Today's post is dedicated to my friends Mark, Phil, Peter, Trish, Paula and Michelle who lost their dad yesterday. Ray was a war veteran and sailor like my Dad. He and his brood lived down the street from us when I was a kid. He got me my first job packing on a checkout in a large supermarket in an era when there were brown paper bags to put groceries in. What an introduction to hard work for bugger all pay! It certainly motivated me to study hard to get a better job. It also financed my first brand new surfboard, my first SLR camera and numerous surfaris with Mark, Phil and the rest of our crew.
There's small brick wall beside a war memorial overlooking the beach at Kawana on the Sunshine Coast and on that wall are dozens of small metal plaques for local men and women who served their country and have since passed on.
One of them has my dad's name on it.
While the politicians and media will tell us about the exploits of politicians, sports folk and business leaders, our nation has been forged largely by the hard work and sacrifices of low profile and forgotten masses like my dad - the young men and women who went to the wars plotted by kings and queens and corporations.
Today gives us a chance to pause and remember that this beach and this country wouldn't be this great without their sacrifices.
We were standing on the sand dunes last night waiting for the full moon to rise and eclipse over a seething post-cyclonic Pacific Ocean when a couple of fellas rocked up with quite a bit of camera gear.
Of course we had a chat and during our convo, one of them stated emphatically that dawn photos are best when there's no clouds.
I was perplexed, but polite.
This one's for you, bud. Iphone. Hand held. No tweaking of any kind.
Nana Brine's house sits 50 meters from the high tide mark, where the rain is driving horizontally and little bits of frothy foam are blowing across the soaked sand, tumbling over a thick line of pumice stone, bird feathers and tangled pieces of seaweed, freshly ejected by the ocean. A cyclone is coming, but the choppy waves are still small and chaotic.
Nana Brine's house will never feature in one of those glossy Home Style type of magazines, but she doesn't care. She has her own style accumulated from 90 odd years of savouring the sights and sounds and tastes of the planet - Accidentally Retro. The 1970's cups and plates and clothes still function, so why throw them out?
Nana Brine's house has withstood the onslaught of many thunderous weather events (and the odd debate about politics). It's 70's style wood panelling suits the enlargements on the wall of places visited last century and the collages of her children and their children and their children. Her garden is vital to her health and happiness - azaleas, hibiscus, New Zealand Christmas bush and all manner of veges and the 30-year-veteran lemon tree in the back corner that she's loath to prune lest she jinx it's productivity.
Nana Brine's house exudes the soaked up memories and the laughter of a home lived in by the same clan for a long time. When she walks her country, she recalls the stories of those who went before her, remembering that style is more something you grow into rather than something you can buy from a shop and climb into or in her words "whack on".
Nana Brine's house shakes from the winds. An eerie whining sound in the wires is punctuated by a lone long blast of foghorn from one of the massive tankers anchored off the beach. But Nana doesn't notice. Her hearing isn't what it used to be. She asks me to make her "a cuppa" while the fella on the national radio asks listeners if the pension age should be raised to 70 and Cyclone Ita creeps closer.
Found $9 which had been rattling around the pocket of my boar dies for the last nine surfs!
Epic, including a slide with Huon and his Bing Elevator in fairly ordinary surf this morning - but fun nonetheless.
When I was a lot younger and starting to learn the discipline of shooting, processing and printing film on big 5x4" cameras, most of my fellow students at Art College were inspired by documentary style street photographers.
But I was not.
By then I had seen enough of the street and was more interested in the brine and the bush.
Instead the two monochrome magicians that still inspire me years and a digital revolution later are the Czech Josef Sudek and the American landscape legend Ansel Adams.
Who knows why some aRt resonates with one viewer and not another. Maybe all that time swimming around with a Nikonos or waiting to catch a wave at Granite or Tea Tree nurtured a love of place and the way light skims off country at different times of the day and different seasons of the year.
“It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.” Ansel Adams
“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” Ansel Adams
“To the complaint, 'There are no people in these photographs,' I respond, There are always two people: the photographer and the viewer.” Ansel Adams
But if you are devotee of gritty monochrome street photography, then check out one of my old Art College teachers, Charles Page 's page. His imagery takes a lot more guts then duck diving a few close out sets with a DSLR.