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.
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.
Winter on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula was wet and stormy with high tides on the coast, making it difficult to access the coastal rocks and to photograph along the littoral zone and continue making abstractions. During July walking the poodles was limited to walking along the paths on top of the coastal cliffs between Petrel Cove and Kings Beach.
This image of seaweed lying on the rocks was made in early June when the tide was low enough to walk in the littoral zone in June. It was during July that we experienced the very high tides.
The photo was made just after we’d returned from the camel trek from Blinman to Lake Frome. I recall it being a joy to walk by the sea after 14 days in the arid Northern Flinders Ranges. Water there was scarce: the creeks were dry and there was just the odd water hole.