If I had to pick one image as my favorite all time shot it would be Peter Dombrovskis’ Mount Geryon from The Labyrinth.
To me it is quite simply the most inspiring example of everything a fantastic landscape photograph should be . An amazingly interesting, colourful and sharp vegetated foreground (perfectly executed with the tilt feature of his large format 4″×5″ Linhof technorama camera), the most perfect reflection I’ve ever seen, great middle ground topped off by the amazing profile of Mt Geryon accentuated by a sprinkling of snow. The combination of these elements creates a beauty so perfect that it almost defies belief.
Back in 1998 when I last did the Overland Track – Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair walk in winter I did a flying visit to the labyrinth on my last day before walking back to Coles Bay completing most of the St Clair leg by torch light in the short winter days. Unfortunately due to inclement weather visibility was only about 10 to 100m at best and I didn’t really see anything. The next day on the way home on the boat across Bass Strait I bought the above poster feeding my dreams of returning till now.
In a way history repeated this week when I finally returned, it had been snowing all night on us down in the valley at Pine Hut and as we climbed steeply up to the plateau the world was transformed into a winter wonderland. The cloud cover was again thick and visibility was again low but donning my pack I at least was equipped to stay a few nights. Leaving my companions to return to the comfort of the hut after lunch I continued alone to Lake Elysia. Walking over the final rise and seeing the lake and surrounding hills was in many ways a return to a place long held dear such was my familiarity with the numerous photographs I have of the area.
It was very cold and I half expected that I would have such cold hands after setting up my tent that I would probably remained tent bound for a while afterwards to warm up but everything was in an acceptable comfort range so I wandered around the shore of the lake umbrella in hand taking shots. One hand was in a wet glove for carrying my cold metal tripod the other one bare so I could handle my camera without getting it wet and despite frequent snow flurries I spent an enjoyable few hours exploring some of the more intimate aspects of the shore line this shot being taken in an ever so brief moment when the cloud cover lifted enough to at least see the bases of Mt Geryon and The Acropolis.
That night it bucketed down with rain and by morning every last skerrick of snow had been washed away. As luck would have it my tent site was transformed into a very wet puddle and with my tent floor leaking badly everything ended up in various degrees of wetness. I had the food to stay another night but with everything including my sleeping bag and a very expensive 15mm fisheye lens being wet my dreams of an open sky sunset and sunrise at Lake Elysia had to wait till another time.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D mkII
Lens: EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM @ 24mm
Shutter Speed: 1/30th sec
Exposure Compensation: -1/3rd stop
When: 3:15pm on 6/4/09
For more Tassie shots check out my Tasmania gallery.
$30 a month of photography related profits go to the Wilderness Society