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.

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.

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.

February heatwave

Adelaide is in the middle of a week long heatwave. Its been clear blue skies, an intense heat from the sun and, a hot northwesterly wind, which means that it doesn’t cool down at night. The temperatures are in the low 40 degrees centigrade. A code red alert has been issued by the SA state government, which unlocks extra support for vulnerable people, such as the homeless, during a heatwave.

I have given up this kind of photography that I was doing along the Heysen Trail. I’ve been walking along the Encounter Bay beach with Kayla before dawn so that I can take a few closeup photos of the ephemeral seaweed in the first few minutes of sunrise.

5-10 minutes latter the light is too contrasty for this kind of photography.

This is the second heatwave this year–the first one was in mid -January — with January being on the hottest January on record. The cause of this February heatwave is a “blocking high” on the Tasman Sea. With winds going anticlockwise around the highs this is helping funnel desert heat down to the southern states. Thankfully there have been no bushfires in South Australia this time, but this is not the case for Victoria.

summer-time + impermanence

The Xmas break  is over for this summer-time.  The holiday crowds have left vacationing  along the coast of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula  during the extended school holidays,  and  returned to work in Adelaide.  The schools are back and  the photographers have gone.

The hot days came and went  during January,   with  the minimium/maximium  temperatures rising.  The warming trend   means that Australian summers are becoming hotter and the heatwaves more intense.  Sadly, the sand has been disappearing  from  Dep’s Beach and Petrel Cove ever since the big storm in December,    and these  two beaches are now looking  desolate.

Over the Xmas break I  continued to  photograph in the early morning  whilst walking with Kayla.  I focused on  low key macro photography before the light became too bright and contrasty. The photography  is hand held and quick. The conditions are not suitable for slow  large format photography.

quartz + salt, Petrel Cove

Currently, the mornings start cool,   the days heat up and reach their zenith around 5 pm but, unlike drought damaged inland regions,  the temperature usually  drops at night. With the crowds gone,  the beaches along the coast are  quiet during the week,  and we often have them to ourselves in the early morning around dawn and sunrise. We now have the space to be in the moment and see the  transient and ephemeral nature of life on the coast.   Continue reading “summer-time + impermanence”