Acceptance and awareness
For the longest time I have been a self deprecating soul, who like most is their own worst critic. But when you take a step back and stop being so hard on yourself to be that perfect shining example of whatever you're it is you're trying to achieve you might see just how far you have come, you might just see how good and capable you really are. We really ourselves a brake sometimes and even a pat on the back every once in awhile.
I wanted to get in one last night shoot before I leave Newcastle, so I headed out to Coonabarabran for an evening. I took a five hour drive through the regions farm lands which quickly educated me on the conditions our farmers are facing. It really is worse than you might think, just driving by I could see the hardship. From a dead cow calfs to adults cows and horses down to skin and bones from lack of feed. It still amazes me why our Government isn't pushing to domesticate inland Australia more at least then the farmers would have better access to irrigation and water services.
After passing through some terribly drought stricken country side and a two and a half hour hike I ended up at my destination near Ogma saddle overlooking the bluff. Given its proximity to Newcastle it was a little hard to scout the location so I was taking a punt on some images I found on Google maps in hopes that I might get a good composition.
While shooting stars is nothing new for me, nor is the anxiety that usually comes with it. Standing in remote locations sometimes with no phone reception and little or no natural light around can get the heart pumping, the mind boggling and you quite often start noticing a heightened sense of awareness and your hearing becomes quite acute to even the slightest of noises. I don't say that to make it sound scary actually quite the opposite, I say it because it's real and at the end of the day it's just nature and we as modern urban humans just aren't used to that so we find the unknown scary. If you make yourself just a little vulnerable and in small step, or have a conversation about something it tends to normalise things we are so afraid of.
It has taken me months, actually a couple of years, to get to the point where I was happy to hike up a small mountain (about 900m) and camp out on my own for a night. Usually my car is only a short walk away so there is a level of security but this was a new level for me, and I was totally happy with that.
My campsite would overlook the bluff, and winds were so still you could hear anything from any direction, and this hiker was starving. I said to Anna the other day, one thing I absolutely love about camping out in the middle of nowhere... cooking your dinner on the camp stove and drinking a warm brew on a cold night is such a great feeling.
With a few hours rest it was time to get up and shoot, man it was chilly, it's was all of 1 degree outside. I packed up my site, ensuring everything I brought in was also being taken out, "leave no trace" as they say. I threw my pack near the track and behind a rock and set off with my camera to try my hardest to to find what I was looking for. It had been so between night shoots that I was really struggling to find great compositions, and I made a few rookie mistakes with my exposures as well all because I was being impatient. But really all I had to do was take the time, and review my work a little more but the trip at the end of the day was a huge success on a personal and photographic level.
I learnt something, I pushed myself a little, and I had a bloody nice evening under the stars can't really ask for much more but I also became aware of a very real situation that most of us would be oblivious to no thanks to our glorious media services and political leaders. But I am not going to push my thoughts on that onto you, but I would encourage you to drive out west and take a look for yourself, then decided on what you think you should do.