2012 Winter Newsletter: New Image Releases, Chris wins 13 awards and more...




Glacial dawn, Blue Lake, NSW

It doesn't get much better (nor colder) than this in Australia.  I awoke to one of the coldest nights of the Winter at -10ºC - a harsh reality when you unzip the sleeping bag at 5am - at 1,900m ASL.  The lake completely freezes over during Winter with plenty of thickness to walk, ski or snowshoe over.  You wouldn't want to fall through at freezing temperatues and a depth of 28 metres.  It's also the only place in Australia you can ice climb.  I wanted to capture the beauty of one of Australia's most important National Parks.  In a 150º panorama of the 16 hectare lake and surrounds, I captured the dawn glow coming from the right, lighting up Mount Twynam on the left.  The sky then graduates to the earth's shadow on the left which creates the light blue and magenta colours only seen when the sun is below the horizon.  This is the only time of day when these beautiful soft colour tones across the snow are created.  There was also no wind - I have never experienced such absolute and eery silence as being in an alpine area above the tree line.

It was a very memorable and powerful experience.

Limited Edition Size:  50



Welcome to my 2012 Winter Newsletter.  This one is one of my biggest newsletters yet, so don't feel you have to read straight away.  I have released 15 new images - 'Glacial dawn, Blue Lake, NSW' above being one of them.


Over the last few months I've been working on a few exciting things, so I wanted to share some news.

2011 Flinders Project - Phase 3

As mentioned late last year, I came back from a very productive trip to the Flinders Ranges and parts of South Australia and central NSW with 3,500 images to go through.  With such a high percentage of 'keepers' from the 33 consecutive sunrise/sunset shoots over 17 days, the selection process took a lot longer than exepcted!  My goal was to capture at least 6 great shots in the Flinders Ranges - I would have been satisfied with this.  So to put the success of the trip in perspective, I came home with almost 5 times that amount, so it was really nice to exceed my goal and bring you some truly beautiful and unique images from the trip.

Hence the last few months have been finalising the post-processing of all Limited Edition images from this trip.  Many of you already know I shoot 6x17cm large format transparency film and also with the latest digital cameras.  I find the mix of photographing with 2 very different systems both challenging and rewarding.  I like to keep things as simple as possible in my kit - ideally I would have just one camera and 1-3 fixed-focal length lenses.  However I still love the look, colour and quality of large format film.  This is something I've realised I've come to specialise in and master over many years.  Many people and photographers comment on my limited edition prints, but when they see the largest versions spanning 1.5-2.5 metres on the wall, they are stunned at the detail as few others go to the effort, expense and quality assurance that I apply to my processes.  This is an area I'll continue to research to ensure the intended impact of the print is executed to the highest standards.

On a slight tangent for a moment, a lot of people ask me 'how did you get into photography, and why landscape?'.  Over time I've come to realise most pursuits in life actually start from our emotions, beliefs and values.  The images you see on my website gallery are the summation of many events, lessons and experiences in my life.  For instance, when I was capturing Alpenglow on the Torres del Paine, Chilean Patagonia
, it hit me - this surreal and almost transcendent-like moment was the result of many years of iteration and evolution of ideas and events - some of which were purposeful and some complete luck or coincidental.  All decisions start from our values and deepest beliefs, and resulting consequences stem from there.  In a butterfly-effect type flashback, I made all these connections - for example, if that didn't happen, then I wouldn't have met this person, and if I didn't talk to that person, I wouldn't have met that other person who suggested something which led to an idea which led to... etc etc.

So a love for outdoor pursuits, a love for beautiful things and places, a desire to create, an eye for detail and quality, a curiosity regarding life-changing moments, a belief that things can be better than they are, a certain set of skills and a combination of many other things, led to a set of values and a situation which led me to 'getting into landscape photography'.  The goal was never 'to be a landscape photographer', the goal was 'to do things which satisfy my need to create beautiful things which others can benefit from'.  At some point you think ahead and wonder 'what will my legacy
that I leave behind?', and ask questions like 'was I happy with the things I contributed to the world in my short lifetime?', and suddenly concepts of money and possessions are quickly forgotten.  I'm sure you have thought this from time to time, well I do too.  Whilst I don't try and claim to know the meaning of life, what I do know is that we know when we've made a difference, touched someone in some small way, or changed the world, one small gift at a time.  So that's a short answer to how I 'got into landscape photography'.

Onto the images...  below is the result of months of work, and I'm proud to bring you these images - some of my best yet.  If the images below don't appear for you, you can view them all here: http://www.chrismorrison.com.au/region/latest-work


Flinders Ranges Trip - Project Phase 3 - New Limited Edition Images


Wilpena Pound glowing red, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

This spectacular sight was produced by a classic central Australian sunset.  The last rays of the sun travelled uninterrupted across the wide open plains West of Wilpena Pound.  The orange coloured rock and scrub bushes were transformed into a glowing red for 1-2 minutes before receding to a dull grey for the night.  Evidence of outback winds is shown in the motion blur of the old windmill.

Limited Edition Size:  50


Life after lightning, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

This symmetrical view of Wilpena Pound intrigued me, but as I searched for a foreground I struggled to find something appropriate.  Whilst walking for kilometres on what I assumed to be only tiny hills and shrubs, I came across this tree which I can only assume was struck by lightning during a wet season.  This is another symbol of Australian endurance in harsh environments.

Limited Edition Size:  50


Sunrise on Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Some early morning clouds provided just the right amount of drama for this image to work.  I combined the morning light with a symmetrical arrangement of 7 trees mother nature happened to prepare for me.  It's amazing what can be found when we see with an open mind.

Limited Edition Size:  50



Morning light on ABC Range, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

I had no idea the Flinders Ranges had so much to offer in terms of spectacular mountain ranges.  This was captured along the ABC Range and was another amazing discovery on my Flinders trip.  This rolling scene appears very different from much of Australia, with a European feel to the rising mountains in the background.  I allowed the morning light to paint the landscape which picked out the warm tones in the dry vegetation.  Shot on 6x17cm transparency film.

Limited Edition Size:  50



The Simple Life, Burra, South Australia

This image is about peering into Australia's country and early farming history.  Vast areas of flat land and rolling grass hills surround the small and historic town of Burra.  This particular hut is similar many in the region, but stands out due to its simple and clean backdrop and being one of the rare ones that is still well preserved.  You can't help but imagine in your mind's eye - a farmer stepping out the front door of his hut many decades ago and relishing his relationship with the land, not to mention the view.

Limited Edition Size:  50


Road to enlightenment, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Something I tell people when they ask how I 'got into photography' is that photography was never the intention.  It's simply the tool I chose to best express my love for the beautiful places in this world.  This print represents one of those luminant moments where everything suddenly becomes clear.  It's a constant reminder that nature is a frontier for constant exploration and growth, just like ourselves.  This slightly more philosophical undertone comes through in this painterly image of Bunyeroo Valley, shot before sunrise, with the road drawing you into the heart of the Flinders Ranges.  Photographed on 6x17cm transparency film.

Limited Edition Size:  50



Dawn on the Heysen Range, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

The most vivid dawn colours I witnessed in South Australia was on this morning looking out to the impressive Heysen Range within the central Flinders Ranges.  It still amazes me that such a steep rock formation was formed more than twice as long ago (~500 million years) as the age of the dinosaurs (a mere ~230 million years ago).  Yet another reminder of the geological history Australia holds and why National Parks like these must be preserved.

The most interesting thing about sunrise is that you never know what you're going to get in terms of colours.  I had my camera setup and all of a sudden a burst of glowing pink light radiated onto this scene for a few minutes of this rare and transcendent experience.  Photographed on 6x17cm transparency film.

Limited Edition Size:  50


Aerial view of Heysen Range, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

A different angle of the Heysen Range - an amazing mountain formation from hundreds of millions of years ago - shot at dawn from the air.  This shot required some negotiation with the pilot for a pre-dawn takeoff on a dirt runway in very low light conditions.  With the door off, it enabled me to photograph with such a wide angle without having the wing in shot.  It was still dark enough to realise there was more colour in the scene than the human eye could detect at the time.  The sun quickly rose and I only had one pass at this shot travelling roughly 200km/h before the painterly quality of light deteriorated and hardened by the second pass.  Luckily I composed this frame the first time round.

Limited Edition Size:  50



Alligator Gorge, Mount Remarkable National Park, South Australia

Close to Melrose is Mount Remarkable National Park and Alligator Gorge, recommended to me for a visit by some friends.  A walk through the short gorge is a fascinating experience through history and geology.  The angles in which these trees grow is another tribute to their adaptability in surviving.  It was raining much of the day, but when it stopped, it provided the flat light which I was wanting in order to softly light this spot within the gorge and the stillness of the water required for the reflections.

Limited Edition Size:  50


Brachina Reflection, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

At first glance this scene could be mistaken for somewhere in Yosemite National Park, that's until you notice the orange rock, gum trees and creek bed.  The location is Brachina Gorge, a very unique landscape.  In the wet season or during big storms these creeks transform into raging rivers which sweep away unexperienced drivers trying to cross them.  Luckily I was able to make this image before some big storms began to develop.  A composition made from shapes was used in tandem with the yellow-blue complimentary colours to let this image come together beautifully.

Limited Edition Size:  50



Clouds & Dunes, Flinders Ranges, SA

Sand dunes continually change shape, size and form at the whim of direction and strength of the wind.  Therefore the opportunity for unique images is everpresent as this scene no longer exists in this form.  I also sensed a storm approaching from kilometres off in the distance, and waited for it to approach.  There was an eery stillness before evidence of strong winds swept toward me.  This shot was taken moments before it became a dark sand storm.  Therefore the image becomes a document of something which was changing so quickly, and constantly in transition.

Limited Edition Size:  50



Desert Storm, Flinders Ranges, SA

On this memorable day a clear blue sky was transformed into a dark storm, blocking all light except for a few rays from the sun in the distance.  The effect appeared as an unforgettable yellow glow on the horizon, graduating to dark clouds closer to where I was standing.  This was a special moment experiencing another side of mother nature's power.

Limited Edition Size:  50


Outback Pub, Riverina District, NSW

One Tree Hotel, originally named the One Tree Inn, located 38 kms from Hay, stands isolated on the One Tree Plains with flat grassland as far as the eye can see.  The hotel was originally built in 1862, and was destroyed by a fire in 1903, and then rebuilt exactly as it was.  It operated as a thriving watering-place until 1942 when its licence was allowed to lapse.  I felt compelled to document the hotel, given its importance as a historical building and its link to pastoral settlement in the Riverina District.

Limited Edition Size:  50




Wilpena Pound luminism, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

This day was a very surreal experience.  Having driven up and down the West side of the Flinders trying to anticipate the weather, I eventually had to stop to ride out 100-120km/h wind gusts and torrential rain.  Once safe to drive again, the landscape was transformed into puddles and flash floods.  The sun shot through the clouds and I quickly managed to make it down to Wilpena Pound and the humidity and heat (and flies) began to rise rapidly.  Within minutes the puddles had disappeared but the storm clouds remained.  Sun rays were spotlighting Wilpena Pound's texture and the damp foreground became more saturated after the rain.  The summation of these conditions resulted in very unique image of Wilpena Pound.  Photographed on 6x17cm transparency film.

Limited Edition Size:  25


Recent Awards

  • A few weeks ago I went to Melbourne for the 2012 Canon Australian Professional Photography Awards.  This year I received 2 Silver awards for 2 images shot on 6x17cm film.
  • This year I again entered the 2012 Epson International Pano Awards.  Of the 12 images I entered, 11 received awards.


Road-testing the PhaseOne IQ160

In April I was able to borrow a PhaseOne IQ160 - a 60 megapixel state-of-the-art medium format camera - from L&P Digital in Sydney.  I was very curious as to the image quality this camera was capable of producing, and it didn't disappoint.  However, to thoroughly test whether the camera would suit my requirements, I organised a trip to the NSW Southern Highlands in the peak of Autumn and photographed the Autumn colours here in Canberra.

A brief note: A question I get asked a lot is "which camera should I buy?" and my answer is always "it doesn't really matter".  A principle I always remember is that great work is always achieved by a person, not a tool.  However, if you have a clear idea of your goal, then the right tool will enable you to achieve that goal more effectively or more efficiently.  This principle applies to any industry, not just photography!

The PhaseOne systems represent where I might take my photography in the future.  The panoramic medium format film I shoot really does hold up to the test, however its limitation will always be the dynamic range it can capture (range of contrast in any given scene).  The PhaseOne's resolution, combined with its dynamic range, opens up some new possibilities for capturing the natural world, but all traditional principles still apply - it's evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary.

I will be in the post-production phase of these images over Winter, and look forward to releasing a few around Spring this year.

Best regards,




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