In November of 2019 I started documenting the Sun through the continuous smoke haze that surrounded Sydney. I was worried for my elderly mother living in rural NSW, a four hour drive away. It was no longer possible to drive to see her by Christmas as the Highway south had been closed by fire. So I decided to fly and after many futile landing attempts on two trips the pilot managed to land in Merimbula (instead of Moruya) a 90 minute drive from my Mother in Dalmeny. A Bus was arranged to take us north. What unfolded that afternoon and evening was catastrophic and terrifying. The image taken from the bus at Quaama, approaching Cobargo, shows poor visibility and a sickly yellow glow. Cobargo would burn just a few hours later. The scenes that unfolded the next days at Dalmeny where we prepared for ember attack, Pyrocumulous cloud formations over head finally turning the sky a dark glowing red by 4pm. It was like hell on earth and we were unsure if we would be safe that night. By New Years Day the evacuation centre at Narooma was full, and by then all power and means of communication had been lost. The beaches were covered in charcoal, ash and dead leaves.
By Hilary Wardhaugh
Hilary Wardhaugh is a professional portrait photographer based near Canberra ACT. Her work involves portraits, headshots, event photography, editorial, PR and branding photography. She is a career professional and a specialist in her fieldView all of Hilary Wardhaugh's posts.