Photography by Louise Wolfers

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Autumn 2009

Posted by wolfersphotography on May 23, 2009 at 5:40 AM

Howdy !

I cant believe its now May 2009, its been an unbeliveable year already and i cant get over how long its been since i posted a blog, sorry about that !

Last Christmas Dad and i bought new cameras, the Canon 50d, and we are now able to share lenses, of course.

They year started well with a nice holiday in January up at Bega in NSW at my Sisters place, i found some emerging owl flys and dragon flys in her pond and got some great Macro shots, lots of other birds, bugs n wildlife too.

I spent some time stalking the Kingfishers at Pound Bend at Warrandyte in Melbourne and managed to find a nest site, i sat in a camp chair for hours and managed a few good shots with my big 400mm lens, theyre a nevous bird and patience is required, they have a distinctive call sound so you can tell where they are. I got some coming in and out of the tree hollow. I was so well camoflaged in my "greens" that as i was sitting less than 5m from a walking path (where i had left my camera bag) i scared a lady terribly as she stopped to pick up my bag. Quite funny really.

February came with the shock of Victorias worst ever bushfires, all roads were closed for over a month and no public access was allowed in these areas.

On the 7th of February 2009, the day of the major bush fire, we thought we had lost a friend in Kinglake, only to be happy to see his face on TV the next day, it was a miracle that he and his family survived, his house (and every house bar one) and fifteen neighbours were lost. For all the T.V. images and videos, nothing really compares with your first drive though the area, the devastation is unbeliveable, there is nothing but war to compare it to!

In a strange way, the burnt forests and melted objects have had an incredible impact on me, theyre surreal. The melted car windscreen is the most amazing with its long dribble of glass frozen in time. 

 I have dedicated this Bushfire page in memory of all life and land lost.

It shows both wider and detailed objects and is intended as a documentary of the event.   It is not intended to upset or be offensive in any way.

Its purely for documentary purposes.

It is still too raw for some to look at , but i believe that in time, we will want to look back on an incredible part of history and for me i just dont want to forget it either.

I have supplied many of the aerial photographs to the local historical societies for their records and some regrowth photos to the Department of Sustainability in Victoria, who are mapping the regrowth.

I was fortunate enough to fly over the area in a helicopter in March.  The aerial shots are just amazing. Our first visits to the forests were very dangerous with the sounds of many branches falling.  But incredibly after 5 weeks of absolutely no water or food, we found survivors: lyrebirds, lace monitor lizards, two kangaroos (one of which was injured and we arranged for it to be picked up and taken to the Healesville Sanctuary for care) and two wombats (a mum and child) for which we organised a wildlife carer to feed them, every few days and which i donated some money for the feed).

In later weeks, the regrowth began, the grass trees were the first to sprout at around 4 to 5 weeks, then the eucalyts, some grasses and fern shoots. But even after 12 weeks, some areas just have not begun to re-sprout, at all.  I think the intensity of the fire was so incredibly hot that many forests will not recover for years. Erosion is a major risk now with miles of bare soils. It is with saddness that i believe our two rescued wombats are gone, my good friend Val Rees and I found the pair in a burrow along the creek in Old Kinglake Road in Steels Creek. I think they are now dead due to the heavy rains having flooded and completely filled the creek with silt and their burrow buried. The trees had fallen blocking the creek and the silt was 2 metres deep in parts. Not much could have been done to prevent it. There are two photographs of these little guys on the Bushfire Page = R.I. P.

As a senior town planner and having experienced the difficulties in dealing with the bushfire recovery efforts following the Ferny Creek Bushfires in Jan 1997 and beacuse there are significant recovery issues, i decided to write an article on the incredible and long process of recovery.

It was published on the ABC Melbourne website via this link: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/02/17/2493273.htm

I will shortly post a Bushfire Documentary - Audio Visual, via the "See My Slide Shows" link. The music by Gustav Mahler still gets to me, its an incredibly emotional piece, if you have sound please turn it on.

Since then, we have had a short holiday to Port Campbell in April and my work in May has been really busy so my photography opportunities have reduced, but i will get out and about soon when things settle down.

Kind regards in these difficult times !

Louise

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