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Pemberton Western Australia

Pemberton mill town workers' cottages Pemberton, Western Australia

Visiting Pemberton Western Australia is like stepping back in time. It was the ideal location for the filming of Jasper Jones with Toni Collette and Hugo Weaving. Pemberton is one of the few remaining country towns that still have surviving buildings from earlier times. Timber mill houses, main street halls and back alleyways all speak of yesteryear. The town is also in close proximity to several national parks, with towering karri forest, rivers, massive sand dunes and rugged coastline.

Indigenous Australians hunted, gathered and traveled extensively throughout the region for thousands of years. More recent European settlement was historically based upon grazing then the hardwood timber industry supplied by the local karri forests. Hops and tobacco were grown within the region for a short time with a later expansion of beef cattle farming and agriculture.

Surrounded by towering karri forests Pemberton is adjacent to several spectacular national parks including the Warren, Beedelup, Gloucester, and the D’Entrecasteaux National Parks. Rugged coastline, extensive inland sand dunes, heavily forested regions,  rivers and dams, characterise Pemberton’s unique landscape. These parks and Pemberton’s proximity to the Southern Ocean contribute to a clean environment for food, wine and tourism.

Pemberton Wine Region is the first premium quality landscape photography book to focus on this region, exploring its outstanding natural beauty.  Images of majestic forests, rivers, massive sand dunes and rugged coastline capture the landscape that shapes the region’s character and beauty. It also documents the rise of the local wine industry and was the Australian finalist for two Gourmand Book Awards, Paris.


Emus from adjoining Warren National Park Old Vasse Road Pemberton Western Australia
Emus from adjoining Warren National Park Old Vasse Road

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West Australian Postcards Series

Postcards Western Australia Alex Bond Stormlight Publishing

West Australian Postcards

1989 marked the publication of my West Australian Postcards series. Starting out with just one lens and one 35mm film camera I set about the self inspired project to make a postcard series of a region that I have been associated with all my life.
 
The common theme for the series was the coastal ribbon of national park located between Cape Leeuwin in the south and Cape Naturaliste in the north. The region is broadly referred to as the Margaret river Region. Scattered between the two capes are the coastal hamlets of Augusta, Hamelin Bay, Margaret River, Prevelly Park, Gracetown, Cowaramup, Smiths Beach, Yallingup and Dunsborough. Named after the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park, this was the first postcard series in Western Australia to focus on a national park and reserves theme.

Over 25 years and 1.5 million postcards later, I tell the story behind creating this award winning West Australian Postcard Series. Stormlight Publishing 25 years of south west postcards is a fascinating look at how I came to photograph, produce, publish and distribute postcards in a time prior to digital technology and mobile phones.

Southern Forests and Southern Coast Porongurup and Stirling Range Series

With the success of the Leeuwin Naturaliste Series I was able to expand the national park postcard range to include the Southern Forests Series, South Coast and Porongurup and Stirling Range Series. The card range eventually extended east to Esperance with Cape Le Grand National Park, and west to Albany near Torndirrup National Park. Neighboring Denmark and William Bay National Park followed. Postcards were added from the south west's mountainous regions: Porongurup Range near Mount Barker with the rugged Stirling Range National Parks.  In the south west more postcards were made of D' Entrecasteaux National Park and Walpole Nornalup National Park near Walpole. The postcards also reached the forested regions of Northcliffe, Shannon National Park, Windy Harbour and Pemberton.

This makes it the most extensive West Australian postcards series of national parks to date.

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Lefroy Brook Pemberton Wattie tree karri forest understorey

Wattie tree Lefroy Brook Pemberton

Lefroy Brook near Pemberton meanders through spectacular karri forest following parts of the Bibbulmun Track. A Wattie tree forming part of the karri forest understorey arches gracefully above the brook’s winter rapids. There are trout and marron farms along the brook and it serves as Pemberton’s water supply.

This image was made within the Gloucester National Park, using a 90mm lens using Zone VI wooden field camera and velvia 4×5 film. It has been published in my Pemberton Wine Region Western Australia book and in my Southern Forests postcard series.

Wattie tree Lefroy Brook is available as a 16×20 inch photograph and larger.

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Pemberton photos karri forest trees in mist Western Australia

Forest Pemberton Australia

Pemberton photos karri forests and wine region

Pemberton photos nearly always have karri trees somewhere in them. These Australian hardwood giants dominate the region and lend themselves to much of Pemberton's visual character and timber town history.

In 2008 I had only recently acquired my first digital camera. It was a Pentax K10D, with a 10 megapixel APS-C  CCD sensor. This is about 2/3 area of  a full frame 35mm film SLR. What was exciting about this camera was two fold: 1) it could take my existing Pentax K-mount lenses which I already owned and 2) I was in the throws of publishing a coffee table book about the beauty of the Pemberton region.

As a result, karri trees in mist Pemberton was one of my first digital camera landscapes during the photographing of my book Pemberton Wine Region. This relatively small file image has been successfully printed for a client requiring a customised image over 1.7 metre long and slightly over 1.1 metres high. The softness of the misty image does not lend itself to high degrees of sharpness and there the small file is adequate.

Pemberton's surrounding karri forest, valleys, and open farmland with large bodies of surface water create ideal conditions for mist to form in the coolest part of the evening. The mists settles in the low lying valleys and usually burns off quickly after sunrise, but for those who bother to get up early you will be rewarded from time to time with some truly ephemeral landscapes.

Karri trees in mist Pemberton was one of a few landscapes I included in the book made from digital media. Many of the landscapes were made on 6x12cm and 4x5 inch format films.

The digital camera was ideal for many of the working winery and vineyard images which I wanted to capture in a candid fashion rather than posed. Since publication I have received comments from the wine industry that my book contains some of the very few images of actual work being carried out in wineries and vineyards.  Most vineyards and wineries are represented with highly stylised images.

 

pemberton photos Cleaning wine fermentation tanks.

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Gourmand Awards Paris Pemberton Wine Region Book

Gourmand Awards Karri Valley Dam Karri Valley Resort Pemberton

Gourmand Awards Paris: My recently published book Pemberton Wine Region Western Australia  was the Australian finalist in two categories at the Gourmand Book Awards recently held in Paris. The categories were Best Wine Photography and Best Book on New World Wines.

The Belgium-French and Italy entries finally took home the awards. Italy won Best Wine Photography in the World with Lombardia, Il Mosaico del Vino, Andrea Zanfi, Gio Martorana, (Carlo Cambi). The Belgium-French entry won Best Book on New World Wines in the World with: Chile, País de Vinos y de Montañas  Papianile Mura (Versant Sud). Congratulations to both the publishers and authors.