It almost ended in Disaster

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fog filled valley in Nannup

Recently I was out photographing my favourite location around Nannup and Balingup.  I was helping out a mate Mark Stothard, who was being interviewed by a film crew showcasing his almost new, one year old, amazing Zone caravan.  I was to meet them in Balingup and from there we would spend the next few days around the area capturing footage of the van in action.  Unfortunately the forecast was looking decidedly average with a large cold front moving in and the prediction of lots of rain.  Of course it wasn't just a prediction, it was a cold hard fact.  It bucketed down.

Anyway let's wind back to the morning we were supposed to meet.  I left home early to get a few photos for myself before the guys turned up. It was raining all morning through to Nannup and only cleared as I positioned myself for the first few vistas.  Above is one of the images I made that morning.  The light was really kicking off and the excitement levels were through the roof.  I was on top of one of the many large hills that are covered mostly with pine plantations and many winding gravel tracks that the loggers use.  I could see a great composition around the other side of the hill so I started to drive in what I thought was the right direction, my heart racing thinking of the possibilities.  

fog and cloud over a pine plantation in Nannup

That is when it all went south!  I was following a well formed but relatively steep track hoping each bend in the path would reveal an amazing vista.  I was drawn along by the hope of photographic brilliance and didn't think too much about the rapidly deteriorating conditions of the path in front of me.  The next thing I knew the car was sliding sideways in thick mud.  One side of the track had deep ruts and a sheer wall of car bending earth, the other side a free fall into oblivion!  I pushed hard on the brakes only to find the car still moving in the wrong direction.  I started to panic as every release of the brakes made the car slip left and right, sideways and all the time down the steep hill.  I pulled up to a stop and got out for a look.  The wheels looked like chocolate coated donuts, completely packed in with mud.  My shoes became the same.  That is when I knew I was in deep shit!  I was breathing hard and my heart rate was peaking, I didn't know what to do.  After a call to Mark saying my goodbyes, I let the tyres down, put on diff lock and every bit of technology the Landcruiser had and slowly started down the hill.  I was crawling down, sometimes the wheels weren't turning, it was just the momentum and weight of the car pushing me forward.  I had to negotiate a bend in the track which was my biggest concern, was I going to slip straight off and die young....ish or would I get around and live.  Obviously I lived but at the time my life was flashing before me, geez I have had some fun I thought!  As I got around the bend I noticed a track off to the side I could go up which was a better option than going down further. I managed to crawl my way down and survived the drive up the other side.  With a sense of relief I made it back to the bitumen, a good lesson was learnt!  The hills around Nannup are made up of slippery mud and when it rains beware!!!

Other than that the shoot went well.  It was a washout on the second day but the film crew got all the footage they needed so it was a successful trip.

sheep in a field at the golden valley tree park



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