A journey through seasons of colour in the Yarra Valley

After finishing the Balliang Tree project, I was keen to make another seasonal landscape series. When I found this tree in the Yarra Valley, perched on a set of hills having a character reminiscent of the scenes I drew as a child, I knew I had found the right place. I’m not at all concerned that the series begins in March rather than January, the concept of a calendar year is of no concern to the seasons.

It was just in time too. The final image was made in February 2020, shortly before Covid lockdowns were introduced which would have cut the project short. The final image captures the effects of another major event and is stained by smoke haze from the 2019-2020 bushfire season. One of the most extensive bushfires in recorded history and perhaps a timely reminder of the course we need to plot for future generations.

With significant world events on our shoulders, I wonder why a project exploring variety and colour in a landscape should be of any consequence. Yet I find it even more compelling now. That so much can be discovered and enjoyed in the simplest of scenes, in the simplest of freedoms, means we will always have hope.

Shifting skies and tinted landscapes have provided endless moods and mixtures. Seconds and seasons have passed to find themselves as equals.

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Yarra Valley Seasons (I) March

2019, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Yarra Valley Tree (I) March
The land remains dry after a warm summer

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Yarra Valley Tree II (April)

2019, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Yarra Valley Seasons II (April)
Solice

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Yarra Valley Tree III (May)

2019, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Yarra Valley Tree III (May)
Morning hues

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Yarra Valley Tree IV (June)

2019, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Yarra Valley Tree IV (June)
A passing warmth

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Yarra Valley Tree V (July)

2019, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Yarra Valley Tree V (July)
Echo’s and rhythm

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Yarra Valley Tree VI (August)

2019, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Yarra Valley Tree VI (August)
Transient winter light

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Yarra Valley Tree VII (September)

2019, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Yarra Valley Seasons VII (September)
Above and below

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Yarra Valley Tree VIII (October)

2019, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Yarra Valley Tree VIII (October)
As it was

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Yarra Valley Tree IX (November)

2019, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Yarra Valley Seasons IX (November)
Morning fog often obscures the hills before evaporating without much interest. If you get lucky, fog swirls are ignited by the suns first rays.

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Yarra Valley Tree X (December)

2019, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Yarra Valley Tree X (December)
A hot summer returns

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Yarra Valley Tree XI (January)

2020, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Yarra Valley Tree XI (January)
Unfolding light

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Yarra Valley Tree XII (February)

2020, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Yarra Valley Seasons XII (February)
Land and sky tinted by smoke haze from the devastating 2019-2020 bushfire season

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Behind the scenes

At the beginning of this series I couldn’t be sure how things would turn out. I knew the grasses would morph from yellows to greens and back again and there would be considerable variation in the sky and atmosphere. I wondered how the light might fall at different times of the day or if the cows would make a regular appearance. I also wondered if the tree would change, would it wither or would it grow?

I couldn’t have predicted the smoke haze in February or the way sunlight has wrapped the hills in January when the sun rose further to the east. A foggy morning could go two ways, slowly dissipating to reveal the scene and boring me to tears, or dancing and swriling around, glowing in the sun. The cloud formations in May and September hint at a unique personality which showed from time to time. While October looks a little bare with the sun high in the sky, but I don’t mind, as it would be short sighted to overlook the variety and colour that is life.

As far as photography is concerned, the photo’s have all been captured from much the same patch of grass, give or take a few meters, with the composition altered to account for the changing scene.

John Hardiman Scroll to Top