You cannot be serious?


It was a cold winters day and the weather was ideal to shoot waterfalls, so I decided to drive back out to the Otways National Park. It was overcast and the perfect light. I was looking to document the falls more closely and the impact that is being observed at Hopetoun.

I arrived at the falls and I was greeted by a familiar face, a photographer that had taught me about landscape photography very early in my career. I had a brief conversation with him as I scouted the area to see who else was around and what shots I was looking for.

I walked to areas I hadn't really been to before, normally because the spray from the falls gravitates to that area, so in terms of taking images its pretty difficult. I was looking for different compositions, so with an array of lenses, I set up with a telephoto. I had been inspired by a university lecturer about the photographer John Cato. So it was challenging myself to do things I wouldn’t normally do.

I heard a large group of tourists arrive, the noise as they came down the winding path and across the boardwalk towards the falls, excitement as they caught a glimpse of the falls. I didn’t pay much attention, but it appeared we were the only ones left.

I had set up my shot, shooting through some branches with with fern canopy above and in my own little world, 3 of the visitors had snuck up behind me, but I think I frightened them more than them frightening me. I greeted them, they climbed over branches, mossy rocks and fallen ferns looking for a composition but complained of the spray.

They wandered off back to the group where they set up tripods and got out their camera gear, I could hear one photographer talking about composition and techniques, so it was clear it was a workshop or camera club.

I kept an eye on them, still taking my images with the camera set up on the tripod. I heard the sounds of breaking branches, snapping then “oh thats better”, with one photographer snapping ferns branches off because the composition ruined their shots. Disgusted I reached for my little point and shoot camera. I started taking images of them. After 5 minutes I went back to pack up my gear and move locations, and I heard the words “push”, I took a glimpse around the tree ferns that I was nestled between and I could see 3 guys pushing something… I wasn’t in a great position to photograph them, next thing I heard a huge splash. I looked in the small pond that had formed near the rivers edge and they had pushed a tree fern over, all so he could get a wide angle shot from his location.

As I moved to another location, he was shifting leaf matter with his foot to cover the hole. Angry at what I witnessed, I asked him “was that really necessary?”, “yeh, it was ruining my comp”, and “whats your problem”.

Rather than picking a fight, I was a photographer on my own, I moved away further down stream. I was angry and sad at the same time, “are we really all that selfish?”