Featured Finalist: Paul Huntley
See the image at the 2013 Head Off Landscape Prize exhibition Paddington Reservoir Gardens until June 23.
My monochrome landscape finalist picture was a long time in the making. I had heard great stories about the pristine wilderness, photographic opportunities and sheer challenge of hiking the week-long Overland Track in Tasmania about ten years ago and vowed to someday experience it for myself. My first attempt in 2009 had to be cancelled at the last moment due to injury suffered on a training hike just days before departure for Tasmania.
In 2011 I made it Tasmania with my hiking buddy Michael and was excited to get going on the adventure I’d waited so long for. I’ll never forget the first kilometre on day one loaded down with a 26kg pack and wondering how on earth I’d make it to the end a week later. The track winds around Dove Lake before climbing up high into the mountains. It was on this first day that I looked down on the shimmering Dove Lake and just had to stop.
When hiking with a big pack the decision to stop and go shoot pictures is a considered one, as it interrupts your momentum and is a bit of an ordeal unloading and repacking cameras, lenses, filters, tripods and other paraphernalia but I could see that it would be worth it.
I just love the mood of this place and I hope I’ve been able to convey that in this picture. As for my journey, I did make it to the end through days of rain, sleet, mud, snow, and blasting winds counter-balanced by burning heat and sun on other days. It’s an adventure I’ll always cherish and highly recommend to anyone with a yearning to experience a world removed from the everyday.