Image Code: MOU001
Craig’s Hut, perched on the side of Mount Stirling in the Victorian High Country is iconic as Australian landscape locations get. Originally built-in 1980 for the film “The Man from Snowy River” the hut has been burnt down and rebuilt a handful of times. However, it is not the hut itself that resonates with me, but what it represents. The pioneering spirit and deep resolve that helped build Australia and formed part of our national identity.
With recent snowfalls and the opening of the ski season at the nearby ski resorts of Mount Buller and Mount Stirling, access to Craig’s Hut proved to be reasonably difficult. Myself and a handful of like-minded photographers (Lee Duguid, Chris Smith and John Wood) had based ourselves in the alpine village of Bright for the June long weekend. Seemingly, our goal of getting to Craig’s hut was starting to disappear with all the information we could get from the information centres were that the access tracks to Craig’s Hut were closed.
By chance we struck up conversation with the waitress that was serving us breakfast one morning and told her of our desire to shoot Craig’s Hut. She gave her old man a call, and he gave us some directions to get there via a couple of 4WD tracks. Sometimes local knowledge is unbeatable. So with the 2 hours drive from Bright to Mansfeild and a 2 hour 4*4 drive along some nicely muddied roads, we finally reached our destination.
After intensely watching the clouds after we had arrived, we knew that the sunset held great potential. All we needed was a gap in the clouds on the horizon to cast the last of the resplendent alpine light over the scene. Almost as if on que, our prayers were answered. A gap cleared on the horizon and a heavy snow-laden cloud rolled in from the north-east, with the sun dipping toward the horizon the scene lit up like a raging bushfire with exquisite reds and yellows radiating across the alpine peaks.
Just as we thought we had the best of the light, the unpredictability and fury of the alpine weather became apparent when the clouds opened and covered us with sleet and snow causing mischief with snow on the lens and bitterly cold temperatures. Just as I felt defeated by the conditions, the silver lining appeared as a beautiful rainbow stretched its reach across the sky – a moment I will never forget (image to come later). You can’t imagine the exhilaration we felt as photographers having rolled the dice and taking the gamble to get to Craig’s Hut under unpredictable circumstances. This gamble certainly paid off and seeing the perfectly exposed transparency on the light table made it all worthwhile.