By Darren Stones
In August 2009 I had the pleasure of photographing the mighty Murrumbidgee River near Hay in New South Wales. I left Hay this particular morning and drove 38 kilometres east along the Sturt Highway until I reached the Mulberrygong Reserve. Most would not even see the sign and open gate to the reserve, but for me it was conspicuous because I was looking for an entry point that would allow me to reach a part of the river not often seen and photographed.
It was a beautiful sunny day with a few clouds in the sky. No wind and just me out amongst nature with the birds chirping. The water level was low due to the drought, and because it was I had the opportunity to walk down the riverbank and get close to submerged logs. I looked around, noticed the stunning red riverbank on the bend in the distance and just literally stopped in my tracks. The experience had a profound effect on my psyche this day and it made me realise how much I enjoyed being out with my camera.
After about half-an-hour, I began to better see the curves of the river, the lines of the submerged logs, and how the cloud was filling in patches of blue sky. I extended the legs of my tripod and began to move my camera around to different positions so I could work on my compositions. I almost slowed down the image-making process to slow motion as I allowed myself time to absorb the landscape. I felt attached to it, and set about making some photographs.
Upon finishing that shoot, I felt at ease with myself as a photographer. I would suggest to anyone that if you give yourself time to connect with the landscape, you will begin to better see what you are looking at. You will hear things such as the birds, insects, and the movement of leaves in the trees.
Our hectic lifestyles do impact upon the way we live. We do have to give ourselves permission to better connect with the landscape because I believe it does help with our sense of wellbeing.