Leaving Australia

Just sitting at the airport waiting for an Emirates flight to Glasgow via Dubai. I get a strong sense that the economic down turn is manifest here in the relative emptiness of the ‘duty free’ outlets, particularly those selling branded clothing and apparel items.  Business in food and beverages is booming, but there’s little resemblance with the bouyancy, free spending and liquidity of the previous decade and beyond.

I bought a new camera for this trip, and left it in the car.  I was going to luxuriate in the realms of 10 mega-pixel images.  Now it’s back to my trusty 2 mega-pixel iPhone camera.  It could be that God has given assent to my decision, way back in the 1980s, to stop looking at the world through the 35mm format.  In those days I was for ever looking at scenes and framing them up as photographs.  This inevitably narrows one’s field of vision and affirms the separation between the traveller and the other.

I flirted briefly with small video cameras and shot some unique footage of sago making and dancing in the Mentawai islands, and some beautifuol images in Egypt and Turkey, but as the cameras became smaller and smaller and more and more automated, they came to hold less attraction.  Certainly I appreciated the ‘Blair Witch’ style results that they produced, but some how they lacked the grace of the beautiful black and white images that we created with those hulking Vidicon and Image Orthicon cameras that I worked with back in the 1960s, at the University of Sydney Television Service.  They were heady days, waltzing and dollying around with those great boxes, coaxing them to perform like ballerinas. 

Now I enjoy the iPhone as my basic tool for collecting images.  The header photograph is of Coogee’s southern coastline and Wedding Cake Island, taken with an iPhone. 

My plan, on this trip to Scotland, was to write a short atricle on the fungal infections emerging in Scottish Oak forests.  A product of the decline of labour intensive large estate and the global Rhododendron trade.

Watch this space for more.

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