A Hasty Retreat

Before embarking on the adventure of writing about my last few days here in Australia, a brief explanation of the lack of news from the tropics is in order. After a few muggy but pleasantly lazy days in Darwin, cyclone Oswald (seriously, who comes up with the names for these things?!) made an appearance on Australia’s east coast at the same time I did. The torrential downpours it brought were decidedly unconducive to pedestrian exploration, let alone taking photos, and so prompted me to hasten southwards in attempt to escape to sunnier climes. As it happens, I got lucky and my trains from Cairns to Townsville and from Townsville to Brisbane were the last ones to run before the railway lines were shut down due to expansive flooding.

And so I found myself back in Sydney over a week earlier than I had intended. It was horrible even here for a few days, so I took this opportunity to take care of some general admin and refuel on travelling and being-outside motivation. As such, I thought I’d post and write about a few photos I took at and around Bondi Beach during these days.

I found them to be of interest because for the first time in a very long while I felt like I’d made a step in the right direction, as it were, in terms of photography skill. Not in terms of camera handling or technical knowledge, but more in being able to frame an interesting shot and taking the time to get it right (or, for that matter, losing out because I fretted too long and a window of opportunity closed). Thanks, as always in these matters for me, are due to Jimmy Appleton and Andy Marsh, who I feel have taught/helped/inspired me the most in my efforts so far.

Feedback from everyone on these is much appreciated, by the way. As has been the case in this blog so far, these photos are unedited and unprocessed; I have only done some cropping here and there.

When I got down to the beach I found, much to my dismay, a rather nondescript – or nonexistent, even – sunset obscured more or less completely by clouds…

…so I wandered a little looking for other interesting things to photograph. I ended up on a rocky outcrop which appeared to be exposed at low tide but not at high, so there were rivulets, pools and channels incised into it through which water from waves and swells would rush at low tide. These turned out very handy for a bit of foreground interest.

Eventually, the tide started coming back in and very nearly washed me and my tripod off our respective feet a couple of times, so I decided to seek higher ground. A nearby fisherman complacently agreed to be a prop…

…as did the fish he caught, albeit less complacently: as it was deposited of in one of the aforementioned rivulets for later gutting, I got a shot of its death throes and another as it finally lay still (“finally” being relative – it did twitch a little every now and again…), with the bloodstained water an extra oddity.

At this point it started getting too dark to do much other than a few more landscapes, yet again trying to bear in mind the importance of some foreground interest in most compositions. Luckily for me, the fisherman stood still enough for long enough to come out properly even in the 20-odd second exposure below.

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One thought on “A Hasty Retreat

  1. Jon – awesome, and you're not wrong – esp those two vertical landscapes side-by-side – strong foreground use there, and not just “interest” you've found lines and used them well. Practice, that's all it is!

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