An icy cold snap with lots of rain and bitterly south westerly winds hit the southern Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia in late May/early June. It has been extremely cold when the sun has gone missing with the snap has lasted a fortnight or more. Though there have been the occasional days with sunshine the rain and cold winds usually return the next morning. Consequently, walking with poodles is walking in the bracing wind and the rain:–rain walks.
The daily poodlewalks in early June included walking Rosetta Head ( Kongkengguwar ) in Victor Harbor so that I could photograph the sky, rain, sea and light. These photographs have usually been seascapes (as distinct from coastal), though I sometimes I have been photographing the clouds themselves.
We have been walking Rosetta Head in the early morning before sunrise, as the weather has usually cleared by the late afternoon, with this occasion on the last day of May being a notable exception. The walking and photography in low pre-sunrise light works well with a hand held digital camera.
It is much more difficult with the large format camera and tripod, especially when it is a 5×7 monorail. Much more organization and planning is required, as I need to check out both the cloud cover and the direction of the wind to see if it is worthwhile carrying the camera equipment up Rosetta Head. If it is, then it is a slow walk and climb.
A recent afternoon poodlewalk in the local Waitpinga bushland in the southern Fleurieu Peninsula incorporated an 8×10 photo session. This session was a response to a disappointing one in the Spring Mount Conservation Park the previous day. Then I never even took the 8×10 out of the Forester. I had been hoping for misty conditions when I was driving there, only to encounter light rain when I was walking around.
It is more accurate to say that on the Waitpinga poodlewalk the photo session was first and the poodlewalk with Maleko came afterwards. I carried the camera equipment to the site, made the photo, returned the equipment to the Forester, then Maleko and I went on a walk through the bushland.
Last week Kayla and I were walking along a dusty, unsealed Depledge Rd in the early morning prior to wandering around in the local patch of bushland in Waitpinga in the southern Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia.
A light, but cool, sou’ easterly wind was blowing across the field onto our bodies, the orange-brown Monarch butterflies were notable by their absence, and the yellow tailed cockatoos were watching us and sounding the alarm with their wailing calls. I could hear the laughing kookaburras in the distance.
The sun had just risen above the trees on the eastern horizon and its soft rays highlighted this grass tree (Xanthorrhoea) on the dusty roadside just as we were passing by. We stopped and I looked.
The sun’s rays were quite weak at that moment since they were shining through the distant trees after rising above the horizon. It doesn’t stay like this for long as the rays find a gap in the trees.
I have spent many an early morning during the late summer of 2022 wandering through the local bushland with Kayla. There are lots of smells for her (eg., foxes, rabbits, kangaroos) and there are some photographic possibilities for me.
It had been raining during the previous day, which was very unusual for summer in the Fleurieu Peninsula. This was in early January during a cool summer. Summer is normally hot and dry with no rain for 5 or so months. The rains normally start in late April.
“This process of going astray, doubling back, regaining the path, sometimes gaining the perspective I was seeking and sometimes not, was exactly what it means to be on a philosopher’s walk; a walk that is open-ended, exploratory, and follows thoughts where they lead, even if that is not to a conclusion.” Bruce Baugh, Philosophers’ Walks, Routledge, 2021
For me the key word in this paragraph about walking is exploratory:– not in the sense of exploring oneself, but in taking myself out of my individual identity or subjectivity. When walking we have left behind commentary, refutation, recopying, we are no longer wrapped up books or looking at our computer screens. Walking allows myself to see the very simple, very ordinary things that exist in the space that I am walking in; and then to become immersed in that space.
Walking, it is often held, is an indispensable aid to thinking and writing. I would add walking is also indispensable to photography. Walking is a point of access to the sublimely ordinary as it is through our bodies, on the move, that we make sense of our surroundings. In this view, walking offers an embodied basis for experiencing and engaging with the world.
Philosophy is connected to explorationas the marks of philosophy are reflection and heightened self-awareness. Since reflection can deepen our understanding of our ideas and motivations, it is going to involve historical understanding of individuals in a particular place and time.
Prior to a close contact requring the household have to go into 14 days quarantine/self-isolation during the Omicron wave Kayla and I walked up and over Rosetta Head (Kongkengguwar) one Saturday morning in early January.
The Rosetta Head walk happened after we’d already been walking in the local bushland in Waitpinga between 6-7 am. As it had been raining during the night and that morning the bushland was soggy and wet, but the colours were vibrant.
Whilst we were passing the all weather boat launching ramp when returning to the studio from the bushland I saw the rain clouds hanging over Encounter Bay. The morning clouds normally start breaking up an hour or after sunrise so I decided that these were hanging around and that they warranted photographing. I parked the Forester in the car park overlooking Petrel Cove and we quickly walked along the northern side of Rosetta Head then up to the top from the eastern side.
We have only experienced a couple of warm to hot days this summer so far in South Australia. It is early days, but the weather has mostly been cool with strong cold south westerly and south easterly winds on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula. Though Xmas is approaching it has not been warm enough for swimming or sun baking on a beach. This is La Niña, which is a weather event that often brings overcast conditions, above-average rainfall and cooler temperatures. But a heat dome is coming in a week or so.
It is good weather for walking. This particular scene of people swimming, lying and playing on the beach at Petrel Cove in the late afternoon was unusual for 2021. It was during the spring/summer cusp in late November and it was the first time a summer’s day had happened in 2021.
On the afternoon of the above photo I’d parked the Forester at the Petrel Cove carpark and Maleko and I were setting out to walk along the local Heritage Trail to the Kings Beach Rd lookout. Usually we would start our walk by going down the Petrel Cove steps, walk across the beach and then scramble around the rocks on the western side of the Cove. It was too busy on the beach that afternoon to start our poodlewalk from the beach.
I have been going through my 2013 digital archives as we are planning a trip to Kangaroo Island in the autumn of 2022. I wanted to have a look at the photographs from the 2013 visit to the island. I I haven’t looked at these digital photos for nigh on seven years. I am in archival mode the moment, due to working on The Bowden Archives and Industrial Modernity book through 2021.
We –Suzanne , myself and Ari– stayed at American River in both January and November of that year. I recall that the easterlies in November blew non-stop and that some of the roads were still un-passable from the winter and spring rains. We spent a lot of time walking along the walking trail on the lagoon’s foreshore.
2013 was just after I’d made the switch to digital technology in a serious way. I’d acquired a compact digital Sony NEX-7 with its APS-C sensor, which I was using with an old 35mm Leica M lens. I was attracted by the promise of good image quality in a small, highly portable camera, with the ability to adapt almost any lens to fit.
My thinking was that this kind of camera would be the digital equivalent of 35mm rangefinder film photography, even though I knew that it was only a full-frame is sensor size that would be the same as old 35mm film. The technological simplicity of the Sony was equivalent to that of a Leica rangefinder, and so the emphasis was on the purity of the vision: the camera was the extension of the eye.
The shift to full frame digital came about 5 years latter. Embracing Sony’s digital technology was a no brainer, as I had the Leica lens from a film Leica M4. The latter’s body had gone missing whilst the range finder mechanism was being repaired, so the lens was sitting unused in a cupboard. Sony’s E-mount technology meant that I could use the lens with a Novoflex adaptor.
The Sony NEX-7 replaced the Leica M4-P film camera as my walk around, everyday camera. Digital was more versatile and it was cheaper to use. I continued to use film for medium and large format photography. Digital was definitely the future. The Leica M4-P and 35m colour film became a niche.
It is mid-spring. Daylight saving has started and the new concrete causeway to Granite Island is nearing completion. The Sculpture by the Sea park on the island has been dismantled by the Victor Harbor Council on the grounds that it was unpopular in the local community. The rains have stopped, the days are becoming warmer, there is less cloud around in the late afternoon, the light now is stronger and more contrasty. There have been no really hot days so far.
Whilst I have been wandering around the coast and the bush I have been watching this seal carcass slowly decay:
The poodles are fascinated by it–especially Maleko. They go charging ahead of me on the rocks as we head in the direction of the carcass from Kings Beach lookout. Thankfully, they do not try and eat the carcass. They just dance around it.
My days during the first week of October have been spent in front of my old iMac computer struggling to get The Bowden Archives and Industrial Modemity into shape as a book project. The roots of the project are in an unfinished MA (in images and dissertation) at Flinders University in the 1980s. Unfinished because I’d put it and the photography to one side to do a PhD in philosophy.
The title of the proposed book has been recently changed in response to criticism that the original title The Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia was very misleading because it down played the non-Bowden sections.
I have been working on, and reworking, the No Longer, Not Yet text for the Roadtrips photo gallery, as this text has been causing me a lot of grief. I have only managed to produce a rough draft so far. Finally, this draft text does connect with the reset of the book, and at this stage, I am happy to count the small steps as big achievements. Giant steps in fact.
So there has been very little photography done over and above what was snapped whilst on the various poodlewalks:
Sometimes, on these walks, there were photo possibilities, other times there was nothing. It was pretty much hit and miss. Some days I don’t even bother taking the camera out of the car as I wanted to get the walk over quickly because I felt compelled to get back to the computer to keep working on the text. It’s like returning to being in PhD mode.