I think I drove 12 hours this day. Over mountains. Across dry grass plains and cotton farms. Through thunderstorms and lightning. And after that, the most vibrant red sunset I’ve ever seen in my life.
Then in the dark. Past penitentiaries and towns with no lights on, through fog and across long black rivers running for the coast.
And I slept under the brightest moonless sky I’d seen for a long while. In the back of my car in an empty rest-stop.
That fucking sky man. Can’t shoot it. Can’t paint it. Can’t write a song about it. Not without coming up short.
Would have been a fine thing. To get a shot of me face as I watched my old friend shattering on the roadside.
It hung in for a few k’s. I heard a bump and a rattle as I pulled into the bottle-shop but wrote it off as a tick of the car. Maybe the suspension was shot. I was heading back to camp along a dry wooded backroad. Fast. When I caught a glimpse of something black spinning through the air. The light catching it.
I thought I’d hit a crow. It’s greasy feathers shimmerin in the light. But nah. When it collided with the tar for a second time familiar parts flew from it.
Lens cap. Lens Hood. Battery. Flip out screen.
I found them all scattered in a line when I got back to the scene. I followed and collected the fragments that led to the brush. Tramping through the long grass in arcs I finally found it. 20 meters from the road. The Camera body. Lens covered in dirt. Cracks on the body. The rear menu screen was a flip out. Shattered now. The back casing had flown off onto the road.
I turned it on and took a shot.
It still focussed. It still seemed to go.
So I got back to camp, drank my drinks and went walking. Taking pics with the cam. Not sure how they would go.
Far up the beach was a man too well dressed to be on the beach reading a book. I talked shit to him for a while and really tested his geniality. He’d come so far out of his way for solitude to have a pished blood-eyed cankersore of a man poring all over his cool Russian literature and snapping photos of him with a busted ass camera to boot.
Upswing: The camera still goes after all the shit I’ve put it though. Man. The Nikon D5100 is a tough SOB. Totally obsolete tech but still. Tough. And still takes a nice pic if you’re in the right space, at the right time, 95% of the time. Isn’t that the game we play people! Right right right?
The severity of the coastline never escapes me. The thought of being stuck on a ship as it gets dashed on the rocks along stretch gives me the willies. The Shipwreck Coast.
I got into Barwon heads and saw the new box shaped houses dotting the sheltered side of the dunes, the Cyclist clubs, the upmarket deli and food-trucks.
Gentrification is a hip word for urban upscale change.
The Fish and chips shop in Barwon remains uniquely un-gentrified. With classic laconic service, smoking fryer oil from 1984 and single serves of flake and chips enough to feed a family.
I crossed into the Northern Territory and things got greener.
Fresh out of the wet. It was looking lush.
Open limits on the road had me shooting high beams as I flew down towards the next roadhouse at sunset. I prayed a roo or a cow didn’t stroll into my path. I had to get away from the flies.
So thick I was breathing them in wherever I stopped.
I’m getting used to them now.