Ho-Hum + the tourist gaze

After my return from the Overland Corner Reserve trip I felt a bit deflated when I was walking along the coastal beaches in both the early morning and the late afternoon. Photographing whilst walking in the littoral zone along the these beaches seemed a bit ho-hum, low key and rather mundane. I even started to toss up taking a camera with me.

Mundane and ho hum because I am back to photographing seaweed again whilst I am walking along the Esplanade town beach with Kayla early in the morning before sunrise. I arrange this walk so that I am making my way through the clusters of seaweed after sunrise whilst consciously trying to avoid the way the tourist’s gaze aestheticizes this seaside resort.

seaweed + sand

There is a sense of dull repetition in that I keep doing the same thing over and over again, without really knowing what I am going to do with all these coastal images. It is becoming a bit routine if not automatic.

Inman River walks

During the autumn of 2018 I made a number of afternoon poodlewalks with Maleko and Kayla along a couple of the walking trails by the Inman River. One of these trails was a walk around the small redgum loop trail by the river near Armstrong ( Ring Route ) Rd. I did this several times, including a few in the morning, before the trail became flooded. On the odd occasion on the redgum woodland loop walk I photographed with a film camera.

Another walk we sometimes did was the linear one along the floodplain on the eastern side of the river amongst that is populated by kangaroos. We would start from the old SA Water waste treatment plant on Canton Place and then make our way along the redgums on the floodplain to where the river passed the Victor Harbor cemetery. We would then slowly make our way back to the Forester in Canton Place as dusk started to fall:

Inman River floodplain

I meant to return to the floodplain area during the winter of 2018 when the river was flowing with a film camera and tripod, but I never did. I only ever scoped the floodplain as I found the floodplain difficult to photograph: just trees, a dry river bed, and leaves on the ground.

Agricultural landscapes

As mentioned in this post on my Encounter Studio blog I have started to explore the back country roads and the agricultural landscape in and around Waitpinga whilst on our afternoon poodlewalks. The Fleurieuscapes project needs to include the rural landscape in order to have some balance to the coastal images in the littoral zone. Most of the space of the Fleurieu Peninsula is an agricultural landscape consisting of dairy farms, grazing land for sheep and cattle, and the rapidly expanding vineyards.

I do struggle with photographing this subject matter, and most of what I see and then scope with a digital camera on our poodlewalks is boring and uninteresting, especially when I look at the digital files on the iMac’s computer screen. I am finding it to be a depressing and disheartening process.

One exception is this picture of pink gum, with a farm shed, silo and water tank along Pitkin Rd in Waitpinga that I came across on an exploratory afternoon poodlewalk with Kayla and Maleko:

Pitkin Rd, Waitpinga

This scoping picture was made in the autumn, when I first started to consciously explore the back country roads in Waitpinga. This picture of a dry, agricultural landscape works much better for me in black and white. The initial colour image looks too pretty and touristy–the photos would be what you would see in a feature in the glossy Fleurieu Living Magazine.

a cold snap

Temperatures have dropped with winters cold snap since I have returned to Encounter Bay from the brief Murray Mallee photo trip to Claypans and beyond. It is now quite chilly in the morning and in the early evening. Though the days are still, there is little warmth in the sun due to the cloud cover.

I have started to walk the back country roads through the various agricultural landscapes on the early morning poodlewalks with Kayla:

Tugwell + Wilson Hill Rds

Surprisingly, I am encountering people who are running and walking along these back roads before sunrise. They, like me, are out walking and running around 6.30 am, which is roughly an hour before sunrise.

winter arrives

It has been a wild start to winter in South Australia. We have been experiencing a week of wet, stormy weather on the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula. The coast has been battered by cold and blustery south westerly and southerly winds, rain and surging seas. The sand on the small, local beaches (Petrel Cove and Deps Beach) is starting to disappear.

The balmy days of late autumn with the early morning macro photography in the gentle early morning light are a memory. The two photos in this post were the last macro photos I made before the cold winter weather set in.

pebbles, Deps Beach

I have avoided walking along the littoral zone and have started walking along the back country roads seeking protection from the wind. That means photographing trees and back country roads. The weather is easing, but we still have sporadic showers and strong, cold winds.

After the rains

As mentioned in an earlier post it is very quiet along the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula these days, even after the rains. Despite the atmospheric conditions it’s only the locals who are out and about in the early morning before sunrise.

When I parked the Forester at the Petrel Cove carpark before dawn this morning (May 20th) it looked as if the ‘after the rains’ scenario was a misreading of the weather. The cloud cover was heavy, the clouds were dark, and there was rain out at sea. So I put a rain coat on, left the tripod and Rolleiflex SL66 in the boot of the Forester and went walking.

Kings Head, Waitpinga

As we walked along the Heritage Trail to Deps Beach and the rocks beyond the beach Kayla and I encountered an echinda making its way along the Trail. I saw a couple of seals and a pod of dolphins hunting in the sea along the edge of the coastal rocks. There was the odd speckled Pacific Gull sitting on the rocks and some seagulls. Apart from that we had the coast to ourselves as we made to the rocks past Deps Beach.

Petrel Cove

It is now much quieter in the early mornings in late autumn at Petrel Cove on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula, than it was in the early autumn. People disappear from the coast on the autumn/winter cusp. . The southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula is associated with summer not winter. Winter is very quiet. People leave for the sunshine of Queensland.

During early autumn –ie., March–Petrel Cove, despite the loss of most of the sand, was regularly populated by fishermen, surfers and photographers in the early morning. The car park had usually had about 6-10 cars parked there, and a dozen or so people would be either milling around the car park watching the waves, on the beach, or in the water.

Petrel Cove

These days the sand has returned, but our 2011 Forester is the solitary car in the car park during the week. This does change on the weekend, as there a lots of people out walking along the Heritage Trail from 8am onwards.

Rope

I came across this rope whilst on an afternoon poodlewalk with Maleko. It was lying amongst the coastal rocks just east of Kings Beach Rd. This is a more popular afternoon walk for us than the western one to, and over, Kings Head. Neither of these locations are accessible at high tide.

For both walks I park the Forester at Kings Beach Rd. For the former walk I walk east along the Heritage Trail, climb down the cliffs to the coastal rocks, and then slowly make my way east along the coastal rocks in the direction of Petrel Cove. Maleko is usually searching for golf balls hidden amongst the rocks. More often than not he finds one.

rope

We usually walk to Deps Beach, which is approximately halfway between Kings Beach Rd and Petrel Cove. We then either retrace our steps amongst the rocks, or walk back along the Heritage Trail if there were no other walkers.

returning to Kings-Head

I took advantage of a heavily overcast morning on Wednesday (18/4/2019) to walk with Kayla along the Heysen Trail to the rocky outcrop on the western edge of Kings Head. This outcrop is down from the Kings Beach Retreats that are on top of Kings Head, and is at the foot of the Waitpinga Cliffs.

I had visited the outcrop earlier –on the 9/4/2019. This was in the late afternoon when Suzanne was in China, but combination of a south -westerly wind, wild seas and the high tide that afternoon meant that we could not gain access to the outcrop. I had to stay on the edge of the hill side of the littoral zone.

foam

For the return visit in the morning we left just after dawn, so that we had time to reach the rocky outcrop just after sunrise. This, I hoped, would gave me some time to photograph around the rocky outcrop before the cloud cover broke up and the light became too contrasty.

The light the morning brings

During the last days of summer I would walk along the Esplanade Beach just before dawn. I would drive along Franklin Parade past the runners and walkers and park the Subaru Forester at Kent Reserve. Kayla and I would then start walking north along the beach amongst the seagrass towards the Granite Island Causeway in the predawn light.

My hope was that I would come across some seaweed on the beach around sunrise so that I could make a macro photo. More often than not this didn’t happen–there was either no suitable seaweed, or the sunrise happened before I reached the piles seaweed on the beach.

Now and again the sunrise and a seaweed form would coincide. An example :

seaweed

It’s just a moment. Then it is gone. I would quickly look around for more suitable seaweed forms before the sun became too bright and so blowing out the highlights on the seaweed. That is more or less the end of the macro photography along the beach.