I may have mentioned a few times before that Mt. Roland is probably my favourite mountain. So, I am always looking for a new angle to shoot the mountain from, hopefully without trespassing on the farmland that predominates in this area.
This involves driving up every backroad that looks interesting which I rather enjoy anyway. This particular afternoon I stopped at a farm gate of a property that looked like it may have seen better days,jumped a fence and came upon this little scene.
How cool would it be to live with a view like that every day!?
Unfortunately whenever I am doing a bit of exploring up in the high country I come across scenes like this all too often!
They remind me of old battle scenes similar to what would have been seen after the bloody battles on the Western Front during WW1 where whole towns were wiped off the map. These places where swathes of forest are literally obliterated are usually in areas where not too many tourists are found, out of sight,out of mind.
Ever since I was a boy growing up in Tasmania in the late ’60s I have seen this happening. I hated it then, I hate it now! It just seems so wasteful and pointless.
Tasmania is one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth and yet the government and some of the population seem fixated on trying to ruin that beauty, either by building Hydro-Electric dams to supply electricity for industry or clear-felling forests to sell overseas for woodchips! Even some of the old foresters and sawmillers are aghast at what is happening.
While this is a deplorable state of affairs, there are a lot of people in Tasmania that are employed directly or indirectly in forestry, many of them ar second ,third and even fourth generation forestry workers,millers etc. While it would be nice to stop logging immediately, throwing all these people out of work is not too intelligent either. Therein lies the dilemma. You can hardly say to a 45yo man who probably left school at 15 and has worked in the industry all his working life that he could re-train to do something in the tourism industry, the first sound you would hear is a chainsaw as he chases you out of his yard for being so bloody stupid!
Plantation timber will help take up the slack to some extent but they are rapidly taking over prime farming land as farmers sell their farms because their children don’t see much of a future in agriculture. Tasmania already has an exodus of young people heading to the mainland searching for better opportunities.
Unfortunately,it will take time to phase out the most destructive aspects of the forestry industry. In the meantime they will seeking to get the most out of it possible.Thankfully there are organisations keeping a close eye on them.
First up, apologies to all for not participating in the blogosphere as much of late. My new job is to blame, early starts,long days & plenty of ’em! Not quite what I was envisioning but that is the marine tourism industry sometimes. GFC, what GFC? you would not know it existed here at the moment, a large improvement on previous months!
Needless to say, I have been as busy as a one- armed paperhanger and have not had much time for photography related activities.
This image is testament to an old adage of repeatedly visiting a place until you get the shot. Every time I come to Tasmania I visit this spot at least once a day usually at sunrise or sunset, because you just never know what may transpire. Even so, I have been caught out a couple of times after packing the gear away after a fruitless wait only to see the conditions come together within minutes!
This particular morning everything came together nicely for about an hour and I came away with a good selection of images. Enjoy!
Only made it up to Cradle Mt. once this time around. True to form, the weather was cold,blustery and RAINING which is the norm rather than the exception in this part of the world. I sat in the car for a while cursing my luck and eventually a break in the rain came through so hopefully I set off to a couple of spots that I wanted to check out.
Of course, 100 meters away from the car and a light rain started. I pulled out the camera gear a couple of times in the hope of getting a shot that wouldn’t have water spots on the lens and this was the only useable image.
I call this an environmental portrait of Cradle Mt. with the mountain taking a backseat to it’s surrounding environment of buttongrass plains which cover a large part of the surrounding area.
Anyway, hope you all like it!
After having a bit of a look around the West Coast of Tasmania and vowing to spend more time in the area next time I am in Tasmania, I decided to head up the Western ExplorerRoad as this would cut a lot of travelling time to my next destination.
With little information about the condition of this road which has been pushed through the Tarkine Wilderness I headed into the wilderness hoping my hire car was up to the task! As it turned out the road was in good condition but rarely have I felt more isolated, even in the Kimberley! For the next 3 or so hours I saw no sign of civilisation apart from the road I was on. If I had any sort of problem it was going to be a long wait for any help.
About halfway I stopped to stretch my legs and saw this scene behind me which summed what I was feeling at the time perfectly!
Walking around the coastline of Western Tasmania, you notice a lot of Bull Kelp washed up onto the shore. Considering that Kelp anchors itself to rocks often in deeper water,you start to realise the power and ferocity of some of the storm driven seas that frequent this part of the world.
I think this image best captures the raw wildness of the Tasmanian West Coast for me!
These images show a couple of fishing settlements on Tasmania’s West Coast. Fishermen are a pretty independent breed and the cray fishermen are no exception. Operating along one of the wildest coastlines in the world they have adapted to their harsh environment.
The logistics of supplying fuel, bait, food as well as maintenance and getting their product to market would be hard enough in these remote communities. Factor in the weather and the fact that there is no infrastructure like harbours, marinas and in some places grid electricity, means that they have to be a little creative with their solutions. In places like Coutta Rocks and Temma they have built themselves substantial slipways so that when the weather deteriorates as it often does, they can haul their vessels clear of the wild seas. In other places they use a tractor and trailer with the longest tow bar you will ever see to to haul their vessels to safety.
Hopefully these images give you an idea of their working environment.
During my recent visit to Tasmania I took the opportunity to have a look around the West Coast. One of the wildest coastlines in the world,often lashed by the fury of the Roaring Forties and the Southern Ocean it is a wilderness that is populated by small settlements of hardy fishermen and miners.
Conditions conspired against me with one day of incessant rain and the next day of rather flat lighting but hopefully these couple of images give you an idea of what is is like!
The second image was taken just before I slipped on a piece of kelp, went a over t and my brand new Canon 60D with a 10-22mm hit the rocks! Managed to pick it up just before a wave claimed it, camera survived with a cracked LCD but the lens was bent out of shape as well as the remote shutter release. Lucky I didn’t have the 24-105 L series attached!
I reckon you could have heard some very loud four letter words over on the East Coast!
This is a 14 image blend and stitch shot of Liffey Falls blended in L/R Enfuse , stitched in PtGui and processed in Lightroom 3 and PS CS5. First time I had used this technique which is probably old hat to many of you photographers out there! I have to say I am pretty stoked how well it popped out the other end, might play with it a little further sometime. If anybody has any ideas on how I can improve it, I am all ears!
Last image from here, off to the West Coast next!
This image was taken as I was walking out from Liffey Falls featured in the last post. This is a beautiful little spot with pristine examples of Myrtle Beech, Sassafrass & Man Ferns. Luckily this in a reserve but not too far away logging still continues!
This is a nice little spot in the Tasmanian wilderness that I have known about since I was a kid but had never been to before. Beautiful walk into the falls through Myrtle forest and even though I was there pretty early there were already 4 other photographers there with the same idea!
Definately go back there next time I am down that way!
Of all the forests and bushlands I have wandered through over the years, I think the type of forest that gives me the greatest pleasure would be the Myrtle Beech forests of Tasmania.
To me, they are places of magic and mystery. Cool damp forests mostly found along alpine streams, the only sounds you hear are the burbling of the stream or the occasional thump as a wallaby scoots off into the brush.
The colour palette here is a lush emerald green as nearly everything is covered in a variety of mosses and lichens. Looking about, I nearly expect to see elves and faeries to be perched on a log looking at me quizzically.
Photographically, they are a delight, you could spend all day in one of these places and travel no more than 100 metres. Sunbeams,mist and the sheer variety of colour, texture and shape will engage your senses for hours!
Shot near Pencil Pine Creek on the edge of the Cradle Mt- Lake St. Clair Nat. Park.
This image was shot in the Highland area of Tasmania. Pencil Pines are a species related to Huon & King William (King Billy) Pines and are a remnant of Gondwanwa. Found only in Tasmania and Parts of S.America they are a slow growing tree. This one could be up to 500yrs old.
Endemic to Alpine regions they endure some of the harshest winter conditions you could find in Australia but are susceptible to fire.
I love the twisted textures that these hardy trees exhibit ant that is what caught my eye with this image.
Another quick one from Tasmania. This was processed and stitched in Lightroom & PT Gui on a Netbook!
A couple of quick images of my favourite mountain at sunset. Went to Cradle Mt the other day hoping for similar conditions but as usual it rained!
Can’t wait to see these on my big screen when I get home!
Is it possible to have “photographers block”? If so, I think I have a case of it right now, just can’t seem to get the results I am looking for at the moment.
Anyway, for this post I will stay in Tasmania. I have previously posted about one of these buildings before but at the time the light was pretty flat so wider views of the old building were a little bit dull with a blown out sky.
On my last visit to Tasmania I wanted to get some more shots of this dilapidated building, so I did an early morning drive to try and get the low sunlight that I thought would be a little more interesting. Glad I did, as some other outbuildings on the same property were lit very nicely by the early morning light as well. Not sure what these outbuildings were used for, maybe workers quarters,stables, etc, but I am glad I stumbled upon them while rambling down a country road just following my nose!
These will one day be gone, but for now they add some historic context to a world which is becoming more homogenised.
This is one from the last time I was in Tasmania. As I mentioned in a previous post, I drive past this hayshed regularly and it has always caught my eye. Conditions were pretty good this day so I stopped and took a few shots.
I like the recycled corrugated iron which gives it some character and the horse was a bonus. He even looks slightly guilty in this image!
While I am on the subject of Cradle Mt, I would like you all to meet one of my father’s closest mates. Mort Ellis, 94yrs young!
Mort and his brothers Ossie and Alec were the builders and owners of Pencil Pine Lodge which is now known as the world famous Cradle Mt. Lodge. Pencil Pine Lodge was the first “commercial” accommodation built in the area back in the early 70’s and I remember spending some great times there over the years! And a few that I am a bit hazy about as well.
Ossie was a bit of a legend in bushwalking circles before his untimely death. He built all the tracks and bridges around Cradle Mt Lodge that enable guests to go for walks in the different environments surrounding the lodge. A total opposite to my father in political persuasion,they were the best of mates and shared many adventures in some of the wildest areas of the Tasmanian wilderness. To listen to them having a passionate political debate over a few beers was highly entertaining and sometimes alarming as they always used to to stir each other up for the fun of it!
While Mort was not into bushwalking so much, most of his working life was spent in the bush on the rugged west coast of Tasmania. An area that is not known for it’s metro-sexuals and new-age men!!
There are not many people like Mort left nowadays and with each passing year, a wealth of knowledge slowly dwindles away. To listen to people like Mort, Ossie and my father with their knowledge of their environment and the old-fashioned bushcraft they used was fascinating!
On another note, this image was processed mostly in Lightroom using a technique that involves ramping up the Fill, Blacks and Clarity sliders to max, back off on the Blacks to suit your taste, desaturate to taste and put a vignette around it.
Not a great technique for aspiring model but for someone with a lived in face like Mort it works a treat!
Andrew Brown & Jamie Patterson have been posting some great images of the Tasmanian Icon that is Cradle Mt, so I thought I would add my paltry efforts!
These have been lurking in my archive for ages and frankly they’re rather boring images compared to others that are out there.
These two images above were shot in my early days of digital photography, so please excuse the quality. A rare beautiful day up in these parts!
These last two illustrate the extremes of weather up in the Alpine regions. It can go from a beautiful warm sunny day to freezing cold and nasty in very short time! Many people have been caught out over the years, some with fatal consequences.
My father who lived at Cradle Mt for many years and knew the area intimately treated the area with great respect even if he was going for a short daywalk.
Many times i have driven up to the lake hoping for that moody, broken cloud pierced by the setting sun type of weather. So far it has eluded me but I will get lucky one day!
This image is another one to inspire Jamie Patterson on his next trip to Tasmania!
This is what Christian Fletcher would call a ‘drive-by shooting’. Scenes like this one are very common early in the morning in Tasmania, problem is that finding a place to pull over on the side of the road so you can set your gear up is not that easy!
When I saw this scene I was on a main road with long grass verges which may or may not hide a large ditch. Pull off the road as far as you dare, hope your car doesn’t (A) Get sideswiped by a log truck or (B) Capsize into the ditch!
Mist was dissipating quickly, so quickly put on a telephoto lens, run across the road and squeeeze a couple of exposures at a shutter speed that really is too slow for for hand-held shots. Thankfully there was a fence post that was reasonably clear of blackberries to brace myself against.
I am actually amazed that they came up as good as they did!
Hope you like ’em Jamie!
After reading Mark Stothard’s latest post from Tasmania, I thought I would post a couple of images showing the aftermath of logging operations in the Tasmanian forests.
Once again, not a pretty sight!
The Forestry Department do collect as much seed as possible from the fallen timber and reseed the area but it is never the same and in a lot of cases they put in fast growing hybrid plantation timber which is not far removed from a pine plantation. We all know what “deserts”they are!
The big problem is that in Tasmania, Forestry employs a lot of people directly and indirectly and is one of the major industries, so government understandably are not about to throw a lot of people out of work.
Thanks to the Greens keeping the spotlight well and truly on the devastation that happens in the forests hopefully we will see a day when this portion of the earth’s lungs are safe from the chainsaws and bulldozers.