This update on making photos whilst walking with Maya along the coast starts to explore ways of augumenting the still photography. Large format art photography has been my way of creating an art work from these poodlewalks, which are embedded in a particular place.
Maya is now between 5-6 months old and she is quite comfortable walking for an hour or so with me along the coastal rocks on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula. As we are on the cusp of winter in South Australia there is early morning cloud cover, the showers sweeping in from the south west are more frequent, and the coastal winds are much stronger.
Whilst I’ve been on these early morning walks I thought that it would be interesting to find a way to show what Maya is hearing, smelling and seeing whilst she is with me. I have no idea how to do this, but I started wondering how Augmented Reality (AR) could add to these kind of walks; or alternatively what could be added using generative AI for texts written by ChatGPT, or an image using Midjourney.
I quickly realized that generative AI is step too far for me as is that that version of AR with its overlay of digital data on top of the real world that is consumed through a camera-and-sensor-laden headset. There is little point in the latter as few people would have the required equipment that mediates the entire world through screens placed centimeters from users’ corneas that makes the whole world a screen.
However, there is a space for something along the lines of supplementing, augmenting, adjusting, or overlaying reality; such as supplementing the still photography is a video. A video offers sound and movement that would augment the frozen moment of the still photography. I need to do more video as I am not sure about podcasts or films, as is done with MAP‘s. Nor do I have the connections to collaborate with a writer like the SALT project which was commissioned by Art Walk Projects.
The Japanese camera manufacturers currently reckon that the camera industry has stabilized after smart phones had wiped out the point and shoot camera market. They also hold that the future of the photographic is not just A1 generated imagery (in the form of text-to-image generators such as Midjourney) it is also video and not still photography. Hence the increasing shift to hybrid and video orientated cameras by implementing video features in camera because they judge that video will dominate the future over still images.
So here we go — a very brief and old unedited video from 2021 of the Hindmarsh River at Sawpit Rd in the Hindmarsh Valley. It was made with an old hand held iPhone 6, which probably is much more suitable for the popular Instagram Stories than v-blogging.
The full video can be seen here on the mostly dormant Thoughtfactory Youtube channel, which currently has no subscribers. That is understandable as there is very limited interesting content on that channel.
Given the general decline of the rural sector seaside or coastal towns depend on domestic tourism to survive. In the process of encouraging tourism, seachange retirees and regional growth they are in danger of damaging, if not destroying, the very natural attractions that made them so attractive to people in the first place.
Victor Harbor on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia is a classic example . Tourism has replaced the dairy and grazing farms in terms of economic importance. The city council has invested substantial funds to rebrand the town from being a run down and decaying service centre for the the agricultural industry to a tourist town. The rebranding involved giving the town centre a design facelift. The town has become more attractive but its economy is low-wage work such as retail and hairdressing that exist to serve local residents. A high tech hub of innovation and creativity it is not.
The Victor Harbor Council has not publicly responded to the community feedback re the Bluff Master Plan, but the plan does not include the privately owned farmland west of the Rosetta Head reserve. Under SA’s new planning system Victor Harbor is part of the Greater Adelaide Planning Regionand it is unclear whether the Victor Harbor Council will assess the proposed development or whether the planning authority is Planning SA and the state government.
The picture above is from January 2022 and it was made from Rosetta Head (Kongkengguwar) on an early summer morning. It looks west across Petrel Cove down along the coastline to Kings Beach and Kings Head. The Waitpinga Cliffs are in the background. It is a fantastic coastline that needs to be cared for as the farmland is sold. Massive and ugly development would destroy it.
The area just west of the Petrel Cove car park and the green belt in the above picture is earmarked for a proposed tourist property development by Tirroki Pty Ltd consisting of 5 self-contained accommodation units (4 single and 1 double unit with carports) and service building/s on the current farmland. It runs east/west from Jagger Road to the Heritage Trail with access from Jagger Rd.
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.
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.
Last week Kayla and I were walking along a dusty, unsealed Depledge Rd in the early morning prior to wandering around in the local patch of bushland in Waitpinga in the southern Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia.
A light, but cool, sou’ easterly wind was blowing across the field onto our bodies, the orange-brown Monarch butterflies were notable by their absence, and the yellow tailed cockatoos were watching us and sounding the alarm with their wailing calls. I could hear the laughing kookaburras in the distance.
The sun had just risen above the trees on the eastern horizon and its soft rays highlighted this grass tree (Xanthorrhoea) on the dusty roadside just as we were passing by. We stopped and I looked.
The sun’s rays were quite weak at that moment since they were shining through the distant trees after rising above the horizon. It doesn’t stay like this for long as the rays find a gap in the trees.
I have spent many an early morning during the late summer of 2022 wandering through the local bushland with Kayla. There are lots of smells for her (eg., foxes, rabbits, kangaroos) and there are some photographic possibilities for me.
It had been raining during the previous day, which was very unusual for summer in the Fleurieu Peninsula. This was in early January during a cool summer. Summer is normally hot and dry with no rain for 5 or so months. The rains normally start in late April.
“This process of going astray, doubling back, regaining the path, sometimes gaining the perspective I was seeking and sometimes not, was exactly what it means to be on a philosopher’s walk; a walk that is open-ended, exploratory, and follows thoughts where they lead, even if that is not to a conclusion.” Bruce Baugh, Philosophers’ Walks, Routledge, 2021
For me the key word in this paragraph about walking is exploratory:– not in the sense of exploring oneself, but in taking myself out of my individual identity or subjectivity. When walking we have left behind commentary, refutation, recopying, we are no longer wrapped up books or looking at our computer screens. Walking allows myself to see the very simple, very ordinary things that exist in the space that I am walking in; and then to become immersed in that space.
Walking, it is often held, is an indispensable aid to thinking and writing. I would add walking is also indispensable to photography. Walking is a point of access to the sublimely ordinary as it is through our bodies, on the move, that we make sense of our surroundings. In this view, walking offers an embodied basis for experiencing and engaging with the world.
Philosophy is connected to explorationas the marks of philosophy are reflection and heightened self-awareness. Since reflection can deepen our understanding of our ideas and motivations, it is going to involve historical understanding of individuals in a particular place and time.