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Weekend Wanderings – Mallee Salt Lakes

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It always amazes me how you can discover new things in places that you think you know. I am up here in the Mallee again and in the last few days I’ve seen some things that I haven’t seen before. I was running a workshop over near Nyah West, a small country town, of no consequence, (I love that line) near Swan Hill, in Victoria’s north.  I spent much of my childhood in this area because my grandparents had property near there, but over the Murry River in another town called Koraleigh.  So when it was suggested that we have the workshop on the salts pan outside Nyah West, I was surprised, as I knew nothing about them.

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On Thursday I went over to Nyah West to meet Lyn who was helping me to organise everything and this was her suggested place to go. I don’t think they normally have water in them, but the night before there was a massive down pour, I think state wide, and the Mallee got a lot of rain.  The whole area was so wet, but we thought it would dry out for the workshop, which it did somewhat, so we were able to go there and do the workshop.

It was incredible, the colours, the water, the dead trees.  I’ve never shot anywhere like this.  I just wanted to get in there and start taking photos.

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As you can see there are places around the edges to walk, but salt pans or lakes can be very deceiving. You start walking on them and then you start sinking, so you really have to be careful where you step.

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On the way there from Woomelang I drove past a couple of other salt lakes, then on the way home decided to stop and take photos. You can see the above one has fence posts, so it must have been farmland at some time, and now it’s being reclaimed by nature.

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This is another lake, the tail end of a very big salt lake near Sealake, Lake Tyrrell. I would love to explore it one day, but I think I might need a 4 wheel drive.  I did have to stop at the tail and went for a walk among the salt bushes to take some photos.

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This old house is on the road between Nyah West and the salt pans, or Towan Plains and we stopped to take a look and thought it might be a good place to bring everyone first for the workshop. We were very worried about snakes. Which turned out to be good to thing when one of the participants saw a big brown snake because we were already weary.  I guess the snakes are waking up from their winter slumber.

It was good to find some new places to explore and plans will be made to come back next time I am up this way.  I got some great photos from the workshop, but they will have to wait for another weekend wandering post.  I hope your weekend has been productive.

46 Comments
  1. the salt pans look so moody and desolate.. love the photos..

    September 28, 2014
    • They are Livonne, I really enjoyed photographing them, I like that word moody to describe them. Thank you.

      September 28, 2014
  2. Lee #

    What a deserted looking place. Nice photo of it.

    September 28, 2014
    • It is a bit like that Lee, I love it. Thank you.

      September 28, 2014
  3. Love your photos Leanne. Isn’t it a thrill when you discover something new that you didn’t know was there and then the joy when you realise there is so much to photograph! I love that feeling, its what urges us on I think. Will go through now and have a closer look but really enjoying your salt lakes photos. 🙂

    September 28, 2014
    • Thank you Kaz, oh it really is, I get so excited. I love that feeling too, such a shame it is so far away. 😀

      September 28, 2014
  4. What a fascinating landscape. It’s both bleak and strangely attractive, possibly because of the strongly contrasting colours.

    September 28, 2014
    • It is Papict, it is what it is like here, driving around at night is quite creepy too. I like the bleakness and it is something that I have tried to find more too. Thanks.

      September 28, 2014
  5. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    This land looks wild, still, even though it has been farmed and built on. Those dead trees look quite surreal.

    September 28, 2014
    • I think that is what is happening, it has always been a fight between nature and man up here, I have no idea who will win in the end. I love the dead trees, this place was heaven for me. Thanks Jackie.

      September 28, 2014
  6. Your opening lines ring truth. We meander through the days and see what is right before us. Or do we? The discovery of what is right there time and again, and suddenly appears can startle our startle reflexes.

    September 28, 2014
    • I think sometimes just taking a different road can lead to the most amazing adventures too, I love discovering new places. Can’t wait to go back. Thanks Sally.

      September 28, 2014
  7. Beautiful photos! Your work is stunning! Hugz Lisa and Bear

    September 28, 2014
    • Thank you Lisa, such a nice thing to say.

      September 28, 2014
  8. Nice post and nice blog
    Bali Tour

    September 28, 2014
  9. I was just thinking I bet there will be snakes and then I read it!

    September 28, 2014
    • Oh yes, so glad I didn’t see it.

      September 28, 2014
  10. leecleland #

    Great images and lovely to see the salt lakes with water in them. The reflections of the clouds and trees are very different. Be great to see the same area when it’s dry.

    September 28, 2014
    • Yes, it is nice, though I am sure it will all be gone soon. I hope to show you at some stage that, though it is scary here with snakes, but will see what I can do Lee, thanks.

      September 28, 2014
  11. I’m sure your tongue was firmly in cheek when you said that the town was of no consequence. After all, someone found the site of enough consequence to establish a town there. People have been born there, and people have lived and died there. People’s lives have been shaped by the town just as the town has been shaped by the people.

    Beyond that, the pictures are wonderful. I think that a barren landscape as a whole helps to point out the beauty that can be found in the sky. It also draws attention to the details.

    September 28, 2014
    • I don’t think the saying is meant to be taken so literally Norm, I think it is meant to more that most people don’t think it is important, meaning strangers people who don’t live there. That is how I interpret it, as I believe the saying or quote from the book was a person who was describing a town they had been too.

      September 29, 2014
      • I hope I didn’t come off sounding uffish about the phrase.Perhaps it struck me wrong because I grew up in and around town that many would describe in that manner. Where is the phrase from? I would like to read it in context.

        September 30, 2014
      • No not at all Norm. I grew in small towns and seriously they are usually only important to those that live in them. I don’t know where the phrase came from, Jane Austen perhaps, I heard it years ago and loved it. I thought it was a better than saying, oh just some little town. Sounded posher.

        September 30, 2014
  12. Very interestng and lovely color pallet in these photographs.

    September 28, 2014
    • Thank you, the colours around here are quite amazing.

      September 29, 2014
  13. Love looking at these photos Leanne as they are so very different from anything I’ve seen here. I’m sure if I went out west I’d have tons of beautiful sites to photograph. I love the old house, but since I do tend to dislike snakes so much, I probably would have stayed away too if there was any chance they would “tag along” for the ride…. or meal… 😀

    September 29, 2014
    • I stayed away too Keli, I didn’t get too close and I stayed with the group, too scary for me. I hate snakes too. I love the way here there is a constant struggle between man and the land, and how in some places, like the salt lakes, nature is winning, at this point. Thanks Keli.

      September 29, 2014
  14. What a place! One thing I don’t miss about Aust are those snakes!

    September 29, 2014
    • I know what you mean Julie, I hate them too. It is the worse thing about summer, we have to start worrying about them. I will probably stay away from the places that have them now, I don’t like the constant worrying of finding them. Thanks.

      September 29, 2014
  15. Stunning shots, Leanne – I love it that familiar places still throw up opportunities – if you’re inquisitive in a visual sense I think images reveal themselves all over.

    September 29, 2014
    • I do too Richard, I love when you go on a different road and see something completely new, brilliant. Thank you.

      September 29, 2014
  16. Great photos – so much atmosphere – very desolate and isolated. 😀

    September 29, 2014
    • Thanks Raewyn, I think that is exactly why I like it. 😀

      September 29, 2014
  17. Rediscovering a “well-known” place is just as sweet as exploring a new one, something we often forget.

    September 29, 2014
    • I couldn’t agree more, so very true. Thank you.

      September 29, 2014
  18. Wonderful images!

    September 30, 2014
  19. Jen #

    Oh, I really love the one of the dead trees—well, the third one you posted. 🙂 It gives a real sense of the place, plus of course we get those great reflections of the sky in the water. Beautiful, in a sort of frightening way. I like that little building and the last shot, the one that looks like a pathway, too.

    September 30, 2014
    • I like the way you have written about the image Jen, it made me go back and take another look at it. I agree about the frightening way, I think it is a scary thing too. Thank you Jen.

      September 30, 2014
      • Jen #

        I don’t know that scary is right—it’s not horror-movie or anything—but there’s a certain chill the image gives the viewer, sort of in the delicious chill one gets from hearing old ghost stories and ghost romances and things like that. It’s definitely a GOOD chill/fear, though!

        October 2, 2014
      • When an Australian horror movie is made, they use land like this, the barren wide open country, mainly because you can die out there, no fresh water, snakes, and the sun, all deadly combinations, so it is chilling to me, because I understand how dangerous that sort of land can be.
        I like how you have described your chill, it is interesting, how different our “chills” can be. Thanks.

        October 2, 2014
  20. What a beautiful area to photograph and the colours in your photos are just divine. 🙂

    October 3, 2014
    • Thank you Suz, I would imagine much of where you are would look like this, or are you too far east? It is the typical sort of Australian landscape, in some ways.

      October 3, 2014
      • No. I’m closer to the Gold Coast than the outback. We have a lot of country but it’s hilly.

        October 4, 2014
      • I thought that might be the case. It sound nice, the hilly country.

        October 4, 2014

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