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Weekend Wanderings – National Parks Lighting Up

Last Sunday while I was still in the Mallee I was taken out by my friend Ted, who introduced me to a new friend, Lyn.  It is always good to go out with friends and take photos.  We had originally planned to go to a particular spot, but there were too many fires there, so we decided to give it a miss this time and head to Patchewollock and the Wyperfeld National Park and to see some of Ted’s friends at the Pine Plains Lodge in the Park.

We had heard that there had been fires there, but as we drove in could see no sign of them.  We stopped at the lodge and spoke to Susan who told us that the fires had got very close to them, but were all around the west and north of them.  She said Snowdrift, a massive sand dune near them had been affected by the fires.  We decided to head there first.

LeanneCole-mallee-20140126-8274I showed some photos of this once before, click here if you want to see what it did look like.  The first time I was went was very different to this time.  We did climb up to the top, but the view was a little different to the last time I was there.

LeanneCole-mallee-20140126-8281This time there was black every where, and you could see smoke in the distance where fires were still burning.  It was really shocking to see.  You can see smoke from two separate fires there, and there was another one with a lot more smoke burning just west of us.

You really shouldn’t go into parks just after this happens, and it is not something I would normally do, but I I had to get some photos for someone, so it was important. I made sure that I was with someone who knew where they were and wouldn’t take risks.  Though as I was taking the following photo Adrian from Pine Plains Lodge drove up.

LeanneCole-mallee-20140126-8286I know you have seen that image before, but I was trying to get this when Adrian showed up and offered to drive us around to see the devastation.  Adrian lives there and knows the area really well, so it was great to get shown around.  

LeanneCole-mallee-20140126-8287If you look carefully you can see a Kangaroo jumping away from us in this image.  We saw so many of them.  They are disoriented from the fires, and no doubt hungry and thirsty.  

LeanneCole-mallee-20140126-8295We tend to think of only human homes that get destroyed, but many birds and animals lose their homes in fires too.  An Eagle’s nest, that has been destroyed when the tree fell.  

LeanneCole-mallee-20140126-8302I have spoken of this before, how it can burn some things, but not others, look above and the golden untouched strip in between the areas that were burned.

Adrian was a fantastic tour guide and you got so much more than just information about the fires.  I love meeting people who love and respect the land that they inhabit.  Adrian has done a lot of research, even back to the indigenous people who once roamed over the land.  We heard about a lake there that hasn’t had water in it since 1853, and how near the lake was a gathering place for the indigenous people, and how they would all meet up there.  I would like to thank Adrian from Pine Plains Lodge for showing us around.  I know I enjoyed it.

Taking photos was easy, really, it was just a matter of pointing somewhere, because everywhere there were shots.  I had my camera set on a low ISO and the aperture was pretty much on f/9 the whole time.  I used my 24-70mm lens on the Nikon D800.  The only real problem I had taking photos was the flies.  There were millions of them, really.  I don’t think I have ever seen flies that bad before, I hated that part. and in many of my images there are blurred little black things, yes, flies who flew in front of the camera.  Kind of annoying.  

I have some more photos for you now and will put them in a gallery.  No words with them, silence really, that is how it is after a fire, there seems to be a silence.  Though see if you can spot the Eagle sitting high in a tree.

38 Comments
  1. Such devastation, but you photographed it with sensitivity Leanne.

    February 1, 2014
    • Thank you Carol, that is such a nice thing to say, I appreciate it.

      February 1, 2014
  2. It took a while but I finally found the eagle!

    February 1, 2014
    • It wasn’t keep on being photographed, it fly away a second later, I suppose it is a confusing time for it, it has lost its home, but Adrian was saying it spends a lot of time in that tree so he thinks that is where the new home will be.

      February 1, 2014
  3. nokindofmagic #

    How come something so deadly can be so beautiful? I guess we have way more in common with moths than we are willing to admit…

    Australia does lure me in a particular way, though my knowledgle of it is limited to some films I’ve watched (the walkabout!). And I can sing about Matilda, but every Aussie I meet tells me not to, I wonder why 😉

    February 1, 2014
    • I don’t know, I’m sorry, but I agree.
      I think Australia is very different to what many people imagine it to be. Our films can be quite weird, which we love, but don’t give you a great idea of what it is really like. It certainly isn’t all desert, and I hope you have seen that with my photos. And that song well, yeah, we do find it annoying, it is like that American song Yankee Doodle Dandy. It is a ditty, and I think many of us are a bit sick of it, haha.

      February 1, 2014
  4. Spectacular, sad and scary.

    February 1, 2014
    • Great words to describe it, thanks Colonialist.

      February 1, 2014
  5. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    I don’t know if it works the same in Australia as here but when a forest or other area burns, it sprouts with new growth all over. It often takes out old growth and allows for new seedlings to sprout. Your photos are lovely. The stump with bare limbs against sky is starkly hopeful.

    February 1, 2014
    • Yes, that is what happens here, some trees don’t regenerate,but most will, in about six months we will start to see the new growth, almost like fuzz growing on the trees. I heard many years ago that Eucalyptus tree seeds need to go through a fire to germinate, I don’t know how tree that is, but the landscape here adapts very well to fires, the indigenous people here burn the land all the time. Thank you Jackie.

      February 1, 2014
  6. I’ve been reading about all the fires in Australia. It’s just awful. We had a huge one in Yosemite this past summer and I fear for this coming summer since we are in the worst drought in history as of today.

    February 1, 2014
    • We aren’t in a drought anymore, but the major problem here is that we got a lot rain in Spring, then no rain, so all the new grass that grew is brown now, lots of fuel for a fire. The fires in the areas of the photos have been on fire for over 20 years, which is part of the problem, too much build of fuel. I hope you are okay Laura, and that this summer will be safe for you.

      February 1, 2014
      • Ah yes, that makes sense unfortunately. 😦 Thank you Leanne.

        February 1, 2014
      • Yeah, it is unfortunate, sadly. 😦

        February 1, 2014
  7. We in the USA have been watching the news accounts of the fires. How horrible!

    February 1, 2014
    • It is horrible, though summer here has really only just begun, so we are all on tenderhooks now, hopefully it won’t be as bad as everything thinks it will be.

      February 1, 2014
  8. Heartbreaking.

    February 1, 2014
    • It really is, thank you Elen.

      February 1, 2014
  9. Jen #

    You did a very good job. The devastation contrasted with, as you noted, some of the untouched areas is really incredible. It is difficult to fathom.

    February 1, 2014
    • Thank you Jen, it is so amazing how some areas are affected, and others left alone completely.

      February 1, 2014
  10. the silence really hits home Leanne. Thanks for this, we were driving North of this and avoided the area.

    February 1, 2014
    • Big area to avoid, I don’t know if the fires are out yet, haven’t heard. I really hope so. Thank you Andy.

      February 1, 2014
  11. Very sad to see but you have captured the impact so well. The flies would drive me mad!!

    February 1, 2014
    • Thank you Andrew, it is very sad. Oh and the flies, they really did drive me mad, I couldn’t wait to get back to my mums and away from them.

      February 1, 2014
  12. So much of that landscape reminds me of West Texas, with scrubby trees and bare stretches…Although the Roo would be a bit out-of-place!
    Hoping for cooler weather and rain for all in the area!

    February 1, 2014
    • Haha, I imagine a roo jumping across the landscape would surprise a lot of people.
      We are too, though, doesn’t look like it is going to happen any time soon, unfortunately. Thanks Marie

      February 2, 2014
  13. Reblogged this on Just Another Steel Magnolia and commented:
    Wonderful post by Leanne Cole!

    February 2, 2014
  14. Great pictures of beautiful nature! And sad how quickly it can be destroyed by fire.

    February 2, 2014
    • Thank you Tiny, it is very sad, though it will regenerate, and come back, which has to be good I think.

      February 2, 2014
  15. Great shots….after brush fires, the landscape takes on a bleak “moonscape” look.

    February 2, 2014
    • Yes, it certainly does at that, it is very surreal. Thank you Kirt.

      February 2, 2014
  16. never thought Australia is also having this much dry region…always used to think its a dark unexplored country with wide of variety of species…

    February 2, 2014
    • Australia is a very dry country, very dry. We have some rain forest, but really only on the East coast, there are trees, though very sparsely in Central Australia. We did get a lot of rain last year, but then it stopped, and it was the stopping and all the grass that grew that is now the problem, it is very dry and it is what fuels the fires.

      February 2, 2014
  17. Large wildfires can be awfully unpredictable, that’s why you’ll see scorched areas right next to untouched areas. Locally, here in Colorado, we’ve had two large wildfires in successive years – which is unusual by any measure. In last year’s fire, there were homes completely destroyed while homes across the road untouched. It wasn’t like the firefighters made a valiant stand, but more of the fire’s unpredictable behavior.

    February 2, 2014
    • It is very weird, I did ask Jonesy, he was fighting the fires and he said it is the wind, that the wind can change, and then it will stop a fire going in a direction, then change again. I think that would make it very hard to predict. Thanks David.

      February 2, 2014
  18. pombo #

    Lovely pictures, Kind of reminds me of some parts of my native Spain. We have huge forest fires there every year and the devastations is hard to watch. The good thing is that in 5-10 years nature will have forgotten about it, only we will still mourn what we lost.

    February 3, 2014
    • I think in areas like these we know that it will all grow back, most of the trees will reshoot, and in time you won’t see it. I think the thing that we mourn is when we lose properties or houses, when people lose all they own and their home. Here we accept the bushland will burn, but we don’t like seeing it burn homes. Thank you pombo.

      February 4, 2014

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