Wirra Wirra

Halfway between Adelaide and Victor Harbor on the coast lies McLaren Vale, one of South Australia’s premier wine wine districts. We often stop there to visit a winery, have lunch, pick up some native plants from the local nursery or walk with the poodles.

Wirra Wirra winery

It is a high tourist region and we generally avoid the wine and dine weekends where you go from winery to winery drinking wine and eating food. I have done little photography in this region because our visits are so very short.

homeless

The poodles found this little alleyway in John St in the CBD of Adelaide. I had walked by, even though it is just around the corner from our inner-city townhouse. You see differently when walking the streets with poodles.

The picture indicates how homelessness for mostly single and aboriginal people in Adelaide is hidden and that requests for immediate accommodation cannot be met by homelessness agencies.

Mattress+ CD

This rough sleeping indicates that access to safe and secure housing is not accepted as a basic human rights and the steady decline of social or public housing in spite of the political rhetoric on the issue.

Port River

Another of our favourite areas for poodle walks is the Port Adelaide area. I am working on a project there, and it is a good place for the poodles to explore on their evening walks.

Port River

This picture was a study for a large format photography and a number of compositional variations were explored. Whilst working on the project I’ve changed from using a medium format camera to large format ones and exploring black and white (8×10) as well as colour (5×4).

near Kings Beach

One of the afternoon walks we often do when we are at Victor Harbor is a cliff top walk to King Beach. I often then cut back along the rocky foreshore to explore the rocky cliffs with my point and shoot digital camera.

The walk along the cliff-top is part of the Heysen Trail; a 1,200km long distance walking trail in South Australia that extends from Cape Jervis, on the rugged south coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, to Parachilna Gorge, in the Flinders Ranges.

rock face, Kings Beach

On these kind of walks I am looking for objects, landscape details and scenes that would be suitable for taking a photo with a large format camera. I did return to photograph this rock detail with a 5×7 Cambo monorail, but I have yet to have the sheet film processed at a pro-lab.

floating red rose

It’s been around six days since I’ve been on a poodle walk. I’ve been in Melbourne attending a family funeral and taking photos in the Point Nepean National Park, of bathing huts along Port Philip Bay, and freeway overpasses in the CBD.

Last night was the first walk. We went shortly after I returned home.

red rose

The rose was floating in a sculpture pond in Veale Gardens. The ponds have only had running water in them this year –they have been dry during the long years of the drought in Adelaide.

beach erosion

An example of the erosion of the beach at Victor Harbor.

beach erosion

There is constant coming and going of coastlines as quite natural and that this has been going on for decades. It continues today. However, another discernible pattern is being overlaid on this cycle—it is noticeable that the sea is slowly eating into the sand dunes. Some of the low lying coastline where there are holiday houses are vulnerable, and some local councils are starting to take measures to defend, retreat, or block development.

pink gum trunk

A lot of the landscape outside of the conservation parks around Victor Harbor and the Fleurieu Peninsula in general has been stripped bare, and now consists of dairy and sheep farms. The remnants of the native bush can only be found in the roadside vegetation scattered here and there.

trunk, pink gum

It is a pity because the bush is interesting and it supports a biodiverse fauna and flora in its native state. As the farms give way to urban development some people do plant trees; but most of those who built their holiday houses near the coast prefer the panoramic views of the coastline.

cacti

The poodles and I are down at Victor Harbor for a couple of days. The automatic irrigation system for the garden is not working properly and, as it is ten years old, it needs some repair work. This was meant to be done on Monday but the irrigation chap had been held up on another job.

Yesterday, after the walk along the beach, we went exploring the roadside vegetation on the road to the rubbish dump. It’s quiet and it has picturesque views both to the sea and to The Bluff or, more accurately, Rosetta Head.

cacti

We had been along the road before when we’d been exploring the landscape around rubbish dump. I’d taken a picture of this pink gum and farm dam

I was checking out the light for a large format shot of the pink gum, but the sun has shifted and it no longer shines on the tree before it goes behind the hill. So the picture will have to be done in the early morning just after dawn after returning from my Melbourne trip next week.

fungi

The best poodle walks are down at Victor Harbor, which is on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula about an hours drive south of Adelaide. There Ari and Agtet can run and hunt freely once the short walk past the holiday houses is over and we access the field adjacent to the cliffs. We walk along the cliff tops to the various beaches or we climb Rosetta Head.

Just outside our weekender is a heavily tree’d reserve and this constitutes the start of the first section of the short walk. I noticed these fungi on the start of one of our walks. It is from the archives and it was taken in the winter of 2010.

That was a particularly wet winter as the decade long drought had just broken and all the storm water from the houses up on the hill flows through the little reserve then to the seashore.

red bag

What becomes very noticeable walking with the poodles is the amount of rubbish lying on the streets and in the parklands. Whereas I would have just walked by without a second look–rubbish is just part of the urban background for me—Ari and Agtet check it out very thoroughly. So I am forced to stop and look:

red bag

There is just so much waste.

In the parklands it is mostly the junk food scraps that people leave lying on the ground where they have been sitting. In the city it is mostly packaging and objects that are no longer deemed useful, or have broken down. They have been put on the footpath to be collected.

It was on these walks that I started to realize just how much Australian society throws away as waste. Often the waste is the leftovers from excess consumption. Or the object—including digital cameras— is so badly made that it falls apart and is tossed away. It is not cost effective to repair.