Many of my images are often the result of much planning and preparation, and often involve braving the elements. Shooting 'Snow Solitude‘ was no different. I had researched this shot well beforehand – during summer in fact. For many of my winter shots in the Victorian Alps I visit the area in Summer when there is no snow around. I look for scenes and subjects that I know will look great in winter. Its much easier to hike around and find subjects to shoot when there’s not a metre and a half of snow around! That way, come winter I know where I want to go and how to get there. In those back country areas during winter when you’re away from any tracks and facilities and the inclement weather comes in you really need to know your stuff and have some good local area knowledge and familiarity.
During summer I found this tree and given its location I knew it would be well buried in snow after a good dump. The slope of the hill and background come winter would be perfect. I just had to be sure I remembered where to come back to during winter! On my first visit after some heavy snow falls on Mt Hotham I went out and visited this tree, but while it was buried in snow the weather wasn’t right. The clouds and sky on that day didn’t provide me with the look I was after. So I visited Hotham a number times over the following days, and finally after a few days (unfortunately in bad weather) I decided to trek out again. I was certainly thankful for my snow shoes given the deep blanket of snow. The conditions were horrible, heavy cloud, strong winds, and freezing temps, but it made for perfect conditions for the shot I wanted – except the wind. By the time I got to the tree, the wind had died down but the thick fog remained, so it was just a matter of time. Not long before sunset, the light softened creating a creamy look to the landscape that you can see in the final photo. I had got the shot I had envisioned so many months earlier during Summer. Now I just had to trek back to the car in the dark – lucky I knew where I was going!
I love ‘Snow Solitude’ – it’s exactly how I saw it on the day and for me it really sums up so much about the Australian Alps in winter. Can’t wait to get back out there!