On the way home from a road-trip through South Australia, my brother and I stopped for the night at Natimuk, a small town close to the climbing Mecca of Mt. Arapiles, near Horsham in north-western Victoria. Raps is situated on a vast flat plain known as the Wimmera, a patchwork of open fields and salt-flats edging towards the semi-desert of Sunset National Park and on into the Outback proper. It sits, a vertical hunk of sandstone granite, like a monolith jutting out of this billiard-table expanse, the only feature of relief for a significant distance in any direction. Surrounded on all sides by textured rock-faces up to two hundred metres high, it has a legendary diversity in climbing challenges and routes, from some classic beginner scrambles, through to highly technical ascents that only the country’s best climbers would be able to conquer.
We had planned to do some climbing together, but five days on the road had left us tired, so we spent the night at the country hotel in town. I woke early the next morning looking for photography opportunities, but was disappointed to see a mist hanging over the fields in the cool of the springtime dawn. Ever the optimist, I went for a quick drive anyway to see if some atmospheric shots might reveal themselves.
As I pulled up alongside one set of fields, the mist began to rise. Beneath a cloudless blue sky I could see Arapiles in the middle distance, as if floating on a fine bank of fog. As I watched, the low sun behind me painted the east-facing flank of the mountain in hues of gold and orange. I sprinted across the field as quickly as I could to line up the solitary tree that I felt would complete the composition and was able to capture this image of the mountain at dawn. It remains one of my favourite moments in space and time, when all the visual elements just came together perfectly to give me the shot I wanted to capture.