Where I live, Townsville Australia, we are fortunate to have the ocean and the Great Barrier Reef to our east, and at the same time we are flanked by dirt and mountain ranges to our west. It is truly the best of both worlds here.
There is a certain photogenic mountain peak that sits on private property, making it quite difficult to access without approval. I have made many photographs of the peaks from a distance but I’ve not been able to get close enough to be satisfied with them. My friend and I had been searching for a way to get closer on Google Earth, and found one. A dirt back road that appeared to stop right at the foot of the mountain. Just what we were looking for!
Originally we went for a sunset excursion in his 4WD so we could see what the road condition was like, whether there were any fences or gates along the way and how close we could get to the mountain. It was a successful trip of laughter, dirt covered boots and country music resulting in 2 rolls exposed by myself (1 Fujifilm Superia 400 and 1 Kodak Gold 200).
We were even lucky enough to stumble upon the property owner out with his dog where the peaks lie and, after questioning our motives, he offered to let us in on another day. He took our phone numbers, and what really excited us was he said he has a lookout up there with views not often photographed.
A number of weeks passed, and neither of us had received a phone call or message to notify us when we could return to photograph on the private property. Impatient like all photographers are we opted for a sunrise shoot back on the public land. The sun was looking to rise in the perfect direction to light the face of the peaks.
I woke that morning and grabbed my Leica, a roll of Lomo 800 and a roll of Kodak Portra 400 (which turned out dismal, why do people praise this film?) and walked out the door at 4am. I should mention it’s only about a 20 minute drive from home; the perks of living in a smaller big town. For this trip having surveyed the road our last time out we took my Subaru WRX so we could have a little fun on the dirt road.
The resulting photographs contain my absolute favourite photograph for all of 2020.
Aside from creating my favourite photograph of the year. The owner drove past in his ute and stopped to tell us he still remembers to call us, he just hadn’t had time. I’ll be taking Lomo 800 with me again no hesitation.