at Newland Heads: digital photography

We spent the long weekend just passed (Queens birthday?) down at Victor Harbor. I used the time on the afternoon poodlewalks to refine the focusing on the Sony NEX-7 and to explore its image quality. What I wanted to know was whether could I get most of the pictures I was taking in focus and, secondly, whether the larger sensor could handle landscape detail as good as 35mm film.

rock pool, Newland Cliffs

I mostly succeeded with the focusing issue–all were in focus. And I was pretty happy with the image quality of this picture. The 24.3 Megapixel sensor produces images that are an improvement on those produced by the 10 Megapixel sensor of the old Sony DSC R1 that I used to use.

beyond Kings Head

We are down at Victor Harbor for a couple of days–the last few days of Suzanne’s holidays. We return to Adelaide on Sunday.The days down here are being spent painting the living room of the weekender and gardening.

The autumn weather is still, overcast and temperate–it’s good coastal landscape photography weather. So yesterday afternoon and early this morning I walked along the Heysen Trail past Kings Head on to the rocky outcrop foot of the Newland cliffs. This is where I’d been photographing before the Queenstown trip.

Victor Harbor, near Kings Head, digital, Olympus, Newland cliffs

Though my Sony NEX-7 has finally arrived, I cannot get it to work with a Leica 35mm lens. I’m finding the user interface to be very complicated indeed. So I took the 5×4 Linhof this morning plus Suzanne’s Olympus XZ-1 digital camera for further scoping.

exploring the King River

I went up to the Mt Lyell open cut mine this morning as part of the ‘Now and Then’ team. I was unable to do much photography along the lines of rephotographing the old photos. The vantage points the early 20th century photographers used have long gone, and I didn’t have a telephoto lens. So I’ve decided to work off site looking over at the mine site from the hills opposite the mine.

Mt Lyell mine

It was a day of sunshine and passing showers. In the afternoon I walked down to the mouth of the King River where it enters Macquarie Harbour. I wanted to start to explore this riverine landscape, which I’d only seen on google earth maps on an iPad.

at the foot of the cliffs of Newland Heads

Whilst Suzanne is in Barcelona revelling in the delights of a delightful international city Ari and I are at Victor Harbor this weekend.

I’ve come down to scan some of the medium format negatives from the Queenstown Tasmania shoot. There has been lots of rain at Victor since we were here last, and though the weather today was cool and overcast, it was very still. So went for a poodlewalk beyond Kings Head around to the inlet at the edge of the cliffs that form Newlands Head. There were lots of people around— cray fishermen and Heysen Trail walkers. There were no seals cruising the shoreline this time.

We returned to the area when we were down at Victor Harbor last My memories are of shots that I had taken back in late summer on one of those rare muggy overcast days in Victor Harbor. I’d shot in both colour and black and white then, and in looking at the scanned images now, I noted that the highlights were blown out and the shadows had no detail.

rockface, Kings Head

Today was the same approach–I exposed both colour and black and white whilst Ari stood guard. The cray fishermen had friends in camera clubs and talked about thenm doing a study of textures. Was I doing the same?

Unfortunately, this time, in returning to my base, I slipped on the seaweed and, though I managed to save the Rolleiflex SL66, light meter and film back from crashing into the rocks, I landed on my knees, scrapped my skin on the rocks, and twisted my left knee.

a walk but no photography

Ari and I went on a photowalk early this morning along the Heysen Trail past Kings Head to an outcrop of rock just west of the Kings Beach Retreat. I’d photographed there around there earlier this year. With Agtet gone Ari is depressed and lacking in energy and motivation.

But he did pick up yesterday afternoon when we visited Kings Beach. Hence the decision to do a longer walk this morning; one that would take us closer to the eastern boundary of the Newland Head Conservation Park.

rock detail, Kings Head.

As it was overcast, I carried the medium format camera gear and tripod. My new digital camera–a Sony Nex-7— has yet to arrive in Adelaide. The conditions were hopeless for photography: strong south westerly winds, pounding seas, floating waves of sea spray drifting across the ricks and sea foam swirling through the air. The seals didn’t seem to mind the turbulent conditions though.

Bass Strait

We have been on the road to Tasmania for the last couple of days. We left Adelaide for Melbourne on Saturday (3rd March) travelled across Bass Strait on the day ferry to Devonport, then on down to Evandale, which is just south of Launceston.

We will spend a couple of days in Evanston exploring around Launceston, then several days in Tunbridge in the Tasmanian Midlands, before travelling over to Queenstown on the west coast.

Spirit of Tasmania

I bought a little digital point and shoot camera before I left —an Olympus XZ-1. I will use it as a scoping camera for my large format work in Queenstown, then Suzanne will use it as a travel camera when she is in Europe next month.

beyond Kings Head

Late this afternoon the poodles and I went to explore a location we had discovered around Xmas time. It is around from Kings Head and it is as far as you can go along the seashore before the cliffs plunge into the southern ocean.

It’s a bit of a hike to get there, especially with large format equipment in the summer heat. I’d taken some pictures with the Rolleiflex SL66 around New Year and I was looking at it today to see whether it would be worthwhile to lug the 5×4 gear around.

near Kings Head

The mood or atmosphere of the location is that of the romantic (German) sublime—it is all twisted, contorted rocks and wild crashing seas. Awesome wild nature. I need dark clouds not bright blue sky plus a low tide and a couple of hours with soft light. It was overcast tonight with a bit of rain so we will see what tomorrow morning brings.

roadside vegetation revisited

The dry heat gave way to muggy heat with some cloud cover. Ut was still hot–around 36 degrees– but the cloud cover the morning provided me with an opportunity to do some photography.

I was unsure how long the cloud cover would last this morning so I played it safe: I returned to the shade of the unsealed back country roads and explored the roadside vegetation with a 5×4 Linhof. It was the first time I had used the camera this year.

roadside vegetation

This picture was from an earlier shoot–when I was exploring how the Rolleiflex 6008 operated in the field. What is noticeable with this region is the destruction and loss of native habitat for farming. Approximately 13% of the original native vegetation remains. Biodiversity is in decline due to threats from invasive species and landscape fragmentation.

roadside vegetation

During the Xmas break at Victor Harbor I did some photographic studies of the road side vegetation on the back roads. These arose from searching for a place with some shade to walk the dogs away from the intense heat in the late afternoon. I just started looking at the shapes of the vegetation whilst walking down the dusty unsealed road. I was seeking new content–souping up my creativity or design juices.

roadside vegetation

The country side is basically all farmland—cattle and sheep– and what remained of the native vegetation was a strip along side the road. Even then a lot of that roadside vegetation had been cleared , and what remains is gradually degenerating.

Xmas holiday comes to a close

The Xmas holiday at Victor Harbor is now over. We return to Adelaide and the routines of work this afternoon. The two weeks have given me the space and the time to find my photographic stride, to explore some new ideas and to wait for the suitable weather conditions for photography.

sea shells, Kings Beach

We’ve never spent two weeks at a time in Victor Harbor—its always been either 2 days on the weekend or the 4 days over the Easterbreak. Those two weeks gave me time to find new photographic locations, namely roadside vegetation and the rocks and foreshore around from Kings Head.