Rodney Campbell's Blog

Archive for November, 2015

Dales Gorge…

by on Nov.23, 2015, under Life, Photography

Dales Gorge (like all of the gorges in Karijini National Park) is ridiculously amazing and beautiful. It’s easy to see why this place is a photographers paradise and a must do for any serious landscape photographers out there.

My daughter and I decided we’d take our first walk down into the gorge and visit Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool and take a late afternoon swim there. Even though it was at the end of winter here it was still very hot (clear blue skies and 30+ degree days).

Unfortunately the short Class 3 track from Fortescue Lookout down to Fortescue Falls (a set of metal stairs and railings) was closed for renovations for a few weeks. This meant we had to take the long way by walking the whole way from Three Ways Lookout at the other end of Dales Gorge.

Beneath the Paper Barks

Beneath the Paper Barks

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 62 mm, 1/60 sec at f/5, ISO 250

This was quite a long and steep walk and around 2:20PM we began our journey – my parents were going to meet us back here at the top around 3 hours later.

At the start there’s the steep goat track 🙂 heading down from Three Ways Lookout to the bottom of the gorge 100m below. This part is actually the most difficult and precarious of the whole walk. Once at the bottom it’s more a matter of the walk across rocks and uneven ground as it winds it’s way along Dales Gorge.

Along the way we found this fantastic stand of tall paperbark trees nestled along the waters edge. These trees are huge down here – towering 15 or 20 metres above us but they look tiny when viewed from up at the top of the gorge.

Gorgeous

Gorgeous

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm, 1.3 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Further along we came to this beautiful area of smooth pools of water with cascading rivulets of water over the amazing rocks in the gorge. With massive bright red gorge walls towering above us being lit by the afternoon sun. Here it is still before 3PM so definitely not the best time of day to be shooting but an amazing and colourful view even in these harsher conditions.

Red Vs Blue

Red Vs Blue

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm, 1 sec at f/16, ISO 100

I’m left thankful we ended up having to go the long way. We’re still not at the falls yet but Dales Gorge is beautiful and it’s already living up to it’s reputation.

Like with all of the gorges I ended up visiting I wish I could have spent MUCH more time here. However we hadn’t even reached our goal yet and time was limited if we wanted to get back out of Dales Gorge before it got dark :).

Dales Recreation Area

Dales Recreation Area

Dales Recreation Area

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Fortescue Lookout…

by on Nov.21, 2015, under Life, Photography

We arrived at Dales Campground around midday and after checking in to our campsite and setting up we headed off to take our first look at the nearby Karijini gorges.

First stop was Fortescue Lookout. You can easily walk here from the campsite but we were also planning to head over to the Dales day use area and the two other lookouts over there so we drove :).

This was my first real up close viewing of these amazing gorges I’d been dreaming of and so looking forward to seeing for months.

This is a wide panoramic view of the gorge from the Fortescue lookout on the north side looking East-South-West across the gorge. Fortescue Falls itself is way down there at the bottom of the gorge surrounded by trees on the right. This panorama is a stitch of thirteen (13) vertical frames taken at 52mm so it gives a relatively tight view of the gorge itself and spans about a 180˚ field of view.

Dales Gorge

Dales Gorge

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 52 mm, 1/50 sec at f/8, ISO 125 x 13 Frames

This view gives you a good idea of the structure of many of the gorges out here in Karijini. Layers of red and orange rock, spinifex grass, topped with ghost gums up high and paper bark trees at the base of the gorges. Those gorge walls are about 100m high so it’s a long way down.

Layer Cake

Layer Cake

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 100 mm, 1/160 sec at f/8, ISO 100

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

A closer view of the falls from up here at the lookout.

Fortescue Falls

Fortescue Falls

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 160 mm, 1/160 sec at f/8, ISO 400

and the family enjoying the view.

Fortescue Lookout

Fortescue Lookout

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28 mm, 1/50 sec at f/11, ISO 100

I must say I am extremely thankful and grateful for how accomodating and patient my 10 year old daughter was during our entire trip but especially during our five days at Karijini.

She came with me for at least half of my early morning or late afternoon/evening trips in various gorges and was amazingly patient with me wanting to spend literally hours painstakingly taking photographs.

Other photographers totally get it – that flash of inspiration when something catches your eye and you just want to stop and carefully craft the best composition you can and then move on to the next photographic subject and stop again. In this place epic inspiration was EVERYWHERE. Sometimes I might spend half an hour or even hours literally in the one general area taking shots. She knows I love photography and I could not have asked for more from a ten year old child.

Dales Recreation Area

Dales Recreation Area

Dales Recreation Area

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Dales Campground…

by on Nov.20, 2015, under Life, Photography

We would be spending our first two nights in Karijini National Park at the eastern end of Karijini at Dales Campground.

The following map shows the area covered by Karijini National Park and where Dales Recreation Area (and the campground) is (on the right) in relation to the other parts of the park.

Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park

Dales campground features 140 sites that can accommodate large rooftop tents, large campervans, large caravans and large camper trailers. Shared use gas barbecues and picnic tables are provided (tho we didn’t use them) and they also have very nice new toilet facilities.

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

Set in the Hamersley Ranges in the heart of the Pilbara, the vast Karijini National Park is an ancient landscape of massive mountains and steep escarpments cut by spectacular gorges more than 100m deep. Within these sheer-sided chasms hide crystal-clear rockpools, cascading waterfalls and lush vegetation. Walking trails lead visitors to lookouts from which to marvel at the spectacular views, or to stunning gorges and freshwater pools for a dip.

Fortescue Falls

Fortescue Falls

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 72 mm, 1/80 sec at f/8, ISO 200

Within easy reach of Dales Gorge Day Use area, Fortescue Falls and Circular Pool, Dales Gorge Camping Ground is a great place from which to explore the eastern end of the park.

Like many places we’ve been to there were no shower facilities here, nor was there drinkable water onsite so we had to bring all our own.

Dales Recreation Area

Dales Recreation Area

Dales Recreation Area

The following PDF guide from Western Australia Parks and Wildlife shows you an excellent map of the Dales Recreation Area and the nearby gorges and walks to Circular Pool, Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool. Karijini National Park – Dales Recreation Area map and walk trail guide – Circular Pool, Dales Gorge, Fern Pool, Fortescue Falls.

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Karijini National Park…

by on Nov.19, 2015, under Life, Photography

When I’d first started looking through my fathers draft itinerary for the trip and started researching each location for potential photographic opportunities Karijini set off epic alarm bells.

Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park

Interestingly I’d not actually heard of the place before – I mean why would you… It’s not exactly situated near any form of civilisation. Being far away and off the major travel routes means it doesn’t have the same well known famous names like say Kakadu or Litchfield National Parks.

For photographers however it’s like a Mecca – it’s one of those holy grail locations like Mesa Arch or the Slot Canyons in the US.

For you non photographers think the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, … maybe not quite but you get the idea :)…

Anyway when I saw some images online of what was at Karijini National Park and my father had specified just one or two nights here I quickly emailed him and said I had to have at least five!.

Covering 627,422 hectares just north of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Hamersley Range, Karijini National Park is Western Australia’s second largest park.

Massive mountains and escarpments rise out of the flat valleys. The high plateau is dissected by breathtaking gorges, and stony, tree-lined watercourses wind their way over the dusty plain. Erosion has slowly carved this landscape out of rocks that are over 2,500 million years old.

For me I knew the next five days at Karijini National Park would be packed with photo shoots from sunrise to sunset and possibly beyond. Not much sleep for me… Hmmm… I wonder how long the human body can survive without sleep :)…

Karijini

Karijini

Karijini

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Albert Tognolini Rest Area…

by on Nov.17, 2015, under Life, Photography

Soon after leaving Bea Bea rest area we started entering wildflower country. For the next few weeks we’d be travelling through a countryside literally bursting with colour.

Lavender Pathways

Lavender Pathways

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 90 mm, 1/400 sec at f/8, ISO 800

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

Auski Roadhouse is situated in pivotal location for travellers heading north. The Roadhouse lies at the junction of the Great Northern Highway, Wittenoom Meekatharra Road and Munjina Wittenoom Road and is the last fuel stop (in our case before Tom Price in many days time). It also lies on the edge of Karijini National Park.

Auski Roadhouse

Auski Roadhouse

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28 mm, 1/125 sec at f/8, ISO 100

We really are in red dirt country – and I mean REALLY red. I’m not exactly sure why they bothered with white tiles walls in the showers/toilets :).

Every now and then even some handheld shots through the windscreen whilst my father was driving worked :).

This is one of those times when Nikon’s new Auto-ISO capabilities really come in useful. When I was in the car I simply set my D750 to AutoISO with the minimum shutter speed set to four (4) times the focal length. My aim was to get a relatively sharp image from a moving platform.

Grand Ranges

Grand Ranges

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 58 mm, 1/250 sec at f/8, ISO 360

We didn’t stay at this absolute gem of a location but just had a morning tea stop at Albert Tognolini Rest Area. It’s about 2km east of the Great Northern Highway in the area of Juna Downs with spectacular views of this gorge.

Albert Tognolini was the district roads engineer for northwest Western Australia in 1960s and retired as Commissioner in 1990 after almost 41 years with Main Roads of Western Australia.

Albert Tognolini View

Albert Tognolini View

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28 mm, 1/30 sec at f/16, ISO 140

It was a beautiful spot with a fantastic high lookout view of this vista.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28 mm, 1/30 sec at f/16, ISO 140

Just time for a few handheld shots before driving on.

We were heading into Karijini National Park today… Ever since I first read we’d be coming here I was sooo looking forward to coming here. The stories of this epic photographic location were almost legendary.

These deep red exposed rock walls, slopes and plateaus covered in grass and spinifex and the ever present ghost gums. It’s exactly as I’d envisaged it might be and it was so close now I could almost taste it.

Red and Green

Red and Green

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, 1/320 sec at f/8, ISO 720

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