I returned from my quick but fruitful trip to Melbourne to solo household duties. Suzanne left the day after I returned from Melbourne to continue with her walking the Heysen Trail in the Flinders Ranges for 9 days or so. She is based at Quorn then Hawker. I am minding the standard poodles, walking 3 of them in the morning and the evening.
The places that I can walk are limited because Ari is nearing 16 and the Maleko and Kayla are 2-3 years old. So I mostly walk along the back country roads where Ari is able to walk and the other two can check the smells and hunt amongst the roadside vegetation. So my photographic options are rather limited:
trees, Jagger Rd, Waitpinga
I am pretty much limited to photographing the roadside vegetation whilst on the poodlewalks. The problem is that there aren’t many suitable quiet roads with limited or no traffic. So I end up walking the same roads in the morning and the evening.
With walking along the rocky foreshore of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula out for an Ari, who is unsteady on his legs, I have shifted to walking on sandy beaches and country roads for his morning walk. He now walks on his own with me in the morning and with Suzanne in the afternoon. Kayla and Maleko walk together with Suzanne in the morning and with me in the afternoon. They are becoming easier to handle together.
This picture of roadside grasses– phalaris— was made on an early morning walk inbetween the trips to New Zealand and Tasmania in mid-February:
It had been grey and the light was flat and drab as we walked along the dusty, country road. Then the sun came out from behind the cloud cover for several minutes.
Due to the ongoing kitchen renovations and the tradespeople turning up at 8am to start work on the kitchen and the laundry, the morning poodle walks along the cliff top or the back country roads are before dawn. As they are over just on sunrise so there has been little opportunity for photography on the morning walks.
The photos that I have taken on the poodle walks have been on the afternoon walks when the weather has not been stormy:
pink gum trunk
The afternoon walks in the odd day with the quieter winter weather have been moments of calm away from living in the chaos of the ongoing kitchen renovations.
Hall Creek Rd is a back country road in Waitpinga, on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia. We have been walking along it in the late afternoon during the recent stormy weather whilst Suzanne has been away walking the Heysen Trail around Laura in the mid-north.
The road is part of the Heysen Trail, and so it is quiet. It is protected from the winds, has the afternoon sun, is reasonably dry, and the fences on both sides of the road are in good condition. The latter is crucial because there are often kangaroos in the fields:
Hall Creek Rd, Waitpinga
The fences prevent the standard poodles from entering the fields to chase the kangaroos. If the kangaroos are grazing amongst the road side vegetation, which they sometimes do, they are able to jump the fences into the fields.
Suzanne is currently away walking the Heysen Trail around Burra and Spalding region for a week. I’m at Encounter Bay minding the standard poodles and scanning negatives from local poodlewalks and from the Coorong and previous Mallee Highway trips.
I’m also doing the curation administration for two group exhibitions in September–an abstraction one at the Light Gallery and one entitled Weltraum at Magpie Springs for the Shimmer Photographic Biennale.
roadside vegetation, Jagger Rd
This is one of the images from the local poodle walks along Jagger Rd in Waitpinga earlier this year. It’s a scoping image that I re-photographed with the 5×4 Linhof Technika the following day.
It was Easter time, as I remember a male sleeping rough nearby. He’d been tossed out of his home by his wife and he was missing his kids. He spun me a story about how he had decided to travel around Australia on the cheap cos he wanted freedom. He added that being disconnected from the digital world—a digital detox?— meant that he could reclaim a sense of self, freedom and creativity and so lead a more authentic and fulfilling life. I wished him luck in his quest.
This was one of the last images I made on a poodle walk before the digital SONY NEX-7 went into the camera shop to have its sensor cleaned. The sensor had become really dirty on the road trips to the Coorong and to Wallaroos and the camera’s cleaning mechanism was up to the task. I needed the sensor to be cleaned for the road trip along the Mallee Highway next week.
I see the same objects every day, in slightly different light and from slightly different angles on specific poodle walks. This is what contributes to my overall impression and memories of the object: it isn’t a single encounter but a series of experiences. So I select the most suitable–in this case 5×7 format, late afternoon light, and some cloud— rather than going in the composite direction.
I have been away on a couple of photo trips without the standard poodles. The last one to the Yorke Peninsula was based on camping out, rather than renting a cabin or house, which is quite expensive. I would like to take one of the poodles with me on these road trips but I’m still finding my feet camping. It’s over 25 years since I last camped.
In between the trips we have gone on our usual poodle walks along the coast and the back country roads in the early morning and in the late afternoon. One in the early morning light:
The long summer holiday season has gone and the recreational crowds have vanished. The weather may be cooler and the winds stronger, but we pretty much have the beaches to ourselves once again.