Mountain light is a special kind of light that is like nothing you’ll see at lower altitudes. It has this ethereal glow and quality that’s just breathtaking and of course makes photographers very happy indeed. Having previously only nibbled on the lower slopes of kunanyi, I was super excited when our Catalan friends offered to drive us up there after we had enjoyed a lovely brunch at Mount Nelson Signal Station.
You can see Mount Wellington from almost everywhere in Hobart, it dominates the skyline and looks oh so inviting every time I gaze up at it. With the recent cold snap, Mount Wellington had been coated in snow for several days but the view from below gave little indication of the extent of that snow coverage. To us lowly ground dwellers it just looked like a light coating of icing sugar on top of a cake.
The drive up to the summit revealed the extent of it however as car after car drove past us, snow piled atop their bonnets or falling off with each bump in the road. As we drove higher and higher the air grew thinner, colder and the light started taking on that magical mountain glow. Glimpses of the summit between the trees revealed a rather heavy presence of snow, glimpses which became more frequent as we approached the top. The gum trees began to give way to hardier species adapted for colder climes, thick gorse like vegetation became the norm and then almost instantly there was snow at the sides of the road and trapped in the leaves and branches of the vegetation. The snow grew thicker and the road surface turned to ice in the little corners untouched by the wheels of cars.
It was a sunny Sunday, the final day of the Dark Mofo festival, following a few grey dreary days in Hobart. Needless to say the drive up to Mount Wellington was proving to be a popular activity that day and the car park at the summit was close to bursting point. We found a spot after a brief wait and excitedly hopped out of the car to explore our surroundings (play in the snow). Myself and Niall immediately set about finding the best angles and scenes to photograph while Sinéad and the Catalans began an impromptu snowball fight. They may well be Post-Doctoral Analytical Chemists but that doesn’t matter when you’re faced with a whole mountain full of fresh snow, it’s time to have fun!
All around us there were families and friends enjoying the snow and taking in the amazing views. Hobart looked like a tiny little village down below, the steam from the various industries further up the Derwent estuary looked like mere camp fires. The summit offers commanding views of the whole area and for those not wanting to bear the brunt of the cold alpine air there’s a nice heated viewing building with benches to sit down on and take in the view. With the heavy snowfall it was possible to walk pretty much anywhere you wanted around the summit however I can’t wait to see it in the Summer months where I’m sure it will be a very different picture and the possible routes between the rocks and foliage will be far fewer.
It was a perfect way to end an afternoon which still promised so much more with the final night of Dark Mofo ahead of us. That’s what Sundays should be all about, hanging out with friends and doing activities together. Although sitting in and having a nice cup of tea and watching your favourite shows or playing games is fun too 🙂