Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A Rural Safari

Well, what does any self respecting photographer do when the girls of the family go out shopping? 

He gets his gear out and goes on Safari!

This time I wanted to explore some rural settings.  Newcastle has some beautiful beaches and Lake Macquarie is wonderful for its' small bays full of sailing boats but, I hadn't been into the country on safari for some time.

Driving out to small towns like Hinton, Paterson & Clarencetown, I found a wealth of subjects!  

Hinton and Paterson are situated on the Paterson River and Clarencetown is situated on the Williams River.  These rivers both rise on the slopes of the Barrington Tops and join into the Hunter River which, in turn, flows into the sea at Newcastle.  All three of these areas offer some wonderful photo opportunities and have that unique country atmosphere that I love so much.  I also shot some film while on location but they won't be available until I finish that roll.  Can't wait to see them!

I was not aware that before the building of roads in the Newcastle and Hunter Valley region, the rivers were the main transport thoroughfare and also that shipping is what kept Newcastle going.  So much so that Clarencetown actually had a shipyard that built ocean going paddle steamers. This would account for the Hinton Bridge having a movable section in the middle (as you will see in the photo below) for the shipping that would ply the river.  

These rivers are tidal rivers (which surprised me).  I guesstimate that it would be about 28 kms from Hinton via the Paterson and Hunter Rivers to the Hunter River Estuary at Newcastle.  Hinton is very close to the confluence of the Paterson and Hunter Rivers and is very prone to flooding.   

Paterson Plains started out as 3 farms granted to convicts on an area known as 'Old Banks'.  The convicts were given the land grant providing they supply the Government with 500 Cedar Logs.  In a few years time the area had expanded to 8 farms; 6 owned by convicts.  Because of the abundance of the Cedar in the area, the Paterson River was locally known as the 'Cedar Arm' . The Old Banks was also the location of a military outpost responsible for the capture of escaped convicts and for law and order in the area.  Paterson was to become an important tidal river port with timber mills and its own shipbuilding yards.  In the 1850s the river trade began to stall with the building of roads and in 1911 with the arrival of rail, the rail bridge was built directly over the old river wharf.  The last of the paddle steamers was to visit Paterson in the 1930s. 

Something I found out today was that a famous Paddle Steamer built in Clarencetown William the Fourth, is being rebuilt and is when completed will be moored at the Honeysuckle Maritime Precinct on Port Hunter in Newcastle.  It will be available as a floating display, onboard functions and special occasion charters, although it will not be steam driven. 

What I did for some of these photos was to shoot a bracketed exposure +/- 2EV and then merge them in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2.  By doing this it has added to the detail of the subject quite nicely!  The other programme I used for editing is NIK Colour Efex Pro 4.  I was able to adjust the colour to the level I wanted.  I also found that using the Structure slider in Colour Efex Pro 4 brings out some great detail and sharpness also.  At the start of the safari, it was a clear blue sky so my Grad ND2 filter came in handy for the right exposure levels.  As you can see in one of the photos, the weather changed quickly and cut short my safari; I drove home in heavy rain and thunderstorms!

So much to see and so little time to see it!  I hate it when my real job gets in the way of what I like to do most!

Wishing you all the best for 2015!


The photos on this post are for sale contact me if you are interested.

All photos on this blog are Copyright Life with Jordy Photography and may not be used without permission.

Green Fields and Blue Skies.  Clarencetown, NSW, Australia.

One lane bridge over the Williams River.  Clarencetown, NSW, Australia.

The Rail Bridge over the Paterson River.  Paterson, NSW, Australia.

Rural Buildings.  Hinton, NSW, Australia.

Vista from the Cemetery.  Hinton, NSW, Australia.

Bridge over the Paterson River.   Hinton, NSW, Australia.

Monday, 22 December 2014

An Afternoon Behind Bars! - The Trial Bay Gaol.

Kim & I spent 5 days up in Port Macquarie recently.  Whilst there we took off up north for a look around at Crescent Head and the South West Rocks area.  South West Rocks is located on Trial Bay and I had forgotten that there was an old gaol there that is open to the public.  We had our dog Barney with us but, because the gaol is situated in a National Park he was not allowed out of the car.  Kim took him to a dog beach nearby for a run and swim whilst I explored the old gaol.  

Trial Bay in New South Wales is more or less halfway between Sydney and Brisbane on the east coast of Australia.  The bay faces north and subsequently offers shelter from the southerly winds and swells.  

It is named after the Brig Trial, hijacked by 13 convicts in Port Jackson in 1816.  They sailed the ship north only to be wrecked in the bay.  The survivors constructed a new boat out of the ships' remains but, according to the local Dunghutti Aboriginal Tribe, the boat sank and all 13 convicts drowned.  The convicts abandoned the Ships' Master William Bennet, crew and passengers including a woman and child.  It is believed that the survivors attempted to return south to Sydney but they were never heard from again.  On the 14th of January 1817, the ship Lady Nelson found the wreckage of the Trial.  In the years after the wreck was found, a story about a white woman living with an Aboriginal Tribe was circulating.  It was not until 1831 that this woman was found; Emily Bardon, the Captains' wife from the Trial.  She was re-united with relatives but 14 years of what would have been a wretched life for her, living wild, left her with dementia and she died shortly after.

The east coast of NSW must have been treacherous for shipping.  In the period 1863-66, approximately 90 ships were lost along with 243 lives.  This prompted the Government to act and in 1870 they approved the building of a deep water harbour and breakwater at Trial Bay to provide for a safe harbour for shipping.

In 1876, the Trial Bay Gaol was established as a 'Public Works Gaol' where the 'good conduct' prisoners were used to build the breakwater.  It must have been back breaking work!  The Gaol was closed in 1903 due to the difficulty of building the breakwater; severe storms ruined the construction work and constantly washed away the large hewn rocks! This, plus the fact that the cost of the work was rising also.  Only 300 metres of the planned 1500 metre breakwater had been completed.  Of that 300 metres, only about 50 metres of the breakwater remains today at the Laggers Point headland.

In 1904, the external buildings were sold off and the Gaol sat empty.

In 1914, the outbreak of fighting in Europe brought Australia into the Great War.  German subjects in Australia were ordered to report to the Government.  In 1915 the Government declared that all persons of German descent were enemy aliens.  The Government could not intern all people of German descent so they targeted the leaders within the German community, pastors from the Lutheran Church, businessmen, consuls etc.  Some were interned simply because they were dobbed in by their neighbours or they had come under the notice of Police.  In 1915, the Trial Bay Gaol was resurrected as an internment camp for these Germans.  The internees stayed there until July 1918 when they were transported to Holsworthy, an inland internment camp.

After the departure of the internees, the Gaol was stripped and in 1922 was sold off.  

The Gaol sat languishing for many years.  Gone were the rooftops and the steel walkways and stairs leaving just the stone walls.  It wasn't until after World War 2 that this part of Australian history began to be recognised.  A local heritage group working in conjunction with the Kempsey Shire Council began the clean up and to restore the prison.  In 1991 the site was declared on the National Register and opened once more, this time as a Museum.

It was a little eerie walking around the shell of the Gaol.  It was very hot and humid when I visited and I wondered how the prisoners and internees survived what must have been an incredible heat, generated by walls of black granite rock baking in the summer sun!  At its' peak, during WW1 the Gaol held 580 internees.  

As I wandered around the ruins, I paid particular attention to the light.  In many instances, the bright light shining off the rock walls underexposed the wall detail in the shadows and also in the doorways of the cells.  I made the decision to take 3 photos of each subject, bracketed at -/+ 2 EV.  Using NIK HDR Efex Pro2, I was able to merge the 3 different exposures thereby bringing out a lot of detail that otherwise would have been lost.

So much more in that area to explore but for now it's back to work!


Cell Block - Trial Bay Gaol, Arakoon, Australia.

The Freedom Window - Trial Bay Gaol, Arakoon, Australia.

Prisoners Walk - Trial Bay Gaol, Arakoon, Australia.

The Hard Cell - Trial Bay Gaol, Arakoon, Australia.

The Outer Wall from the Sentrys' Lookout - Trial Bay Gaol,
Arakoon, Australia.

From the Sentrys' Lookout - Trial Bay Gaol, Arakoon, Australia.

The Triangle, complete with whip - Trial Bay Gaol, Arakoon, Australia.