I have started to do a few early morning walks along the coast with Maya. As she is still just 11 weeks old we need to continue to avoid other dogs until she has her second round of injections at 12 weeks. So we start our morning walks before sunrise and are back at the Forester by around 7.30. We have been lucky as it is very quiet and there are few, if any, people walking along the coast around sunrise.
The early autumn mornings have been overcast with the cloud cover with the occasional light showers. It clears during the day and the late afternoons are characterised by blue skies, sunshine and light to medium coastal winds.
We don’t walk that far from our starting point at the Kings Beach Whale lookout — not even to Dep’s Beach. Dep’s Beach like Petrel Cove, is still layered with dead baby carp from the River Murray, and as this is snack food for Maya we avoid the beaches, we stay on the clifftop path and find areas amongst the coastal vegetation for Maya to play around in.
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.
The roadside vegetation that I see whilst walking the back country roads is limited in terms of photographic subject matter. So I have been wandering and exploring this bushland on both the early morning with Kayla and at the late afternoon poodlewalks with Maleko.
June 1 dawned with cold, blustery south westerly winds, dark clouds, driving rain and big seas. Winter had arrived on cue.
This cloud formation is what greeted Kayla and myself on the early morning poodlewalk on June 1. We hugged the northern edge of Rosetta Head to escape the 50 km south-westerly wind. I was looking across Encounter Bay to Goolwa and to the Coorong.
The weather was too wild to continue to the top of Rosetta Head and down the southern side, so we turned away from the coast, which is where we normally walk and photograph, jumped in the car and drove inland to seek some protection from the gusty, driving wind. We walked up and down Depledge Rd for about 30-40 minutes before I decided to return to exploring the bush “reserve” that ran adjacent to the western side of Depledge Rd in Waitpinga. We had had walked within this “reserve” a few days before.
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.
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.
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.
After the wildness of the stormy days, which stripped the local beaches of their sand we experienced several days of humid weather and gentle misty rain. Then the cold front rolled in from the south west and the temperature dropped dramatically.
I spent my time on the morning and evening poodlewalks exploring the nooks and crannies amongst the rocks, looking to do some handheld macro photography of seaweed. I quickly discovered that the piles of seaweed that had been thrown onto the rocks by the storm were mostly seagrass and not suitable.
The poodles in the afternoon would spend their time look for golf balls among the granite rocks, whilst I looked for subject matter for macro photography. We moved slowly across the rocks on our way beyond Kings Head finding what shelter we could when there was a bit of rain. Continue reading “close-ups”