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Weekend Wanderings – The Sand Around Lake Albacutya

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A couple of weeks ago I showed you some photos around Lake Albacutya and how it is regenerating after the fires that went through the area in January, but while we were out Jonesy took us to see some of the sand dunes that are around the Lake, some areas that were spared from the fires, some not.

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I took a similar photo to this in January and where all that green is in the background, it was all black.  It was dark and it looked like it was about to rain, which it did as we were leaving here, but not for long. The whole Mallee and Wimmera is made up of sandy soil and so the sand dunes up there are very common.  I think they are from the lakes, when the lakes dry up their sandy bottoms are blown away.

I just thought I might briefly explain what the Mallee is, I’ve had a few people ask me.  It is more a where, and it is a large area in the North West corner of the state of Victoria in Australia.  It is possibly the driest part of the state.  Though Lake Albacutya could be more in the area underneath, call the Wimmera.  Both areas are very dry.  I found a map for you so you can see where they are.

Figure9The map is from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

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I really liked taking photos of the sand, and it is something I would like to do again.  There is something really wonderful about sand, the patterns and textures, I don’t think you could tire of photographing it. Then there is the lack of life, or how things grow in it, or should that be struggle to grow in it.

lake-albacutya-sand-dunes-8Like this.

Sand dunes are interesting because they are always changing and moving.  They move constantly, rolling with the wind.  Apparently Parks Victoria are trying to stop them moving.  Something I don’t understand, if it is natural for the sand dunes to move, then why do things to stop them.  Then in other situations, Parks Management say that you can’t do things because that interferes with natural way things evolve.  It is very confusing.

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There are patterns everywhere in the sand dunes for you to follow.  It was great following them and seeing what sort of images I could get.

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After Jonesy had driven us around, he took us back to his new retreat, Lucky Pines.  He lit the fire and we had a coffee.  I was fascinated with photographing the fire.  I do like fire, I should just state that I don’t just light fires, or anything like that, but I do love seeing it in fireplaces and such.  I was amazed at how well the fire photographed, and I took lots.  It seemed too weird to be sitting around a fire on a very cold day, when several months before it was fire that had caused so much damage.

I have more photos for you now and I will put them into a gallery.  I really enjoy doing these photos of the environment and I think it is a direction I would like to go in a lot more.  I also think that many people who are not from Australia might find that theses images are more like how they had thought Australia was.  It is a very dry country and this area and the Mallee is very much a dry area, and I think it is the beginning of what we call the outback, though people up there might disagree with me.

Here is the gallery.  I hope you enjoy some weekend wanderings this weekend.  I’m off to the beach, hopefully the weather will improve.

52 Comments
  1. Thank you Leane – very helpful that you included a map. I like the way you have photographed natural wood and plants draped across the sand – it looks as if there is more than one colour – pale yellow and a richer coloured sand. I have never been to Australia so I am building a picture in my mnd

    July 12, 2014
    • I’ve had several people ask me what the Mallee was, so thought it would be good to show where it is. Thank you, I really enjoyed photographing the wood on the sand, would love to do more, maybe a sunny day and get the shadows. There were two different colours of sand, the yellow and white, and in one place they were side by side, very weird. I hope I can help you build that picture Diana. Thank you.

      July 12, 2014
  2. Wow. Great shots Leanne. The contrast of the green hills and the sand is wonderful.

    July 12, 2014
    • Thank you Suz, it is a nicer contrast that the black and sand, so good to see the green.

      July 12, 2014
  3. I love the sand too. Thank you for sharing what the Mallee is and where it is. I did wonder that but for some reason I let myself keep wondering and never asked. The imagery here is wonderful.

    July 12, 2014
    • Thanks Laura, I think I should have explained it more earlier, I guess I just assumed, oh well, now you know. I love taking photos up there, and the more I go the more people I meet and the more access I get to everything.

      July 12, 2014
      • I understand…I assume things too about where I live. I mean aren’t we ALL the center of our universes???? lol The access gives you a whole other level to your photography. I know of someone in SF that gets that special access and his photos are even more amazing because I know that I couldn’t get into those places.

        July 12, 2014
      • It is such an easy thing to do. I love that access, it is more that people have four wheel drives, which I don’t, so I can’t get access otherwise. I love getting to places that other people can’t get to, makes me feel special, or up myself, not really sure, LOL

        July 12, 2014
      • haha

        July 12, 2014
  4. I enjoyed reading about the Mallee Leanne and seeing your images of the old wood, sand and fire. Have a great day!

    July 12, 2014
    • Thank you Robyn, such a great area, it must be similar to where you are too. You have a great day too, did you manage to get home.

      July 12, 2014
      • I am home for a few days. So nice to be here 🙂
        The vastness is similar, but the climate is more alpine and not sandy, although very dry for here these past summers with drought.
        Theres a bit of sun today… I might try outside with the camera.. My back is making a little bit of progress 😀

        July 12, 2014
      • I bet it is, nothing is like being at home.
        We have a bit of sun too, I hope it stays that way, I really want to get the moon tonight. I hope you can get some lovely shots. Take care, don’t over do it. 😀

        July 12, 2014
  5. I love the “recessed” light in these pictures! Great shots!

    July 12, 2014
    • Thank you Tiny, I hadn’t though of that with the light, nice observation.

      July 12, 2014
  6. You have taken some very evocative photos of this dry and desolate land Leanne.

    July 12, 2014
    • Thank you Colline, I was really happy with these.

      July 12, 2014
  7. Wow!

    July 12, 2014
    • Great reaction Cate, thank you.

      July 12, 2014
  8. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    I love the ripples in the sand from the wind. It’s funny how the wind over water makes the same kind of ripples on sand. 🙂

    I like your comments about fire. The images are superbly done and I remember you are in cold weather right now. 🙂 Fire can be a great tool to make things fresh or to destroy; it’s an element we cannot live without.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Leanne.

    July 12, 2014
    • I love them too Jackie, though I hadn’t really thought about it like that, but you are so right.
      Thank you, oh yes, it has been very cold for here in the last few weeks, great if you are staying home, not so great if you are planning on going out to take photos. I agree with you about fire, it can be both.

      Thank you Jackie, you have a good weekend too.

      July 12, 2014
  9. I especially like the fires… I like fire. And, I am a mountain chap!

    July 12, 2014
    • I like them too, they are so mesmerising. Thanks Rajiv.

      July 12, 2014
  10. Hey Leanne .. Really interesting. I had no idea how dry Mallee is. Love the pics of the sand and the branches.

    July 12, 2014
    • Thank you Julie, it is usually very dry, though they have had some rain lately, though not enough to fill the lakes, unfortunately.

      July 12, 2014
  11. Enjoyed wandering with you via your photos. So dramatic Leanne. And the fire, nice.
    I need more experience shooting fire effectively.

    July 12, 2014
    • That is great to hear Ruth, thank you.
      I was actually really surprised at how easy they were to get, maybe because it was day time. I don’t know.

      July 12, 2014
  12. shutterbugannie #

    This are wonderful images, very powerful. Nicely done.

    July 12, 2014
  13. I really enjoyed these Leanne and I actually found myself wriggling my toes, because they so wanted to be in the sand! You really captured the texture and feel of it, I would have imagined sand would be hard to photograph, but you really did it brilliantly!
    Thanks for the map too. I was really surprised to discover how dry and barren this area is.
    I thought your fire photos were fabulous. You are such an adventurous photographer, always challenging yourself and in doing so, inspiring the rest of us.
    Karen

    July 12, 2014
    • Great reaction Karen, the toes wiggling, though I am not sure you would have wanted to do it when we went, a artic gale was blowing. It was so cold. Thank you, it was great to get sand like that.
      It is a very dry area, they don’t get as much rain as we do. The fire was so cool to photograph, I loved those. I try to Karen, I like new challenges, I get too bored otherwise. Thank you so much.

      July 13, 2014
  14. Definitely somewhere I’d like to visit!

    July 12, 2014
    • Come on over, and I will show you around Gypsy. Thank you.

      July 13, 2014
  15. that desolate loneliness is a haunting call!! I love these Leanne!

    July 13, 2014
    • I love the way you describe them, brilliant, thank you Cybele.

      July 13, 2014
  16. These are lovely Leanne!!! It does look like a magical place, so still, so quiet, and yet the struggle is there to see life within the sand… Just lovely! ❤

    July 13, 2014
    • Great description Keli, love how you have described it, thank you.

      July 13, 2014
  17. Wonderful photos. Very eerie, almost futuristic, considering climate change. The green shots could easily be the beginning instead of the end. 🙂

    July 14, 2014
    • Thank you Marie, Interesting idea, I like that. 🙂

      July 14, 2014
  18. LB #

    I know exactly what you mean about fire. I used to fight it for the forest service, and I love to be around it. The photos of fire are wonderful and the 4th photo down is amazing.
    The map is great – I love background info

    July 15, 2014
    • I know it sounds weird, but I would love to be able to take photos of a bushfire, though I wouldn’t be allowed near it really. Thank you Lb.

      July 15, 2014
  19. Love the branches and the fire

    July 15, 2014
  20. I’m thinking about sand in a different way now.

    July 15, 2014
    • I hope in a good way Elen, thanks.

      July 15, 2014
  21. Very nice. For the Parks Management’s approach, the problem with dunes is when they expand, rather than just move. Say if the dunes are expanding, it will affect negatively the flora, and in turn the fauna. If they are merely moving, I believe that the spot where they move away from is now free for vegetation to grow back, and that should be ok. So maybe Parks Management is trying to prevent an expansion of the dunes (due to climate change or some other factor?) that would cause a desertification of the area and threaten the many species that live there. That’s the only sensible explanation I can come up with.

    July 15, 2014
    • I don’t know what the issue is, Parks aren’t telling the locals, unfortunately. It would be good if they would let people know what they are doing. Thanks.

      July 15, 2014
      • Clare #

        Perhaps in stead of complaining on a public forum that the Parks aren’t telling locals what they are doing, maybe you should ring your local Parks office (Wyperfeld) or ring the Parks Victoria line on 13 1963 and enquire. I’m sure that someone will be able to help you with any questions you may have.

        August 5, 2014
      • I’m not a local, so why would I do that, all I said is that locals don’t understand what is happening, and perhaps Parks Victoria should help them to understand. It is all very well for me to find out, but I’m not really a local, so how does that help them. Though my experience with Parks Victoria isn’t very good, all about taking money from people and not being very helpful. As I said, just my experience, and I really hope I am wrong there.

        August 5, 2014
  22. Great Australian colours. I enjpyed how one of those dead branches looked like a snake coiling across the sand.

    September 24, 2014
    • Those branches are so amazing, I loved them too. Hopefully going back there in the next few days. Thank you.

      September 25, 2014

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