Snowy mountains and Namadgi landscapes
A wonderful 24 hours in the Snowy Mountains and Monaro area
On 1 February 2023, I headed out on a bright Summer morning to the Monaro area and then onto the Kosciusko area doing general landscape. The weather forecast also held the promise of clear night skies so I planned to shoot the rising Milky Way core - a bit of burning the candle at both ends!
The first image is of one of the "Three Brothers" south of Cooma. L liked this panorama as it encapsulates the feel of the Monaro - its wide open and sometimes treeless spaces. I love this area. Image 2 is of a curious entwined gum tree I encountered along a quiet back road. As I got out of the car to look at some gnarl gums growing on a ridge, I noticed how warm and muggy it was. Unsurprisingly, I spotted a lone Kangaroo seeking refuge under an old gum from the strong afternoon sun.
Kosciuszko - 1-2 February 2023
This is a selection of shots from my list to the high country. Again, I find some lovely Snow gums, am successful with some astrophsotgarphy and also spot a small flock of Gang Gang Cockatoos including a devoted pair!
Another wonderful two days in the Kosciuszko area, my quest for more amazing Snow gums continues in the height of Summer, 3 to 4 January 2023
On 3 January 2023, I headed off on a very warm humid day in Canberra (29 degrees) on a trip to the high country. My quest was two fold, too image predicted thunderstorms in the high country and also to do some further off track hiking aimed at locating more amazing Snow gums (in fact I got carried away with this!). Please see my print shop for the full selection!
My images of the storms are in the print shop as these were taken outside of the Kosciuszko National Park on the Monaro plains. However, my time in the country above 1800 metres was really rewarding despite very changeable weather, including my 4 hour off track quest for SNowgums ending with wet jeans and soaked boots as a cloudy mist came down which added o the ambience.
Lets talk about my trip as it unfolded. First I arrived in the high country around 5:45 pm. After doing some preliminary scouting around Charlotte Pass to try and find the track to Guthega which I had earmarked for finding more Snow gums, the clouds started to descend and I decided as there was a clear patch over the horizon to try and image some of the gums I had located on my November 2022 visit (see below). I spent about an hour waiting for the Sun to show through but stubbornly just before sunset around 8:25 pm, misty cloud started rolling in from the east, backed by a cool easterly wind. At this time, the mosquitoes sensing I wasn't going to hang around much longer decided to launch a ferocious attack despite my insect repellant. I grabbed a couple of shot of moon of my favourite guns located last time which I dubbed the "Octopus", I had hoped to photograph it with the last light on it but I liked how the shots turned out anyway (I guess with such a noble subject, its hard to take a bad shot anyway!).
I then headed down to Island bend campground for the night with the aim of getting up after moon set to image the stars. That didn't happen as it clouded out and rained steadily for some of the night. I thought I would take advantage of the wet conditions to image the Snowgums on the Snowgum walk just after dawn. I did so but the snow gums were not as wet as I thought they could have been because it appeared the rain fell lower down.
Anyway, after showing the first light on the main range from the lookout, I grabbed some shots of the outstanding gums on the Charlotte Pazss snow gum walks, this is property pathed and I well recommend it for any visitor. Do yourself a favour its worth it.
I then noticed the sunlight was coming in strongly to the hills to the west of the summit road, I spent as very productive time walking and climbing the ridge up the south eastern flank of Mount Perisher where Snowgums grew from rocky outcrops watching events below like sentinels. I have learned that often the best Snow gums grow in amongst the rocky outcrops.
Searching for that special Snowgum - 12 November 2022
Sadly in 2019-20, a lot of magnificent Snow gums were lost due to the devastating bushfires. Since then, South eastern Australia has received well above average rainfalls due and this has rejuvenated the high country. On 12 November, I decided to drive down to the high country and image Snowgums at around 1800 metres in altitude. I parked my car and wrestled my way up a steep embankment to photograph a tree near the road. I decided to continue on up the hill to check out other gums which I though were mainly younger specimens. To my delight, I kept stumbling upon some really mature outstanding Snowgums, some of which had root buttresses well over a metre and must have been hundreds of years old. My walk took my a couple of kilometres through the subalpine scrub and then returned by a track that returned me to the main road. At one stage I was serenaded by a Flame robin who obviously agreed with me about the amazing tree that he frequented.
These are a selection of images taken of the trees plus a rock with a Y shaped group of moss growing on it.
Byadbo wilderness and Aries Tor Ramshead Range Kosciuszko area New South Wales, Australia
On the week end of 1-3 March 2019, I spent two nights camped at two locations in the Kosciuszko National Park with good friend David Marriott, The aim of the weekend was to take full advantage of the unpolluted (dark skies).
Our first stop was at a location in the Byadbo Wildness area, an area famed for sightings of the elusive Yowie man and also for Brumbies (not stating an opinion here - just a fact!). I took time lapses of the Emu rising in the South eastern sky over the Snowy River Valley and also of the Southern Cross as it started its ascent into the southern sky.
At around midday we caught the chairlift up from Thredbo to the edge of the Ramshead Range and climbed going off the main Kosciuszko track to an altitude of 2092 metres (according to my GPS) where we struck camp near Aires Tor, a note worthy jumble of granite tors, among many in the Ramshead range. A incoming storm was very threatening but provided a colourful backdrop for our photos. We turned into bed early with cloudy skies hoping for it to clear up. As it turned out it did and from around midnight to nearly 3:00 am we captured the magnificence of the Milky way core as it rose between Aries Tor and an imposing hill of rocks next to it. An apline creek flowed nearby proving some perfect reflections of Orion as it set in the west. Some of these images will be posted also in the astrophotography gallery.
A noticeable feature was the dry conditions and the depressions around the Tor were dry as it had been an extended dry period.
I hope you enjoy my series of shots and get to experience this sometime yourself!
In 2020, David Marriott and I did a repeat trip to Aries Tor, this time in late March. It was a nervous time as the COVID epidemic was spreading and we anticipated that the snowfields (including the Thredbo skiflields could be closed down to prevent spread of the virus. Mountain bikers were out in force and we sensed that people were getting away to squeeze in a final trip before the inevitable occurred. The weather started good on this trip but cloud marred much of our imaging of the Milky Way. Despite this we had a wonderful time. What was wonderful was to see the water had returned to the depressions around the Tor after good rains following a horrid Summer in 2019/2020
JUST snow gums
These are a selection of shots of snow gums taken on previous visits to the Kosciuszko National Park in Winter and Autumn.