Dean M. Chriss
Eureka Valley, Autumn, Victoria Australia

Eureka Valley, Autumn, Victoria, Australia

(Click image to enlarge)

"Eureka" comes from the Ancient Greek word εὕρηκα heúrēka, meaning "I have found (it)".

The "it" in this case is a feeling of connection to a new place that I haven't felt for a long time. It's not as strong or perfect as the those I had for my favorite places in America before they became overcrowded amusement parks, but at least it's something. I only know that I did not want to leave and will return in the future, hopefully many times.

This brief three day visit was more about exploration and familiarization than photography, but I captured eight photographs that I think are reasonably good. This is one of them. I can't say it's typical of the diverse place or even of the photographs I captured there, but somehow I feel it summarizes the experience. The distant haze is smoke from a controlled burn outside the park.

I'm still in the process of figuring out Australia photographically and personally. Having to find new "favorite places" that I can connect with means starting all over again. I haven't seen much of Australia yet, but so far it's very different, in both good and bad ways. On the good side most national parks are not crowded, almost to the point of being deserted. That's better than I could possibly have imagined. I can often hike all day and see no one. On the bad side, Australia's small population has an outsized capacity for deforestation. Nearly everything outside the parks has been turned into farmland. This is often extremely rural with single lane dirt roads and virtually devoid of people, but the native forests and their inhabitants have been replaced by cultivated crops and livestock. Environmentally these areas are nearly as devastated as the cities, but with a greener appearance, lots of quiet, and solitude. As in the US, this kind of land use is completely unsustainable. That's disturbing for me, but I won't have to deal with most of the consequences. I'm not sure how younger people manage to deal with it. The answer, it seems, is by not dealing with it.