It took more than the usual fortitude to head out the door into the pre-dawn blackness yesterday.
For days the weather reports had forecast our first dose of indubitably “wintry” weather: a “polar [or Antarctic] vortex” was bulldozing its way north, with rumours of rare snow in far-southeastern Queensland and (for Queenslanders) a daunting maximum temperature of 15C (59F).
It wasn’t the cold that I dreaded, but the accompanying severe winds. Although I hoped they’d whip up some photogenically frothy waves on the high tide coinciding with sunrise, their immediate effect was to dust my eyeballs with swirling grit, and I had to wear sunglasses in the dark till I left my street and cut across the park towards Cabbage Tree Creek.
The creek mouth was a disappointment. Although the conditions had left the area agreeably deserted, there was no more froth on the waves than atop your standard morning latte, and I decided to climb the road to the crest of Shorncliffe. I’d been meaning to photograph the pier reconstruction project from above with the tide in, and as the sky above Moreton Island glowed with promise, I quickened my pace, just in case.
It was chilly enough to require windproof gloves, but the freshness in the air, the crepuscular light, the glimpses of rocks at the water’s edge and the glorious expanse of ocean had me reminiscing happily about the freedom and exhilaration of early-morning treks along the coast in Australia, Japan and Korea.
I reached my chosen vantage point just as a car pulled in and a young couple climbed out beneath a massive bundle of bedding: pillows, quilts and blankets. Somehow I vaulted the safety rail, camera in hand, without compromising my fertility, and was erecting my newish carbon-fibre tripod when the couple squeezed through the rails, approaching hesitantly.
“Are you gonna take some pictures?” the youth asked.
“Yeah. What have you got in mind?”
“We’re gonna watch the sunrise.”
“You picked a good morning for it,” I observed. “Don’t worry about me, I won’t get in your way.”
His girlfriend looked less than impressed at sharing their love nest, but they laid out their luxurious eyrie on the rocks above a steep and eroded gully, and I busied myself with the camera (my new RX1), aiming at the naked piles below where the pier used to be…
..and trying several exposures with my backpack hooked onto the tripod to give it some stability in the persistent gusts.
They whispered beneath their covers (no doubt she was asking how long the weirdo with the camera would be likely to disrupt their idyll), and then realising how damned lucky I was to be granted such an appealing splash of foreground interest, quietly switched to my old-ish NEX 5N with its ultra-wide adaptor, lowered the tripod a tad, and sneakily grabbed a few evocations of young love, balanced precariously but utterly self-absorbed on the brink of an unknowable future:
I wished them well, he smiled, she ignored me, and I rejoined the road to hurry down to the little beach for my solitary and arguably less romantic rendezvous with the dawn.
The header shot, taken with the RX1, shows the tracks of one of a pair of pied oystercatchers which frequent this little stretch of sand (do you notice a theme developing here?). I switched back to the NEX, with and without the ultra-wide, transfixed by a pair of barnacle-encrusted, one-armed sunglasses tumbling in the gentle waves…
..and snapped a couple of final shots as the first rays pierced the cloud above Moreton, painting a golden trail across the Bay and between the piles of the old shark enclosure, terminating in a dazzling splash in the froth at my feet:
It wasn’t the most spectacular sunrise I’ve seen from this spot, by a long shot, but each one is special, every show unique, and I doubt the couple up above, beneath their cosy quilts, was disappointed.
If they noticed…
* * * * *
It’s been, obviously, another inexcusably long spell between posts. I’ve got a dozen or so of them queued up on the dashboard, but have been consumed by personal stuff, good and bad, and getting to know some new cameras and associated equipment. That part has been a blast.
I’ve also been absorbed by the preparations for an exciting project due to get underway in a couple of weeks. The to-do list for this has been immense, but I seem to be coming to grips with it at last.
I’ll fill you in on all the details shortly. Thanks for your patience!
~ And that’s all the Goat wrote