Busy time in the Pilbara…

Today would be an insanely long and busy day in the Pilbara for me…

Oxer Pastels

Oxer Pastels

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 2.5 sec at f/8, ISO 100

I was getting up before dawn to go on my first shoot in one of the three best (IMHO) gorges in Karijini (Hancock Gorge). Then I’d rush back to camp late morning to pick up my parents and drive for an hour to Tom Price. I’d pick up my daughter there (she went on a mine tour in the morning). We’d all have lunch in Tom Price before my daughter and I would make the long drive (an hour+) to another of the three best gorges in Karijini (Hamersley Gorge). We’d spend the afternoon there exploring and shooting till just after sunset. We’d climb out of that gorge and then would make the very long drive (90+min) on horrendous dirt roads in the dark back to the Eco Retreat before arriving there around 8PM.

Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park

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.

Busy Busy Busy…

So let’s start at the beginning before the insanity starts…

I wake early, not too early – I’ve mentioned before that (unless we have nice clouds and a nice twilight) there’s probably little point shooting in the gorges before the sun is above the horizon and hitting the tops of the gorge walls and reflecting down into the gorges.

So I wasn’t planning to be at the gorge an hour before sunrise but I did want to get there a little before sunrise.

Thankfully it’s just a short 15 minute drive from the Eco Retreat to Weano Recreation Area. I parked first at the car park right at the end (near Junction Pool Lookout) a good twenty minutes before the 6:30AM sunrise.

Weano Recreation Area

Weano Recreation Area

Weano Recreation Area

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.

It was already quite light so I made the short (literally just a few minutes) walk out to the two lookouts (Junction Pool Lookout and then Oxer Lookout).

Oxer Lookout provides you with a view of the junction of Weano, Red, Hancock and Joffre gorges. Here, tiers of banded rock tower over deep pools at the bottom. Immediately to the north of the lookout is Weano Gorge, with Red Gorge more or less straight ahead, but slightly to the east. Joffre Gorge lies to the south of Red Gorge, and Hancock Gorge is on the south side.

Up top is the first shot of the day – it was beautiful and peaceful and even though there were no clouds to be seen the pastels had come out to play for just a few minutes. The shot was taken only a few minutes before sunrise looking left (towards Weano Gorge) from the Oxer Lookout platform.

Clinging for Life

Clinging for Life

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1.6 sec at f/8, ISO 100

This tree clinging for life dangling off the side of the magnificent column of hard red rocks has been made famous by the many classic shots of it. I did try to get a good shot of it but I just couldn’t get a framing or composition I was happy with. I wanted that look of just the tree highlighted by the rising sun with the rest of the background dipping into shadow. Perhaps it would work better with some clouds to soften the hard light.

Either way I was eager to get down into the gorge and make my way to Kermit’s Pool.

Time for just a couple more shots with the sun rising rapidly and highlighting the layers of the landscape.

This view is looking north from Oxer Lookout. Here we’re looking over the top of where Handrail Pool is with Weano Gorge snaking off past the top left corner.

Cracks

Cracks

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 31 mm, 1/2 sec at f/16, ISO 100

Red Earth

Red Earth

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 62 mm, 1/2 sec at f/11, ISO 100

This shot is looking south from Oxer Lookout over the top of Junction Pool and Joffre creek. These are classic Karijini with their magnificent gorge walls topped with layers of spinifex and ghost gums under a clear blue sky.

Sandwiched

Sandwiched

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/2 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Time for a few quick shots at Junction Pool Lookout before heading off to the main event.