Contos Spring flows when the local limestone caves have received enough underground water. The spring seeps up out of the beach sand at the southern end of Contos Beach. Overhanging limestone cliffs dominate the beach and create a colourful and dramatic back drop especially towards evening.
On this particular evening there were several parties spread out on the beach enjoying the late sun and solitude. You can just make out a small dot on the far beach of one individual.
The foot prints in the foreground are testament to the beach’s popularity that day. Nearby is the Contos Beach camping ground and the Cape to Cape trail.
During this visit I made this image on 4×5 velvia film at 50iso using my wooden field camera. No filters required, image is as it appears on the transparency.
Laundry shed, Margaret River. I didn’t set out to deliberately make this image. Call it exploration or perhaps just a happy accident. I had my medium format camera set up on a tripod outside my late grandparents’ farm house looking out across the paddock. For whatever reason, I abandoned my initial plan and turned the camera 180 degrees back onto the shed behind me. The sun was hitting the north face, with some of the aged grey weatherboard almost reflecting specular light. In stark contrast the other side of the shed was in deep shadow. Only the sunlit heads of dried grass swaying gently in the breeze created a bridge between the two opposing tones. The portrait lens on the camera allowed for a tightly composed image. It accentuated the visual tension created by the weatherboard’s converging perspective culminating at the shed’s corner. That corner also delineates the image between sunlight and shadow. There is further tension within the image created by the vertical planks of the doors which run at right angles to the wall planks. Across the composition there is a repetition of rectangular shapes and opposing tones. The image oscillates between a perceptible three dimensional perspective realised by the shed’s corner, to an image reduced into two dimensions by its columns of tone and shapes. In the original 11×14 inch silver gelatin print, the three dark windows above the barn door hold good shadow detail allowing some internal window frame to be seen.
This image of my late grandparents’ laundry shed, Margaret River was made with a Bronica ETRS and printed on Foma fibre based 11×14 inch silver gelatin paper. I find the composition pleasing for its underlying visual tension, repetition of shapes, opposing perspectives and tonalities.
Storm light Margaret River was made one winter’s day in 1983 at my grandparents’ farm. I remember the five or so days that we stayed it bucketed with rain and squally winds. It really started at Australind, with the wind driving the rain horizontally into the coast. By the time I had reached my grandparents’ farm in Margaret River it was raining non stop. Over the next few days the light was gluey grey punctuated with startling sunlit contrasts as low clouds rapidly scudded across the sky.
The film was Kodachrome, the exposure made with my Pentax LX and a Pentax 100mm lens, hand held with the camera jammed against the front door for stability. I can’t be sure of the shutter but it was likely to be 1/15 sec or slower, aperture at its widest f2.8. This photograph gave me the idea to name my publishing imprint Stormlight Publishing.
Redgate Beach coastline Margaret River
Redgate Beach coastline Margaret River region coastline characterised by outcrops of granite. This particularly large massive boulder had a deep fissure running part way along its length. The threatening depth and angled geometry of the fissure combined with the neat layer of ocean just above it creates a visual incongruity. Adding to the drama is the approach of rain clouds across the ocean. The light was soft allowing full saturation of the orange lichen on the rocks mixed with the softer grey hues of granite. Film was 4×5 sheet velvia, Wista wooden field camera and a wide 90mm lens. Fissure Margaret River region is available as a 16×20 inch photograph and larger.
Flowing water Margaret River detail is a 16x20in hand printed silver gelatin print. The image is from an area along the banks of the Margaret River that I have visited frequently since childhood. During the drier months the dark granite boulders of the river bed protrude above the water. At this spot and an ancient marri tree leans precariously over the water. In winter its branches are submerged in raging water, causing it to vibrate. I made this image just before summer when the water was just flowing over the rocks. A huge air bell, made by the flow of water over the rock creates a dark silvery bubble.
Paperbarks Margaret River, hand printed 16×20 inch silver gelatin
Paperbarks Margaret River this wonderful stand of old paperbarks are located near Wallcliffe House, on the banks of Margaret River. This image was made just weeks before the Margaret River fires razed the Prevelly Park region in November 2011, resulting in the loss of many homes and historic Wallcliffe House. The area surrounding these trees was badly burnt and denuded of all vegetation, but a few of the older veterans pictured here still remain. The photograph is high in contrast due to the dappled sunlight and deep shadow. Additional exposure was given to open up the shadows and development was reduced. Film was 4×5 Tmax. About hand made silver prints.
Redgate Beach Margaret River Western Australia. I was bush walking from Bobs Hollow to Redgate Beach along the Cape to Cape track, when the breezy, but pleasant Spring day suddenly turned stormy. A blustery cold front was fast approaching the coast shooting low scudding clouds over the land with a dramatic display of light and dark. A break in the clouds low on the horizon allowed a late burst of sunlight to illuminate the foreground rock and tidal patterns in the sand. I was just sheltered from the full blast of the wind by some low dunes at my rear, which made focusing my camera with my head under a focusing cloth just possible in this rapidly changing light. Redgate Beach Margaret River is available as a 16×20 inch photograph and larger.
Karri forest Margaret River
Karri forest Margaret River with coral vine and purple hovea wildflowers at Boranup just south of Margaret River. This unique stand of karri forest is the most western edge of the karri forest belt. These karri grow in limestone based soils as opposed to dark rich karri loam which is found around Pemberton and Walpole. Just above the purple hovea and red coral vine in this image you can see a limetone cliff edge. Its the presence of limestone which is responsible for the numerous caves within the Cape Leeuwin to Cape Naturaliste region. This image was made with a 6×4.5cm format Bronica ETRS camera using velvia film and a 40mm Bronica lens. It has been published in magazines and calendars and in my Leeuwin Naturaliste postcard series where it has remained popular for over 20 years.
Karri forest Margaret River is available as a limited edition 16×20 inch photograph and larger.
Carlo was about 87 when he related a story to me about seeing some violins during a visit to Perth many years ago and how, when he returned home to Margaret River, decided to make one. I asked if he still had it and if so, could I see it. He went inside the house and then returned to the verandah where we had been sitting, with a partially made violin.
Carlo had hand carved the instrument from a local marri tree, shaping the wood from the memory of his Perth visit. The marri had proven difficult to work and cracks finally appeared, so the project remained an unfinished dream from all those years ago.
But really, I digress, yet still on a vague musical theme and life’s lessons. I read a wonderful book recently called Piano Lessons by Anna Goldsworthy, an autobiographical account of a young musician who grows and matures through her successes and disappointments, and gains a worldly wisdom from her wonderfully gifted piano teacher.
The piano teacher’s knowledge and insights transcend mere musical technique and reveal her great depth, not only as a human being and artist, but as a great educator. Goldworthy’s narrative style flows easily, her recollections priceless. If you are considering a career in the arts, or if you are already involved with an arts practice, I highly recommend you read this book.
Goldsworthy, A 2009, Piano lessons, Black Inc., Melbourne.