I LOVE to photograph people. I think that’s obvious by now.
But I USED to photograph landscapes way back in the day. And I thought I was ok at it. I would spend days on the road with a friend, looking for just the right light, then get out of the car and contort myself to just the right angle to get ‘that shot’ (oh, how I wish I was still that flexible!).
I was wrong. I sucked at landscapes. All of my decent images really were flukes, being in the right place at the right time, mostly. That became more and more obvious as I progressed in my professional studies, but I had a knack for people, particularly women, and I really REALLY loved creating those images that would make them realise how beautiful and amazing they are. So that was where I focussed.
But every now and then, I get a hankering to photograph a landscape again. Just to see if I can do it. Here are the results of a recent day trip with a visiting friend, who is a hobbyist photographer.
As per weather around Melbourne in spring, we had four seasons in one day. This was a mid day mist, just the side of the road going up a hill near Healesville. Ravaged by bushfires only a few years ago, the trees still bear the scars with their charred trunk sections, burnt off branches and lack of lower growth. The mist was what we were looking for, as I wanted to challenge myself in those conditions.
Victoria has had a WET winter, and a lot of the roads were closed off, even to 4wd, but Absinthe, my trusty little SAAB convertible acquitted herself well on the roads we could use, and helped us to find beautiful scenes, even in small clearings, and cuttings, and rest areas.
My friend, Marie, hasn’t done much manual photography, like me, she is a visual learner, who needs to put something into practice as soon as it’s explained to her for it to ‘stick’, so we spent the day concentrating on finding areas where we could take multiple style of photographs. The ranges proved perfect, but no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t find a waterfall, mostly because of the road closures, so we determined that if the weather was amenable, we would head to a different area the next day.
Fortunately, the weather was kind, although I think that by the time the morning came, we would have braved anything short of a blizzard and hail storm. I’d photographed Trentham waterfall when I first came to Melbourne, but it was quite dry, and the images weren’t my favourite. This time the river was FULL and the falls were spectacular.
With new gear, comes new needs, and I had not yet purchased a neutral density filter for my lenses, meaning that I couldn’t use the settings that I wanted without creating photos that were far too bright. Marie’s camera is a crop sensor, so her fabulous lens and filter left a vignette or dark circle on my images (like looking through a telescope), but we decided to swap gear for a little while anyway, just for the experience. This led to some interesting cropping of my images, and I really had to think about the picture I wanted to create… challenge accepted!!!
I hope the difference between the two images can be seen. The lower one, taken with my gear, doesn’t have that lovely smooth effect on the water, because of the limitations without a filter. I still like it, because it captures the energy that a waterfall creates.
Of course, to balance out the day, we also went looking for a miniature landscape. On the way in, I had commented on the glorious snowbell bulbs growing on the side of the road, but as luck would have it, there was no where safe to pull over and take photos of them. (why does Murphy always seem to travel in my back seat?)
Heading back into town to grab lunch, we noticed the lovely little Trentham Railway Market was being held, so we wandered around and then, hooray! A car pulled out of the parking lot and we could see a tiny patch of snow bells! We must have been quite a sight, down on our bellies in the gravel (which was still VERY damp and muddy), but we did find a couple of lovely angles to get some images.
So, there you have it. A whole weekend with no photos of people. A chance to reconnect with nature, pass on the little knowledge that I have, and to enjoy some downtime. All in all, a weekend well spent.