Got up at “stupid o’clock” the other morning to try out a new bit of time lapsing equipment. Streuth it was cold, and as I drove down to Monger’s Crossing I mused that the brass monkey would be tucked up at home in bed if he was sensible. A Swedish friend of mine once told me that there’s no such thing as cold weather just poor clothing choices. Well I took Matts’ advice to heart and I had more layers than an onion. On reaching the river it was dark and foggy, not the most photogenic conditions, but I thought for the purpose of this test it would be OK. So I set up the camera and sat down to wait for it to shoot one frame every twenty seconds for one hour.
I tried watching a video on my iPod but it was so cold that the battery ran flat real quick so I thought I’d take a few pictures of my companions on the river bank.
As to the time-lapse, well bearing in mind it was just a test to see how it worked, well it was a reasonable first attempt. The only downside was that the camera sensor was filthy and that meant a lot of cloning in Photoshop.
* English is pretty confusing at the best of times for non native speakers. “Taters in mould” is Cockney rhyming slang for cold.
Situated 166 Km (or 103 miles for the imperially minded) east of Perth is the small Wheatbelt town of Quairading. If you can’t pronounce it you’re not a local! Really it is just a blip on the map, one of countless small Australian country towns. Gazetted in 1907 the town was built around the rail terminus. Typical of many Wheatbelt towns is the CBH grain handling facility built near the station to ship the crop out at harvest time. The railway line has since closed and the grain moved by road. For many towns this would possibly be the last straw, but Quairading carries on. As you drive into town you are met
by members of the grain family – cartoon characters based on grains of wheat created by local artist Lyn Whyte. Some of the businesses in the town centre shut down long ago but their buildings have been repurposed. The old bank is now someone’s home and has been called the Brass Razoo Bank, which is Australian slang for having no money and is kind of appropriate.
One of the old shops has a huge street frontage and this now houses a collection of cars straight out of the 1970’s. Just a few doors down is the antique/collectables shop whose contents spill out onto the pavement. The items displayed are often arranged in odd juxtapositions which often cause passers-by to do a double take to see what is going on.
The real highlight is the people – friendly, upbeat and generous. My partner walked into the local tourist office cum art centre cum civic museum and walked out with a free pumpkin. What more could you want?
On Thursday we drove down to the South Arm Peninsular and visited Opossum Bay. It is a beautiful bay with great views across the water to Mount Wellington. Like many such places in Tasmania it has become a popular spot for beachside holidays and retirement. Unlike many Australian beachside settlements the housing is not flat but tiered up the dunes, the resulting vernacular architecture is like a cross between Australian beach culture and Greek Island chic.
As I was walking up and down the beach admiring the view and looking at the houses I noticed something. A lot of the gardens had a row-boat or a tiny in the garden. In many cases the boat was almost new and in good condition. The boat represents a dream to spend time in this beautiful spot and go out on the water fishing – an antidote to the stress and bustle of the world many of us live in.
After a while the boat doesn’t get used that much, time commitments probably prevent the owners getting out to the beach house as often as they like. Slowly the garden plants start to encroach upon the boat.
Eventually the holiday or retirement dream of spending time at the beach house fishing in the bay becomes a long forgotten idea and nature reclaims the boat and it becomes as though it had never existed as either an idea or a physical reality.
Apologies to the late, great JJ Cale, who wrote the absolutely sublime song “After Midnight”, but I have been prowling around after dark with my camera and tripod. Every summer I do this because endless blue skies and fields of sun bleached wheat stubble do not make for very interesting photographs. Shooting at night can make the mundane look strangely beautiful and ethereal.
Most of the time the images are straight, i.e. I just set the camera up on my tripod and make an exposure, like the two images above. Sometimes I like to play a little with light painting and flash to make something a little more out there.
This image and the one below used flash with gels attached and fired by a set of el cheap “Poverty Wizards” I bought off of Ebay. I keep meaning to get a couple more old manual speedlites and some more wireless receivers to achieve more complicated lighting effects, but what usually happens is that summer ends and I stop going out at night and I quickly forget about it. Maybe this year.
What makes this fun is that it is experimental, you’re never completely sure how the image is going to turn out. Also with exposures knocking around 30 to 240 seconds it is a slow process and that makes it a more thoughtful exercise as it is not just a case of blazing away and hoping. I find because it can take up to twenty minutes making test exposures and then the final image I become thoughtful about composition. It is not unusual to have been out for a couple of hours and only make four or five images.
As always clicking on an image will take you through to my online gallery.