17.07.23 - Pia's Journey - With the GR III Diary Edition along the coast of Western Australia


Pia's Journey - With the GR III Diary Edition along the coast of Western Australia


"I am at home everywhere..." This, or something similar, could be the answer when we ask photographer Pia Parolin (https://www.piaparolin.com/) about where she lives.

Today a workshop in Hamburg, tomorrow a meeting with a street collective in Nice for an exhibition and next week a book preview in Berlin, Pia Parolin is always on the move. And when she really wants to relax, she travels halfway around the world to Australia.


In the first part of "Pia's Journey", Pia shares her first impressions of her Australian trip with us. After acclimatising in Perth, she now takes us on her trip along the coast of the Indian Ocean.

 "The first stop was supposed to be Nambung National Park, which is about a three-hour drive north of Perth.

With the eternally blue sky and the green vegetation, I enjoy the drive, where we have the view of the endless ocean the whole time, while we pass savannahs on the land side, whose grass trees with their up to 2 m high inflorescences rise bizarrely into the blue sky. Every now and then, this inhospitable landscape is interrupted by denser vegetation, where the unique banksia plants bloom in a wonderful orange.


Arriving in Nambung National Park, we were overwhelmed by the landscape.

Everything here seems so primal, I wouldn't be surprised if a dinosaur came around the corner.

The heat is merciless in February, but doesn't stop us from photographing what we can. The colours with this incredible yellow are simply unbelievable.

Particularly fascinating are the Pinnacles, which are said to be the remains of tree trunks from a former swamp forest. However, these weathered limestone columns, up to four metres high, are probably an interplay of physical forces and geological phenomena. The Pinnacles Dessert is the main attraction of the national park, although at just four square kilometres it is only the smallest part of the huge area.


The next incredible natural experience awaits just a few kilometres further on. Here, in one of the few places in the world, the oldest living creatures in the world continue to grow silently and infinitely slowly: the stromatolites.

Originally it was thought that they were fossil limestone formations of prehistoric times, but here, in the shallow water at the edge of Lake Tethis, whose name says it all, a living colony of these many million-year-old and probably oldest organisms in the world was discovered in 1956.

For me as a biologist, these strange-looking towers in the salt water are an impressive testimony to the history of life. Since prehistoric times, cyanobacteria, favoured by the salt water, and calcium carbonate have been growing round stone-like structures up to 50 cm high and half a metre in diameter. They grow with infinite slowness, and a 10 cm high tower is already many millions of years old. Only the remoteness and the high salt concentration of the water allowed them to grow so undisturbed.

The silence and stillness invite you to linger and reflect on life, and on the diversity of species, and what these organisms have experienced - the entire history of the world and the genesis of all species on our planet. They are witnesses to the original inhabitants of the continent, who created a livelihood here in harmony with nature ages ago, but whose descendants now live exiled in the poor outskirts of the city of Perth, so rich and radiant.

This place makes us feel small and humble. A wonderful spot to put ourselves and our problems into perspective. Even though it's a long way to get here, the journey is worth it.



Thoughtful, but at the same time happy to be able to experience this beautiful nature, we drove a little further north to the small town of Jurien Bay. Here, directly by the sea, the flat houses and many small pubs dominate the picture. Directly under the fantastic blue sky, by the endless sea and the overgrown sand dunes on the shore, the typical Australian looseness prevails. Young, tanned and often elaborately tattooed people greet each other relaxed with a "Hi, how are you", and everything seems uncomplicated, relaxed and easy going.

Problems seem as far away here as the other continents. I enjoy it, even if my thoughts are still on the impressions of Lake Thetis.


On the way back to Perth the next day, we stopped at the sand dunes of Lancelin.

Here, surfers not only find the best conditions for their sport on the blue ocean, but also sand surfers. Riders of quad bikes or cars with four-wheel drives can let off steam in these unique white sand dunes, and everywhere families romp and children roll down the sand mountains, while I tried to speed down the dunes on the wooden board. It wasn't so easy at first, but eventually it works out. Even though it was great fun, I had to pay tribute to the sun and the heat, and soon enjoyed the shade with a cold beer and fish and chips.



Of course, my GR III camera was always with me. It was perfect for this trip. You have to be a bit careful though, because in the sand and with the constant wind it can quickly start to grate in the gear. That's why I had stored and transported the camera together with the fancy canvas bag in a freezer bag, and only took it out to take pictures.

Also, every now and then, the camera's display was little to unrecognisable in the strong sun. In the meantime, however, I have become so experienced that I can take most of my photos blind. The bottom line is that I am thrilled because I always have the camera with me due to its small size, and photography is so beautifully uncomplicated, not only in the city for street photography but also out here in nature.


For me as a photographer, this trip was just terrific because of the bright and sometimes dramatic colours, and I will probably remember this trip from Perth along the coast to the north for a long time.

And I knew: back in the city, the next adventures were already waiting for me. I hope you will join me again."



So much for the impressions Pia Parolin gathered on her trip along the coast. In addition to the footage shown here, there are video contributions from Downunder on the YouTube channel "Pia's Journey" . Be sure to visit her page if you want to see more.
In future episodes, Pia will share her experiences in Perth with us here - stay tuned.


On her way back to the next workshop, Pia Parolin stopped off in Hamburg to tell Lintaro Hopf from Samuel Streetlife  about her journey with the Ricoh GR III Diary Edition over coffee. Feel free to drop by.