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Before the bushfires in East Gippsland

Posted: 29 Feb 2020, 09:33
by Barry Kirsten
Saddened by the destruction of the recent fires I decided to reprint some of the 8x10 negatives I made when living in Cann River during the 80s. This place to me was the centre of the universe, being close to pristine coast, cool temperate rainforests and only a short drive to the Australian Alps. From what I can ascertain very little has remained untouched by the fires. As well as 8x10s I also have 6x6 negs from the 80s and 4x5s from subsequent revisits to the area. I doubt that I will see it in anything like that condition again. The following are contact prints made on Ilford MGFB Warmtone developed in ID-78. Unfortunately the huge scans have suffered greatly in their reduction for web viewing, but that's life. My homage to a once beautiful country.

Podocarpus, Errinundra306 copy LFPF.jpg
Podocarpus aff. lawrenci, Errinundra Plum Pine. Known from only a few locations in the Errinundra Plateau region, these few small groups of trees are the only remnants from the time when Tasmania was joined to the Australian mainland at the time of the last ice age. (Two views: 480mm Rodenstock Apo-Ronar, FP4 at ASA 64, Rodinal 1+50)

Cliff, The Sisters307 copy 2 LFPF.jpg
Cliff, The Sisters (also known as Three Sisters). A rocky escarpment formed by uplifting of Devonian sediments, and dramatic in presence. The front standard had to be raised to such an extent that a shadow occurs at the bottom of the neg, from upper bellows. (480mm Rodenstock Apo-Ronar, FP4 at ASA 25, ABC Pyro.)

Clematis and Manna Gum309 copy 2 LFPF.jpg
Clematis aristata, Mountain Clematis, can be found climbing into the crowns of tall forest trees. A beautiful sight, as I saw last November when I traveled through the area. I resolved to return with some cameras in Spring 2020, but alas what I saw is sadly no longer there. It'll return, but not in my lifetime. This specimen was climbing well into the crown of a Mountain Ash tree. (Tri-X at ASA160, 480mm Apo-Ronar, HC110 1+15.)

Clematis on log303 copy LFPF.jpg
Mountain Clematis on log. These wonderful plants climb and scramble over everything and are a truly beautiful sight. (FP4 at ASA50, 480mm Apo Ronar.)

Vine Leaves and Fruit305 copy LFPF.jpg
Morinda jasminoides, Jasmine Morinda. Another example of botanical diversity in temperate rainforests. This one in Lind National Park. (TXP at ASA160, 10" Commercial Ektar, HC110 1+15.)

After Fires308 copy 2 LFPF.jpg
Forest Regrowth. Three years after the 1983 fires in the area, this patch of bush is regenerating nicely. But it takes time. Fire-killed trees remain standing as stark reminders of what has passed. (FP4 at ASA64, 10" Commercial Ektar, D7 Pyro.)

Re: Before the bushfires in East Gippsland

Posted: 01 Mar 2020, 15:16
by Mick Fagan
Barry, they are all brilliant, but the Mountain Clematis is more brilliant; if you know what I mean.

Quite a nice collection, there must have been some intense trips over some time to gather the images you have shown us.


Re: Before the bushfires in East Gippsland

Posted: 02 Mar 2020, 14:04
by Barry Kirsten
Thanks Mick. Yes, I was always out and about with a camera. Living in Cann River I was never very far away from something nice to see. My only regret at the time was the camera. a Toyo 810M monorail. It was beautiful in every respect - precision engineering, capable of large movements, and a real joy to use. But not a field camera! I do enjoy contact printing those 8x10 negs though.

Re: Before the bushfires in East Gippsland

Posted: 05 Mar 2020, 12:08
by Maris
There is an honouring of the natural world inherent in making photographs of it. And in the case of large format work, where a big and expensive piece of film gets "burned" in the process, the honouring becomes a virtual sacrament.
Barry Kirsten, your pictures certainly reward repeated looking, repeated contemplation.

Re: Before the bushfires in East Gippsland

Posted: 05 Mar 2020, 14:43
by Barry Kirsten
Many thanks for your kind words, Maris.