Rodney Campbell's Blog

Glen Davis Oil Shale Ruins…

by on Jul.13, 2016, under Life, Photography

One of the most interesting things at Glen Davis is the Glen Davis Works oil shale ruins.

It operated from 1940 until 1952 and was the last oil shale operation in Australia until the Stuart Oil Shale Project in the late 1990s.



NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 30 sec at f/2.8, ISO 6400

The operation was an important strategic resource during the war era. The refinery used to produce shale oil for national defence purposes from the shale mined within the valley. In its heyday about 2,500 people lived in the township of Glen Davis. Today, the ruins of this once thriving industry can be toured every Saturday at 2pm.

Chasing Shale

Chasing Shale

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 30 sec at f/2.8, ISO 6400

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

If you are staying on the property however you are able to move about the property fairly freely.

The place is spooky enough during the day :). I’d done a little research before coming here and had worked out that the location might be good for some Milky Way shots at night. It appeared that the location was far away and protected from light pollution way down at the bottom the valley. Providing that the environmental conditions were right.

As it happened we were staying within days of a new moon – tick. Even better both nights we were there we were blessed with crystal clear skies with no clouds – epic!

So on the first evening I headed straight out after dark to capitalise on the conditions. Once at the nearby ruins of the oil shale factory I set to work :).

The skies here were really dark so I was easily able to shoot at ISO 6400 @ f/2.8. These are settings I usually reserve for very dark locations. Not since I was up in far north Western Australia last year have I seen the Milky Way this clearly with the naked eye.

The two images up top were taken with the largest mostly intact structure on the site. I’ve added a little light painting to lift the building out of the darkness.

Below I’m standing within the skeletal remains of a large building. Looking up we’ve the view of the Milky Way streaking through the skies above.

Stars Tumbling

Stars Tumbling

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 30 sec at f/2.8, ISO 6400

Are you are interested in experiencing this epic location for yourself (in real life :))… Interested in two nights of dedicated astrophotography coaching and tuition… If so definitely sign up for this excellent Shoot for the Stars × Capertee workshop being held at this location with Luke Tscharke & Jay Evans in September this year.

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