over the ever-popular Bridal Veil Falls. I could even, should the mood take me, describe with increasing excitement the many days I’d cumulatively invested into scenes at Bermagaui and Merimbula which, hopefully from these images, finally translated into something beautiful.
However, I shan’t do anything of the sort. Instead what I’d like to talk about are dogs. Yes, dogs. Or more specifically dog owners, and those I encountered on two occasions whilst attempting to photograph landscapes during this period.
The first incident occurred at a little sea-side burg by the name of Coalcliff on the New South Wales coast. I’d arrived to scout for photos, and was walking, sans camera, along the beach when I was savaged by a vicious beasty who took a chunk out of my pants before I could escape. Either the animal had exceptional aim or it was pure luck it didn’t draw blood. What was this hell-hound doing, unrestrained, on an otherwise family friendly beach? I sought out the owner to, politely as I could in my post adrenal rush, enquire thus, only to be told “just keep a wide berth”. No apology. No darting over to tie it up. Just that one sentence of advice.
The second happenstance was more terrifying, due to the remoteness of the area and much larger size of the animal. This time I was deep in the Nunniong State Forest not far out of Omeo. I’d driven 10 hours to get to a hut, and with the light peaking was keen for the shot. There were several cars parked, lots of campers. Setting up the tripod I heard a deep throated growl and turned to discover a dog, the size of prize ram advancing towards me, its threats of bloody violence all too clear.
I had no hope of outrunning it, and grabbed the heavy tripod prepared to defend my life. It was such a random moment, quite unexpected in what should have been a peaceful setting. The owner appeared. Once again, I requested it be put on a lead, and once again I was refused. Thankfully I was able to carefully leave with all limbs intact, and drive the 10 hours home again empty handed.
Increasingly these days, our boy has been joining me on my adventures. I’m just very glad he wasn’t along for that one. A dog that size could have killed him in seconds. He’d have been defenceless against it. At what point did this kind of disregard for others become par for the course? Should visitors of our wonderful beaches, national and states parks expect to be safe from attack? Some of these “campers” carry guns of course, which is even more troubling.
Anyway, enough of that. Where to next, I heard you ask? Maybe somewhere away from people this time. Winter is upon us, which means snow. Not sure yet, but hopefully it will be a positive experience.
Thanks for reading, and may your travels be safe.