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.
On a recent late afternoon walk with Maleko I sat quietly amongst these rocks in the littoral zone just east of Kings Beach Rd in Waitpinga. It was a warm evening, Maleko was looking for golf balls, and I was looking at the light on the rock before the sun disappeared behind the hill.
It was a quiet moment and, whilst I sat there , I had a sense of belonging to this landscape–being a part of it as it were; rather than just walking through it, being separate from it, and taking photos of what caught my eye. I felt the spray on my face, the wind on my arms, and the sun on my back, whilst the waves of the incoming tide gently rolled around my feet. It was a space where I could immerse myself in the moment.
I returned from a successful photo trip to Mt Arapiles and the Wimmera Mallee to spring on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula, and to allergic reactions (allergic rhinitis) to the airborne allergenic grass pollens. This hay fever is especially intense ( itchy eyes and throat, sneezing and runny nose) when the north wind carries the pollen from the northerly grasslands across the landscape.
My response is to avoid walking along the back country roads within the agricultural landscapes because the grass pollens are currently hurting my eyes. I try to ensure that the poodlewalks are now along the beach and I walk as close to the sea whilst hoping for a southerly wind coming off the sea.
Kent Reserve or Petrel Cove are good starting points because I can quickly get to the beach from the car without walking through a lot of grasses, whilst wearing sunglasses and having previously taken preventative eye drops to help ease the irritation.
Suzanne is currently walking on Lord Howe Island and I’m minding the poodles until I leave to join the Friends of Photography Group (FOPG) at Mt Arapiles in the Wimmera plains. I leave on Friday 6th September, Suzanne returns to Adelaide on Sunday, 8th September, and I return to Encounter Bay several days latter.
FOPG have a weekend photo session at the Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park, which is south of Nhill and the Little Desert National Park. Camping at this site will be the first time that I have linked up to this Melbourne-based large format photography group in the field. After this photo camp I will move on to stay at Lake Marma at Murtoa to photograph in the Wimmera Mallee.
Looking after the two poodles on my own means that the areas where they can walk off lead are restricted, as I need to avoid the kangaroos in the morning and other walkers in the afternoon. So it is back to the old standbys, such as meandering amongst the coastal granite rocks around the foot of Kings Head.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
It has been a wild start to winter in South Australia. We have been experiencing a week of wet, stormy weather on the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula. The coast has been battered by cold and blustery south westerly and southerly winds, rain and surging seas. The sand on the small, local beaches (Petrel Cove and Deps Beach) is starting to disappear.
The balmy days of late autumn with the early morning macro photography in the gentle early morning light are a memory. The two photos in this post were the last macro photos I made before the cold winter weather set in.
I have avoided walking along the littoral zone and have started walking along the back country roads seeking protection from the wind. That means photographing trees and back country roads. The weather is easing, but we still have sporadic showers and strong, cold winds.
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.
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.