Golden opportunity and a self portrait 151015

Preparing to photograph a genuine gold nugget is for me a once in a lifetime opportunity: I wanted to get it right.

So the morning of the shoot I spent several hours experimenting with lighting techniques as well as working out exactly what I wanted to capture. This included my favourite use of black velvet as well as a ready made light tent, one speed light and an extra light diffuser. My lenses of choice were the Tamron SP 90 mm f2.8 and the Pentax 35 mm f1.4.

I knew that for my final work for the Golden Landscape 3AMPs Exhibition I would be using these images in creating work via creative digital imaging software but I also wanted to try some in camera photography.

So while trying out some double exposures I created this piece and quite like it.

Leo Mathews has been searching for gold for the last 15 years. After a 'drought' of 15 months he finally struck gold in the form of a 25 ounce gold nugget he found while fossicking in the bushland north of Bendigo. Describing it as very solid with no pipe clay or much detritus and shaped in the form of a heart, Leo has called it - The Heart of Gold. "They're rare, a bit like snowflakes; no two are the same," he said. Leo had had only been out in the field for about four hours that afternoon, with only two hours of detecting time when he came across an area in the bush that had been previously 'worked over'. Noticing the middle part had been left untouched, he decided to explore further, having been spurred on by the small speck of gold he had found nearby. That was when his high tech pulse induction detection started to make 'some serious noise.' "I had to bring the coil right up way up off the ground about three feet to get it to settle down and I knew then you could hear the long signal at the end and I thought ,'I reckon I've got something here', not thinking it would be this big," Leo said. So he began to dig to the bottom of the one foot hole until he felt something hard. "I could feel the weight against my fingers and the coldness of the gold and I thought, 'Beauty I've finally got one'." Until the find, Leo had been feeling despondent about gold detecting but persevered. "I'm not a quitter, I set my self to do something and I keep doing it," he said. When asked about what characteristics make for a good gold prospector, he said - determination, patience, and having low expectations. Then there's the metal detector. "Machines have become a lot better over the years," Leo said. "Every two or three years now there is a game changer, something new comes out or the coils get better and it just gives you more depth." Along with the machine is the technique. Leo said he likes to go 'low and slow'. "Keep a flat swing all the way through and just don

Published by sharongreenaway

Bachelor of Visual Arts (Photography), Latrobe University.

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