Vale Ern Mainka Photographer. Obituary by David Tatnall.

Ernest Gordon Mainka 1954 – 2014.

The nature conservation and photography communities were saddened to hear of the death of the photographer Ern Mainka.

Ern learned his skill as a photographer whilst working for Telecom (before it became Telstra) and his overriding love of the natural world led to him taking a redundancy package in the mid 1980’s to devote his time and energy to photographing nature. At that time the forests of Victoria’s East Gippsland were the site of an intense battle for their preservation and protection from clearfell logging and woodchipping. Ern’s photographs played an important part in saving these forests. His photographs were an example of the power of the photographic image.

Ern’s photographs also played an important role in the campaigns for the protection of the Mallee, Victorian Alps, Otway and Central Highlands forests and Murray River Red Gums.

Ern went to enormous lengths to get photographs; he was the first person to photograph Errinundra Plateau’s First Creek Falls. His day and night photographs of a Ghost Fungus (Omphalotus nidiformis) in the Rodger River involved him making one exposure of the fungus in daylight and without moving the camera exposing another piece of film during the night for eight hours while he sat in a sleeping bag nearby to ensure Tiger Quolls or Possums didn’t knock the camera over. Those photographs were published in the Victorian National Parks Association Calendar in 1986.

It wasn’t uncommon to hear reports that someone had seen Ern’s tent at Frosty Hollow, Waratah Flat or Goonmirk Rocks in East Gippsland and in the weeks following see a group of excited people gathered around the light table in the Environment Centre looking at Ern’s beautiful photographs.

Ern exclusively made colour photographs working with medium format transparency film using 6 x 6 and 6 x 17 cameras. He later went on to use digital cameras, making remarkable atmospheric photographs of storms and lightning, but it’s for his film photographs that he will be best remembered.

Colour transparency film produces the best and most accurate colour and requires great skill to get the exposure correct. Ern used his camera with masterful efficiency making not only beautifully exposed photographs but also beautifully composed photographs.

His photographs live on in many books, magazines calendars and diaries. A great number can still be seen online, including many of the Bend of Islands near Warrandyte, his home for many years.

Over many decades, conservation campaigns benefited greatly from Ern’s talent and commitment, and the special places in nature that Ern loved best, and helped save, remain a legacy to his life and a testament to the power of his photographs, many of which remain the finest examples of Australian nature photography.

Thanks to: Jill Redwood, Richard Hughes, Philip Ingamells, Peter Durkin,

David Neilson and Jane Mullett for assistance with this obituary.

David Tatnall.

– See more at: http://thelargeformatblog.com/2015/10/01/vale-ern-mainka-photographer-obituary-by-david-tatnall#sthash.m8Vb3EYQ.dpuf

Ernest Gordon Mainka 1954 – 2014.

The nature conservation and photography communities were saddened to hear of the death of the photographer Ern Mainka.

Ern learned his skill as a photographer whilst working for Telecom (before it became Telstra) and his overriding love of the natural world led to him taking a redundancy package in the mid 1980’s to devote his time and energy to photographing nature. At that time the forests of Victoria’s East Gippsland were the site of an intense battle for their preservation and protection from clearfell logging and woodchipping. Ern’s photographs played an important part in saving these forests. His photographs were an example of the power of the photographic image.

Ern’s photographs also played an important role in the campaigns for the protection of the Mallee, Victorian Alps, Otway and Central Highlands forests and Murray River Red Gums.

Ern went to enormous lengths to get photographs; he was the first person to photograph Errinundra Plateau’s First Creek Falls. His day and night photographs of a Ghost Fungus (Omphalotus nidiformis) in the Rodger River involved him making one exposure of the fungus in daylight and without moving the camera exposing another piece of film during the night for eight hours while he sat in a sleeping bag nearby to ensure Tiger Quolls or Possums didn’t knock the camera over. Those photographs were published in the Victorian National Parks Association Calendar in 1986.

It wasn’t uncommon to hear reports that someone had seen Ern’s tent at Frosty Hollow, Waratah Flat or Goonmirk Rocks in East Gippsland and in the weeks following see a group of excited people gathered around the light table in the Environment Centre looking at Ern’s beautiful photographs.

Ern exclusively made colour photographs working with medium format transparency film using 6 x 6 and 6 x 17 cameras. He later went on to use digital cameras, making remarkable atmospheric photographs of storms and lightning, but it’s for his film photographs that he will be best remembered.

Colour transparency film produces the best and most accurate colour and requires great skill to get the exposure correct. Ern used his camera with masterful efficiency making not only beautifully exposed photographs but also beautifully composed photographs.

His photographs live on in many books, magazines calendars and diaries. A great number can still be seen online, including many of the Bend of Islands near Warrandyte, his home for many years.

Over many decades, conservation campaigns benefited greatly from Ern’s talent and commitment, and the special places in nature that Ern loved best, and helped save, remain a legacy to his life and a testament to the power of his photographs, many of which remain the finest examples of Australian nature photography.

Thanks to: Jill Redwood, Richard Hughes, Philip Ingamells, Peter Durkin,

David Neilson and Jane Mullett for assistance with this obituary.

David Tatnall.

– See more at: http://thelargeformatblog.com/2015/10/01/vale-ern-mainka-photographer-obituary-by-david-tatnall#sthash.m8Vb3EYQ.dpuf

Ernest Gordon Mainka 1954 – 2014.

The nature conservation and photography communities were saddened to hear of the death of the photographer Ern Mainka.

Ern Mainka waterfallErn learned his skill as a photographer whilst working for Telecom (before it became Telstra) and his overriding love of the natural world lead to him taking a redundancy package in the mid 1980’s to devote his time and energy to photographing nature. At that time the forests of Victoria’s East Gippsland were the site of an intense battle for their preservation and protection from clearfell logging and woodchipping. Ern’s photographs played an important part in saving these forests. His photographs were an example of the power of the photographic image.

Ern’s photographs also played an important role in the campaigns for the protection of the Mallee, Victorian Alps, Otway and Central Highlands forests and Murray River Red Gums.

Ern went to enormous lengths to get photographs; he was the first person to photograph Errinundra Plateau’s First Creek Falls. His day and night photographs of a Ghost Fungus (Omphalotus nidiformis) in the Rodger River involved him making one exposure of the fungus in daylight and without moving the camera exposing another piece of film during the night for eight hours while he sat in a sleeping bag nearby to ensure Tiger Quolls or Possums didn’t knock the camera over. Those photographs were published in the Victorian National Parks Association Calendar in 1986.

It wasn’t uncommon to hear reports that someone had seen Ern’s tent at Frosty Hollow, Waratah Flat or Goonmirk Rocks in East Gippsland and in the weeks following see a group of excited people gathered around the light table in the Environment Centre looking at Ern’s beautiful photographs.

Ern exclusively made colour photographs working with medium format transparency film using 6 x 6 and 6 x 17 cameras. He later went on to use digital cameras, making remarkable atmospheric photographs of storms and lightning, but it’s for his film photographs that he will be best remembered.

Colour transparency film produces the best and most accurate colour and requires great skill to get the exposure correct. Ern used his camera with masterful efficiency making not only beautifully exposed photographs but also beautifully composed photographs.Ern Mainka tree

His photographs live on in many books, magazines calendars and diaries. A great number can still be seen online, including many of the Bend of Islands near Warrandyte, his home for many years.

Over many decades, conservation campaigns benefited greatly from Ern’s talent and commitment, and the special places in nature that Ern loved best, and helped save, remain a legacy to his life and a testament to the power of his photographs, many of which remain the finest examples of Australian nature photography.

Thanks to: Jill Redwood, Richard Hughes, Philip Ingamells, Peter Durkin, David Neilson and Jane Mullett.

David Tatnall.

 

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