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My Unexpected Photographic Highlights – The Journey 01

My Unexpected Photographic Highlights – The Journey 01

This is a small series where I talk about the special moments in my photographic career and what they are may well surprise you. They may be long and winded and I don’t expect you the reader to last the distance as I’m not a writer at all and for those who do write. Yes there will be grammatical errors as I’m not a writer and I don’t have the resources to have it corrected, so please bear with me and look beyond the imperfections of helpfully enjoy what you read.I do thank you for your patience.

It’s not about the picture at times  although it is the photography that brings it all about in the most unexpected ways.They are everlasting moments that I’m truly thankful for and if I had my time again, I’d wouldn’t want it any other way.

Life is always about learning and being on the road of life , you come across so many moments and some good and some not so good and yet even out of the negative situations, there comes a positive if we are willing to look for it.

In life there are times when we think we are so hard done by but when we reflect back to what happens in other parts of the world, we do have it easy in Australia with its wild open spaces in this wonderful land.

Yes we all have stories as to why me and sadly, that’s what makes up life. We have the good, the bad and the very ugly at times and this is the life most of us live and are exposed to at times. When we lose a loved one that we were not expecting, we all ask the question, “ Why me?”Every situation is different and a response would be different for each one. What I can say, it’s all these aspects of life that makes us human, it’s a part of the fabric of the world that we live in.

I’m not saying and being insensitive here but I can’t find in any writings, no matter what your world view is that says , whether you believe in God or not,that we are going to live a life where there is no death,no sense of loss, no hardship, no tears and no deep sadness. We all  go through difficult times including myself.Few are spared from that.

My outlook on this is as follows . It’s when these things to happen to us, then it is how we best cope with it that will get us through these times. When you are riding on the crest of a wave, life is all good and you may even think that crest is going to last forever, but it doesn’t for most of us. Why is that, well it’s because that is life.

That’s another written piece down the line perhaps.

Some years ago when I was married, I was out in South Australia’s Outback working on one of my books.

Normally the places that I go to , there is usually no one present, and when I get up for sunrise, once again, I’m normally the only person there. It was rare back then to meet someone at sunrise with remote locations.This location many years ago was remote and although still remote, there are more tracks and it’s opened up more now than it was many moons ago.It’s common now to see people there at sunrise.

I was shooting in the Painted Hills in South Australia Outback.

The Painted Desert is a wonderful place with ever changing colors in the earth which is reflected in the landscapes and at sunrise and sunset. The colors change and burn deep within. Even during the normal daylight hours the colors are wonderful, rich tones of shimmering browns.

On this particular morning, I crawled out of the tent with my gear, was a short 10 minute walk where I had to go as I tented near what I was going to shoot.The kids were asleep in the tent and later years as Tess( my daughter) was older, she became my consistent sunrise partner for many years.

It was in September and the morning was warm and this is reflected in the colors on the landscape.As the sun hit your back, you knew that you were in for a very warm day and with that, you were greeting with thousands of little creatures who wanted to ride your back and snuggle into your eyes, and off course I’m talking about those annoying creatures called flies.

As I was walking toward where I wanted to be, I noticed  a person was already there, tripod set up and I was taken back as it has been a long time since I had seen another person for sunrise particularly in such a remote area which is was at the time.

I looked around and saw his camper trailer in the distance.

We both were taking pictures  and this chap stood about 55 metres away. The glow of the landscape was  a delight and when the sun hit the landscape before us, you could here both shutters going off and as the morning was dead still. Not a breath of wind anywhere. The sound of the birds could be heard from afar and yet you couldn’t see them , that’s how still the morning was. It wouldn’t be too long before the flies would make their presence felt.

This was a photographers dream on this morning. I had a wonderful sky to work with and the good thing about this sky was it was dark which is a photographers dream also. When the sun broke through behind us, it lit up the Painted Hills and with the intense color in the rocks and with a dark sky, you couldn’t wish for a better start to your photography.

Before the sun popped above the horizon, we had the wonderful  and awe inspiring pinks reflected in the sky.Looking behind you, the glow reflect right across the landscape as far as the eye could see. It was so strong, so intense and simply majestic.

The two panoramic shots that you see here  , that are taken from the same angle ,are only about 10 minutes apart from each other. That’s how quickly the scene was changing more and more before us.

The glow, the wonder, the arrangement of color for me was totally reflection of God’s awesome canvas that He paints for us each day and it is a free gift to us all.

I was shooting with my large panoramic camera which I still use today and I was running veliva 120 film through it. It’s very expensive to run  and so one has to know when you press the shutter you are going to capture the shot.

I also used a hand held light metre and these things I still use today.

We both had been shooting for around 45 minutes and at the end of the shoot I strolled over to the stranger and introduce myself to him. He came across as a very nice and warm  person.

I asked him why was he here at this spot, to be in the middle of no where, I figured that there had to be a reason as to why he was here.

He was in the process of shooting a book . We got talking about the book that he was shooting and I asked him  the question” So mate, is there any particular reason that you are shooting this book for.” He responded to say that he was wanting to do this book so it could be used to raise money for prostrate cancer. I the  ask my new friend of 40 odd minutes , why prostate cancer? He respond was in four  words that I’ll never forget “ Because I have it”

That was the beginning of a remarkable an special time and sad time in my life with my new friend.

In the following years when back in Adelaide I met with Brian as often as I could, sometimes it was once a week, once a fortnight but never a greater time than that.

I met with him on a consistent bias until be passed away and in that time, we had many tears, laughter and I a wonderful friendship was formed between two strangers.

In the few years that followed everything under the sun was discovered and little did I know that morning when I got up for sunrise that I would be forming a wonderful friendship with a man who had so much to offer and who was such a gentle warm person.

In that time when we met, the strange thing is that we never had a picture taken together and it never dawned on me until Brian had passed. There was to much to do, to much to discuss and somehow at the time, taking pics just wasn’t on the agenda and didn’t seem right at the time.

Naturally we spoke about life, death, what happens after life and God. These were rewarding times and what I took from my time with this wonderful man was the deepest of friendships, the value of it, the love for the man which all grew from one morning when I got up to shoot the sunrise.

The journey in life takes on many unexpected paths and it continues to do so.

Often we live in our comfort zones, don’t want to be vulnerable with others and yet it is through those times that you can experience such a depth to your life, relationships that you thought were not possible.

With love, no matter what level it is, there is always deep sadness when you lose someone as in life we will all pass away at some stage, we can’t avoid that, that’s life but what we can do is make the most of the unknown time that we have left.

The short friendship that I had with my friend Brian was totally unexpected and yet, through it , I had a richness that can never be found in our own isolated world that we can live in at times.


“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.” ~ Earl Shoaf






Pete Dobré

Author Pete Dobré

Pete's photography is self taught. As a young child photography was an interest. His passion for the varying landscapes of Oz comes from frequent visits as a youngster, to his Gandparent's sheep farm in Barmera, a small country town in South Australia. Pete Dobré is a Freelance Photographer who blazes the trail for 6 months each year, capturing awe-inspiring images. Pete's work expresses his creative flair, emotions and love for the natural scapes of Australia. He remembers the hot day when he was 8, leaving town for the farm. His parents had an old car. Within about 2 kilometres of reaching the farm gate, they were bogged on a small red sand dune. The flies were buzzing continuously and the heat was beating down. Sticks, leaves and branches were wedged under the back tyres, to get the car moving. His mum was in a panic but Pete thought that it was exciting. From that moment he knew that he loved being out in creation, with the sense of adventure in the wild. This is where Pete's passion began. Photography for Pete is an expressive means for visual communication. He says, 'There is never a boring moment in my work. There is always something to photograph and I love being creative. The only limit to creativity is a lack of creativity.' Pete's aim as a photographer is to present images that provoke and stimulate the mind, to capture God's awesome creation and to share this with others. If Pete can do a little justice to God's creativity, then he is quietly satisfied. As a photographer Pete's inspiration and passion for his work comes from knowing God who created everything in the beginning. Knowing God, the Creator gives more substance and meaning to what he captures on film. Pete sees his role as freezing a moment in time and history which will never be repeated exactly the same again. The light, clouds and seasons will always be different. Pete's love for natural conditions at different times of the day, displaying varying moods and cloud formations makes his work very special and eye catching.

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