Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps



CHASING the MOUNTAIN LIGHT: A Life Photographing Wild Places

All landscapes have appeal. Some are easier to love than others. Many Australians love the beach and coastlines. Some love the desert, or wetlands, rainforests or the tall Ash forests. Some people have more obscure tastes – mangroves or mulga or gibber plains. But many of us love the mountains. And some of us express this love through writing, film, poetry, photography or other forms of communication. A new book called Chasing the Mountain Light delves deep into love of the mountains through the medium of images and writing.

The subititle of the book explains it perfectly: ‘A life photographing wild places’. The work of David Neilson, it is a glorious coffee table sized book featuring wonderful black and white images from south western lutruwita/ Tasmania, Patagonia, Karakoram and the Alps of Australia, New Zealand and Europe and other ranges such as the Andes.

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New book ‘WILD LIGHT’ will show case Tasmania’s landscapes

Well known Tasmanian landscape photographer Grant Dixon self-published his book WINTER LIGHT, featuring the Tasmanian mountain landscape in the winter of 2020. This book was generously-described by Paul Hoelen, NZIPP Grand Master of Photography, as possessing “some of the most exquisitely perfect production qualities I have ever seen in a landscape photography book”. Winter Light is now out of print, but Grant was inspired and encouraged to work on a second book of similar quality drawing on his other Tasmanian material.

Grant has recently announced the publication of this new book, WILD LIGHT, and it can be pre-ordered now at the pre-publication price of $85 (RRP will be $95), and he is relying on such pre-orders to make publication viable. The book will be available in November 2022.

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The literature of the high country

Barry Lopez was a wonderful author who focused on exploring the relationship between human cultures and nature. He passed away in 2020. His famous work Arctic Dreams was the first of his books that I discovered, and I have enjoyed his essays for many years. I am currently working through Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World, which was published shortly after he died. It is a luminescent collection of essays and one really stood out for me: Out West. He embarks on a long road trip to try and connect with the western plains of the USA. As he leaves, he loads up the many books that reflect on, or are based in, the areas he would be visiting. There are many famous names and books on the list, from Wallace Stegner, Ansel Adams to Cormac McCartney. He reflects on how history is recorded, how land and place is captured in literature and art, and how our understanding of the past shifts according to the dominant narratives of our time.

That, of course, got me thinking about the books I would have with me as I started a long road trip of our mountains. This is the start of a fairly Victorian-centric list.

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WINTER LIGHT: the Tasmanian mountains in winter

Well known Tasmanian landscape photographer Grant Dixon is launching a new book. Grant has been exploring the Tasmanian wilderness for some 40 years and undertaking trips to the mountains in winter for much of that time, capturing images featuring both grand vistas and intimate details of the winter landscape.

Grant says ‘I’m publishing a high quality, hard cover photographic book in the Tasmanian tradition of fine art productions and of using photography to activate awareness of the environment. The book features 89 images, captured over several decades, of the Tasmanian mountain landscape in winter’.

In his foreword, writer and photographer David Neilson states, “this exceptional collection of alpine images clearly reveals Grant’s outstanding artistic vision. ….. The human spirit desperately needs wilderness and Grant’s photos speak to us passionately of that need.

Grant has organised a pre order crowd fund to print the book. You can buy a copy of the book, please check here for details, and collect in Hobart, or have it posted to you. There are some great images and calendar on offer for people who are able to contribute more.

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Alpine Australia – A celebration of the Australian Alps

This recently released book features 150 images from across the Australian Alps. The publishers describe it as a ‘coffee table pictorial (which aims to) bring this magnificent region to a wider audience.’

Although I haven’t seen the book yet, the excerts below look gorgeous. You can find it in bookstores or online.

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In Search of Space, Journeys in Wild Places

In the introduction to In Search of Space, Journeys in Wild Places, Ross Brownscombe points out that ‘nature writing’ which ‘explores the poetry and magic of wild places’ has not developed into a strong tradition in Australia. Compared to North America and the UK this is certainly correct, and true writers in this genre are few and far between.

This book is a great addition to the library of nature writing that Australia has produced. There is a review here.

Book Launch of Bold Horizon

High-country Place, People and Story
by Matthew Higgins

Canberra, April 11.

What is it like in Australia’s high country? Matthew Higgins takes readers into this challenging environment to tell a unique story through words and pictures. Starting with his own experience, Higgins then profiles a range of mountain people from stockmen to Indigenous park rangers to tourism operators and more — each touched by this picturesque, bold landscape in different ways.

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Bold Horizon: High-country Place, People and Story

A new book on the Australian Alps will be released in April.

Matthew Higgins traces the mountain experience in a rich variety of ways. Firstly he talks of his own times in the alps as a bushwalker, cross-country skier, historian, and oral-history interviewer. Then, he profiles a range of people who have worked, lived, or played in the mountains: stockmen, skiers, Indigenous parks officers, rangers, brumby runners, foresters, authors, tourism operators, and others’.

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Australian Alps Book: Kosciuszko, Alpine and Namadgi National Parks

By Deirdre Slattery, published December 2015

The following comes from the Australian Alps website.

This new updated version of the original book published in 1998 is a must for students, agency staff, alpine history buffs, adventurers, naturalists and anyone one who has a love and passion for the Australian Alps. 

A fascinating guide to Kosciuszko, Alpine and Namadgi National Parks, it introduces the reader to Australia’s highest mountains, their climate, geology and soils, plants and animals and their human history. It traces the long-running conflicts between successive users of the mountains and explores the difficulties in managing the land for nature conservation. Published by CSIRO, copies of the book may be attained via the web-link at

A review of the book can be found here.

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