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Photographer's Blog: Friday, November 5, 2021
Snowy Huts and Waterfalls
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This little collection of work comes from two or three photographic trips in the late winter to early spring of 2021, the first of which saw our boy and I spending a day on Mt Stirling. Having hiked or snow shoed there for several decades I was quite confident in terms of navigating us along the well-marked trails, but laden down with two heavy tripods, multiple cameras, and lenses, as well as water and winter gear for two, my now 50-year-old body was pretty done in by the end of the day. Our lad, of course, was spritely and exuberant the whole time, drawing upon a seemly inexhaustible supply of youthful energy and the general novelty of having snow under his feet.
We did manage to summit, and visit three of the mountain huts, though only my image of GGS Hut seemed worthy, and even then, I would have preferred fresher snow coverage. What I loved about this image, however, was the vibrant gums and chose to make that the feature rather than the hut itself, which to be fair lacks the romanticism of a wooden construction.
Never-the-less, probably the best image of the day was the result of a rare and quite unexpected moment very early in the morning. Hiking out from Telephone Box Junction in the predawn, the going was tough through the snow, so we had our heads down focused on a steep incline. Topping a rise, we were suddenly greeted with the most amazing light streaming through the snowy trees. Great shafts of sunlight pierced the fog as it drifted across the scene, shifting constantly.
Fortunately, I had just enough time find and capture a composition before the fog rose. We were both quite excited with our images, and the day had only just begun. What a great experience to have shared!
The next photographic adventure we shared involved starting at Mt Buffalo and roaming up into the vast Alpine National Park, then down to the east coast of Victoria as far as we could go without crossing the border, before returning home some days later. It was a grand outing, and because we were doing our best to stay away from people, that meant lots of time together scouting new locations whilst immersed in nature. The light wasn't the best (many cloudless days), but the secret to landscape photography is to get out there regardless and just have fun finding and shooting scenes. Eventually the images will come, and when the light does play ball, it will be all the more rewarding for the journey leading up to it.
Case in point being the highlight of that trip which was our Kelly Hut experience. Access out of Licola involves a long dirt road drive, followed by a hike. After driving up in the dark and walking in through the pre-dawn murk we were rewarded with a delightful dusting of snow lit by a soft morning glow. Being quite late in the season we had not expected to see snow at all, and had a wonderful time, both of us photographing the area for two or three hours, before hiking back out. Be sure to click on the extra wide version of that image to see the full landscape that was before us. Such a magical morning!
Of course, it wasn't all panoramas. My new medium format camera did see some action when we went chasing waterfalls at Mt Buffalo. Although I've photographed both falls before, they were new to our boy and that gave me the perfect excuse to revisit them and spend the hours needed to come away with something special. With both falls it can be a little challenging to have the place to oneself long enough, but the answer is simple, and that is to arrive early in the morning. This also has the added benefit of avoiding any harsh direct sunlight, which can be the bane of waterfall photography.
The last image in this series is that of Salmon Rocks at Cape Conran in the far south-east of Victoria. The cape boasts several long beaches and bush walks that can be relatively free of people, providing a great experience in what feels like a fairly remote region.
Having worked on these particular rocks a few times before, our boy and I each had our preferred compositions planned. However, arriving early we couldn't resist scrambling around hunting for new angles. Eventually we set up tripods and waited to see what would transpire.
Fortunately, this time we were granted some amazing sunset colour, complete with a burst of light over the ocean. I chose to shoot moderately long, drawing the viewing over the rocks towards that distant headland lit by the fading sun. Our boy did the opposite and went big capturing the whole sky which turned a marvelous hue towards evening. I love his image, and it proves that two people can see and render the same scene quite differently despite standing side by side.
So that's it for another blog. I'm not sure what the future holds in terms of photography expeditions. It looks like state borders are slowly reopening, but perhaps it would be prudent to remain local for the time being.
As ever, I hope you find some time to invest in your own mental health and get out into nature. With or without a camera, the peace and exercise is truly beneficial. Until next time, thanks for reading.
Below: Our boy, awaiting the light at Bemm River.