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.
Houseboat Walpole on the Nornalup Inlet. You will have to squint to see the houseboat it is the white spec on the left. This image needs to be big to enjoy it! One of the few mornings when I have found Nornalup Inlet to be totally smooth and not a breath of wind, although higher up the clouds were streaming inland. Who ever was on the hired houseboat moored to the island had a stunning morning vista to wake up to. I sat at Sandy Beach and enjoyed the peace and quiet of this south west inlet. Walpole Nornalup Inlet is popular with anglers, walkers and is part of the Walpole Nornalup National Park. Houseboat Walpole was photographed on 6x12cm velvia film and is available as 15×30 inch photograph and larger.
Reflections Walpole Nornalup Australia. I am sometimes asked how I set out to make a particular landscape photograph. The impression is that I control the conditions under which I photograph. This is of course far from the case. I have no control over the conditions I will find on location. That does not mean I don’t plan for a successful image. I will look at maps prior to visiting an area, even if I have been there before. I will consider the time of year, what time and direction the landscape will be receiving light. It is my opinion that it is an error to enter a landscape with a preconceived idea of an intended photograph. Weather conditions on the day may thwart your plans. Your preoccupation with a preconceived idea may make you oblivious the other opportunities that are present. On this morning I had walked to a location to prepare for a sunrise image. The clouds obscured the rising sun and I did not make the intended image. Upon returning to my camp the clouds had advanced swiftly across the sky allowing breaks for the sun to shine through. At ground level the air was still and the inlet’s surface a mirror in which the clouds were reflected. In this instance those same clouds which obscured my preconceived photograph became the subject of this unexpected composition instead. Reflections Walpole Nornalup Inlet, within the Walpole Nornalup National Park Western Australia and is available as a limited edition 16×20 inch photograph and larger.
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.
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.
Echidna Chasm Kimberleys
Echidna Chasm Kimberleys starts as a wide flat creek bed entrance into the East Kimberley Bungle Bungles. A short 10 minute walk down a rocky creek bed and soon narrows into chasm walls on either side. As you walk further into the massif the walls become deeper. High above the sun hits the top of the walls, bouncing reflected light further down into the chasm’s depths. Eventually the Echidna Chasm terminates at a narrow point only a few feet wide, the walls become so narrow that only a faint crack of overhead light is admitted deep inside.
First published in my Horizon 1998 large format colour calendar and later in my greeting card set, Echidna Chasm Kimberley is an example of how reflected sunlight in chasms can look like an object directly lit by the sun.
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.
The thrombolites Lake Clifton in Yalgorup National Park are about 100km south of Perth. These rock like structures, a form of microbialite, occur in rocky clumps which look similar to the famous strombolites found within Shark Bay’s Hamelin Pool, some 800km north of Perth.
Strombolites are examples of one of the earliest forms of bacterial life presently known to man and reside in salty water. Thrombolites on the other hand grow best in fresh water. The bacteria within them are photosynthetic and create calcium carbonate which is basically what limestone is made of. Apparently the largest known population of living marine microbialites in the southern hemisphere are found at Lake Clifton in Yalgorup National Park. They require fresh water and monitoring of Lake Clifton’s fresh water is highlighting a decline in fresh water run off to the lake. There are other populations in nearby Lake Preston and further south in Augusta and Esperance.
Thrombolites are at risk by increasing water salinity, which stops them growing. Water salinity at Lake Clifton is affected by reduced fresh water run off from climate change and groundwater changes from urban and agricultural uses.
The day I made these photographs of Lake Clifton Thrombolites Yalgorup Mandurah I took my metal wista 4×5 field camera with 4×5 sheet film and a 6×12 film back. (The Horseman 6×12 back is quite thick and puts pressure on the ground glass springs of my wooden field camera). The film stock I was using for both was 50ISO Velvia. I timed my arrival for the mid to late afternoon, giving myself time to scout for potential compositions, although on an earlier visit I had already decided on a dusk composition (pictured above).
With the setting sun, the trees and reeds fringing Lake Clifton were lit with a warm orange light and the shapes of the thrombolites stood out in high contrast against the water. Using the reach of a longer focal length lens the 6x12cm back allowed me to fill the frame with thrombolites and the lake’s edge. It also allowed me to create several exposures in close succession, each one being a potential in camera duplicate should one be damaged by the handling of a publisher.
The image above was a timed exposure of several seconds made on 4×5 film after the sun had set. One of Velvia’s characteristics with long exposures is to develop a purplish magenta colour cast. For comparison I have included an image made on Velvia just before sunset (below). You can see how different the colour temperature is recorded by the same film type.
Lake Clifton Thrombolites Yalgorup National Park has been published in the 2015 Australian Conservation Foundation Diary. By purchasing it directly from Rob Blakers’ web site you can support the Australian Conservation Foundation and enjoy a yearly supply of wonderful photographs of Australia’s national parks.
Soft muted colours of a winter morning. With clear winter nights those chilly mornings are upon us again (chilly in Perth is when it drops below about 5ºC !). The samphires in the wetlands around the Canning River change colour this time of year from dull green grey to a soft mauve or pink. See if you can spot the two little fellas out and about for an early and chilly breakfast.
On this morning I was carrying in my pocket a small Canon digital camera. Doubtless, if I had my 4×5 by the time I was set up the ducks would have moved, hence the expression ‘the best camera is the one you have at hand’. What I really enjoy most about this image are the soft muted colours and tones in which the ducks are almost camouflaged. The image is a jpeg straight from the camera and matches the quiet and stillness of a cold winter morning at day break.