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Pelion East Pencil Pines by Travis Easton


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Did the overland track last week between Cradle Mountain and Lake St.Clair and on the whole the weather was pretty ordinary with this day being the best. It was still cloudy and rained but there were patches of blue sky too. There were about twenty people in the hut the previous night and by the look of all the packs at Pelion Gap every one of them went up Mt Ossa (1617m) the highest mountain in Tasmania. As this peaks summit was under cloud I thought an ascent was scenicly pointless as we’d seen enough of the inside of clouds so far on the trip so we went up Pelion East (1461m, 16th highest in Tassie) instead, which being a bit lower avoided these clouds. The climb to the summit is really dramatic and on the way back down the clouds parted ever so briefly and this wonderful light fell on these dead pencil pines (Athrotaxis cupressoides) for about two minutes right as I was walking passed. My companions didn’t even stop to appreciate this view but I exclaimed my awe and skipped happily into the scoparia (Richea scoparia, the foreground bushes) and shot off a few frames before the dullness came back. Definetely a right place at the right time shot.


Camera: Canon EOS 5D mkII
Lens: EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM @ 30mm
Filter: Circular Polariser
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/80th sec
Aperture: f/8
WB: Auto
When: 4:17pm on 25/4/2012

For more Tassie shots check out my Tasmania gallery.

$30 a month from photography sales donated to the Wilderness Society

My last visit to Pelion East was in mid winter in 1998:

Australia’s rugged landscape is an important part of my life and over many years I have explored some of the more remote parts of it on foot, ski, kayak and rope. I usually travel alone so I can take my time capturing the essence of these places without distraction. Life slows down and after a while I feel like I begin to merge with the land, nature takes me into her confidence and changes me. I hope you enjoy the fruit of these excursions.

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  • Robert Mullner
    Robert Mullnerover 2 years ago

    Great stark and contrasty light really highlighting those bleached pencil pine trunks. The moody cloud filled valley in the background also looks great Trav…I know about the weather although we had the luxury of hot showers and bourbon’s after a days trekking.

  • Compared to my usual tent bound hiking existance I was actually finding the huts quite luxurious and one of my companions bought some very passable whisky along. That is accept for the night after this shot when this selfish old bag insisted on keeping the entire hut awake in the wee hours by reading with her bright torch on. When politely asked to turn it off to allow the other twenty people in the hut to sleep she simply said “Go Away” and kept reading, what is with that??? This was without doubt the magic light moment of the trip. Great to catch up with ya mate even if briefly.

    – Travis Easton

  • Stephanie Johnson
    Stephanie Johnsonover 2 years ago

    I am glad the weather was kind to you for at least some of the trek! This lighting is lovely and contrasts the bright foreground so well with the dreariness happening behind. Great shot!

  • Hi Stephanie, sorry to have missed you, t’was a wonderful trip weather and all and moments like this certainly live with you, ta.

    – Travis Easton

  • Rodney Wratten
    Rodney Wrattenover 2 years ago

    Hi Travis
    The bleached pencil pines realy stand out against the foreground and background and even into the clouds, great shot and the story to go with it.

  • Thanks Rod, had a ball and this was a highlight.

    – Travis Easton

  • Jocelyn  Parry-Jones
    Jocelyn Parry...over 2 years ago

    Beautiful light!

  • John Schneider
    John Schneiderover 2 years ago


  • Garth Smith
    Garth Smithover 2 years ago

    Beautiful stark shot Travis, great pencil pine shot. Well done.
    We can only hope that somewhere, sometime, karma will catch up with that ignorant lady.

  • Hi Garth, she was very quite the next morning and wouldn’t meet anyones eye then went to large efforts to walk two huts to get away from her unhappy victims. Twas a great walk, sorry I missed you.

    – Travis Easton

  • Donovan wilson
    Donovan wilsonover 2 years ago

    Hi Mate nice contrasty light in this one i take it this area was burnt at some time. sounds like you had good weather for waterfalls and stream work but not for mountain tops but i hope you had fun.

  • Waterfalls were pumping, the whole back half of the cradle massif was covered in huge waterfalls. Apparantly Pencil Pines don’t regenerate after fire so they most probably died that way. Had a great time, I just love getting out regardless of the conditions, a true priveledge.

    – Travis Easton

  • gaylene
    gayleneover 2 years ago

    you had the chilliest time Trav. but how awesome to do it (I never have yet)

  • Hi Gaylene, Chilly is very relative, as I’ve done a fair bit of snow camping and also done the overland track mid-winter the chilly factor didn’t really hit my radar on this one. As my coat and boots were leaking the rain certainly did though. Highly recommended walk, mostly flattish, lots of duck boards, good huts, diverse scenery from rocky peaks and alpine moors/ tarns to myrtle beech forests and waterfalls, do it although summer would probably suit you better.


    – Travis Easton

  • gaylene
    gayleneover 2 years ago

    that is the best time isn’t it – the right time, the right place – and take advantage of it

  • Mel Brackstone
    Mel Brackstoneover 2 years ago

    We were thinking of you as the rain continued to bucket down, but figured you’d have been enjoying yourself no matter what! This is a great catch, Travis, the light is just perfect!

  • Would have loved to have finally met you in the flesh Mel, oh well next time. Although by your comments you seem to know me quite well anyway, haha. Yes I had a ball despite some trying weather, this was definetly a high point.

    – Travis Easton

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