It was a cracker of a morning, chaps, and it was no wonder we stopped at least once on the way. As we approached the Yarra Valley there even was a SKY and it was as blue as blue can be; and there were white clouds scudding about and there were balloons in the sky. The milch-cows were slowly drifting homewards to the old bus – which seemed to be serving as a shed – for morning milking, the dairy farmer himself covered up in his dry-as-a-bone cape was out already, hand feeding the early returns and whistling up the stragglers. Smoke rising out of the chimney told us the lady of the farm was baking something fancy. So when we got to the meeting point at the supermarket there they were, waiting, waiting, waiting then they got tired of waiting and started out without us. But wait, here we are! There were 7 cars with Vicky leading the procession.
Slipping into the queue quickly we made a smart u-turn and joined up behind Tuck and Sue together with the new member, we think his name is John. (If your name isn’t John forgive me!) As we drove down to Phantom Falls our scheduled first stop Rosie and I spoke about those terrible fires and thought about the people in cars trying to get away from the raging inferno on poorly constructed bush tracks with smoke and the radiant heat beating down on them unmercifully – anyway, suddenly in front of us was a small marsupial mouse sadly so too was the front left side tire of the car in front – oops! .. and then again the car behind … oh dear! After a slip sliding ride in the muddy wet tracks of the cars in front of us we made it to the car park safely. The beautiful early morning day we started out with had deteriorated into a wet drizzly and dark late morning. In between the tall trees and the under story re-growth of ferns and bracken, there was not a lot of light to work with. We had all taken tripods, and the other new member, Rosie says his name is Peter, even had a set of neutral density filters. Great stuff.
More pictures and we took off to the next spot. Once again I think the darkness of the environment combined with the dark skies and drizzle made good photographs more difficult for slow learners like me, and it didn’t help that somehow the back of my camera, you know the place where you get to look at the completed image, had shattered. Now there’s an “oops” for you. John told me that he had learned well from Pete Davies who told him to raise the ISO levels in bad light which he had done. Just after 12 we stopped for lunch and a wee break at the bakery before heading off again, in the rain, down to the very interesting sculpture gardens ( have a look at Ian Hansen’s pictures).
From here as the weather deteriorated further Vicky wisely decided we’d better go indoors and she escorted us to the Crystal Way Museum (?) where among other souvenirs of that terrible inferno 2 years ago, Vicky showed us a huge image of her own home being consumed by the fire – an image made by her husband from the relative safety of the garage, because her own camera was still in the house. Sooner than we wanted to it was time for us to return home but not before we visited long time friends Beryl and Nat who run a ski hire shop out of a temporary shelter in the main street of Marysville. On the way home the sun broke out of the heavy clouds and once again Rosie and I stopped several times and took some acceptable pictures of the beautiful trees.
Soon enough, fast cars, traffic lights and more rain broke the peace and tranquillity that is the Yarra Valley. We headed home got to Springvale and settled in for a warm dinner and to watched the finals of Master Chef – what an anti-climax.
Photographs by Ian Hansen