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Contos spring Contos Beach Margaret River region

Contos spring contos beach

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.

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Laundry shed Margaret River

Margaret River Australia

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.

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Storm light Margaret River Western Australia

Margaret River Region storm light margaret river

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.

 

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Redgate Beach coastline Margaret River region landscape photography

Redgate Beach coastline Margaret River regionRedgate 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.

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Flowing water Margaret River detail Western Australia

Flowing water Margaret River Western Australia

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.

 

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Calgardup Brook Redgate Beach tidal patterns Margaret River Region

Calgardup Brook Redgate Beach Margaret River Australia

Calgardup Brook Redgate Beach, hand printed 16x20 inch silver gelatin

Calgardup Brook Redgate Beach is close to Margaret River and is a popular location for learning to surf. It lies just south of the beach, snaking its way behind marram covered sand dunes as it makes a path towards the Indian Ocean. At the brook's mouth, tidal patterns form and sea birds search for food amongst the flotsam. The sand constantly calves into new shapes and forms under the forces of opposing water currents and occasionally a large wave will erase all surface detail. About hand made silver prints.

A 16x20inch framed or unframed matted and over mounted print is available for purchase.


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Paperbarks Margaret River Wallcliffe Western Australia

Margaret River Australia

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.

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Karri forest Margaret River Boranup Australia

Boranup Margaret River Australia

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.

 

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Piano Lessons by Anna Goldsworthy

Margaret River

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.

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IRIS AWARDS Semi Finalists Carlo Margaret River

IRIS Awards Carlo Margaret River Bronica 645 Kodak Tri-X. Back in 1987, I started a personal photographic project: photographing some of my family members and relatives around Margaret River. I didn’t set out with any particular plan such as a start and finish date, or a wish list of images, as perhaps you would for a commercial project. It simply took shape as I visited the region, usually several times per year. It depended solely on what opportunities presented themselves, at the time of those visits, for photography. Naturally, at some point during my visit I would ask if they would mind if I made some photographs whilst we talked. In some instances, there was only ever one photographic session, the confluence of opportunities and circumstances never re-emerging. Luckily in those situations I got what I thought was a pleasing image, so mission accomplished.

When I first photographed Carlo, above, he was already 83 years of age. I would often find him out in the paddocks, fossicking around for wood burls or looking for field mushrooms when in season.  Before his passing, at nearly 90 years of age, I had the pleasure of making several memorable images.

Most times I used my 4×5 field camera for the portraits, even leaving 4×5 Polaroid prints with my subjects after my visit, which was always a nice way to say thank you. Other times I used my 645 medium format camera, such as in the image above, which was easier to handle in rapidly changing circumstances. I used Kodak Tri X for both roll and sheet film, metering was all hand held, both film and prints hand processed by me.

I entered this image in the recent Perth Centre of Photography 2010 IRIS Awards, a national photographic portrait prize, some months back, and then actually forgot all about it. Unfortunately it didn’t make the judges’ selection for the final exhibition, but it did apparently make it through as one of about 30 semi-finalist images, according to a PCP flicker posting. How many of these made the final show I don’t know.

I only became aware of the above posting quite by accident, I certainly wasn’t contacted by PCP. Whilst on the subject of the Perth Centre of Photography, isn’t it time some of the digital savvy members amongst the PCP brought the website up to a professional standard? These days it’s not hard, difficult or expensive. The current PCP website has been under construction for far too long, which is farcical if they are a “centre of photography” running “national” awards.  Given that Perth Centre of Photography receives funding from WA’s Department  of Arts & Culture to run two national awards (IRIS and CLIP Awards), it would be nice to see an up to date and informative web site about the awards’ results, both past and present. It certainly would be a more inclusive way, for people outside of Perth of staying informed of the results, after all it’s meant to be a national award.