Last night I received the sad news that an old friend had passed away. I have previously posted about the Ellis Brothers here. Alec Ellis passed away earlier this year and Mort suddenly died a couple of days ago at the ripe old age of 98!
Like their brother Ossie, they were still active at the time of their passing so thankfully they all died ‘with their boots on’, Mort had been down to the nearest town, Sheffield, to get some groceries earlier in the week and looked fine according to a friend.
Thankfully, I had called in to see him back in August when I was last in Tasmania and he was still in fine form, living simply in his shack at Cradle Mountain, expounding passionately on the evils of man’s greed and it’s effect on the natural world, still tinkering with his perpetual motion machine.
Axeman, trapper, cheesemaker, fisherman, miner, sawmiller, ferry-captain, these were just some of the occupations that Mort found himself in during a knock-about life that had it’s fair share of hard times. Tough men during tough times, but for all that, Mort,Alec & Ossie were incredibly generous, with a twinkle in their eye and a humour that was uniquely Tasmanian.
When I last saw him, Mort was a little bemused to find himself on the cover of a book, “Through Their Eyes- Glimpses of a Changing Australia” by Lucy Taylor, Published by Brigalow Press in which the author had travelled Australia recording the stories of people such as Mort. Well worth reading to hear the perspective of a generation that has seen more change than any other!
This time I didn’t make any photographs of Mort, in the past he has been very patient & generous with me and I was able to capture some nice shots of him and I have some great memories of a good friend to me & my late father.
Although he was not particularly sentimental and he always maintained that there was no ‘afterlife’ as many people would like to believe, I hope that if there is, he catches up with my father and his two brothers over a cold Boag’s or two and have some of those spirited debates that they were all so fond of having!
A nice peaceful image from one of my favourite short walks in the Cradle Mt area. The Dove Canyon track starts from near Cradle Mt Lodge and follows Pencil Pine Ck through beautiful Myrle Forest for the first kilometre or so before heading along the top of the Dove Canyon.
The full walk is quite a hike in places but takes you through some magnificent highland country but everytime I am in the area I always go for a short walk along this track because it is such a peaceful place and I am hoping to one day catch a glimpse of a faerie because I am sure they inhabit the area, or maybe a troll!
This will be my last post for a little while as I am off to visit Europe and hopefully Scotland for a month and hopefully return with some good images!
See you all soon!
First of all, it appears this blog has picked up a small following, which kind of surprises me as I don’t consider my images to be anything really special. There are far better images out there than mine! But to those people who follow my blog and those who stumble across it and leave a ‘Like’ thanks very much! I will endeavour to keep it as interesting as I possibly can. Please feel free to leave a comment about the images I post,good, bad or whatever!
It occurred to me that most images of Cradle Mt. are shot with wide-angle lenses which show a lot of foreground which is hopefully interesting but also push the mountain into the background. Luckily, with that distinctive shape, it will still get the attention it deserves. As I was driving up to Lake Dove one day I noticed that at one spot the mountain seems to loom over the surrounding buttongrass plains with little else to compete with it. On the way back I decided to investigate that view a little more closely and this is the result.
It is a slightly different perspective of the mountain helped by the use of a 105mm focal length.
‘Confession’- I have replaced a rather dull, featureless blue sky with something a little more interesting! Canon 5DII, 105mm, 1/5s @f16, iso 100, polariser
On my last night in Cradle Mt, I thought I would have a little go at lightpainting. This is Alec Ellis’s hut and as a bonus a visiting pademelon stayed long enough to be included in the shot!
This is a combination of 4 different images stacked as layers in Photoshop and all blended with with the Lighten blend mode. Exposure for each image was 30s @ f8, iso200.
This image is from earlier in the morning and was a brief show of colour around Cradle Mt. Back over my left shoulder the sky was aflame but I wanted that distinctive shape, so I had to hope that the slowly moving cloud in the mountain’s direction would ‘light up’!
A little tip for those of you contemplating a trip to Tassie for photography, at the height of summer the sun rises at about 5:30am and sets about 9:00pm. Add to that about an hour of twighlight at each end of the day and your photographic day is pretty long! Especially if you are travelling around as well.
Somewhere in that 24hrs you need to eat, download images, scout around, and do th0se other things that life demands AND get a good night’s sleep! Not to mention the amount of people that visit iconic sights like Cradle Mt & Freycinet Peninsula. Next time I go down it will be in March-April or August- Sept when the days are a bit shorter and Autumn colour or Spring flowers are showing.
Anyway, hope you like it! Canon 5D Mk II, 24mm TS-E Lens, 2 stop ND Grad Filter
If you have been following this blog you probably know that Cradle Mt. and I have a complicated history,photographically speaking! The weather Gods just seem to give me the thumbs down whenever I go there. During my little sojourn around Tasmania in a campervan recently I spent 3 days there with Mort Ellis to make sure I gave myself a fighting chance of getting some good images of the mountain.
This particular morning I got up there early and had the place to myself for a while before the holiday crowds started swarming and came away with some nice images of which this is one.
Funnily enough, the weather was actually a little too nice with minimal cloud around the mountain during the morning twilight but I managed to get a couple of nice ones which I will post soon. What made this morning pretty special though for me was the absolute stillness of the water which made for some great reflections.
Hope you like it! Canon 5D Mk II, 24mm TS-E Lens
With the recent passing of my uncle,I was going through some old photos last night and also watched a video shot by a family friend. The video was of my father recounting his memories about the early days of Cradle Mountain following the death of Gustav Weindorfer.
He mentioned that Waldheim Chalet and surrounding land was eventually purchased by the Connell family and run as a guesthouse for a period and it was this family who put in many of the tracks in the area that are still in use today. In those days it would have been hard physical labour indeed as it was all done by hand including the cutting of the timber “cordoruy” used in lowlying areas to make walking easier.
I have posted before about the Ellis brothers who originally built what is now known as Cradle Mountain Lodge back in the ’70s. Ossie Ellis, over the years surveyed,marked and cut many of the day walking tracks around the lodge that I have been fortunate enough to walk over the years. One of my favourites is the Canyon track which can be quite challenging in places!
On one of my recent visits to the area I went for a walk along the track to some hidden falls and was delighted to see that some of the original cordorouy & original marker posts that Ossie put in were still there albeit in sad disrepair in places.
Even though helicopters were used to drop materials closer to the more remote parts of the track, the labour involved in putting it all in would have been huge as all the boards were split by hand, tied together by wire and nailed where needed. Not to mention the digging of drains and levelling where needed! Ossie was in his ’60s at the time.
Eventually the miles of cordorouy that Ossie and some friends put in will rot away or be replaced by timber walkways which will conform to safety standards and constructed by teams of builders & volounteers
This image is my homage to a breed of men & their skills that are slowly disappearing into the mist of time.