When we were in Melbourne, Victoria for several days to check out a new standard silver poodle to replaceKayla we stayed at Mornington close to the local racecourse. We didn’t have time on this trip to walk the Balcombe Estuary Nature Trail from the Nepean Highway to Mt Martha Beach. That walk, which was photographed by Joyce Evans around 2003, is planned for our next trip to Melbourne in early February, when we pick up the standard poodle puppy from Cranbourne.
Whilst in Mornington we were able to go for several early morning poodlewalks with Maleko to, and around, a local wetland at Narambi Station Reserve. We avoided the adjacent Narambi sportsfield even though it was popular with the local dogwalkers.
On a couple of those mornings we started to explore the nearby Tanti Creek and the heritage Mornington Railway line down to the Mornington Station. We eventually found a way to walk though this raw and rough area to the station at the end of the line.
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.
We are at the mid-February point of summer and the weather has been more of the same: cool and overcast with just the odd hot day with a north easterly wind. The hot weather started this week but it is forecasted to last for only several days this week — not the normal two weeks. Maybe that will come in March.
At the moment I ‘m running my film stock down before I make the major annual purchase through B+H in New York. I have only half a box of the 5×7 Kodak Portra 160 ASA left.
It’s been a matter of selecting the location, knowing the time the light shines on the trees, setting the camera up, then waiting for the light to shine through the trees at the required time. Often the moving cloud cover means that there is no sunlight. So the large format equipment is packed away in the Forester and I continue the poodlewalk with Kayla.
The afternoon walks through the local bush will soon be coming to an end as we came across a brown snake the other afternoon whilst we were walking along Depledge Rd in Waitpinga. I was surprised to see it on the side of the road because it was still late winter, and the day temperatures up to that date had not been that warm.
From now on the poodlewalks in the bush or scrub will need to be in early morning as its too cold for snakes. Kayla and I usually start walking around sunrise and I am looking out for the early morning light. It is changing.
The late afternoon walks with Maleko will, by and large, be along the coastal rocks between Petrel Cove and Kings Beach. We have to walk part of the way along the Heritage Trail to reach the rocks. As we have seen the odd brown snake along this path in the past, I keep an eye out.
During the first two weeks in November the coast of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula has been buffeted by strong westerly winds. Only the odd days here and there have been without the wind. It is only in this third week of November that I have returned to walking along the beach around the mouth of the Inman River in the early morning or amongst the rocks west of Petrel Cove in the late afternoon.
It is usually quiet on the Esplanade Beach early in the morning. There are not very many people walking along this beach—just the odd local person walking their dog. So Kayla and I have the beach pretty much to ourselves.
During the autumn of 2018 I made a number of afternoon poodlewalks with Maleko and Kayla along a couple of the walking trails by the Inman River. One of these trails was a walk around the small redgum loop trail by the river near Armstrong ( Ring Route ) Rd. I did this several times, including a few in the morning, before the trail became flooded. On the odd occasion on the redgum woodland loop walk I photographed with a film camera.
Another walk we sometimes did was the linear one along the floodplain on the eastern side of the river amongst that is populated by kangaroos. We would start from the old SA Water waste treatment plant on Canton Place and then make our way along the redgums on the floodplain to where the river passed the Victor Harbor cemetery. We would then slowly make our way back to the Forester in Canton Place as dusk started to fall:
I meant to return to the floodplain area during the winter of 2018 when the river was flowing with a film camera and tripod, but I never did. I only ever scoped the floodplain as I found the floodplain difficult to photograph: just trees, a dry river bed, and leaves on the ground.
Temperatures have dropped with winters cold snap since I have returned to Encounter Bay from the brief Murray Mallee photo trip to Claypans and beyond. It is now quite chilly in the morning and in the early evening. Though the days are still, there is little warmth in the sun due to the cloud cover.
I have started to walk the back country roads through the various agricultural landscapes on the early morning poodlewalks with Kayla:
Surprisingly, I am encountering people who are running and walking along these back roads before sunrise. They, like me, are out walking and running around 6.30 am, which is roughly an hour before sunrise.
In the last week or so I have returned to walking along the Waitpinga section of the Heysen Trail in the morning with Kayla and in the afternoon with Maleko. This section of the Heysen Trail is a narrow strip of scrub or bush that runs between two roads, and it is bounded by two grazing paddocks (cattle and sheep). The narrow strip is a corridor that is quite dense in parts.
The mornings and afternoons have been overcast with minimal wind, and this has allowed me to do some black and white film photography of tree subjects that I had photographed in colour a couple of years ago. I started the scoping here.
Whilst walking to and from the photo sites on both the morning and the afternoon poodlewalks I made some exploratory/scoping studies of different subject matter in the scrub/bush for some future film photography. This is an example:
I would have walked past this branch on the edge of the path of the Heysen Trail many times without ever having seen it. I only saw it this time because Kayla went exploring in the undergrowth behind the branch. I quickly made a snap and moved on.
We usually visit the Kuitpo Forest Reserve for the afternoon poodlewalk when we are on our return journey to Encounter Bay after the poodles have spent the day at the Mt Barker dog groomers. These occasions are once every six weeks–poodles are high maintenance— and we when we are walking in the forest we routinely avoid walking in the pinus radiata plantation areas .
We prefer to wander within the small sparse areas of eucalyptus in the forest reserve:
All goes smoothly on the walk, if we avoid the campers, the campsite foreplaces and the various kangaroos in this part of Kuitpo Forest.
I usually walk around with a digital camera. The light in the forest after 4pm during the winter is often too low to be able to use hand held film cameras:
And during summer months the light at 4pm is very bright and contrasty. The gates are closed around 4pm during the fire season to prevent any camping.
So winter is the time for photography Kuitpo Forest Reserve as the sun in the late afternoon is low enough to gently lighten up the trees.
Well, the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne, Victoria sure was crowded with people holidaying when we stayed there on our roadtrip. Karen, my sister at Safety Beach put us up, and as that stay coincided with a hot spell, that meant both limited documentary photography in Melbourne and walking very early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
The foreshore along the eastern coast of Port Phillip Bay from Dromana to Sorrento was jam packed with caravans, tents, boats and people. The Nepean Highway from Rye to Portsea was crammed with cars, due to people travelling down from Melbourne to Sorrento or Portsea for a day’s outing. The Mornington Peninsula is Melbourne’s playground.
We found very few places where we could walk the poodles off lead along the coast. There was a small off-lead, dog friendly beach at Tassells Cove and a small walking track around Martha Point that went down to Pebble Beach. Continue reading “holidaying in Melbourne”