Environment

From the lofty heights of a sea plane one is privy to a different view—where natures colours bleed out in rich and varied hues, like roots of a tree.

The image above and those below are part of a dynamic exhibit by Tony Hewitt and Denis Glennon AO, entitled: Girt by Sea, launched today by Canon Australia.

The unique showcase comprises a stunning collection of 100 large-format aerial images of our coastline captured and reproduced in rich detail and displayed on a scale as bold as the voyage to capture them. Australian Foreign Minister Hon Julie Bishop MP will officially open the exhibition tomorrow at Paddington Town Hall, with the doors opening free of charge to the public from Saturday 16 June until Wednesday 27 June, 10am–6pm daily.

“Girt by Sea the latest in a series of major collaborations for Canon locally and we’re extremely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together with some of the most creative minds in Australia,” says Canon Australia’s Director of Consumer Imaging, Jason McLean. “It’s great that Tony and Denis approached Canon with Tony’s vision because the scope and purpose of this audacious project was immediately appealing. We’re proud of our products, but ultimately we’re known for what people like Tony and Denis do with them – and I think we all agree that they’ve done something very special indeed.”

Tony Hewitt comments on the collaboration: “As Helen Keller famously said, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’. It had always been my dream to create a project on the scale of what we’re unveiling today and I am sincerely grateful to Canon Australia for their confidence in us and their support and sponsorship of the adventure.”

Fuelled by the spirit of curiosity, the gregarious duo of explorers took to the skies on an adventure to fulfil a childhood dream.

The Dream: Since his school days singing Advance Australia Fair in assembly, Tony Hewitt was fascinated by the curious expression ‘girt by sea’. Years later as an acclaimed photographer, ‘girt by sea’ became the metaphor for an epic Australian adventure: to circumnavigate Australia’s coastline by air in one 31-day trip, capture it in stunning detail and bring new meaning to those three words. Tony shared his dream with close friend and accomplished photographer Denis Glennon AO, and the pair decided to make the dream a reality.

“I knew that only a privileged few had explored Australia’s breathtaking coastline to any significant degree from the air. So, I got to wondering what an adventure it would be to experience all of it in one go; to capture and reveal its magical, ever-changing beauty,” says Tony Hewitt. “Girt by Sea started as an ambitious dream and now it’s a lived experience. More than that, the collection means that we can now hold the understanding of those three words in our hands.”

The journey of discovery: Commencing and finishing at Jandakot Airport, Western Australia, the voyage took an anticlockwise flight path allowing both photographers to shoot simultaneously through front and rear portside windows of the Cessna 210 light aircraft, which generally tracked just off the coast.

“This was never a documentary trip; it was a voyage of discovery akin to the explorers of old,” says Denis Glennon. “There’s lots of planning and preparation with a trip of this scale but ultimately it’s instinct and curiosity that led to us taking the images in our collection. We had an expectation of what we might see courtesy of Google Earth, but what we actually saw when we got there blew us out of our seats every time.”

The challenges: Following extensive research of historical weather patterns, especially for the more remote southern and northern regions, April was selected as the optimal time of the year to complete and aerial circumnavigation of the coastline in one go. The decision proved a good one and the pre-planned schedule was adhered to, despite challenging weather on several days.

“We had to complete the trip in 31 days so planning had to account for the journey and photography time and we had to provide the pilots with the way points ahead of each leg. We could delay take-off or get out early but we had to stick to time,” says Tony Hewitt. “Planning can get you so far but we had to constantly account for variables such as tides, weather conditions and just the unexpected marvels that we would find when we were faced with a location for the first time.”

The Collection: “The collection expresses what Girt by Sea means to us – it’s the emotional response to what we saw a point in time captured in beautiful, large-format images,” says Denis Glennon. “It’s the result of our daily decision to focus on what we actually find, not on what we expect to find – that’s the spirit of exploration!”

“I hope people share the same emotional response of ‘Wow – look at that!’ that we did when we encountered these places,” says Tony Hewitt. “It doesn’t really matter where it is. What is so striking is the texture, colour, and shape of our coastline. We have in our minds a hard line dividing land from sea, but it’s actually a much more fluid transition.

Images are available for purchase framed and unframed online and at the venue.

Experience ‘Girt by Sea’…

Location: Paddington Town Hall, 249 Oxford Street Paddington, NSW 2021
Exhibition dates: Saturday 16 June – Wednesday 27 June 10am-6pm
Entry: Free of Charge

“The Wild North East”, produced by SCOTLAND: The Big Picture on behalf of the North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership, offers a refreshing view of this iconic landscape.

This innovative take on documentary, succeeds in broadening both the appeal and perspective of the film. Delighting viewers with hidden gems of the highlands brought vividly to life for all to discover.

SCOTLAND: The Big Picture produces compelling visual media that promotes the benefits of a wilder Scotland for people and wildlife. Our team of photographers, filmmakers, writers, designers and educators are all motivated by the need to rebuild healthy ecosystems across Scotland. We work as a Social Enterprise, on a non-profit basis, meaning that any financial surplus is ploughed back into projects that help promote the case for a wilder Scotland.

BE part of the Big Picture #ThinkLikeAMountain.

Wildscreen is the world’s leading international festival celebrating and advancing storytelling about the natural world.

For over 30 years our prestigious biennial Festival has been convening and celebrating the world’s best natural world storytellers.

Through collaboration with our ever-growing community of filmmakers, photographers, broadcasters, technologists and conservation organisations we aim to transform the craft of natural world storytelling across platforms and across audiences, ensuring as many people as possible experience the natural world, feel part of it and want to help protect it.

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Travel is an important part of culture and community and wildlife is a vital part of the experience. At Anantara Tangalle Resort in Sri Lanka, great care and attention has been given to designing a peace haven for guests that not only supports local communities but helps restore the natural wetlands as well.

Celebrating World Wetlands Day the resort’s Nature Guru, Anuradha Ediriweera spearheaded an initiative to plant one hundred trees along the natural river and mangroves within the resort premises. Resort guests, the local community, and authorities from the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Central Environmental Authority and Department of Forestry also participated in the tree planting event before engaging in a discussion on the values and threats towards the wetlands and the numerous sustainable initiatives championed by Anantara Tangalle. Students from the Kadurupokuna Maha Vidyalaya School in Tangalle and guests were delighted to play a part in the resort’s efforts to rebuild the wetlands.

Anuradha Ediriweera said, “We hope that this initiative will serve as a catalyst to inspire passion within our guests, the local community, and with support from the authorities, to set us on a committed pathway for a more sustainable future by taking actions today to retain, restore and preserve our wetlands and mangroves.

World Wetlands Day is celebrated on 2 February annually to raise global awareness about the value of wetlands for humankind and the planet in general. Wetlands play valuable roles in flood control, water supply, provision of food, waste treatment and are sources of livelihoods among many other benefits. Unfortunately, in fast-growing cities, wetlands are often viewed as a wasteland – places to dump rubbish, fill in or convert to other uses; this general mindset must change and actions taken today to ensure a brighter future for everyone and generations to come.

Uthpala Adaranga, from the Department of Wildlife conservation of Sri Lanka added, “Wetlands play a major role in wildlife conservation. Wetlands are home to a wide range of water fowls, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and many more. Degradation of these vital habitats are causing challenges in wildlife conservation. Awareness, conservation and restoration should be widely implemented nationally and globally.”

The global theme for this year’s celebration is “Wetlands for a sustainable urban future” and highlights the importance of integrating wetlands into a city’s sustainable future planning and development. The benefits of wetlands grow even more crucial as the number of people living in cities has surpassed the 4 billion mark and continues to rise. By 2050, 66% of humanity will be city dwellers as people move into urban areas in search of better jobs and wellbeing. World Wetlands Day 2018 aims to raise awareness on how the wetlands contribute to the future of sustainable cities and rural areas.

Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort offers guests a unique resort experience in Sri Lanka. Located on the island’s southern coastline, the award-winning resort is set on a secluded stretch of beach amidst a 21-acre coconut plantation. Each of the 120 guest rooms and 32 private pool villas exude serenity with spacious interiors that blend comfortable luxury with modern amenities. Distinctive local experiences and rich cultural traditions are woven into the fabric of the resort and its diverse offerings.

For more information on Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, please visit anantara.com

The inescapable climbing concrete jungle we now live in is a reality that some city dwellers refuse to embrace without a little greenery. Though we may have to live amongst man-made structures there is nothing in the agreement that stipulates no nature, and an increasing number of people have come to view plants as a good green compromise. Author, model and presenter Summer Rayne Oakes is a botanical boffin with a skill for nurturing plants in urban spaces. Her city abode is a living interior of flora and fronds so effervescent as to attract full page spreads in lifestyle magazines. Who better to instruct a course in plant mastery?

Summer Rayne has launched her first kickstarter campaign to help hapless horticulturalists get better acquainted with their house plants. How to Make a Plant Love You is an online audio-visual workshop and experience to help you demystify plant care and learn how to have a relationship with your plants. Forget partners, think plants—what’s your perfect match?

What exactly is a plant master class?

My vision behind How to Make a Plant Love You: Houseplant Masterclass is to create an online-audiovisual course + experience to help people demystify plant care, learn how to have a better relationship with their plants, and guide people to create the indoor jungle of their dreams.

What are the hardest horticultural habits to master?

Caring for plants is highly achievable; I believe there is a plant for everyone at some point in their lives. The biggest hurdle is learning how to listen to your plant’s needs. They clearly don’t bark or meow to get your attention, as our beloved pets do, so you have to observe their day-to-day signs. What I’m aiming to achieve with the Houseplant Masterclass is to help people “think more like a plant”. When you do that, you don’t have to memorize what yellow leaves mean vs. brown tips, for instance; instead, you’ll have a keen sense as to what’s going on with the plant so you can intuit yourself.

Why are plants a smart choice for busy people living in tiny spaces?

Plants immediately make a home far more inviting. When my roommate had moved out of my apartment years ago, the house was rather cold. The first thing I did was get a sizable Ficus lyrata, or fiddle leaf fig, and it immediately changed the nature of the space. Since that time, I’ve filled my home with around 700 plants—it’s a veritable oasis! I invite people in for meditations or tours, or just to hang out, and it really creates an idyllic atmosphere—even in the middle of the big city!

Are plants like pets, is there a perfect match for different personalities?

I think you have to triangulate to answer this question. One of the first questions I always ask people is what kind or quality of light they have in their homes. Plants eat light through their leaves, so they need it to operate, grow and reproduce. That’s one of the most limiting factors. Then I often ask what kind of “plant parent” or “caretaker” the person is so that he or she can come to a conclusion as to the best plant for them!

What are some of the more imaginative ways to integrate plants into a home or office?

I look at any type of container and think, “hmmmm, that would be a great plant pot!” There’s just a range of ways you can display plants in all creative ways—in colanders, in mason jars, etc. I think in home or office, bringing in Tillandsia, or air plants; or perhaps a small terrarium can be a real statement piece.

Support the Campaign @ How to Make a Plant Love You!