Until next year

I flew home for Christmas yesterday and am writing this week's post in the refreshing Hobart climate. It's 22 degrees outside and I'm cold, which tells me I've adjusted to the Alice Springs heat more than I realised.

I never thought I'd be someone who talks about the weather as much as I currently do, but for the past two months it's been the one thing that has impacted on me the most while I settle into the red centre.

Speaking of the weather, following the rain a few weeks ago there has been a bit of water around the town and surrounding areas, and a lot of the swimming spots along the West McDonnell Ranges have filled up.

The weekend before last I went to a couple of swimming holes with some friends to see how much water was still there and partake in some croc-free outback swimming. We started the day with a 90-minute drive to Glen Helen where we had lunch at the homestead and a swim in the gorge.

Glen Helen Gorge

Glen Helen Gorge

On the way home we made a stop at Ormiston Gorge — by far the prettiest swimming spot around Alice Springs — for another swim.

Ormiston Gorge

Ormiston Gorge

As more people leave town or go on holidays Alice Springs has slowed right down, and the streets have started to look a bit empty. Usually it's a surprisingly busy town and the community is always thriving with activity.

We don't attract big events — Taylor Swift didn’t visit and I’m pretty sure Adele won’t be stopping here on her Australian tour — but Alice Springs punches above it's weight when it comes to entertainment.

Occasionally a bigger name does comes to town, which is what happened last Saturday when Drapht took to the stage at The Gap View Hotel.

Primed by our work Christmas party my colleagues and I went to the gig to hear live versions of "Rapunzel" and "Jimmy Recard" (and all of the other songs that Drapht sings...).

Here are a couple of photos from the night.

Photographically I’ve had a good fortnight at the paper, the highlight being the Christmas issue released today.

For the cover I organised a special shoot featuring my good friend Bec, her colleague Laura, and my housemate Laura (yes, two Laura's). I went to high school with Bec in Hobart and it’s pretty crazy that we’re both living in Alice Springs 17 years later.

We had a lot of fun doing the shoot on Spencer Hill and I’m really happy with how the photo turned out.

I also had a photo on the back page which I was really happy with, although at the time my subjects weren’t so chuffed about it.

The story was about some local tennis players who are practising on grass for an upcoming tournament. I got three of them to lie on the ground in 40-degree heat looking directly into the sun while I tried to take a photo, it took us five minutes to get a shot where no one looked like they had just been stabbed in the stomach.

I felt awful. The photo was worth it though, right?

That's it for this year. I'll be in Hobart and Melbourne for the next nine days and then it's back to The Alice.

I can't wait to get back!

Emma Murray is a documentary photographer based in Alice Springs. The Alice Years is a personal project documenting life in and around the red centre.