One of my first Technorama pictures shot in 1980. I was testing the camera to see if I wanted to buy it. It was such a cold morning down in the Snowy country that the sheep stayed put; normally they run away when they spot a human creeping up on them. There’s frost on the ground and frost on me by the time I was finished.
Dawn at Michelago, NSW
Mangrove at Crab Creek, WA - AUD$1500
You have to admire these mangroves; they become totally submerged by the huge tides that come into these shores. I’d been after this tree for a while, and wanted it sticking just out of the water on sundown. Luckily I was camped nearby, so no big deal. Just wait and watch.
Mangrove at Crab Creek, WA
Mount Strzelecki, Flinders Island - AUD$1500
The Tasmanian Aborigines were transported from their tribal lands to spend the rest of their days on Flinders Island, an alternative to their being butchered by the new settlers. So these rocks symbolise those tribal people, huddled together in an alien land, the massif of Mount Strzelecki peering down upon them.
Mount Strzelecki, Flinders Island
Nightfire, Pine Creek, NT - AUD$1500
Another shot from when I was traveling with Thomas Keneally, though taken only minutes after the other picture, Grassfire. It gets dark so quickly in the Territory, and because there was so much drama in the scene, especially in the darkness, I had to hang about and shoot some more pictures. It was hard to leave.
Nightfire, Pine Creek, NT
Oyster Bay, South Molle Island, Queensland - AUD$1500
In Airlie Beach I enquired as to how much it would cost to hire a boat to take us around the islands. ‘Three hundred dollars a day. ‘ they said, ‘but ask a grotty yachtie in the local pub and you might get someone to do it cheaper. ‘ We found Filthy Phil! He said if we could look after the booze and the tucker, a hundred bucks a week would do fine.
So we set sail for a week in his boat around the Whitsunday Islands, and this picture was taken on one of our spells on dry land. Sadly, Filthy Phil got wrecked and lost his boat in a storm a month later.
Oyster Bay, South Molle Island, Queensland
Mangrove at Weary Bay, Queensland - AUD$1500
This was a scary one. I went out onto the mudflats before sunrise to shoot this mangrove tree, and I could see that it was shaping up to be a classic sunrise. Then the tide came in, fast. I wasn’t prepared to retreat until it was too deep to stand, so remained on the spot, thigh-deep in water. A large crocodile lives in the tidal creek behind me, so as soon as this shot was in the can I was out of there like a scalded cat.
Mangrove at Weary Bay, Queensland
Outcrop, King Sound, Kimberly, WA - AUD$1500
Four days in a boat cruising King Sound looking for pictures. Here the tides are twenty feet high, and as the incoming tides make the seas seem to boil with activity you sense the flooded landscapes that lie in the waters below. Not a place for the unwary
Outcrop, King Sound, Kimberly, WA
Moonrise, Pentecost River, WA - AUD$1500
It’s the one moon I’m always waiting for. Once a month the full moon rises over the horizon as the sun sets, and I have to find a foreground subject to play against it. On this occasion I was lucky to find such a lovely ghost gum. She is positively voluptuous, or maybe I’d been out in the bush on my own for too long.
Moonrise, Pentecost River, WA
Pinnacles of Gulaga, Mount Dromedary, NSW - AUD$1500
They stand there in the mist, these mysterious forms, and you feel like you should approach them on tiptoe. Such a feeling of a Ceremony Place lies here. This is the Mother form. Nearby an erect rock declares its maleness. Father.
Pinnacles of Gulaga, Mount Dromedary, NSW
Moonset, Uluru, NT - AUD$1500
Four days planning for this one. I was lucky to be at Uluru for full moon, and here the moon is setting as the sun arises. I’d found the spot to shoot from on the day before. So I left camp in the dark to make my way back here by torchlight to be on the spot when the first rays of the sun crept over the horizon but it was still dark enough for the moon to shine brightly. Minutes later it was all gone.