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Canning River Perth fire paperbark regrowth

Paperbark regrowth fire Canning River Perth

Paperbark regrowth after fire: new shoots on burnt paperbarks, Canning River Perth 16×20 inch hand printed silver gelatin fibre based print. It was exhibited in the 2015 Canning River “Dissociation” exhibition.

After a serious fire in 2011 in which water bombing was required to prevent the fire spreading into neighboring houses, much of the park between Greenfield Bridge and Kent St Weir was burnt. Several weeks after the fire the first green shoots of regrowth started to appear.

It was first published in “Lost in Suburbia” in 2013 and an 11×14 inch print exhibited at the 2013 “Lost in Suburbia” exhibition, Riverton Library, was sold.


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Bannister Creek Canning River Perth Western Australia

Canning River Perth

Bannister Creek tributary to Canning River Perth

Bannister Creek tributary to Canning River Perth Western Australia 16×20 inch hand printed silver gelatin fibre based print -sold.

This image was made in a section in which some restoration work was recently undertaken. The creek runs through suburbia, at the rear of housing whose back fences close off their view and connection to the watercourse behind them. The fact that the houses face their backs to the creek is curiously dismissive of the creek’s significance in this ancient flat landscape, something I have previously commented about.

Although not readily visible in the photograph, immediately behind the paperbarks are houses and grey super six fencing. The fencing travels almost the entire length of both sides of the shallow depression that contains Bannister Creek.

300mm nikkor lens on TMax 4×5 sheet film, 1 second at f64.

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Canning River Wetlands Perth Paperbark Australia

Canning River Wetlands Perth Paperbark

Canning River Wetlands Perth Paperbark #02

Canning River Wetlands Paperbark Perth. Many areas around the Canning River are natural wetlands which flood during the winter months. Some areas have been infilled over the years for subdivision. Small pockets remain of samphire and paperbark wetlands. These are important breeding grounds for water birds and they also act as a filtration system to water runoff before it reaches the river. Restoration of wetlands which have previously been infilled is now being undertaken in areas along the Canning and Swan Rivers. Paperbark stump Canning River Wetlands #02  11×14 inch hand printed silver gelatin fibre based print

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Canning River Sheoaks Grass Perth Western Australia

Sheoaks grass Canning River casuarina-obesa

Canning River Sheoaks Grass was made on a bright summer’s day. Preserving the impression of bright light is important for me in this photograph. Maintaining texture in the grass is important in achieving this quality. With the contrast range in this scene so high I wanted to prevent the deep shadows from going to black in the  print. If the shadows from the back lit sheoaks were reduced to black it would reduce the impression of an intense but enveloping light. The film was Forte 4×5  sheet. The negative received additional exposure and reduced development. Sheoaks and grass Canning River Perth 16×20 inch hand printed silver gelatin fibre based print. Sheoaks and grass Canning River was exhibited in “Dissociation” at Heathcote Museum and Gallery 2015.

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Paperbark Tree Walpole Nornalup Australia

Paperbark tree Walpole Nornalup Australia

Walpole Nornalup National Park

Paperbark tree, photographed near Walpole reflects the tranquility on a quiet afternoon. Everything was still which is unusual. It’s right near the coast where you can hear the sound of the southern ocean’s pounding waves in the distance. Although there was no breeze where I stood, late afternoon clouds move across the sky blocking the setting sun.

I relish quiet moments.  My eyes scan the landscape. It is almost an unconscious process and unhurried. There is no immediate purpose in my mind. Thoughts float in and out without judgement as I absorb the visual information in front of me. After a while I become more conscious of my eyes being drawn repeatedly back to a particular area. This is the birth signs of the thought “would this be interesting to photograph?”. I guess in a nutshell this is what drives me to photograph. Is the visual information I’m receiving interesting to me? If so let’s explore it. Where will this photographic journey take me? In a way all photographs are an exploration of ones self as the photographer.

Personal Exploration

Paperbark tree is one such personal photographic exploration. How do I find a visual balance between key elements that I find important? The emphasis here is on “what I find important”. Yes, photography really is discriminatory.  It is by nature prejudicial because it is one person’s view. You have to decide what elements to include within your view or frame. That very act of inclusion is matched by what you exclude. So here, in a quiet moment within the Walpole Nornalup National Park, I was exploring my thoughts through photography.

Paperbark Tree

You can easily recognise paperbark trees. They have smooth creamy white papery bark. Sometimes sheets of papery bark are shed from the trunk and branches. Their white trunks and branches glow in the low angled morning and evening light. They create a stark visual contrast to the backdrop to a sea of green formed by the towering forests around Walpole. The region is renowned for its majestic karri forest and tingle trees of enormous girths. You will find the paperbarks residing on the margins of these giants, often in the swamps and wetland areas.


Paperbark tree shows a tenacity for life. At the base of the tree is a tangle of twisted tree roots. There are interesting shapes formed by root diversions, overlaps, twists, unexpected angles and knots. To me they are like lines in a face, a metaphor of a life well lived.

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Karri forest Walpole Nornalup Inlet Western Australia

Karri forest Walpole Nornalup Australia

Karri forest Walpole on the Nornalup Inlet. One of the more unusual locations where you find a small section of beach and karri forest up to the water’s edge. The Nornalup Inlet at Walpole has many moods, wild and woolly when those southerlies come blasting through, peaceful calm to misty and mysterious. There are two forested knolls that create the narrow channel between the Walpole Inlet and the Nornalup Inlet. Their steep dark slopes provide the perfect back drop to highlight the karri trees’ smooth creamy bark. During Spring you can find many delicate wildflowers growing in the forest understorey.  About hand made silver prints.

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Bracken Fern Augusta

Bracken Fern

Bracken Fern Augusta detail, hand printed 16x20in silver gelatin.

Bracken is ubiquitous in the paddocks, fields and forests of the south west. This image of bracken fern was made on a windless morning in the Cape Leeuwin region near Augusta. Not having any wind around was important in securing a focused image as the exposure of half a minute was made in relatively low light. This image was made just before the first rays of sunlight spread across the landscape. The soft light allows the gentle tracing of the ferns to be revealed. Obtaining the correct contrast in the final print requires careful balance in the highlight fern leaves, they contain texture but this can easily be lost. Too soft a contrast grade and the print can turn muddy.  About hand made silver prints.

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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 an ancient marri tree leans precariously over the water. In winter its branches are submerged in raging water, causing it to gyrate. 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.


Wista 4×5,  Tri X Professional,  90mm lens,  first printed on Agfa paper and selenium toned.


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Beach detail seaweed Augusta Cape Leeuwin Western Australia

Seaweed Cape Leeuwin Augusta Australia

Beach detail seaweed Augusta, hand printed silver gelatin

Beach detail seaweed Augusta. I made this image on the most south western tip of land in Western Australia. Cape Leeuwin is a boulder strewn granite promontory that juts out into the ocean.  It is sculpted by small sandy bays and weathered boulders of various shapes and sizes. At its terminus is Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse looking out onto the Southern and Indian Oceans. Over the years several ships have come to grief along this rugged piece of coastline.

There is an abundance of seaweeds and small shells in this area. Hidden amongst the bays and the rocks are ocean treasures waiting to be discovered. I came across this delicate necklace like arrangement of seaweed floating in a shallow rock pool. Its almost translucent seaweed looked like it had been carefully arranged over the rock.

I have browsed through the botanical  illustrations in my copy of “Walking Round in Circles”. From the drawings of seaweed it would seem that this is a deep water species called cystophora racemosa.

An 11x14inch print, Foma silver gelatin fibre based paper mounted on 16x20in 100% rag museum board.

Ref: Walking Round in Circles, Jane Scott & Patricia Negus, Cape to Cape Publishing, North Fremantle 2007.
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Paperbark roots Walpole Nornalup Western Australia

Paperbark roots Walpole Nornalup Western Australia

Paperbark roots Walpole: located about 400km south of Perth, on the south coast, surrounded by magnificent karri and tingle forests, several rivers and two large inlets, Walpole Inlet and Nornalup Inlet. This photograph was made in the few remaining minutes of daylight, with me struggling to focus and compose an image on the ground glass screen that is not only upside down and back to front, but dark as well (the largest lens aperture was using was F6.8). Part of the process of composition in landscape photography is to find order within what we perceive to be disorder, and this tangle of paperbark roots at Walpole certainly provided an enjoyable challenge. About hand made silver prints.