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Photographer's Blog: Monday, February 7, 2022
Summer in Victoria
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The school summer holidays represented a chance for our boy to join me on a nice long dedicated photography trip. We had been talking about it from some months, planning where to go and waying up our chances of escaping the state in the face of rising Covid cases. In the end we decided to play it safe and stay in Victoria.
With the dates locked we eyeballed the weather forecast. Landscape photographers hate empty blue skies, and hikers hate baking hot sun. As it was, we got both for most of the two weeks away, which forced us to really challenge our location scouting skills.
Looking for subjects that did not need dramatic clouds or driving all night for the small chance at some nice light tended to be the norm. Determined to maximize the time we put in the hard yards, and eventually came away with some gallery worthy keepers.
Down at the coast we sank several days into Mornington Peninsula with nothing to show for it but wet feet and wet gear, with the ocean waves drenching the camera and me a couple of times. We hit the Great Ocean Road and had similarly bad luck with boring skies. Time was spent in the Grampians without an image as well. We even did a big off-road drive and steep hike out of Mount Beauty to reach Dibbins Hut but ultimately came up empty handed due to an overabundance of campers near the subject.
Instead, most of our success was in the north of the state, in the general Omeo region. I had not been to Benambra before and was really taken by how charming it was. We found an amazing viewpoint, and both our lad and I managed to capture a great image as the golden light of dawn streamed into our lenses, backlighting the yellow pastures, and drawing our eyes towards the distant hills. (If you like my Benambra image, be sure to click the extra wide version too).
We ended up staying in the area for a while and invested time into Lake Dartmouth, capturing my favourite shot of the trip overlooking the vast lake system, the highest and largest capacity of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The drive up to the firetower was super scary. The forester handled it well, but the off-road track was single lane with a sheer cliff on one side. Reversing out to accommodate oncoming traffic would have proved very dangerous indeed, so it was fortunate that we only met other cars in the few spots where passing was possible.
The Mount Buller region gave us some images as well. Our boy had not been to the famous Craigs Hut before, so that was a fun evening for him, and incredibly we had some spectacular storm clouds appear out of nowhere and slowly move themselves over the subject just as the sun sank. It was the only epic light of the trip, so we made the most of it. Having already captured the scene many times before I decided to do something different and shoot it extra wide to really show off that big sky.
Whilst in the area we did a dawn at Bindaree Falls and had some fun photographing it before the direct sun invaded the scene heralding yet another cloudless hot day. Likewise, we had some success in the Alexandra region. I found an old trestle bridge which always makes for a nice subject and a foggy morning at Mount Donna Buang gave us a lot of excitement and a chance to dabble in woodland photography in a way that is simply not possible nearer to home.
Finally, our time was almost over. The way home beckoned, but we managed to fit in one more location in the Oways. Beauchamp Falls had been closed to the public for what seemed like years but was now open again. It was a raining that last morning, but after so many days of heat and sun, it did not bother us at all. I got into the river, put up the umbrella and had great time refining my composition and shooting between showers.
And just like that the trip was over and we were home and hosed, weary but happy, with a lot of great memories. It has since taken a few weeks to process all the images, but my desk is now clear, and I can think about what the future holds again.
As ever, thanks for reading. I hope you managed to find a summer escape of your own. All the best until next time.