After spending his last 30 years traversing Tasmania in search of compelling stories and imagery, Launceston's Don Defenderfer is releasing a book detailing what he believes are the best parts of The Island State.
The book, titled Tasmania an Island Dream, is a celebration of beautiful spots around Tasmania, both natural and otherwise, according to Defenderfer.
"It includes Maria Island, Cradle Mountain, Liffey Falls and little known areas like a river up in the North-East near Bellingham, and trying to give an insight into the mystery and magic that is Tasmania that someone who's been here for 30 years has experienced," he said.
"It's really a celebration of what I've been able to have insight into."
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"I've always carried a camera and it's always been a passion for me - so I've always taken pictures as I've gone," he said.
"It's something that complements the writing, trying not to duplicate it - trying to give insight into a place."
Stories and poems in the book cover a wide range of beauteous aspects of Tasmania, including the scenic night sky courtesy of galactic photos by astrophotographer Richard Higby.
"I think it's a very special place - a gate to the heavens because it's so dark in most places once you get out of central Launceston and places in and around Hobart you just see amazing stars," Don said.
"He [Higby] gets unbelievable pictures that 20 years ago would've been something NASA would have taken and [now] you can get it in your backyard with not much gear."
There's the iconic places like Coles Bay, Cradle Mountain but I think you could go anywhere in Tasmania, and 50 feet off the beaten track you can find amazing things to photo, from slugs and insects and fungus to birds to rivers to mountains - there's just so much out thereDon Defenderfer.
Another story in the book tells of a semi-fictionalised conversation in a Hobart pub about a series of underground tunnels under the city connecting to various above-ground locations.
"It's really good to have insights from other people, particularly in the story about a Hobart pub, I sort of fictionalised a bit of conversation as well as real conversations heard in other places that you might hear in a pub around whaling or Mona or tunnels and things like that," Defenderfer said.
"I've tried to include the flavour of the place in the conversations."
Defenderfer also emphasised the importance of Aboriginal culture in Tasmania in his book.
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"Part of the book as well is being aware of the long Aboriginal history in Tasmania, the more you spend time in the bush the more you're aware of the presence of people here who have been here so much longer than we have - thousands of years," he said.
Tasmania an Island Dream includes a story of a visitor who travels around Tasmania, and whilst camping has an "experience" with Aboriginal ancestors of Tasmania.
Over the many thousands of photos Defenderfer has taken across Tasmania, a particular favourite of his was an image he snapped at Cradle Mountain.
"I really like the one of Cradle Mountain in winter," he said.
"[I] caught a day where I was able to hike up in the snow and it was crystal clear, blue sky and fresh snow and the lakes were frozen up in the highlands - it was beautiful."
Defenderfer added that while the notoriously amazing Tasmanian locations certainly make for great photo destinations, he believes there are hidden gems everywhere.
"There's the iconic places like Coles Bay, Cradle Mountain but I think you could go anywhere in Tasmania, and 50 feet off the beaten track you can find amazing things to photograph," he said.
"From slugs and insects and fungus to birds to rivers to mountains - there's just so much out there."
Defenderfer said that tourists and locals alike will find a number of new and interesting things they might've not known about Tasmania, and hopefully encourage them to explore the destination further.
"A lot of the locals have found their favourite places like Ben Lomond for instance ... and if they've been to those places they'll be nodding their heads and saying 'oh yes I've done that too'," he said.
"For tourists, they get the pictures that accompany the book with a bit of a story and might hopefully inspire them to come back. I find when people come to Tassie they say 'I didn't spend long enough there'."
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