I'd been a little bogged down with my photography of late. Work, bad weather, other commitments; it's hard to plan a photo safari sometimes.
I realised that I needed something apart from the haphazard spontaneity that I love so much about my photography; I needed a project. For a while now I had been noticing the bridges of the Hunter Valley. Truss bridges, Lift bridges, small low wooden bridges that rattled; there were quite a lot of them on the river systems that make up the Hunter Valley. So, I decided to map them and mark them out for visits.
You can see how this project is panning out on the Bridges of the Hunter Valley page here on my blog.
The good thing about this project is that, although I go out with a purpose in mind, after I have photographed the target bridge, I can revert to my 'haphazard spontaneity' safari style. If nothing jumps out at me, that's ok; I still have the photos of the bridge to edit and post.
For this particular safari to the country I had targetted 2 bridges; the Cooreei Bridge over the Williams River at Dungog and the Brig O'Johnston Bridge over the Williams River at Clarence Town. The Brig O'Johnston Bride is the oldest surviving wooden truss bridge in NSW.
After visiting Dungog first where I got some good photos of the Cooreei Bridge (and the steel truss rail bridge on the opposite side of the park) I drove to Clarence Town. I arrived at Clarence Town to find that the Brig O'Johnston Bridge was undergoing some upgrade work. There was too much plant machinery and safety fences around to get a decent clean photo of the bridge. The upgrade work is expected to be completed in 5 months so I'll have to make an entry in my diary for that one.
The drive from Dungog to Clarence Town is not that far and the land in between is beautiful! As I was driving into Clarence Town, I noticed an abandoned car (a 1950 Commer tray back truck) sitting in a paddock and made a mental note of it's location for when I returned. Anyway, because the bridge at Clarence Town was a no goer, I decided to head back the way that I had come and visit the abandoned truck.
It looked amazing! Still retaining some of the original paint work and badges and more than enough rust to give it a great abandoned look. I took a number of bracketed exposures at +/- 2EV to merge into a High Dynamic Range photo; that always helps to bring extract the details of the rust and enhance the colour also. Leaving the Commer to the Brown snakes that had probably made a home in the cabin I started the trip home.
No sooner had I left then I saw a tree in the middle of a paddock close by. This tree was unique; it had been cut right down with only the stump remaining but, triumphantly, there was a small regrowth right out of the middle of the old stump!
As I was on the home stretch, I was passing through Bolwarra area on Flat Road. I had the window down and was taking in all those great country smells of cattle, flowering trees and newly cut hay. I saw a farmer on his David Brown Tractor raking a small paddock; up and down, up and down, slowly raking all the mown hay into neat rows. This would later be picked up by a traditional baler or a machine that would turn it into a nice hay roll to be wrapped in plastic, the product called baleage.
I pulled over and walked across the road as he approached the fenceline. I had to yell, 'Mind if I take some photos as you rake?' He gave me a nod and a wave and just continued on - up and down. After a couple of rows he drove up to me and turned off the tractor. It was great chatting to him. It had been raining for a few days earlier in the week, he said that if it had rained another 8mm then it would have been too wet for him to rake and it would have been a waste of feed. Hay that is baled too wet can burn.
After I said my goodbyes I drove a short way down the road to where the mown hay had already been raked and baled into a cylinder. Once the hay is rolled it is then covered in plastic. The plastic keeps out the oxygen. Inside the oxygen free bales the hay ferments turning sugars into lactic acid which makes for a better quality feed. It is like pickling the hay and the cattle love it with less wastage.
It was a wonderful afternoon. I got one bridge at least, for my project and, I got some other spontaneous photos simply for enjoyment!
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may not be used with permission.
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|Abandoned 1950 Commer flat back truck - Clarence Town, Australia.|
|Raking Hay on Flat Road - Bolwarra, Australia|
|Raking Hay on Flat Road #5 - Bolwarra, Australia|
|Revenge of the Tree #2 - Clarence Town, Australia|
|Hunter Valley Rural - Flat Rd, Bolwarra, Australia|
|Hunter Valley Rural #2 - Bolwarra, Australia|
|Hay Rolls in the Paddock - Flat Rd, Bolwarra, Australia.|
Surprised on editing to realise that a Pee Wee photo bombed me!
In the background Magpies wheel in flight and pick out the worms and insects from
the new mown paddock.
|Cooreei Bridge over the Williams River - Dungog, Australia.|
The reason for my rural safari in the first place!
|The Rail Bridge over the Williams River - Dungog, Australia|