My overarching impression of the Cossack township is of space: both the small clutch of scattered buildings and their surroundings allowing limitless vistas and endless sky. Late Saturday afternoon Glen and Gary and Wayne and Ren, along with some of the other participants in the weekend workshop took us out to a lookout at the mouth of the Harding River from where mudflats, (or were they sand flats?) stretched north as far as the eye could see while, just visible over a low range of hills to the south, I could make out the gantries and pipes of one of the massive gas processing plants.
About a kilometre from the shore was Jarman island, a minute knuckle of land with a small lighthouse which had once boasted a lighthouse keeper who had shared the island with a kangaroo, a goat and a dog.
Our travel writing and photography workshop in Cossack turned out to be a real adventure. Even the venue for the weekend workshop was huge: a great barn of a building with clunch stone walls and a timber beamed roof, managed superbly by the Shire of Roebourne. A hundred and fifty years ago it had been a customs house and bond store, storing what, I don’t know. Pearls maybe? A bond store to me means whiskey; when I was a journo in Scotland, and drinking – the two generally go together – I visited scores of bond stores. But that’s another story and we won’t go there.
The workshop itself was a huge amount of fun which I think went very well though not all the assessments are in yet. Those we have received have been very positive. We had about fifteen participants most of whom were interested in developing both their writing and their photography skills. It’s always good when both subjects are equally well received.
Abbe, of course, did brilliantly. Safe to say everyone vastly preferred to listen to and look at her than me.
We alternated sessions over the entire two days: first Abbe dealt with understanding your camera and the technical stuff, before going on to talk about shutter speed, depth of field, quality of light and all the things that photographers seem able to talk about for hours. I started on the basics of writing travel articles before working up to researching the market and how to approach newspapers and travel magazines. Between us we produced about eighty pages of notes for everyone to take away.
Now we are expecting to see a plethora of travel articles and photos coming out of Karratha. Many thanks to Glen Slee for setting the whole thing up, and to Woodside Petroleum and Soroptimists International for funding what was a fun and instructive weekend.