ANZAC Day reflections

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The pre-dawn light was just starting to come through the lounge room window when I awoke. I had slept on the sofa at my father-in-laws house in Teagardens where we were visiting. I arose, and prepared for a lovely dawn on the river after the huge storms in the previous week.

Outside, in the normally quiet street there was almost a traffic jam, and throngs were walking along the esplanade to the local ANZAC Park. It is a hundred years since the failed World War I invasion at Gallipoli, and the Dawn Service to commemorate, is a matter of national significance.

I left the house with my camera pack and tripod walking in the opposite direction to the human tide. As a small boy my mother had once taken me to an ANZAC Day Parade in Melbourne during the 1960s, yet she refused to join the Returned Services League (RSL)…

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Sailing stones

52 rolls

Last November seems long ago now, but I have finally developed colour photos of the sailing stones at Racetrack Playa, made just before sunset on our last day in Death Valley.

It was an incredible experience – almost surreal!

I will never forget racing across the playa with a 4×5 camera and tripod, photographing the stones, just moments before each lost their shadow to the dusk.

Afterwards, it was deeply satisfying standing far out on the Racetrack as evening fell, enjoying the stillness of this remarkable place.

Sailing stones Sailing stones

Shadow on the playa Shadow on the playa

On track On track

Dusk Dusk

All photos were taken using my Chamonix 045F1View Camera, with Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S 150mm lens, on Fuji Pro160C sheet film and developed in the Unicolour C41 kit.

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52 rolls

On the last weekend of September 1989, I answered the call to protect the ancient forests of south east New South Wales from being logged into wood chip. Our protests over that weekend were along a road which was being constructed into the Coolangubra near Myanba Creek.

In spite of newspaper advertisements inviting the public to visit these forests, when our large peaceful assembly and protest songs were detected (“rip rip wood chip, turn it into paper”), the Coolangubra was quickly declared closed and we were arrested. Of course this was claimed as victory by the authorities, but after a long legal battle we were found not guilty.

Driving over the Monaro and its treeless tablelands, which has practically been made arid by indiscriminate clearing and weed invasion, it is a joy to arrive today in South East Forests National Park. The tall stands of the Coolangubra still remain, and…

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Rain is inevitable

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There is an is inevitability about Easter, it is going to rain. No matter whether Easter comes early or late, it augurs autumn. In some years the full moon is barely visible, hidden by clouds and inclement weather.

Notwithstanding constant showers, on Easter Saturday I was determined to get out, so we checked the rain radar and headed south. By the time we got to Nowra it was pouring, but seeing a gap in the squalls, we changed our plans and drove up through the mud to nearby Bugong Plateau. At least it was only raining lightly there.

Bugong is one of my favourite places. I have photographed its trees and flowers before, and each time it is different. In the rain and mist, on the edge of a wilderness, it feels mythical.

Mountain devil in the rain Mountain devil (lambertia formosa) in the rain

Arched Arched

Wilderness edge Wilderness edge

Rain is inevitable Rain is inevitable

All photos taken with…

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With the dingoes and brumbies on Long Plain

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Out on Long Plain, not far from the headwaters of the Murrumbidgee River and beneath Cooleman Mountain, are the Blue Waterholes and Coolemine Homestead. Across the Snowy Mountains there are high plains, where cold air collects and inhibits tree growth. Even in early autumn it can be icy.

Murrumbidgee - Long Plain Murrumbidgee – Long Plain

We arrived late in the afternoon, finding our way down the rough track which drops off Cooleman Mountain to the campground near the Blue Waterholes.

After lighting a fire and cooking dinner, we retreated to our camper trailer, to escape the wind and cold. In the middle of a freezing night a dingo started howling in a gorge nearby, and a few brumbies came past snorting at our camp on their way. We had seen a couple of wild horses in the trees near Coolemine Homestead and out on Long Plain.

In the morning after a bush breakfast…

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