What's New in February 2016
LARGE Format - Suitable for enormous prints metres wide
Well now, where to begin. This was one big photo trip, racking up nearly 5,000 kilometres over the course of a couple of weeks, shooting every sunset and dawn, with intensive scouting for locations in between. Lots of driving through the night, too much bad road food and almost no sleep was par for the course, but the lure of getting that "one great shot" impelled me onwards.
Fortunately the light failed to play ball several days, forcing a delay to the otherwise madly paced proceedings so multiple attempts could be made. During these breaks I kicked back the seat of my car and vanished into the wild dreams of the sleep deprived only to be awakened by my pre-dawn alarm. Get up, get moving, there's clouds! Action stations. After the shoot, I'd drive several hours to the next location and scoff down some random food, maybe a muesli bar at bottom of a pack, glued to the fabric over time. Hike, search, compose, and wait once again for the light, dozing on my feet. Repeat daily. Ah, I love it!
Being vehemently obsessed there's a delightful freedom in ignoring everything except photography and continuing on, forgetting about the real world for a while. At about the half-way mark I stopped long enough for a cold wash under one of those free beach showers so I wouldn't scare the locals. Sleeping anywhere (only when dead tired), eating very little (only when desperately hungry), and moving onwards by car or foot until a scene comes together is my recipe for maximising photography time. It also has the added benefit stripping weight off me. Forget the gym, if you really want to be skinny pick up a camera!
So what did all that rushing about (and the days of subsequent work) achieve? Well there were a lot of problems along the way. For example, I turned up at a lighthouse for a freezing cold dawn on New Year's Day, carefully set up my gear and started to get excited about the colour and cloud, when along came a couple of drunks. Still reeling from their celebrations, they proceeded to stand directly in front of the subject and begin a rigorous conversation about the local geography. Okay, I thought, surely they'll tire soon.
Then a young couple turned up, wanting to see in the dawn of their relationship or something poetic. Nice, I thought, to see such romance, but I can probably crop them out. Then suddenly a whole family steps up, children darting all over, followed by what must have been the local football club, lions members, and RSL all ready to see in the new year from the only vantage point in the area. Ha! I had to laugh. Eventually, nearly an hour later, there was only the young couple, who must have been protected from the morning chill by hormones or something. And finally I had the place to myself, by which time, the colour and cloud had all but moved on.
On the flip side I also had some real wins. Watching the sunrise at Dorrigo National Park, with the low cloud rolling in over the tree tops and the golden light streaming towards me illuminating the canopy, surrounded by birdsong, the place all to myself – that was a magical moment, and worth the whole drive in and of itself. More so, because I'd already invested several days into the area on previous trips with little success. On the topic of having the place to myself, back in Sydney I had the pleasure of seeing a dawn over the Harbour Bridge without a single soul around, not even the rumble of an ancient garbage truck or overly keen jogger. Very unusual, and therefore all the more rewarding.
My pick for shot of the trip, however, came from revisiting Shoal Bay. Typically I'll eye the weather forecast more closely than a deep sea fisherman and react accordingly, sometimes completely changing the focus of the whole excursion based on the appearance of clouds or lack there-of. I took a gamble, driving all day long to make a walk up Tomaree Head before sunset possible. Fortunately I got there with time to spare because it took ages to find a park, and even longer find a spot that allowed for the composition I wanted whilst avoiding both overzealous vegetation and plentiful tourists alike. The sun blazed into my lens, creating challenges with flare but I came away with the image crystal clear in the end. Nice!
In other news our boy had his first week at school as a "prep", another milestone. I also managed to a little Mt Buffalo trip with him, to do some easier walking. We went as far as the underground river at the gorge, and made the horn for sunset. We camped in Bright in our tent, and returned home the next day. He's talked about nothing else since, and is now begging me to take him up Kosciusko! A hiker in the making I think.
Where to next I hear you ask? (If indeed anyone read this far). Well I've actually already been. Spurred on by the success of this trip I made a spontaneous return to the Blue Mountains, but was met with consistent rain over all the days I had available. Something may come of it, but you'll have to wait for the next moderately entertaining episode to find out!
All the best, and thanks for reading.