But Not In My Backyard…

Yesterday in the Snowy Mountains of Australia the sky at sunset was ethereal…there is no place in the world where I have ever experienced the range of effects lighting the landscape as I have here…Its so awesome in the real sense of the word that I stood gobsmacked and meditative at the incredible variety and movement in such a still landscape…

Now for most people that last sentence would hardly make sense…movement and stillness in the one landscape?

Well for anyone that has seen Michelangelo’s half carved ‘Four Warriors’ emerging from the marble at the Accademia in Florence, they would know that it is possible to capture that sense of monumentality and energy and movement in a fixed medium if you are a genius…

But what if you are not a genius? Where do you start to try to translate something as fixed and unmoving, yet as changeable as an ocean wave as a Snowy Mountain landscape, into a work of art?

As a photographer I could merely look at the myriad highlights, shadows and tones of the mountain landscape that were constantly changing in front of my eyes and just gasp at its incredible beauty…It was sometime before I realised that I would run out of time and if I wanted to attempt to take a photo that might capture this feeling that I had better go and grab my camera.

But where to start? The vista that I was confronted with was so broad that it was difficult to determine how to make it fit into my viewfinder. I shot twelve photos all up and eleven missed the point completely. In my desperation to photograph this feeling I twisted my head left and right, marched up and down so that I looked like a madwoman and then finally, staring at something I see everyday, I watched the light turn it into a miracle.

Thats the twelfth shot above…

I have desaturated it to emphasise the contrast and the tonal range because I find colour can be quite distracting but I am going to put a colour version below…I have cross processed the film if you are wondering how I got that colour effect and I feel it gives it a kind of painterly effect, like those posters we used to have at primary school of the great Namatjira’s work…maybe they have seeped into my bones…after all the central desert is so similar in spirit to here…

So the question is what do you think best portrays the Snowy Mountains landscape? Do you like the black and white or the colour version of the ‘Three Sisters’?


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