Bull Creek tree ferns Cradle Mountain Valley

Bull Creek tree ferns is an image I am yet to print. It was made in 1988 on a friend’s property at Bull Creek,  in the Cradle Mountain Valley, Tasmania. We had spent a wet day hiking through myrtle forest and tree ferns on the slopes above Lake Cethana locating the old survey pegs.

In my backpack I had my wooden field camera, one lens (the only one I owned) and 6 sheets of film. The tripod I carried in hand was used more like a walking aid than for any photography. It was covered in dirt, mud and all manner of leaf litter, as I used it to support myself down steep slopes. I still have that tripod and it works fine, although these days I have opted for lighter ones.

During the day I used up my 6 sheets of film at various locations. Several images were made of Bull Creek in a deep valley where it runs through the property. Here the forest canopy was thick and light levels very low. Exposures ran to minutes even though I was using black and white film I had rated at 200 ASA.

Towards the end of our day the sun broke through briefly illuminating the forest and tree ferns with backlight. I used my last 2 sheets of film making a vertical and horizontal format image of this scene. The image required additional exposure which it did receive. However, with hindsight, I should have reduced the development as well. That part didn’t happen and the sunlit areas of the negative a pretty dense. The exposure was several seconds, with a 90mm lens on a tripod. With split grade printing on multigrade (my preferred method), it should print up successfully into a 16×20 inch fibre based print.

At the time I made this image Bull Creek tree ferns, the property was pretty much in the back blocks, but now borders Lemonthyme Lodge.

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