Mass exodus

Now that we're a third of the way through December things have started to slow down here in Alice Springs.

As the 40 degree days become more frequent locals and tourists flee town in search of water and a cooler climate. For some the break is just a temporary holiday, but for a lot of people it's the end of their stay in the town and time to move back to the east coast.

That's the downside of living in a transient town like Alice Springs; you know it won't be too long before one of your friends leaves. After living here for seven weeks I'm now saying goodbye to half the people I know, including my housemate, Kat.

Kat left today for an exciting new job on the Gold Coast. As a farewell gesture all my housemates and I did a sunset walk to the top of Spencer Hill so Kat could have one last look at the town before she left.

It didn't take much effort to get to the top, and we were rewarded with amazing views of the town and surrounding landscape when we got there. Not to mention a beautiful sunset.

Whenever I watch the sun set I always wonder why I don't take the time to do it more often. When I was living in Melbourne a walk along South Melbourne Beach at sunset was a simple and easy way to lift my spirits, yet I seldom made the effort to do it. So my new years' resolution is to be outside more at the end of the day.

My housemates Sophie, Kat, and Laura at the top of Spencer Hill

My housemates Sophie, Kat, and Laura at the top of Spencer Hill

At the risk of sounding too British, another highlight from the last two weeks is that it rained.

It was fucking amazing.

Although I love the heat and have finally nipped my dehydration in the bud, I'm still adjusting to day after day (after day) of high temperatures and constantly comment about the weather like a character in a Dennis Leary song.

But on Wednesday, out of nowhere, it started raining. And it didn't stop until the following night.

Cue Forest Gump rain montage.

I woke up on Thursday morning to a cloudy 23 degree day and couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I walked to work and, although the Todd wasn't flowing, there was a considerable amount of water sitting in the riverbed.

Everything also looked greener, and for a moment I didn't feel like I was in the middle of the desert.

Water in the Todd River on Thursday

Water in the Todd River on Thursday

Not even Uluru, which is a few hundred kilometres away, could escape the heavy downpour. I can highly recommend watching this incredible video of rain pelting down on it.

Since my last post I've also been working hard at the paper; taking photos and writing more articles. With a few our our journalists out of the office last week I was the lead news journalist, and I wrote a front page article about a local man in a wheelchair who was mugged. I also wrote a fun piece about a local filmmaker who was an extra in Hacksaw Ridge.

Photographically I've been experimenting with lighting and camera angles, particularly with my sports portraits. My recent favourites are a portrait of a local golfer, and another of a young tennis player that turned out so well it made the front page.

It's probably the best news photo I've taken since I started at the Advocate.

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.