John Austin: Black and White Photography, Rae Starr: Pinhole, Cyanotype and Textiles


Fernhook Falls 2009, Birthday Picture - Picture Story

Feb 17th, 2019 • Stories

This picture of foam on the Deep River in the South West Region of Western Australia (ignore Wackypedia, that is wrong) was one of the best birthday presents I have ever had.  It was made on a beautiful spring day; one of the great things about Australia is that my birthday is now in the spring.

Fernhook Falls, Deep River, Western Australia 2009

John Patterson, Rae and myself went to Mt Frankland for a day.  At Fernhook Falls, on the way, we stopped for a moment to see the height of the Deep River.  While Rae and John were walking back to the car I was sprinting, as sprinting as I could, with a full Linhof kit, back to the head of the falls with camera to record the patterns of foam on the water.

Deep River, Western Australia

Deep River 120 Km long, is in the Main Karri Forest belt in the South West Region of WA.  Deep River starts by Lake Muir (waiting to find its old name) to the east of us, and exits to the sea west of Walpole (Wackypedia has that wrong too).  It is considered to be the cleanest river in Western australia, traveling its whole length through forest areas.  The foam, a common occurence in local rivers, is due to the tannin leached from tree roots in the river.


Camera, Linhof Super Technika V, lens 210mm Schneider Xenar, film was Ilford Delta 100 developed in replenished D78d.  The picture here is the first negative I made that day, and the one I like the best. Printing is not easy, the surrounding bush is contrasty and needs a soft gradation filter, while the foam needs all the contrast I can get.  Printed on Fomabrom Variant paper developed in Ilford ID20 and Dr Beer's B as a two bath solution to extend the tonal range.  

The Xenar is an ancient one in a Compound pneumatic shutter.  I have had various 210mm lenses in my carreer, but this antiquity has yieled more printed and enjoyed negatives than any other 210mm I have owned.  Setting up the camera in haste for this image I dropped the lens, which almost went over the edge of the rocks.  It landed on and bent a corner of the lens panel, which I flattened with a stone.  Apart from the cable release socket being knocked out the lens was, and still is, fine.  The cable release socket is now held in with Araldite.



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