Just like surgeons ready to commence an operation, the photographers arrived wearing masks. It was a historic event. Before the gathering I felt a bit anxious, wondering whether we would recognise each other. Fortunately our cameras and unusual outfits gave us away. Apart from the masks, the photographers looked more like clowns than surgeons.
Surprisingly, the humidity was extreme and some of the photographers decided to have a picnic before we even started. They were extremely well prepared with an assortment of food and wine. One of the other photographers had already wandered off into the distance, sending us on a wild goose chase. It was futile because we didn’t encounter any geese in South Perth. Instead, there were plenty of seagulls, corellas, ducks, pelicans and darters.
The unmistakable cacophony of corellas, white birds covering the lawn just like snow. There were thousands of them. I was lured to the birds and spent a lot of time photographing both the corellas and seagulls. It was a challenge because they flew away if you got too close, and they moved quickly. I spent a lot of time on the ground, trying very hard to not sit on the bird droppings. I suppose the mask was useful in that I didn’t get to smell any of the bird poo. My patience paid off and I managed to get some good shots of the seagulls.
One of the photographers eventually scared away the white birds, just as the picnickers were ready to move to a different location. We all went on a leisurely stroll to the Coode Street Jetty. The view was magnificent. In one direction was the Swan River and Perth City Skyline, in the other were catamarans, food trucks and people. The place was packed. We were later joined by a group of teenagers who started jumping off the jetty, into the jellyfish infested water. The jellyfish were enormous. Interestingly, I noticed a sign that said, "Do not eat mussels or crab guts." I was more than happy to comply with that sign.
By the time we turned around, the picknickers in the group had already disappeared. They had set up a second round of picknicking at a park bench at a spectacular location by the catamarans. We joined them and watched the sunset together. It was a beautiful evening with a stunning red sky. Both a shepherd’s and a photographer’s delight.
Having to wear masks was an interesting and memorable experience. While they certainly served a purpose for preventing the spread of COVID, masks can also be helpful when encountering rancid smells. I am therefore keeping some spare masks for emergencies.
A few favourite photographs