Coastal Sway

Coastal Sway

Coastal Sway, Tasmania, Australia - Landscape Photography by Serena Dzenis

Kaspars and I visited Australia during the months of April and May earlier this year for a whirlwind honeymoon, as well as my brother’s wedding. It was wonderful to catch up with friends and family whom I hadn’t seen for a very long time, though bittersweet also when we had to leave. We couldn’t see everyone, though I’m very appreciative of the people who made the time to fit us into their busy schedules!

As Kaspars had never travelled down under before, I wanted to show him all of my favourite places – from where I grew up to locations I had discovered on long drives in the countryside. Unfortunately, we were hit with terrible jet lag for the better part of two weeks so instead of getting out and about, we spent a lot of time snoozing!

Thankfully, our circadian rhythms adjusted to the time difference before we set off for Tasmania, though our bodies took a while to get used to the heat. Having escaped the end of the winter in Iceland, we found ourselves suddenly sweating and unable to sleep on dark and restless nights.

When the weather had cooled somewhat, we packed my trusty old Mazda to the brim with camping gear, then set sail for the south aboard the Spirit of Tasmania.

As soon as we arrived in Devonport, we began the drive towards the east coast with a minor detour through Meander Forest Reserve. The first part of our journey was spent at Freycinet National Park, before we moved on to Tasman National Park, up through Mount Field and on to Cradle Mountain.

"Concrete coloured skies suddenly gave way to golden light during one beautiful autumn afternoon."

All in all, it was a fun and relaxing trip with nights spent beneath the stars, pademelons bounding along hiking trails, battles with possums over shortbread biscuits and wallabies attempting to invade our tent. Luckily, the weather had cooled enough that we didn’t spot any snakes.

After a few rainy days and grey clouds overhead on the final part of our trip, concrete coloured skies suddenly gave way to golden light during one beautiful autumn afternoon. We had been exploring rock pools by one of my favourite beaches at the time – secretive hiding places for underwater lifeforms – when I happened to relocate this particular spot that I had found once before. 

It had changed a lot over the past few years, through the erosive process caused by the waves and the tides. I have only visited on a couple of occasions when the tide has been low and the sea has been calm enough to scramble onto these rocks.

What appeals to me most about this location is the clarity of the water, which reveals treasure troves of seaweed and other marine animals immersed in the world underneath. Combined with the extraordinary jagged scenery, this place feels wild and remote, as though you’re standing at the edge of the world. Age becomes like an immensurate ocean, whereby you are simultaneously a child and an adult, having just opened your eyes to the world and finding yourself at the precipitous edge of the unknown.

The coastline in Tasmania is quite special and it’s partly why I find myself drawn back to my island home time and time again. When you visit from abroad, it may seem just like any other place but for those of us who have grown up in these surrounds, there is a connection that runs deeper than blood. The ground pulsates beneath your feet and the energy pulls you in with candid fervour. Put quite simply, the feeling is intoxicating and all you want to do is to protect it from the fallout of human impact.

"This photo is a reminder that we need to work together to ensure that the beautiful landscapes of Tasmania and the rest of this world will remain to be enjoyed by many generations to come."

Something that bothered me during this trip to Tasmania was the incredible influx of mass tourism that appears to have begun infiltrating the island. Once sleepy roads have been replaced with drivers who tailgate others at excessive speeds, without a single concern for the wildlife (despite the visible road signs) – even when driving between dusk and dawn. The countless roadkills that we observed of rare and endangered species, such as Tasmanian devils and wombats, was saddening and frustrating at the same time. It seems that similar to what has happened in Iceland, Tasmanians are unprepared for the ill effects of tourism upon nature and that so much more can be done to educate visitors before they cause irreversible damage to the environment and ecosystems within.

As such, this photo is a reminder that we need to work together to ensure that the beautiful landscapes of Tasmania and the rest of this world will remain to be enjoyed by many generations to come. In time, I look forward to producing a portfolio of images that will contribute to raising awareness about environmental concerns and conservation, not just in Tasmania but also other parts of Australia.

In terms of the technical aspects of this shot, it’s a focus stack of five images to ensure sharpness from front to back. I used graduated neutral density filters inserted at an angle to correctly expose for the foreground and the sky. The use of a wide angle lens allowed me to exaggerate the foreground, creating a leading line to the jagged rock formations in the distance. I didn’t know how long the sun would remain unobscured by clouds, so I had to work rather quickly to make the most of the decisive moment of drama.

In situations like these, you may have to choose between capturing or enjoying the moment. Thankfully, I was able to do both!

Location:  Tasmania, Australia.

Equipment:  Canon 5DS R, Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS USM, Singh-Ray GND 4-stop soft and ND 3-stop, Gitzo GT2531LVL Levelling Carbon Tripod with Acratech GPSS Ballhead.

Settings:  2.0 sec, f/9, ISO 100.

Comments on This Post
Tim Cooper

I love all the additional information you’ve included about the place, effects of tourism and the overview of the Tarkine!
Thank you!

2 August 2019
Serena Dzenis

Thanks, Tim! Glad you enjoyed the newsletter. Sometimes I’m a bit concerned about even talking about the place, just in case people find it and destroy it even further. However, it’s difficult to raise awareness without having a conversation about it.

2 August 2019
Adrian Stefan

Really beautiful story.
I like this expression “”concret colored skies”.
I can imagine how the leaves were colored.
*Autumn fantasy under sapphire moonlight *
I would be really happy to read more about this places & “Emotion in slow motion that rules the moment “

2 August 2019
Serena Dzenis

Thank you, Adrian : )
I rarely have time to write much these days but the beauty in nature still inspires poetry!

2 August 2019

It’s true,just reading or making poetry gives you happiness.
It’s like a small universe where you can dream&create your own stars

2 August 2019

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