There’s no doubt about it Australians love a dam. Build one and the accompanying recreation area will be full of happy Aussies burning sausages while commenting sagely on rainfall and water levels. On our recent jaunt around the Tasmanian North West we stopped at Tarraleah to admire the hydro and the Art Deco cottages that were built to house the workers when being constructed. They are now part of a swank resort where you can admire massive pipes and electricity pylons as they cross the valley.
The building of the dams polarised the community and gave birth to Australian green politics and the conservation of the Tasmanian Wilderness. Sounds odd doesn’t it? Renewable energy is supposed to be good for the environment, but not when you destroy the wilderness and make entire species extinct in the process. The Hydro Electric Commission (HEC) was set up in 1914 to capitalise on Tasmania’s topography and high rainfall which made it eminently suitable for the generation of hydro-electricity. The whole thing progressed smoothly until the HEC wanted to build three dams on the Upper Gordon River with the aim of attracting industry to the State with the incentive of cheap energy. In December 1982, the Franklin River dam site was occupied by protesters, leading to widespread arrests and world-wide dismay and condemnation. The Hydro and the Tassie government were dismissive of any criticism and saw it as outsiders meddling in Tasmanian affairs. As happened in 1930’s America where the photographs of the High Sierras by Ansel Adams were paramount in changing public opinion and convincing politicians to do more to conserve the natural environment, the photographs of Peter Dombrovskis brought the spectacular Tassie wilderness to the attention of the wider public and they were used in a media campaign that helped bring down the government of Malcolm Fraser at the 1983 election. The new government, under Bob Hawke, had promised to stop the dam from being built. The resulting stoush between the Tasmanian State government and the Australian Federal government ended up going all the way to the High Court which ended up as landmark decision in favour of the federal government. The building of the dams gave birth to Australian green politics and the conservation of the the Tasmanian Wilderness.
The shift into winter is speeding ahead and there many tasks that have to be done before it arrives , chief among them is getting the winter wood in. As we are off to Hobart in Tasmania next week I had to get the job done quickly so over the last couple of weeks I’ve cut a tonne and a half (1.65 tons for our US based readers) of wood, split and stacked it. For all you budding environmentalists and tree hugging types firstly all this wood is windfall, no tree was harmed in the harvesting. Secondly burning hard woods such as White Gum (Eucalyptus wandoo)or York Gum (Eucalyptus loxophleba) in a slow combustion wood stove is a clean renewable energy source and so my inner hippy can relax knowing that I’ve not brought about a climatic catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions. So all this is a long-winded way of saying that I haven’t taken many photos of late, and those that I have are just snapshots.
This is one of the snapshots I took this morning while walking my faithful canine companion Frida. It was very nice this morning, the fog was just being burnt off by the morning sun, the Avon River actually looked nice because we’ve had some rain. Usually after a summer it is a dried salt encrusted riverbed with fetid and smelly pools that look like they could be harbouring some new toxic life force that is about to star in the next episode of Doctor Who. So I had my point and shoot camera with me and fired off a few frames judiciously bracketing the exposure. I loaded them into Lightroom and then played with them in Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex Pro 4 and so liked what I came up with that I have posted it here on my blog. Now a short while ago I was going to buy the complete suite and it was $600 AUD (mainly because software companies believe they can price gouge us Antipodeans) and I wasn’t too sure. It was a lot of moolah for something I wasn’t too convinced I’d use a lot, and I’m basically tighter than a fish’s eyelid. Then the quandary was solved when big bad Google bought out the company and everyone thought well that’s that then – no more nice plugins. Well I was wrong and Google have now launched the complete suit under their branding for measly sum of $149 USD. I mean that is what they were charing for just one of their products not so long ago. Do your self a favour do the magic www thing and head over and down load a trial and see what you think.
Anyways as I said earlier I’m off to Tassie on Monday for 2 weeks so I’ve generously given all the staff at the global headquarters of Paul Amyes Photography the time off as well and so there will be no further posts until I’m back.