On March 9th at 3am I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed and stacked my suitcases outside, ready for the adventure to shoot the first scene for Permaculture the Documentary. 3 hours later and I was flying from Perth, Western Australia to Melbourne, Victoria where would be my destination to meet David Holmgren, the co-founder of Permaculture.
Arriving in Melbourne, I collected my 3 bags, jumped in a hire car and started my hour and half journey towards Daylesford. I was keen eyed and bushy-tailed, even after the lack of sleep. I was excited to capture this part of Australia where David resided, so I was on the hunt for location shots on my travels.
It was an overcast day with the occasional gap in the clouds and the sun would occasionally kiss the countryside. Looking at my GPS, I had one more turn until B-lining out to my destination, and saw in the corner of my eye Melbourne city on the horizon. It was just visible across a rolling field that dipped into a gully. The sun was shining across the skyscrapers and in foreground it lit up the dry grass on a farm. It was a great juxtaposition of where I was and where I was heading, so I jumped out of the car, basically while it was still rolling, as the sun would only last for another 5 mins before it was blanketed with the flat light from the cloudy overcast. I decided I'd keep the camera shotgun (on the passenger seat) for any other pieces I saw on the way. Which turned out to be a good call as there were lots, LOTS of stops along the way.
As I drove deeper into the high countryside, the landscape changed and a denser green forrest emerged with colourful deciduous trees popping like water paintings. Yellow and maroon trees greeted you as you entered every town. It was such a beautiful contrast to what I was used to seeing back in Perth. Rarely would you see deciduous trees and if you did they were only in highly manicured gardens and streets. It reminded me of Europe as you ventured up the Alps, except it had that Aussie touch with the evergreen Eucalypse trees speckling the hills. It was very picturesque and lead me to stopping about every 15mins on the drive through. I could see why so much of Permaculture's origins began in this part of the country.
Finally I drove into Daylesford and arrived at Meg and Patrick's place a little Permie BnB that I was hooked up with, incidentally through David's acting secretary when asking about somewhere I could stay, who also happened to be Meg.
Meg's place was huddled in the back of the town down a quiet street. As I turned into the street, I could tell immediately which house it was without even looking for the house number, as a giant fig tree draped over the verge. I pulled up grabbed some of my things and greeted Meg.
While Meg showed me the room, she talked about the area and that this was one of the first towns to have a wind powered grid installed in Australia. I asked about the plan for the next few days, which I was quite surprised by her response, as there wasn't much of one. Usually, you have a small gap to shoot when documenting people over several days, so you have to make the most of your time in between there "doings". She said David would be free for the three days and that it would be good to check out the property and meet him and his partner Su before shooting. She said it was possible later in the night to meet after 6pm, but it was late and the sun was already starting to disappear behind the clouds and let's face it I was up at 3am and was getting fuzzy. I thought let's make first impressions count and it would be better to meet them the next day. So I thought I'd make hey while the sun shines, and capture the area while the sun went down.
The tricky thing with Daylesford is its picturesqueness - (if that isn't a word, it sure is now!), because it is surrounded by native bush and situates in a hilly gully between hills, so the sunset falls over a forest ridge and you can't see it from most of the areas in town. That meant getting a shot of the sun going down was going to be a challenge, but hey, us fillm-makers thrive on challenges. The highest point I could find in the town was Wombat Hill, not far from Meg's place. The only problem was powerlines ran directly in view. I shot a couple of shots, but it just didn't sing "beauty". I was about to leave, but then noticed on the hilltop in the far distance the wind turbines, just like Meg mentioned. Delicious, is what I thought. Hit record. That shot sung "Daylesford". GTS! (Got the shot).