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A Day of Fire and Devastation


Canon 5D camera with Canon 85mm f1.2 L series Aspherical lens

Canon 5D camera with Canon 85mm f1.2 L series Aspherical lens

Two days ago I mentioned the fact that I was running a short course on Travel Photography and that the weather forecast was 43°C. In fact the City of Melbourne, where I was working, reached 47°C. What’s more the temperature reached 47.9°C at Avalon airport, around 30 minutes west of the city. It was the hottest day on record for any Australian city. I understand the records go back around 180 years.

Fortunately my class was run in an air-conditioned classroom, which commenced at 10am. What’s more questions kept me going overtime by 40 minutes. By the time I left it was 5pm. Nevertheless, it felt like an oven outside. It was incredibly hot, windy and dusty. Apparently the humidity was 5%, which is what you’d expect in a desert, not a major city of 4 million people by the sea full of parks and gardens. Thankfully within 10 minutes the temperature had dropped 10°C and during the evening dropped down into the low 20’s. The following day’s maximum temperature was 24°C and temperatures in the low 20’s are expected until the weekend. Unfortunately that’s where the good news ends.

A series of major fires, some of which had been burning for around a week, took off fanned by the extreme heat and high winds.  The results have been disastrous. The situation is ongoing but, at this stage, it’s believed that more than 70 people have died and over 500 homes have been lost. The town of Kinglake was almost entirely wiped out and the historic and picturesque town of Marysville has lost around 80% of its homes, many of which are over 100 years old. Numerous other major fires flared throughout the state include one near Coleraine, around 30 minutes west of my hometown, Hamilton. This day of horror is the worst disaster in the states almost 200 year history. Other significant fires were reported in New South Wales (NSW), while the floods in north Queensland have affected 2/3 of the state.

I’ve posted a photo from the Victorian High Country, featuring a clear mountain stream and lush vegetation, in memory of those that have lost their lives, their family and friends and the many than have lost homes and property. At times like this, it’s sobering to meditate on both the beauty and power of nature. It is a force capable of great destruction, but also of renewal.  Let’s pray that the time for grief will pass and that renewal will come swiftly to survivors, landscape and wildlife alike.

The image was made with a Canon 5D camera and Canon 85mm f1.2 L series Aspherical lens. The RAW file was processed in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS3.

Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography


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