On returning from our WA2021 trip, I found that settling down into a routine at home rather challenging, due partly to the lack of photographic assignments. So, faced with a few months without any meaningful work, I decided to do something about it and successfully applied for a casual job working in the wheat harvest. For a number of reasons, I chose and am now visiting Sea Lake for an extended period.
Located in the Victorian Mallee region (north west of the state), Sea Lake is mostly known for two main attractions: Silo Art and Lake Tyrrell.
The Silo Art Trail
At the end of September 2020, K and I spend a few days travelling along the north west Silo Art Trail during which we stayed overnight in Sea Lake. The silo art here is the second most northerly installation on the NW trail. Titled ‘The Space In Between‘, it was painted by Joel Fergie & Travis Vinson in October 2019.
This is a particularly colourful installation primarily depicting a young girl swinging from a mallee eucalyptus tree gazing out over the endless vista of Lake Tyrrell.
The silo art trail is a major tourist attraction, particularly for those recently freed from lockdown, but I wonder if the townships that have sponsored and host these works of art could not do more to capitalise on the tourist dollar. It is very easy to drive in, snap a photo and drive on to the next silo without contributing to the local economy. The large towns are perhaps better of as they can offer overnight accommodation.
Located about 9km north of Sea Lake on the Calder Highway, Lake Tyrrell is Victoria’s largest salt lake covering 20,860 hectares. It is quite ancient, having been formed from the changes in sea levels over the millennia, and is dry for most of the year. Being a commercial commodity, salt began to be harvested in 1896 and continues to current day, with an annual extraction of over 100,000 tonnes.
A recently constructed viewing platform and board walk gives the visitor access to the edge of the lake and for those wishing to get more ‘up close and personal’ and wishing to catch the classic reflection photo, it is possible to step off the board walk and crunch across the salt to the edge of and onto the very shallow water. I would highly recommend a pair of wellies for this!
On a clear night with no moon, the sky is awash with stars that can be viewed from the laid back seating area from where spectacular sunrises and sunsets can also be experienced.
There is no doubt that I could spend many hours photographing the ever changing conditions. During our 2020 visit, I took a number of aerial shots with my drone, including this one which was a finalist in the Mullins Conceptual Photography Prize 2021. I subsequently donated a print of this to the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, the exhibition hosting gallery, for their archives.
Waiting, waiting, waiting …..
I am now into my second week of camping at the caravan park in Sea Lake, without yet having done any of the work I came here to do! The wet weather is holding up the harvest big time and with more rain forecast for the coming weekend, a start date may not be until next Wednesday, some three weeks later than expected.
However, I am capitalising on the reason for choosing Sea Lake and getting out as much as possible with the camera and drone – this includes getting up at 05:15 to catch sunrises and spending evenings watching the sun set. For this waiting time, I am very grateful as it is giving me the opportunity to really push the boundaries of my photography in a very inspiring and occasionally challenging environment.