them’s the lucky breaks

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:

Dep’s Beach, Waitpinga

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.

winter in July

Sony A7 R111

It has been cold, wet and very windy along the coast of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula during July. As these are not good conditions for doing large format photography, I have been inside the studio working on the Lake Frome camel trek photos; a review of Christopher Houghton’s recent Grounded exhibition for Light Paths; and doing some online research.

Does this start me on a pathway of becoming an (independent) artist researcher?

We try and walk in the morning and the afternoon in-between the showers and the squalls if we can. Sometimes we get caught. Other times the rain by passes us.

Sony A7 R111
Sunrise, Encounter Bay

The photograph above is from Rosetta Head:— I have been walking to, over and from the Rosetta Head, in order to build up my cardio for walking in the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park in late July/earlyAugust.

summer 2021

It has been a very cool summer so far. The days have been overcast and windy with occasional rain. We have only had the occasional hot summer day. Maybe a more normal summer will come during the months of February and March.

The picture below was snapped at 7am on a Sunday morning at Petrel Cove in January 24th). It is not a typical morning: it was humid, the temperature was in the high twenties, and there was no wind. It rained latter in the day.

at Petrel Cove

My energies in this last month have been renovating the Mallee Routes website, working on The Long Road to the North blog, and putting The Bowden Archives into some sort of order. My days have been spent sitting in front of a computer screen.

Rosetta Head

On Sunday mornings Suzanne changes her walking route. Instead of walking to and over Rosetta Head, she and Maleko do a loop walk: from Solway Crescent to Kings Beach Rd, along the coastal path or Heritage Trail to Petrel Cove, then back to Solway Crescent.

If the weather is cloudy or overcast on Sunday morning I take a break from my early morning walk with Kayla in the local bushland, or along Esplanade Beach, to walk up and over Rosetta Head.

On these occasions I often use the Sunday morning walk to Rosetta Head to make cloud studies and seascapes, though this is scoping is in a very exploratory sense. Rosetta Head provides a good vantage point for this kind of photography, but the actual scene that l do photograph depends on the type of light as well as the clouds.

winter starts: walking and thinking

June 1 dawned with cold, blustery south westerly winds, dark clouds, driving rain and big seas. Winter had arrived on cue.

This cloud formation is what greeted Kayla and myself on the early morning poodlewalk on June 1. We hugged the northern edge of Rosetta Head to escape the 50 km south-westerly wind. I was looking across Encounter Bay to Goolwa and to the Coorong.

winter

The weather was too wild to continue to the top of Rosetta Head and down the southern side, so we turned away from the coast, which is where we normally walk and photograph, jumped in the car and drove inland to seek some protection from the gusty, driving wind. We walked up and down Depledge Rd for about 30-40 minutes before I decided to return to exploring the bush “reserve” that ran adjacent to the western side of Depledge Rd in Waitpinga. We had had walked within this “reserve” a few days before.

cliffs and ocean

On a recent poodlewalk to Kings Head and beyond one overcast morning in February I made a few photos of the cliffs I was walking along. This snap is looking back to Rosetta Head, or The Bluff:

Rosetta Head

The next morning we clambered down the cliffs via the dried up waterfall to the rocky foreshore as I wanted to make a photo of the cliffs and sea with the early morning light on the rocks.

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, Esplanade Beach

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.

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.

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.

at Petrel-Cove

Many of the coastal morning poodlewalks with Kayla incorporate the  return walk along the coastal  rocks  to the car park  via Petrel-Cove. Incorporating Petrel Cove  is more frequent in the early spring,  due to my  allergy to the rye grass growing along the side of the coastal path.  It irritates my eyes and causes sneezing fits.

Occasionally there is a photographer on the beach or a surfer  but more often  than not,  the  only other person in  Petrel Cove at that time of the morning is  the odd fishing man:

fisherman, Petrel Cove

Often it seem as if the fishing men  standing on the edge of the sea with their lines are meditating in nature,  and are  not overly  concerned if they don’t  catch any fish.  I can understand that as I often just sit on the rocks and watch the action of the waves.  Continue reading “at Petrel-Cove”