We arrived back from a 2-3 week holiday in the lower part of the South Island in New Zealand on Monday night (the 23rd March), and immediately began our mandatory 2 weeks of self-isolation. We just made it back to Australia before New Zealand locked down–a nationwide shutdown– on Wednesday, and Virgin had cancelled all its international flights in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
I walked Kayla along the coastal rocks the morning after our return before sunrise in order to avoid other people. There was one runner on the Heritage Trail, and the Green Car man was walking amongst on the rocks with his aggressive Australian Blue Heeler on a lead. I was able to keep a large distance from both of them. Other than that there was no one around and I entered no buildings.
It was a mild and overcast morning. The landscape looked so very dry compared to Fiordland or to Dunedin. Though it started to rain as we made our way back to the car at Petrel Cove, the rain didn’t last long and it was very light. It wasn’t enough to green a browned landscape.
Kayla and I have started to walk along the various roads next to the various beaches in Encounter Bay so that I can photograph the seaside architecture. As these morning walks incorporate Hayborough, which is east of the Hindmarsh River, they can take several hours. The mornings have been overcast and the cloud cover has remained until 9am.
I have taken photos of the domestic seaside architecture before on previous beach walks, but not published any. I wanted to be a little more thorough. This house at 68 Franklin Parade is one that I have walked past many times, but I’ve never bothered to photograph it. It is quite secluded by the trees and bushes on the right hand side of the front of the property.
It stands out from the other beach houses on Franklin Parade because of the dark, brown wood, orange roof, and the trees. It is much darker and in deeper shadow than the other houses.
During the first two weeks in November the coast of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula has been buffeted by strong westerly winds. Only the odd days here and there have been without the wind. It is only in this third week of November that I have returned to walking along the beach around the mouth of the Inman River in the early morning or amongst the rocks west of Petrel Cove in the late afternoon.
It is usually quiet on the Esplanade Beach early in the morning. There are not very many people walking along this beach—just the odd local person walking their dog. So Kayla and I have the beach pretty much to ourselves.
On a recent late afternoon walk with Maleko I sat quietly amongst these rocks in the littoral zone just east of Kings Beach Rd in Waitpinga. It was a warm evening, Maleko was looking for golf balls, and I was looking at the light on the rock before the sun disappeared behind the hill.
It was a quiet moment and, whilst I sat there , I had a sense of belonging to this landscape–being a part of it as it were; rather than just walking through it, being separate from it, and taking photos of what caught my eye. I felt the spray on my face, the wind on my arms, and the sun on my back, whilst the waves of the incoming tide gently rolled around my feet. It was a space where I could immerse myself in the moment.
I returned from a successful photo trip to Mt Arapiles and the Wimmera Mallee to spring on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula, and to allergic reactions (allergic rhinitis) to the airborne allergenic grass pollens. This hay fever is especially intense ( itchy eyes and throat, sneezing and runny nose) when the north wind carries the pollen from the northerly grasslands across the landscape.
My response is to avoid walking along the back country roads within the agricultural landscapes because the grass pollens are currently hurting my eyes. I try to ensure that the poodlewalks are now along the beach and I walk as close to the sea whilst hoping for a southerly wind coming off the sea.
Kent Reserve or Petrel Cove are good starting points because I can quickly get to the beach from the car without walking through a lot of grasses, whilst wearing sunglasses and having previously taken preventative eye drops to help ease the irritation.
Suzanne is currently walking on Lord Howe Island and I’m minding the poodles until I leave to join the Friends of Photography Group (FOPG) at Mt Arapiles in the Wimmera plains. I leave on Friday 6th September, Suzanne returns to Adelaide on Sunday, 8th September, and I return to Encounter Bay several days latter.
FOPG have a weekend photo session at the Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park, which is south of Nhill and the Little Desert National Park. Camping at this site will be the first time that I have linked up to this Melbourne-based large format photography group in the field. After this photo camp I will move on to stay at Lake Marma at Murtoa to photograph in the Wimmera Mallee.
Looking after the two poodles on my own means that the areas where they can walk off lead are restricted, as I need to avoid the kangaroos in the morning and other walkers in the afternoon. So it is back to the old standbys, such as meandering amongst the coastal granite rocks around the foot of Kings Head.
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.
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.