Ruby In The Landscape – Queen Of The Outback

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“Queen Of The Outback”       © Sue Thomson 2015

There is something about the Australian outback that is addictive.

Dry cracked red earth, endless vistas, spectacular wildlife and pubs in remote towns that always have a cold beer.

We are just home from a trip to Windorah, which is located in the heart of the Channel Country, approximately 1200km west of Brisbane.  Windorah is surrounded by red sand hills and is a great spot to overnight before heading out on the road to Birdsville.

Ruby enjoyed the red dirt and will be back again soon!

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190 Bowery

Having a local show you around their favourite hang outs when travelling is priceless. More than likely, you will be able to discover hidden gems and visit quieter areas which are not frequented by mobs of tourists all looking for their ‘postcard’ shot.

On a recent trip to New York I explored little known areas of Central Park, travelled on the free cable car which traverses to Roosevelt Island and provides a stunning view of Manhattan, and walked the High Line, which gave me another different perspective of Manhattan.

When my friend asked if I wanted to go check out a place which was known for cool graffiti, of course I said yes. The graffiti was indeed awesome, but it is only just recently that I learned a fascinating fact regarding our visit to this location.  The graffiti building was ‘190 Bowery’ and the owner of the building was none other than Jay Maisel, one of my photographic idols.

Jay has run his legendary photography workshops from 190 Bowery for many years. The price of $5000 for a week with Jay has not been a deterrent as his workshops are highly revered and are always sold out way in advance.

Strong composition, colour and gesture are all symbolic of Jay’s images. After watching a documentary by Jay, I am always conscious of thinking about ‘gesture’ when creating my own images.  “Even the landscape has gesture” he said.

My friend and I spent about a half an hour taking images of the graffiti and little did we know, that an announcement was shortly to be made advising that the building had been sold and would soon be demolished to make way for condos……as if New York has a shortage of those!

Graffiti evolves as new artists make their statements and these images will take pride of place in my photographic library as being part of history, and part of the landscape of 190 Bowery and former home of Jay Maisel.

WARNING:  There is an F Bomb word in an image below.  Look away now if it might offend!

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“190 Bowery”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Red Shoes”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Boogie Woogie”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Hero”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Banksy”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Batgirl”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“The Wolf”      © Sue Thomson 2014

 

Further news articles on 190 Bowery:

New York Magazine 2008 – ‘A Great Buy – The 72 Room Bohemian Dream House”

The Daily Mail 9 February 2015 – “190 Bowery Sells For 55 Million”

 

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Drift

Once a living being, the ocean takes it in, polishes and shapes it, tumbles it around like a washing machine, and then spits it out, sometimes thousands of miles away.  Trees become mysterious objects such as dinosaurs, knarly hands and little worms.

Perhaps my imagination is a little vivid, but hey driftwood is cool!

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“Knarly”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Driftwood Worm”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Moonrise over Bribie Island”      © Sue Thomson 2013

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“Tyrannosaurus Rex”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Upended”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Low Tide at Maine”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“The Hand”      © Sue Thomson 2013

 

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Ruby In The Landscape – Centre Stage

Ruby is an integral part of my landscapes now.  She is great company when I travel to locations in the dark and wait for the light.  She loves to explore and kick up her heels and whilst I have always intended for her to be a small part of the image that I create, sometimes she just cant help herself…..she has to be centre stage!

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“Centre Stage”      © Sue Thomson 2015

You can see more of Ruby In The Landscape here

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The Absence of Colour

One of the most exciting times of being a landscape photographer is during sunrise and sunset at an awesome location, when the sky has the potential to erupt in magnificent colour.  You just cant wait to get home, download the images, relive the adrenalin and hope it matches what you felt and saw.

Once the romance of the colour explosion is over, the images can be viewed objectively.   I like to take a few weeks to do this, because sometimes little gems will appear and outshine the diamonds which jump out during the first cut of processing.

I like to look carefully at the structure and lines of the landscape that I had chosen to frame at the time of capture.  Sometimes I am disappointed with my efforts, but I know I did the best I could at the time with my ‘seeing eye’, and I always try to learn from opportunities missed.

I am a big fan of black and white images and absolutely adore the work of Michael Kenna and Clyde Butcher and truly believe the essence of the landscape can sometimes be enjoyed more, once colour is removed from the image.  A black and white image of a landscape reduces it to its purest form of shape, structure and texture.  It then becomes an interpretation of reality by the artist.

On my recent trip to Haast Beach in New Zealand, the colours which presented in the sky, were singing right off the richter scale!   Now that I have had time to sit and ponder these images, I have processed a selection of seascapes in black and white. 

I am enjoying these images now, more so than at the time of capture when the colour fuzzed up my brain and there was little opportunity to savour the beauty of the moment due to the fast changing epic light.

I hope you enjoy them too.

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“Ocean Edge”       © Sue Thomson 2014

Retreat

“Retreat”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Ten Seconds”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Spill”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Haast Beach”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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Where River Meets Sea

Dramatic coastlines, unspoiled wilderness, and a dramatic backdrop of mountains are all part of the amazing area known as Haast on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand.

Haast  is remote and sparsely populated, and offers the traveller a refreshing experience than the usual heavily populated tourist spots of New Zealand. The scenery where the Haast River meets the Tasman Sea is truly breathtaking and river edges pulse with activity when the whitebait are running.

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“River Meets Sea”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“The Whitebait Stand”       © Sue Thomson 2014

I wrote about the whitebait phenomena last week in my blog “Little Fish are Sweet” and I share here a few more images of the charming little caravans where the fishermen hang out between tides.

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“Gold at Haast”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Window to Haast”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Mountain View”       © Sue Thomson 2014

Next week’s blog will feature seascapes from Haast Beach.

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Little Fish Are Sweet

There is a certain fascination with little fish in New Zealand and watching and learning from the whitebait fishermen in the Haast area, and tasting this delicacy, was one of the highlights on my recent visit to the South Island.

Legend has it that the best whitebait are caught on the wild West Coast of the South Island which is an incredible area of wilderness.  Word soon gets out when the whitebait are running and each spring, you will find hundreds of fisherman trying their hand at catching the tricky little devils as they make their way upstream from the sea.  The little whitebait swim close to the river’s edge and are quite elusive.  Big runs often follow floods, a few days after the water clears, and usually in the daytime on a rising tide.

Strict controls have been put in place by the Department of Conservation to control whitebaiting due to declining catches. Fishermen must have a licence, can only use one net, and must be within 10 metres of it at all times.  A variety of nets are used to catch whitebait, and they can be fixed screens, or hand held.

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“West Coast Whitebaiters”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Inside the Net”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Setting The Net”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Claire”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Help Is Golden”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Dressed To Fish”       © Sue Thomson 2014

The beautiful West Coast landscape is simply breathtaking.   Dotted along the river banks, are funky retro caravans or baches (shacks) and are used as whitebaiters take up residence for the season.  In next week’s blog, I will be sharing images of these quaint little abodes.

Whitebait fritters or patties are the most common way that the little fish are cooked. Eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and whitebait are added together and spoonfuls are then fried in butter or oil. The fritters are often eaten between slices of buttered white bread. I had mine with a salad and oh yes, little fish are sweet!

I hope you have enjoyed the blog.  I will be sharing more of my New Zealand images this month on FACEBOOK , so hit the LIKE button if you would like to see them.

I also look forward to sharing more of my documentary work with you this year via the Getaway Images  BLOG.

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Ruby In The Landscape – Best Seat In The House

Community halls and showgrounds are the lifeblood of small country towns.  Folk travel from all around to gather and join in festivities such as the yearly agricultural show, rodeos, exhibitions and meetings.  A catch-up over a cup of tea and a lamington or a scone always goes down a treat.

Recently, Ruby and I took a drive to Allora, a small town in South Eastern Queensland on the Darling Downs.  It is best known for rich agricultural land, fields of sunflowers, and magnificent heritage buildings located in the main street.

Ruby checked out the grandstand at the showground and quickly found the best seat in the house.

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                                     “Best Seat In The House”       © Sue Thomson 2014

These grand old heritage buildings can take a lot of upkeep to maintain and I was pleased to be able to recently contribute to a fund-raising campaign aimed at restoring the 110-year-old grandstand at Camperdown Racecourse.   A fabulous documentary book called “Camperdown and It’s Cup” has been created by Andrew Chapman, Noel Butcher and Jaime Murcia and all proceeds from the book sales are being donated to restore the grandstand.  The book is a great read and  the images are amazing.

Ruby is currently busy planning her next adventure into the landscape, so be sure to follow one of the links below to see where she will be heading next.

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Ruby In The Landscape – Admiring Emus

Our recent trip to the outback provided many new experiences for Ruby.  A close encounter with an emu at the Opal Caravan Park at Lightning Ridge provided excitement, and she got her art on by admiring the emus in John Murray’s very cool mural in the alleyway next to his gallery located in the main street.

Lightning Ridge is an iconic Australian outback town. It is truly fascinating, full of characters, mining memorabilia, and of course, the home of the beautiful black opal.

We only had time to stay overnight as we were destined for Broken Hill and Silverton, but we are already planning a trip for next year and look forward to capturing many more “Ruby in the Landscape” images.

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“Admiring Emus”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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The Ladies of Louth

Two lone figures appeared on the horizon like a mirage.  As I drove closer to them along the insanely red dirt road, I could see that they were wearing fly veils and one was carrying dumb bells.

Feeling adventurous, I had ventured off the black-top to travel the unsealed Darling River Run and had travelled more than 100km from Bourke.  I had not seen any other cars and was enjoying the vista of the red earth country and a land springing to life after recent rain.  The appearance of the odd emu, kangaroo and wild goats kept me on my toes as wildlife are a little bit unpredictable when grazing and moving around near the outback roads.

At first, I thought the ladies may have broken down, but the dumb bells had me intrigued.  I pulled up and had a chat to the lovely Clare and Margaret and they told me that they lived at the little town of Louth just up the road.  They had both embarked on a health mission and were out walking to get fit.

To say I was surprised was an understatement.  But life is like that in the country and the outback.  Folks don’t have access to big fancy gyms, they make the most of what they have, and despite the trillions of flies, they were out enjoying the land and each other’s company.

They were pretty chuffed when I asked if I could photograph them, as I was to meet such interesting ladies in the middle of nowhere.

Louth is a small town with a population of under 50 which swells to thousands when they host their annual race meeting.  I called into the pub to refuel and enjoyed looking at the wonderful memorabilia located inside the pub whilst I waited for my hearty bacon and egg burger to cook.

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“The Ladies of Louth”       © Sue Thomson 2014

I received some very good advice from the ladies of Louth…..buy a fly veil when you get to Broken Hill….and I did!

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