Photography in Loddon Valley

Published on 29 January 2016

The haunting granite clefts of Melville Caves, delicate bush orchids and evocative historic streetscapes are just a few of the reasons the Loddon Valley is fast becoming a mecca for photography enthusiasts.

Nearby photography clubs are already making the area a “must-have” on their annual calendars and individual enthusiasts are sharing favourite images with their local communities and beyond.

One such collective, the Wedderburn Photography Group, has been active in encouraging residents of the town to enjoy what’s all around them.

Member Ric Raftis said the group’s formation sprang from a visit made by the ABC to run photography workshops at the Wedderburn Community House.

“We probably have 20 members now – mostly local, but a couple of ‘ring-ins’ from Bridgewater and Bendigo,” Mr Raftis said.

“There’s no formal structure – we simply have a closed Google group online where members share their shots and ask for opinions and advice.

“We post some of our work online at ABC Open, run workshops and hold a monthly meeting, starting from Jacka Park before going off somewhere to take photographs.

“We had an exhibition in November at the Coach House Gallery, we help to organise the photographic side of the Kooyoora Wildflower Show each year and supply the Loddon Visitor Information Centre with images for its ongoing exhibition of local photography.

“It’s really all about helping people to improve their photography skills.”

Wedderburn’s Coach House Gallery is a regular outlet for local photographers, a recent example being an exhibition of work by William Greenfield comprising artistic photography taken across Western Australia and Victoria.

The Kooyoora Wildflower Show’s annual photographic competition invites adults and juniors to enter their images of local landscapes and native flora and fauna.
 
Loddon Shire also runs a photographic competition for local school students each year in conjunction with its Australia Day Awards.

Another WPG member, Robert Scholes, of Bridgewater, was behind a first-time event run as part of the 2015 Naturally Loddon Spring Festival called “Birds of the Loddon Region”.

Mr Scholes said he’d “started to get interested in birds about 12 months ago”.

“Since then, I’ve built up quite a detailed collection of images of local birds, covering more than 100 different species,” he said.

“Various areas of Loddon Shire are well known for their birdlife – Kooyoora State Park, for example, and up around Boort wetlands. 

“In the Shire as a whole, there would probably be about 240 species and there are several operators actively running commercial bird tours.

“That list includes rare and endangered species such as the Plains-wanderer up at Terrick Terrick National Park, where, I believe, they also see the Swift Parrot coming through.

“Here at Bridgewater, depending on seasons, we can also catch sight of the Rainbow Bee-eater, which migrates from the Australia tropics and New Guinea to nest in Victoria before returning north.”