By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on August 9, 2018
TREKKING up Bluff Knoll for three hours in the dark in sub-zero temperatures last week was more than worthwhile for Plantagenet photographer Michael Dolphin and his dad Andy when they spotted an impossibly cute quokka sniffing around in the snow just before sunrise.
Mr Dolphin said the pair rose an hour after midnight last Thursday to have breakfast and get themselves organised before clambering into the car and making the 80km drive to the region’s highest ascent.
He said their efforts to keep warm with five layers of clothing were rendered unnecessary halfway up the hiking trail when their hefty backpacks and the mountain’s steep gradient got their temperatures rising to scorching levels.
“We were about halfway up when I stripped down to just my singlet and snow jacket,” he laughed.
“It felt like it was 50 degrees!
“My backpack was just deadweight, I took too much; I only ended up using my 600mm and 24mm lenses and I had three others with me.”
Mr Dolphin said the two men began to see snow approximately halfway up the hiking trail, and felt incredibly relieved that the snow prediction had been accurate.
“It’s the most snow we’ve seen up here,” he said.
“It was a bit thicker, more spread out and a lot lower down than last time.”
After spending 30 minutes admiring the snow and having a look around, Mr Dolphin spotted what he had been searching for at about 6.30am.
“I was pretty excited to see it,” he said of his quokka sighting.
“I was just ecstatic, but I had to wait for the sun to come up to take photos.”
Mr Dolphin and his dad passed the time by making a snowman and getting some signature Bluff Knoll landscape images before settling down on the ground for two hours from about 7am to capture the perfect snow quokka snap.
“There were about 15 people up there so we waited for them to clear out a bit, and then we were just slowly moving around to get the right angle,” he said.
“It was just luck I got the photo [of the quokka] with the icicle…it just came around the corner and was in the perfect spot.
“It made my day, no, my week, getting that quokka pic.
“It was just the cherry on top.”