My Mersey River project rolls on, design and text for a book is ongoing. Despite my best efforts to stop photographing for the project I'm still occasionally taking a few photos.
A rapid topographic change occurs as the Mersey opens into a wide glacial valley previously known as Howell’s Plains. Now the upper reaches of Hydro Tasmania’s headwater impoundment for the Mersey-Forth Hydro Scheme.
The Riverproject I've been photographing for is coming to a resolution, I can't calculate the hours spent on it but I have close to 100 individual photo-sessions in my archive. A session folder may represent an hour spent on the river, or days.
A this point the project moves to a new stage, with the help of a graphic designer I'm aiming to produce a professionally published (self-published) and printed photobook. Something that will resonate with photographers and people who know This River.
The last photo-sessions I've undertaken have been in the lowlands and tidal reaches of This River, where the human impacts on the river have become normalised and expected.
It's March 2022, the months are just slipping by. My photography in the early months 2022 has been fully focused of my Mersey River project, in January we completed packrafting the Gorge sections of Standard Hill & the low 2/3rds of Alum Gorge. One slight hiccup on a grade 3 rapid saw my camera (an me) go swimming. Unfortunately I failed to capture some of the most epic rock forms. In February I revisited Pine Plain and Upper Lee's Paddock areas. I have effectively traversed the whole river system now, there are a few small sections that I want to revisit more intently over Autumn months. Then the plan is to produce a self-published book of the work.
Tasmania has a reputation for spectacular wild landscapes, and it does, but it also has discordant policies of environmental exploitation. I/We Tasventure with an awareness of the inconsistent way that public land is used, we visit the disturbed places as well as the 'pristine', knowing what is behind the scenery is important.
I first encountered Tessa as my son's music teacher at Latrobe High School, she established herself as an enthusiastic and encouraging teacher. Since then I've seen her work and perform as a band leader, a talented multi-instrumental musician, singer and songwriter.
Tessa has recently launched a website showcasing her projects and musical collaborations. It's a privilege to help document and share her hard work and talent.
The old saying goes: "You can't see the wood for the trees"... the details are blocking your mind to the bigger picture.
I feel many people can't see the "trees for the wood", they can't see the needs of the environment because the economy is obscuring it.
Kelp is a a world wide life form know which is essential giant algae. I know that doesn't sound beautiful or attractive, but it its!
As well as being mesmerising to watch as it gets twisted and stretched by the tides, it's a source of nutrition and used across many cultures to make useful times to carry and store food.
This will be an unusually long post for me, so here's a photo to get you hooked.
I wrote recently about my Mersey River project: THIS RIVER. The results of 12 months of photography are currently being exhibited, but the project is not complete, there are sections of river I didn't make it to in the first 12months.
So after a summer break I've begun to fill the gaps, starting with the headwaters section I attempted late in 2020. A four day walk from Lake Meston on the Central Plateau to Lee's Paddocks -nearly 30 kilometers down stream. The first attempt was aborted due to heavy rainfall and freezing temperatures. I only managed to photograph the headwater lakes before pulling out.
Saturday March 13th 2021, my husband an I began the trip again, no photography was undertaken on the first day's walk past Lake Meston on to Junction Lake Hut, mostly because the weather conditions were just as gloomy. We made it to the hut, cold and wet but in good spirits.
Sunday March 14th 2021, the morning was very cold with a sprinkling of snow and ice but the rain was light and intermittent as we headed down the "Never Never", an unmapped and unmarked (no pink tape even) rough track that follows the Mersey River downstream until it meet the overland track at Harnett Falls, having received some good advice from a recent walking party to stay as close to the river as we could, we managed to find the walking pad most of the time. McCoy Falls (we didn't stop at Clark Falls as I had photographed it previously) were the standout on this section of river. Just before Hartnett Falls we crossed the river, Nathan on the log and me wading. I slipped on the exit and went for an unplanned swim, narrowly avoiding dunking my camera and rendering the rest of the trip pointless. I was wet for the rest of the day and it dented my focus and enthusiasm for photography.
After lunch at the top of Hartnett Falls we used followed the well established track system down to the base of the falls and on to Fergusson and D'Alton falls photographing the falls relatively quickly with the aim to get as far in to the untracked section of the river below with time and energy to find a camping spot before dark. I have intentions of revisiting these falls again via the more conventional Overland track route. Below D'Alton falls the river continues in a narrow gorge for a few hundred meters before opening out, we crisscrossed the river a few times as the banks steepened eventually finding a camping spot next to a deep pool about 500m East (downhill) of Du Cane Hut. The rain held off enough to set up a relatively dry tent, but continued to drizzle all night.
Monday March 15th 2021, the drizzle eased as the day dawned fortunately and as we headed downstream through the rainforest and into section of tea tree and Bauera the day warmed up. The river transitioned from a deep dark forest stream, then meandering through tussock flats where it abruptly disappeared under and old rock fall from the cliffs of Cathedral mountain. Emerging a 100 meters downstream and many little streams coming together again as a more energetic flow. As the vegetation changed the river entered a whitewater canyon section before calming down again as it meet Kia Ora Creek in a wide pool. After eating lunch and a few fishing attempts we left the river for a while to make use of the Paddy Harnett Track which heads into "The Paddocks". Fatigue started to set in as we arrived at the tussocky Southern end of Wadley's Padocks, we called it a day and dried out our sodden tent and clothes in the afternoon sun.
Tuesday March 16th 2012, we got a surprisingly good sleep on our lumpy tussock beds, and packed up for the last day's walk. Unsure how much track verse tussock walking there was going to be a cross the paddocks we mentally prepared ourselves for a slow couple of kilometres North towards Lee's hut. Going was easier than expected and we stopped for an early lunch and some fishing at the Northen end of Lee's Paddock's. The last tracked section from the Paddocks past Oxley & Lewis Falls took less than 2 hours and the camera was stowed away. Nathan volunteered for the packless walk 2km up the Mersey Forest Road to get the car from our starting point, while I waited with our gear and swatting wasps away.
Super fun and increasingly popular- packrafting is a cross over between kayaking and whitewater rafting. These watercraft make rivers and lakes much more accessible.
I highly recommend getting a bit of skill and safety if you're new to whitewater Paddle Tasmania offer a series of skills development course.
Packrafting has been integral in accessing the Mersey River for my ongoing photographic project.
Tasmanian based, New Zealand born