What Is It?

October 31, 2021

Clean Skin Creek, Northern AustraliaClean Skin Creek, Northern Australia

Clean Skin Creek, Northern Australia
Phase One XF 100Mp, Schneider 110mm lens, f2.8 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 200

I'm not sure about you, but I'm in a state of indecision! In Sydney, we're coming out of lock down and when you read this (1 November), many restrictions for both NSW and Victoria will be removed, allowing us to travel once again. We can also travel overseas and we're letting Kiwis come to Australia without quarantine, but it may be some time before that is reciprocated. So there's talk of travel and, as a travel and landscape photographer who loves taking photo tours around the world, I have smiles from ear to ear!

So why the indecision? Because as I write this, it's not completely clear what is going to happen or when. Sure, the borders will open, but will people want to travel? How long before confidence returns? When will Western Australia open up? Or will we see yet another mutation and a new COVID variant arrive?

I'm figuring you're probably feeling much the same, trying to work out what's what in the world, so I thought I'd add to your tasks by presenting this photo.

What is it?

This is an aerial of a tidal sand flat on the northern coast. To me, it could be a huge droplet of oil, spreading global warming across the globe.

The location is right on the WA/NT border and it was taken on a post-workshop flight with Tony Hewitt, Christian Fletcher and Drew Altdoerffer from Phase One. On Google Maps it looked really interesting, but you can never tell because the large tides can completely change the aerial patterns, and it's not always possible to guess when that Google Map photo was taken. What we found was quite different to what I was expecting.

And naturally, the original photo didn't look like this, much flatter, less colour, but the shapes were there with the tidal pulse moving inexorably inland. I struggled for a couple of years with this photo, loving the inside patterns, but disliking the lightly toned surroundings. It was only having the time to sit down and review my work over this COVID period that I finally came up with a solution that made me happy: darken the surroundings.

It seems so simple now. And I think it works much better.

So, while we're looking forward to our post-COVID freedom, perhaps part of my indecision comes from the positives of being forced to stay at home? No one likes being forced to do anything, but on the other hand, if the glass is half full instead of half empty, then who is to complain?

Keep an eye out for my photo workshops next year - we'll run a few promo pieces at the end of the emails for your viewing pleasure!


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