Suzanne’s broken fibula is healing and she is now walking to strengthen the muscles in her left leg. So we are back to normal with our poodlewalks. We have just started our training weather permitting for the upcoming walks in Japan in mid-October.
It’s been quite stormy, wet and windy during the first few weeks of spring. I’ve have been caught a number of times in the early morning by the rain sweeping in from the south west. There is little in the way of shelter along the coast and so we often got soaked.
Whilst walking I have been thinking about how the broad drift in photographic culture has been to problematize or reject photography as a realistic and documentary form, even though the actual condition of photography as a networked image is multifaceted and diverse.
In the last month or so I have avoided most of the poodlewalks that Kayla and I regularly did together in the early morning. I have avoided the local Waitpinga bushland completely as the memories are too painful. Currently, on my morning walks, I am only walking in places that Kayla and I would rarely explore.
I did walk along the Victor Harbor beach towards Bridge Point and the mouth of the Hindmarsh River with Suzanne and Maleko last Friday morning (2nd December). Surprisingly, the mouth of the Hindmarsh River was open and there was still a strong flow out to the sea.
Suzanne would regularly do this walk with Kayla and her friend from Goolwa — Jane and Scally, her standard poodle. Jane was sick that Friday so I filled in. The Friday walk concludes with coffee and banana bread at Qahwa at 8am.
I decided to start photographing seascapes when the early morning poodle walks in Victor Harbor incorporated walking up and over Rosetta Head to Petrel Cove. Seascapes as distinct from photos of clouds or of light itself in that the sea becomes more central.
I started photographing with colour film (both medium and large format cameras), but the seascapes looked too picturesque, and rather touristy. Cliched, even when there was heavy cloud cover:
I was after something more ordinary and abstract, rather than beautiful, picturesque or iconic. So I started to use b+w film.
Whilst walking along the coast of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia this year I have been exploring how to photograph the fleeting character or the ephemerality of light in the early morning. These are photos of light, as distinct from photos of clouds or of seascapes, are a modest walking art project.
Unlike many of the photographers in the book I didn’t see light as a metaphor. What I was seeing on my poodlewalks were the fleeting moments of light at Encounter Bay. Fleeting in the sense that the interplay of light and dark just before and after sunrise was brief: it would often last less than 5 minutes as the clouds evaporated and the darkness disappeared with the rays of the early morning sun.
The weather since our return to Encounter Bay from our 12 day trip to the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges in South Australia has been continually stormy. There has been strong to gale force north westerly winds and regular rain, with a few fine periods within, and between, the series of cold fronts. The winds have often been chilling with rain falling each day. The earth is saturated.
It has been very atmospheric as we attempt to walk avoiding the wind and the showers. More often than not we are caught in the rain as it is fine one minute then rain the next.
Whilst on the poodlewalks we often have to sit the rain out — either in the car or seeking shelter whilst on the walk. The showers ease and we walk on. Sometimes this happens several times on a single poodlewalk. More often than not we get caught by the rain.
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 cold snap lasting 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.