Ideal camping weather and ideal photography weather are two different things. This weekend we had ideal camping conditions with beautiful clear skies over Aragunnu campground just south of Bermagui, NSW. While it would have been nice to have gorgeous dramatic skies for our dawn and dusk photos, we made the most of what we did have and practiced thinking outside the square a little.
Like most things, photography is something you get better at with practice. Gee and I have been discussing lately the balance between capturing images that you have in mind versus making the most of what’s in front of you. So this weekend we practiced. With the almost full moon lighting the night up so brightly we explored the tricky nature of trying to get crystal clear focus in the dark (not as easy as you’d hope) and how to compose a dawn shot when you lack the dramatic clouds in the sky. In the end we were really happy with the images we captured.
Maybe that’s one of the most attractive elements of photography as a pursuit- it forces you to see things differently. To see the world around you as art in whatever conditions it happens to be in. We wandered through the campgrounds walking tracks, cameras out, looking for the magic in the simple things.
Aragunnu has some truly beautiful forests and we are still on a mission to photograph the Australian bush as beautifully as it looks when you are standing there, but it’s tricky. Our eyes can separate the forest for the trees but cameras aren’t quite so forgiving, so most of our bush shots end up looking too busy. The walking tracks around Aragunnu take you past amazing old trees growing out of huge rock stacks, down past rock steps, through clearings and stands of mahogany and banksia.
There are four campsite areas at Aragunnu. This time we stayed at the one closest to the Mimosa Rocks at the north end of the campground. Each of them has their own distinct flavour and beauty which is what makes coming back here such a joy. It is so different every time you do. We spent a lot of time on Aragunnu Beach with its “dragon egg” rocks (which are tricky to walk on). It’s the first beach we’ve been to that sounds like a washing machine- as the waves roll out you can hear the rocks tumbling with a sullen roar at the water’s edge. It’s easy to spend the whole day exploring the rock pools and different little bays.
The boardwalk takes the effort out of struggling along the rocky beaches and takes you past the Aboriginal middens. Middens are significant for what they tell us about past use of sites like Aragunnu. They are a little snapshot of history even if they don’t look like much when you are standing there. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand why it would be the best spot to sit and enjoy a feast of shellfish. Further along the boardwalk takes you out to a viewing platform of the Mimosa Rocks themselves, famous for being the cause of the wreck of the Mimosa Paddle Steamer in 1863, which named the national park.
Finally, we are sending out a call for help. On the way into the campground there is a road sign. We did not make this road sign up. It really is there and we have no idea what it’s trying to say. If you know please tell us!