Ladakh Itinerary

18 January to 5 February 2018

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My partner Jools and I are about to depart on a photographic tour to Ladakh with Crooked Compass.  There will be about ten of us altogether and with luck we may be able to photograph some snow leopards.

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Delhi, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Leh, Photography, Singapore, Snow Leopards, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

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Thursday 18th January: Singapore

 

Saturday 20th January:  Delhi

 

Monday 22nd January:  Leh

  • Ancient Buddhist capital of Ladakh, in Jammu & Kashmir, close to the border of China.  Essentially a Tibetan cultural area.
  • 3,500 metres = 11,500 feet
  • Temperature: Probably around -5°C to -20°C
  • Shanti Stupa
  • Leh Palace
  • Local monasteries

 

Thursday 25th January:  Rumbak (Hemis National Park)

  • Camping near remote village
  • 4 to 5 hour walk
  • 3,800 metres = 12,500 feet
  • Temperature: Probably around -5°C to -20°C
  • Potential for snow leopards, bharal, blue sheep, argali, birds, Tibetan wolf

 

Friday 2nd February: Walk back to Leh

Saturday 3rd February:  Overnight in Delhi

Sunday 4th February: Return to Canberra

 

I may make a few posts while I am travelling.  That depends on available time and internet connections.  I will have no internet in Hemis National Park and it may not be too good in Leh.

However, I will make temporary posts either when travelling or when I return.  Links to those posts will then appear in this Itinerary post.

It is likely to be some time though before I process all images and make final posts.  I will probably first make final posts for Atacama in 2015 and Cuba & the Caribbean in 2016.

Canberra Monochromes

July to December 2017, Canberra, Australia

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These are monochrome conversions from the following posts:  Australian National Botanic Gardens, Architecture Workshop with Geoff Comfort and Mount Ainslie.

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Eucalypts in Fog.

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Eucalypt bark.

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Eucalypt bark.

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Melaleuca Styphelioides (Prickly Paperbark).

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White rose with spider.

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Cobweb with dew.

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Isopogon.

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Anigozanthos manglesii (red and green kangaroo paw).

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Green butterfly on probably a Melaleuca.

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Water dragon.

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Cunningham’s Skinks.

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Kookaburra.

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Topknot pigeon.

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Architecture, Australia, Black and White, Canberra, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Pied currawong.

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Eastern grey kangaroos.

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Architecture, Australia, Black and White, Canberra, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Architecture, Australia, Black and White, Canberra, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Dragonfly wing.

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Australian National University (ANU) architecture.

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Circus Tent.

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ANU Architecture.

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Architecture, Australia, Black and White, Canberra, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Architecture, Australia, Black and White, Canberra, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Architecture, Australia, Black and White, Canberra, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Architecture, Australia, Black and White, Canberra, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Mount Ainslie

June 2017 to January 2018, Canberra, ACT

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Although we live in an inner city suburb of Canberra, we are lucky enough to have Mount Ainslie and 10,000 acres of bushland over our back fence.  Consequently, we take a walk up there every morning and sometimes I bring a camera.

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In the winter it can be quite foggy

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… which provides an element of mystery for the morning walks.

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Sometimes there are countless spiderwebs gleaming in the morning light,

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And at any time of the year, there can be interesting patterns on the bark of the eucalypts.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Flowers, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Not sure what kind of tree this is, but the lichens on their trunks open after rain.

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A few of these images are on our section.  This is the trunk of a small brachychiton rupestris in the back yard.

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Small cactus on the front verandah.

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White rose in the back garden, complete with tiny spider at top right.

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Eastern spinebill just outside my study, through a dirty window.

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Back to the reserve again.  Kookaburra.

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Topknot pigeon on the power line.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Flowers, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Pied currawong.

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Sulphur-crested cockatoo.

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Grey butcher bird (juvenile).

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Flowers, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Galah.

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Noisy miners.

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Chough’s nest.

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Cunningham’s Skinks.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Flowers, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Flowers, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Eastern grey kangaroos.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Flowers, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Flowers, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Flowers, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Echidna, visiting our back yard.

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Blue tongued lizard in back yard path.

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Dragonfly wing, found on the front step.

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Abandoned Farmhouse, Bruny Island

1 September 2017, Bruny Island, Tasmania

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After the cruise in the morning and after lunch, we visited the fascinating Inala Jurassic Garden which ties geological history to surviving plants from ancient periods.  I didn’t take any photographs of the garden but this is a Bennett’s wallaby being cared for there.

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On the way back was this abandoned farmhouse.

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Architecture, Australia, Bennett's Wallaby, Bruny Island, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wildlife

We talked to a bloke living in a house across the road and he told us it was due to be demolished in a week or two and invited us to feel free to walk in and check it out.

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Architecture, Australia, Bennett's Wallaby, Bruny Island, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wildlife .

Architecture, Australia, Bennett's Wallaby, Bruny Island, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wildlife

House from the rear.

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Architecture, Australia, Bennett's Wallaby, Bruny Island, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wildlife

Garage from the rear/

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A fascinating glimpse of a home from a different time, perhaps a way of life now gone.

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The front door.

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Architecture, Australia, Bennett's Wallaby, Bruny Island, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wildlife

A bedroom.

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Architecture, Australia, Bennett's Wallaby, Bruny Island, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wildlife

Wallpaper peeled off to reveal newspaper backing.  This one above the fireplace showed a tyre advertisement from 1961.

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Fragments include an ad for Carnation Milk and a fragment of a page featuring Complete Home Section by Leila C Howard, Food and Cookery Expert..

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Here, underneath the wallpaper is a review of “Around the World in 80 Days”, a 1955 film starring Cantinflas and David Niven.

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Kitchen window.

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Another view from the back.

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Architecture, Australia, Bennett's Wallaby, Bruny Island, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wildlife

… and from the front.

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Architecture, Australia, Bennett's Wallaby, Bruny Island, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wildlife

Back where we were staying at the Bruny Hotel, the sun was going down over Satellite Island and the mainland.

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Architecture, Australia, Bennett's Wallaby, Bruny Island, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wildlife .

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Architecture, Australia, Bennett's Wallaby, Bruny Island, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wildlife

At the same time, here are a few houses in a bay just to the south.

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Bruny Island Cruise

1 September 2017, Bruny Island, Tasmania

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We started off our first day on Bruny Island with a cruise with Bruny Island Cruises that starts from Adventure Bay and travels down the east coast of the island.

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Cliffs near Adventure Bay.

The boats hold 43 people and are open.  The best place to sit is a bit of a puzzle.

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The sea merges into the distant hills.

Going out it’s better to be on the right hand side.  The boat turns around for each point of interest but not while approaching them.

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Natural arch.

You get a lot more spray in the front.

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Headland.

We were at the back at the left, partly because when we got on the boat, almost everywhere else was taken.

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A little patch of greenery hiding at the bottom of the cliffs.

We still got some spray there but were able to move to the very last row, which was better.

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On the right, it looks to me like a mediæval statue of a queen.

I had brought a dry bag with me which meant I could keep my camera dry though where we were sitting it was actually overkill.

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Looking up at the top of the cliffs.

Conditions would be very variable day by day depending on the weather and the sea.

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A keyhole through an isthmus.

You get a lot more bouncing up and down at the front.

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Cormorants on a rock.

So the front may not be so good if you are prone to sea sickness.

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Australian fur seal.

Even where we were in the back, there was someone near us who was under the weather for the whole voyage.

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Fur seals

On the way back (we’re still going out here), it was a lot rougher with a lot of bouncing around at the front.

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A headland at the south of the island.

At that stage, a lot of people quickly abandoned the front and it got quite crowded at the back.

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Imperious wave goodbye.

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A rock and headland at the far south of the island.

I suspect this was our farthest point south.

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On the way back we were still on the left at the rear.

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Bridge Rock, probably.

Though we didn’t stop as much, we were now on the better side and I was able to photograph out the back.

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Snow on a mountain in the distance.

We’re probably looking west and it’s Mount Hartz in Mt Hartz National Park (where we would be going in a few days).

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We leave the small islands below Bruny Island behind.

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… And in the last few images I explore eucalypts on top of the side-lit cliffs.

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Australia, Bruny Island, Fur seal, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Australia, Bruny Island, Fur seal, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Australia, Bruny Island, Fur seal, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cradle Lake and Russell Falls

28 to 30 August 2017, Cradle Mountain NP and Mount Field National Park, Tasmania

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After finishing the Overland Track  I picked up my partner Jools who had flown in to Launceston Airport.  We stayed near Launceston overnight and then drove to Cradle Mountain National Park.  Late that afternoon we drove to nearby Cradle Lake.

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A Bennett’s Wallaby in the carpark is unconcerned by the passing human youngster.

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Out in the lake, a rainbow is touching an island.

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This is the much-photographed boatshed at Cradle Lake, built from King Billy pine by the same person as the one in Crater Lake we saw in an earlier post.

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The next day, we drove via Queenstown to Mount Field National Park.  We were staying just outside the park gate and this is a nearby house.

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We went for a brief walk in the late afternoon.  Is this animal, vegetable or mineral?  Actually, none of those.  It’s fungi, previously included under plants and now in a classification of its own.

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Next morning we headed off to Russell Falls.  On the way we encountered this pademelon poking around in the leaf litter near the path.

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Australia, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Lake, Landscape, Mt Field NP, Nature, Pademelon, Photography, Russell Falls, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

I was handicapped here by not being able to use my ultrawide zoom, which had got too damp on the Overland Track.

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At least I was able to use my tripod to give an impression of the water flow.

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This one I stitched two exposures for a wide enough angle and had a lot of difficulty with spray and flare.

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Climbing further up, a view of the falls from half-way up.

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I was reminded here how lucky we were on the Overland Track not to have “good weather” when we were in the rainforest.  The extremes of light and shadow meant I struggled to control the exposure, even combining images with HDR.

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Overland Track Day 1: Waldheim to Barn Bluff

20 August 2017, Overland Track, Tasmania

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After Liffey Falls in the last post, I travelled on to meet the rendezvous for the Overland Track walk.  The Overland Track is a 63 kilometre walk through Tasmania’s highland wilderness.  I had done the walk thirty years ago with large format photographic equipment and a pack of 24 kilograms (53 pounds).  I used the public huts then (and you can also camp), but this time I was undertaking a catered trip using private huts offered by the Tasmanian Walking Company.  This meant I didn’t need to carry food because meals are provided and all huts also offer hot showers and drying rooms.

I had opted for the winter tour because I wanted to capture Tasmania’s unique landscape in the snow.  This is much more demanding than the usual summer traverse because trekking through the snow can be harder and slower, and the days are shorter.  As we set off there were ten people in our group plus three guides, although one of our number turned back after an hour because she was feeling unwell.

My clothing weighed 4.5 kg (10lb) including walking poles, and the guidelines for the walk say your pack should weigh 12 to 16 kilograms (26 to 35 pounds).  But with 6.4 kg of camera equipment (14lb), I was carrying 22 kilograms (48 pounds).  This was more than I realised at the time and more than I bargained for.  Based on my previous experiences thirty years earlier, I had assumed I would have lots of time to stop, pull out my tripod and take photos.  However, that was in summer when days are much longer and walking conditions usually much easier (though it can snow here at any time of year).  As it was I generally had to press on with little time to stop for photographs and I was seldom able to use the tripod.  Because my pack was so heavy I was reluctant to take it off too often.  Just as well I had two cameras and four lenses in cases hanging off my shoulder straps and pack belt so I was able to take photographs without removing the pack.  Almost all these images in this and subsequent Overland Track posts are quickly taken on the fly.

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Here are some of the group taking off on the walk.  I am still in the carpark and taking this image from there.  We are heading off to the plateau on the snowline at the left.

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Crater Falls.

After climbing for three quarters of an hour we got to this small waterfall beside the track, with lots of water flowing through.  You can see it’s a longish exposure but I didn’t pull out my tripod, just braced against a railing.

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Boatshed, Crater Lake.

After climbing for an hour and twenty minutes, we stopped for a little while at Crater Lake.  The boatshed was built by the first ranger at Cradle Mountain, Lionell Connell, to ferry visitors around the lake.  There is a similar and better known one at Dove Lake, accessible by road.  Both were built of King Billy Pine, an ancient and slow growing conifer not available as a building material these days.  That’s ice you can see on the surface of the lake, though hardly solid enough to walk on.

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Crater Lake.

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Crater Lake and Boatshed.

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Crater Lake.

This one is looking back at Crater Lake as we continue climbing towards Marion’s Lookout.  Still a steep climb to go.

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Bennett’s Wallaby.

This is further on from the previous image, with Crater Lake out of sight down below the ridge.

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Towards the top, the weather closed in and there was heavy snow.  It had stopped snowing when we got to the top and we stopped for lunch.  According to the time stamps on the images it must have taken us about three hours.  We were close to Marion’s lookout but there was no point going there because there would have been nothing to see.  On a clearer day there would have been a magnificent vista of Dove Lake and the wild country beyond.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

Trees on Cradle Plateau.

The weather was clearing and the lack of a view from Marion’s Lookout was more than compensated by magnificent vistas around the Cradle Plateau.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

Looking west to Cradle Plateau.

A wonderful vista of distant eucalypts in snow.  Click on the image to see it in a larger size.  I would have liked to stop for an hour or so in this area and explore the possibilities but time was pressing and we had to move on.

In a way this is my Fred Williams image though I wasn’t aware of that Australian painter at that time.  When we got to Geelong, the art gallery had a wonderful exhibition of his semi-abstract landscapes looking down from the You Yang mountains to the arid plains below.  This image reminds me of that though it’s really only the central part with the distant trees in the snow.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

Looking east towards the Central Plateau with an angry sky.

Although the weather could be menacing at this point, it was clearing for the rest of the day.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

Barn Bluff.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

You might think this shows towering eucalypts beside a tarn but it’s tiny, more like a miniature landscape.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

Cradle Mountain.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

A distant view of Barn Bluff.  That’s where we’re headed.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

Cradle Mountain.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

Quick question:  on which side of a pole does moss grow?

This marker pole provides a metaphor for the weather.  Wind-driven snow is caked on one side of the pole while moss clings resolutely to the other.

Answer: It’s the south side here.  If you live in the northern hemisphere you probably got that wrong.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

Cradle Mountain.  We’re getting further away now.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

Snow piling up in a sheltered part of the trail in Waterfall Valley.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

Eucalypts in snow, still Waterfall Valley.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

Barn Bluff in the distance, framed by eucalypts.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

Mount Emmett in the late afternoon light.

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Australia, Barn Bluff, Bennett's Wallaby, Cradle Mountain, Crater Lake, Landscape, Nature, Overland Track, Photography, Tasmania, Travel, Waterfall, Wilderness, Wildlife

Mouth Emmett from Cradle Cirque.  Firth River valley in the distance.

At this stage there was only a kilometre or two to go but it was very rugged.  The problem for much of the day, and especially the last section, was the boardwalks.  Often they were two planks wide, say eighteen inches.  This would be fine in summer but they were covered in about two feet of snow (as with everything else).  It was impossible to stay on them all the time and if you missed them, you fell a couple of feet down into the snow.  I fell over dozens of times and probably so did everyone else.  It had taken nine hours before I got to the hut, starting with the brutal three hour climb to Marion’s Lookout and I was totally exhausted.  Totally worth it, though.  The scenery on the way exceeded my expectations.

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