The Kimberley, an ancient, timeless land where man’s influence is so far, fairly minimal. That could change in the future if the gas,mining companies and government have their way! Like the Tasmanian SW this is an area that should be left as a wilderness, free of ugly gas plants, disfiguring mining operations and the like.
Traveling through the Kimberley by sea you get a good sense of how insignificant you really are and you get a feeling that the land is watching you,impassively,waiting for you to make a mistake.
On most days during the dry the landscape is a magnificent palette of colour, dominated by the ochre colours of the sandstone of which the area is comprised. Contrasting with the blues of the sea and endless sky as well as the greens of the post-wet season greenery it’s easy to fill a memory card pretty quickly.
But on the rare occasion when a thunderstorm rolls across the landscape, it seems to take on a more primitive & malevolent feeling. You almost expect a dinosaur to make an appearance somewhere and indeed there are dinosaurs around in the form of crocodiles.
This is my attempt to communicate that feeling you get.
You know how it is, rummaging through your files, seeing if there are any little gems that you had forgotten about.
After processing a couple of new images tonight, I was just going over this particular folder when I came across this image of a sunrise at Shute Hbr. I had shot this about a year ago and like a lot of my images, I sat on it for a while.
I have to say that I quite like it because I am a sucker for crepuscular sunlight at the best of times and this a pretty good example!
I also like it for it’s simplicity, It could be composed a little better but the brick shed I was standing next to limited my options on that score. Probably look good as a monochrome which I will do another day, I’m off to bed!
Well, it looks like I may have spoken a bit prematurely in my last post! As I type this, TC Anthony is making a beeline towards the Nth Queensland Coast and is forecast to cross the coast somewhere north of Bowen as a Cat 2 system, sometime early tomorrow morning.
Airlie Beach, being on the southern side of the cyclone will cop some wild weather tonight and we are expecting some heavy rain over the next few days!
Of more concern is another system forming near Vanuatu which is expected to move west and impact the Queensland Coast as a Cat 4 or 5 system later in the week.
After Cyclone Ului last year people are a little more switched on and have been stocking up with supplies and fuel. Not sure what use a car load of fuel will be when the roads are likely to be impassable?
Also, the SW of West Australia is still under threat from TC Bianca which thankfully seems to be weakening. That is one out of the box as it is extremely rare for a cyclone to be that far south! Anyway, hope you guys over there don’t cop it too badly.
Here we go again!
After all the monsoon weather we have had here in the Whitsundays over the last few months, Huey has made up for it with some magnificent weather over the last week!
This is the view from Airlie Beach and today it was nearly perfect conditions to capture it. The noticeable absence in this scene is people! Normally this beach would have many more people on a day like this but the tourism industry which is the town’s major industry is doing it tough at the moment. Never seen the place so quiet!
GFC, high exchange rates, flooding etc have combined to hit the area for a six. But the good news is that we are well and truly open for business!
In the immortal words of Lara Bingle “So, where the bloody hell are you?”
Haven’t posted for a while as I am recovering from a hip operation that has made it painful to sit at a computer for too long! Good news is that I appear to be mending quickly,thank God!
I was reading a post by Christian Fletcher about the proposed Gas Plant at James Price Point near Broome and in the comments section I came across a scary piece of information found by David Bettini about a proposed copper mine near the Horizontal Falls!
I have spent quite a bit of time at the Horizontal Falls in my day job as a charter vessel skipper, and have driven tourists through the falls many times in all conditions. This image does not show the Falls in full flight as they are very dependant on the range and state of the tide. At maximum flow on the biggest tides of the year (11.5m range) they are an awesome sight with a 3m difference in level in the outer gap and a 5m wall of water in the inner gap. Water speeds reach up to 20 knots with huge whirlpools and turbulence, driving a powerboat through these is to be on the edge of control and very much an adrenalin surge to put it mildly!
The surrounding area in Talbot Bay is an ancient,rugged and unforgiving landscape that will punish any lapse in concentration on land or sea. Huge tides, crocodiles, sharks and a rugged rocky landscape with little fresh water makes it a place to keep your wits about you!
It also has a beauty and grandeur about it that is awe inspiring at times,especially when you look at how the sandstone strata has been pushed, pulled and twisted by unimaginable forces over millions of years.
To really get the best perspective of these forces and how this landscape has been formed flying over it is the best way, a truly unique experience!
The ancient rythms of life hold sway out here and make it a very unique area but unfortunately a mining company can’t see them. What they see is potential profit by changing and perhaps ruining an ancient landscape forever! And the politicians will be all for it if it looks viable.
I seriously hope people fight this and the Gas Plant near Broome tooth and nail and tell those in power that there are some places that are out of bounds!
If you want to see some more of what there is to lose, check out this brilliant video by Michael Fletcher!
I have previously posted about “Solway Lass” last year but have never been aboard while she is under sail. Yesterday I went out on her for a fundraising daysail which was a great day with great people,live music and good weather.
Having been skipper of ex Racing Maxi-yachts for many years I was interested to see what a Square- rigged sailing vessel was like to be aboard under sail.
Looking around the boat, there are a myriad of lines for sail control and it looked very complicated. In the old days of the clipper ships sailors needed to know where each particular line was and be able to find them in the worst weather and darkest nights. No easy feat!
The biggest difference I found between the modern racing yacht and a traditionally rigged vessel was how quiet and calm the older heavier vessls were. Very peaceful!
This is one of the images I took to try and capture some of the romance of that bygone era.
I went back down to Shute Hbr today to try and get some images that give an idea of the desolate look of vessel that has found itself on the beach due to forces that are sometimes far greater than the seamen who spend a lot of their time doing everything in their power to keep their boats afloat!
Luckily these vessels have suffered little real damage compared to many others and hopefully will be afloat again, albeit with some ingenuity,brute force and funds.
“We don’t have a problem, it’s just an unresolved situation we haven’t thrown enough time and money at yet!”.
The biggest cost will be the loss of earnings for the various commercial vessls that have found themselves in this predicament.
These are a couple of images that were typical scenes to be found in a Fijian village 20 yrs ago and would still be found in many villages today.
Cane knives are a ubiquitous tool used by most males over the age of ten. There is not much that can’t be done with a cane knife, from splitting open coconuts to doing the gardening.
They are very skilled in the use of these knives and they keep them sharp! One thing I did notice was that many Fijian males have scars on their legs which is part and parcel of learning to use a cane knife when they were younger.
In most villages nowadays the grass hut or Bure has been replaced by corrugated iron shacks or if they can afford it a cement block shack.
While not always aesthetically pleasing to the eye they are practical and kept spotlessly clean and tidy.
I was curious as to why they no longer built from natural material which was easily and cheaply replaced. As they still cook over an open fire in most villages, grass huts were a hazard,so iron sheets were the next best material.
In cyclonic conditions though, I know which material I would rather have flying around the place!
In response to a query from Graham at Ecomuse Images and with inspiration from truenorthmark, I am going to step back in time to 1989 when I was lucky enough to spend 5 months in Fiji.
I turned up with my surfboard, my backpack and some Nikon camera gear and no idea of where,what ,how. (Get the picture?)
To cut a long story short I kind of went native after being adopted by a local family who had family scattered over the Fiji Islands.
Even though I didn’t get to surf some of the places I was trying to get to, I got to spend time with some of the most generous and warm-hearted people I have yet to meet. I also saw and learned some aspects of Fiji that most tourists never see and got a few images to boot.
These images have been scanned from 35mm Kodachrome Slides so image quality may not be perfect but for 20 yo images they are not bad!
Hope you enjoy the next few posts from the vaults!
These are some images of ‘Waldheim’ which was the home of Gustav Weindorfer, acknowledged as the spiritual father of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St.Clair National Park.
‘Waldheim’ was built in 1912 from local timber that was all manually split for shingles and used for furniture etc.
Considering there were no roads into this area then, it is usually cloudy and drizzly and it can snow in the middle of summer, you’ve got to hand it to the people who made the area their home. Tough buggers!
But when you look at the surroundings you can’t help but think what an awesome place to live!
It’s a far cry from modern times where the area is a tourist mecca and is very carefully managed by the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service to ensure that the thousands of people who visit each year don’t completely wreck the area.
I was here early one morning, weather was crap for getting any decent images of Cradle Mt. Luckily it was too early for the tour buses so I had the place to myself for an hour, a rare experience!
If you are heading to Cradle Mountain, chances are you will pass through an area called the Middlesex Plains.
This is one of my favourite drives, great road and the scenery has a haunting beauty to it that is unique. Skeletons of trees killed long ago by extreme weather and fire, among other causes, stretch their ghostly limbs to the sky.
The human history of this area is littered with tales of hardship,loneliness, folly and bravery although there is little evidence of it these days.
I have tried to capture what this place feels like on a few occasions but so far it has eluded me, Its a place that needs time to get to know. These are a couple of attempts that hopefully gives an idea.
Driving down a Tasmanian backroad just following my nose. Not much happening,sky is a flat dull grey. Come around a corner and find this little gem!
It was once quite a large house and just up the road was I guess it’s replacement, a large colonial type mansion which is probably Heritage listed.
In it’s heyday this would have been a large prosperous farm owned by wealthy people.
Had to stop and take some pics. Used a treatment in Lightroom called Detail Booster which suited it quite nicely I think. Hope you like it!
These are 3 images I have entered into a competition run by the Spirit of Tasmania who operate the Bass Strait Ferry. It is called ‘Capture the Spirit’ and is open to any resident of Oz who has some images of Tasmania.
Prizes include Canon1000D cameras and Accomodation packages etc.
Like most comps of this nature they require copyright waivers for the winning images so they can use them for promotion.
If you want more info go to www.capturethespirit.com.au
Does anybody out there have a favourite place such as a river,valley or landmark that you never tire of looking at? Well this mountain is one such place for me.
Mt. Roland is a mountain that always affects me whenever I look at it. I have never been to the top of it, (yet) I have circumnavigated it many times and it draws me like a magnet whenever I am in it’s vicinity.
It is deeply entwined in my family history, my great-grandfather carved a farm out of the Tasmanian bush in it’s shadow, my mother’s ashes are part of it, as will my father’s one day and possibly mine as well!
I don’t know of any mountain that dominates its surroundings like this one except for perhaps Uluru and from certain angles it even has a similar profile.
I still havn’t found the perfect location to shoot this mountain from and that can change with the time of the year. I think it is in the middle of one of the local farms, may have to do a dawn raid one day……
I guess we all have our own version of ‘God’s own country’, but for me it’s a region in Northern Tasmania where I grew up and members of my family still live.
The area surrounds a town called Sheffield. A farming region with rolling green paddocks, an imposing mountain that dominates the local landscape and places with names like ‘Paradise’, Nowhere Else’ and ‘Lower Crackpot’!
If you are heading up to Cradle Mountain, chances are you will probably pass through this area on your way to the high country.
Just reading some of the pioneering history is a fascinating journey.
Whenever I go down to see my father who unfortunately is in a nursing home these days, suffering from virulent old age, I spend hours driving around the countryside looking for images that reflect the beauty of this area. Even if I come back with nothing,it is time well spent!
I know the framing is a bit basic but it is a work in progress!
Well, this is the end of our tour along the Kimberley Coast. These three images are of a fuel truck driver I met on the Derby Jetty. Can’t remember his name but he was a really nice bloke!
Derby is a town situated on the mud flats at the mouth of the Fitzroy River and will probably be the first town to be affected by rising sea levels.
First impressions of the town are not much but what makes Derby unique is it’s history and the friendliness of the people who live there.
I would rather spend time there than Broome.
Anyway the next few posts will be of one of my favourite places in Tasmania just for something different.
The three images here are of a place called Talbot Bay, home of the famous Horizontal Waterfalls.
Geologically, this area is pretty interesting. Flying over and cruising around here, one can see evidence of the tremendous forces that were exerted upon this landscape millions of years ago that stagger belief.
The strata is tilted,bent and twisted on a scale that makes you feel pretty small in the scheme of things!
Add to this some of the largest tidal movements in the country and you have a landscape that really grabs your attention!
These are a couple of shots of a unique little spot in the wilderness. Comprised of nearly pure silica, it’s like the Whitehaven of the Kimberley but smaller!
As the water is reasonably clear it is one of very few places that it is relatively safe to swim in saltwater and the rock formations surrounding it are amazing.
Even the wildlife likes it, we pulled up one day to find a small croc getting a suntan. He disappeared mumbling “Bloody tourists….!”
I’m going to back track a little here. If you have been following the blogs of Christian Fletcher and True North Mark you will have seen some great images of the Kimberley Coast.
I was very surprised to see that neither posted an image of what I consider to be one of the most spectacular sights along this coastline, the entrance to the Hunter River.
It’s a little difficult to get a sense of the size of these two peaks but believe me they dominate the landscape! No official names that I know of, but variously known as the Ninepins or Indian Hd. If you look at the right hand one you can see the face in it.
The next image is another rockscape taken on a beach near here.
You could spend a lifetime photographing the rock formations along this coast!
These are a couple of images of a place called Myridi Bay in Yampi Sd. The first one is some amazing cliffs that change colour as the sun sets on them. If you look closely you will see some bending in the rock strata. There are even more extreme examples around this area that make your jaw drop when you think about the forces involved!
The second image is what you see next morning on the other side of the inlet. Polarising filters come in handy up this way.
As I mentioned in my last post, this landscape looks like it could all falll down with a good sneeze! This is in an image taken at Steep Island that shows how it is all being slowwly whittled away. Some of the rocks that have fallen off the cliff are big! I saw even bigger falls in places, would not want to be underneath them……….
On another note, I have just checked out some images posted by Christian Fletcher and Mark Stothard. Nice! That is the beauty of photography, we all see things differently!
Even though the Kimberley is an ancient landscape, if you look closely, it resembles a stack of loosely piled dominoes at times. Huge rock slides and falls are commonplace and you get to thinking that a decent earth tremor would bring the whole show tumbling down!
Around the tidal level, the sea has carved some amazing sculptures into the sandstone that makes up this land/seascape.
This was one I found early one morning in a place called Yorke Sound. I only had a short time ashore and was surrounded by some surreal rockscapes. I can well understand how the aboriginal people revered this land!
I was just looking through the images I took in the hope of stitching at a later date and came up with this. I know you’ve alll seen this storm before but not quite like this.
Courtesy of LR2 and a neat little plug-in called the SIAS filter.
Still playing with the stitching program. Until I have something worthwhile to post it is back to single frames for a while.
This is one I shot in the Kimberley when another mean looking storm poked it’s head over the hills. just as i thought we were going to cop it, it parted and went around us. Managed to get a couple of decent frames and took this one for a ride through Lightroom.
I like the patchy lighting which is something I look for all the time. “Chiriasco” I think is the term for it, nice when it appears!