Winter in Tasmania can mean heaps and heaps of snow (although as everyone points out there is nowhere near as much as there used to be). Just before we left for Japan there was a major snowfall, over western Tasmania, and even Hobart. Mt Wellington was covered in a thick creamy layer of deep snow for a few weeks, while we enjoyed a mild summer in Fukushima this year.
The shots below are from Mt Field National Park, under a lot of snow. Our plan was to walk along the Tarn Shelf but underestimated how much snow would be around, and only made it to the start of the shelf before we realised that the short winter days meant there would be no hope of doing a circuit, so it was more or less abort at that point and we only went as far as the ski tow/hut at the entrance to the Tarn Shelf.
The Tarn Shelf Walk, Mt Field
The Tarn Shelf is a classic introductory walk in the Tasmanian Wilderness. Mt Field is only just over an hour from Hobart, and Lake Dobson where the walk starts a further 30 minutes drive within the National Park. The circuit walk takes approx 5 hours, and is most popular in Autumn when the leaves of the deciduous beech change colour.
In terms of opportunities for landscape photography, the walk is brilliant at any time of the year. The highlights in Autumn are obviously the golden leaves of the fagus, but winter can reward with deep snow and frozen tarns, while spring and summer are good times in the high country with flowers and greenery in abundance.
While I was composing the scene above, we had a beautiful moment (which I wasn’t able to capture) with a Tasmanian Wedge Tailed Eagle. I was perched behind my tripod looking at the snowy ridgelines and the ancient pines standing dark and desolate against the pure white snow when a Tasmanian Wedge Tailed eagle just rose up on wide open wings from the valley between me and the distant range. I was distracted from my photo taking for a minute as I watched him circle us, and by the time I thought about trying to capture an image of him, he had moved on, and it seemed to me that not everything needs to be photographed – sometimes those silent moments of being surrounded by nature and witnessing the world do what it does is reward enough. I often have moments where I feel incredibly lucky to be doing what I do, and this was absolutely one of those moments.
There is a very handy webcam which is worth checking before planning a trip to this part of Mt Field: Mt Mawson Ski Cam