Category Archives: Broome

Help protect the pristine Kimberley

I have blogged about James Price Point several times before, recent post from March is here. Thankfully, thanks to the campaigns to save the Kimberley and James Price Point and a recent Four Corners program on Australia’s ABC; the debate about the proposed LNG gas complex project is on again. You can watch the Four Corners show online here, highly recommended as there are some great interviews and new information. Do read Christian Fletcher’s post as well.

Wilderness Society in Australia is running a new multimedia campaign, you can visit here and please support by adding a message. We are not just trying to save James Price Point, we are trying to save the entire wild pristine Kimberley area and wildlife from being destroyed forever by becoming a built up industrialised area. Most people realise that the gas development needs to happen in some way, we all need energy. I am no saint myself, far from it, I travel a lot so I unfortunately pollute more than most people, and that is quite a shameful fact. But we want everyone in charge to realise there is already a huge infrastructure in the Pilbara’s which can be utilised. We do not want the remarkable, the spectacular Kimberley coast ruined, there are alternatives and public pressure can hopefully change the decision and pipe the gas to the Pilbara. If you can and like, please help save the Kimberley!

I will end this short post with another of my images created at James Price Point. This is almost straight out of camera, just a bit of levels and sharpening. I left the image as is to show the natural beauty of this place, at low tide this is really what you can expect at James Price Point:

remarkable james price point - blog

I have also updated my James Price Point video:

  

Links:

Wilderness Australia Multimedia Campaign

Save The Kimberley

Hands Off Country blog

Wilderness Society Australia – Kimberley

ABC 4 Corners Kimberley Special

Primary Colours at James Price Point

Last week in Broome, Western Australia, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Nigel Gaunt of Red Dirt Photography. In his 4WD we drove one hour North of Broome on a great orange outback dirt road taking us to the beautiful James Price Point, home of untouched beautiful coastline with deep ochre red rocks. And not a soul anywhere, well actually it was quite busy today as 3 other people was in a boat fishing!

I was lucky to visit this beautiful place last year as well, and get some great shots at high tide.  This time we caught James Price Point at low tide resulting in some brilliant reflections and the red rocks glowing alive at sunset. Nigel loves this place and I think he really considers it his spiritual home, it is a special and peaceful place that can offer a slice of magic and I agree with Nigel that James Price Point is truly special.

My best James Price Point image is from last year, but I am quite happy with this Primary Colours image (title thanks to my friend Signe):

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This is just a single image cropped, looking at it now I sort of wished I shot this stitched to get more pixels. I was in a hurry though, as the good light on the rocks fades so quickly and it is a race against time to capture a few images let alone stitched panos! I think I prefer James Price Point at high tide. Although the reflections at low tide are fantastic, high tides offers action with large waves beating against the coast; a terrific contrast to the peaceful rocks.

The pristine beautiful James Price Point will be one of the places affected by the LNG gas hub if it goes ahead. Needless to say Nigel is deeply involved in the fight to save it. I really hope this beautiful place is saved, I somehow fear that if the mining companies get their foot in the door here, Kimberley as we know it will be gone. I will end with a few links, and let you make up your own mind about the matter:

Save The Kimberley

Wilderness Society – Kimberley campaign

Hands off Country blog

James Price Point and shooting video with the Canon 5D Mk II

Recently I finally found some time to get creative with video editing, something I have wanted to do for a very long time. The result of my video editing baby steps is just a very basic little movie of the absolutely gorgeous pristine coastline of James Price Point, Western Australia. Edited entirely in iMovie from a Canon 5D Mk II recording and featuring a few of my landscapes from James Price Point and the wonderful music of James Newton Howard from Blood Diamond soundtrack; this is Images of James Price Point:

Images of James Price Point, click to see larger on Vimeo

I use Vimeo.com for hosting videos although I feel out of place as Vimeo has so many extremely talented videomakers uploading absolutely magical videos. Have a look at my ‘likes’ on Vimeo and you shall see some amazing stunning work by people like Tom @ Timescapes and Mike Fletcher.

The first of my video editing attempts but definitely not the last. Now that I have experienced how much fun video shooting and editing is I wish I had shot a lot more on my previous trip and will surely shoot a lot on upcoming adventures!

Shooting video with the Canon 5D Mk II

Finally; I want to share some of my experience with shooting video on the Canon 5D Mk II on an actual production. During a corporate shoot in Malaysia and on Borneo in June 09 with Michael Rastrup from Danish Tv2 and Georg from Livingfilms.com we used my 5D Mk II quite a bit for the video as it soon became apparent the quality blew the JVC proHD camera away. Here’s a few of my experiences:

  • It is fun! It is an incredible amount of fun to be a still photographer and suddenly finding yourself shooting video on your still camera! I loved it!
  • Can’t do both simultaneously. Video shooting is incredibly time consuming and it is hard to try and do landscape photography at the same time.
  • The firmware allowing complete manual control of video shooting had just been released and I installed it on day 2 of shooting. It is absolutely essential, giving you complete control of exposure and aperture during video shooting.
  • Mounted on a great Sachtler tripod with a fluid head you forget it’s a still camera. The 5D Mk II becomes a video camera – but a good video tripod is essential for any sort of shooting and panning. The 5D is really terrible to handhold while shooting video, impossible to keep steady.
  • We were a bit perplexed at first trying to get footage from the 5D to co-exist in Final Cut with footage from the JVC. The 5D footage kept skipping. 5D shoots at 30 frames, cannot be changed, JVC shoots at 25 or 50 frames. We ended up using MPEG streamclip to convert all 5D footage to 25 frames and that solved the problem. There are rumours of an upcoming firmware for the 5D allowing us to shoot at 24 and 25fps also – highly needed!
  • Internal microphone is useless and the mini-jack microphone line input probably not a lot better. You really need a separate recorder I think. We actually recorded the audio on the JVC as that had XLR inputs and a headphone monitoring option, essential.
  • Shallow DOF created by 35mm sensor and shooting at f/4.0 is amazing on video! We shot some awesome close ups and over the shoulder shots.
  • High iso rocks! We shot indoors in offices, blinds closed, just a tiny spotlight and got beautiful results.
  • Shooting video eats the battery quickly as is to be expected and I only had one battery, this was back when Canon could not produce batteries. Re-charging at every chance possible was essential.
  • I can’t show the footage so you will just have to take my word for it – video on a 5D shot at 17mm from the back of a jeep driving through a palm plantation looks mindblowing! 17mm looks amazing on video as well as stills.
  • Oh one final tip, mostly for myself, try not to walk into tripod while you shoot (something I did several times)!

My videos on Vimeo

I recently upgraded my Vimeo.com membership to Plus status, and uploaded a few of my Canon 5D Mk II videos – more to come.

Before my 12 days assignment in June in Malaysia and Borneo, shooting video did not really enter into my thoughts when I was working. However, working with Michael from TV Asia and Georg from Livingfilms.com opened my eyes to how much fun video shooting is. The video quality of the Canon 5D Mk II is outstanding so we ended up using my camera quite a bit, mounted on a great Sachtler video tripod with me as the camera operator (I have all the raw footage and on more than one occasion I can be heard saying ‘action!’. Oh dear! Spielberg syndrome). It was a great and fun learning experience.

When I get the time I plan to edit some small movies from my travels. For now, enjoy the raw footage on my Vimeo profile. Here are a few movies embedded, but I recommend clicking text links (click the title in the video to view them at large size on Vimeo instead of these embedded videos. With a fast connection, you should click on ‘HD’ in the video player on Vimeo to enjoy the movies in HD. 

Life on the river, in the town of Pangkalan Bun, Borneo

Speed boat through Borneo’s jungle

James Price Point, Broome, West Australia

And while you are on Vimeo, check out the incredible videos from Mike Fletcher!

Three Men in a Troopie

Plans. Some say life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. I disagree. Life is simply What Happens, plans or no plans. Sometimes What Happens when you have no plans is rather incredible though. Such as Casey Smith inviting me along on his and Rod Thomas’ 12 day Cape Leveque And Karijini Photography Expedition – CAKE09 – travelling and shooting thousands of kilometres of Western Australia landscapes from Broome to Cape Leveque to Broome to Karijini National Park to Broome!

So begins the tale of Three Men in a Troopie. Fellow photographers and Aussies Casey Smith and Rod Thomas and yours truly the international superstar (cough) in Casey’s Toyota Landcruiser “Troopie”. Three Men, 5 cameras, 3 tripods, swags, tents, food, drinks and Australia’s largest state. This epic journey will be the topic of several posts to come, so what follows are just a teaser (long teaser) and some quick ‘n rough developed images (cropped single shots, no stitching, laptop is already dying by Lightroom and tropical heat). Many more images to come from our expedition to these fantastic CAKE09 destinations:

Cape Leveque

The remote corner of Cape Leveque is 200 kilometres north of Broome in a 4WD, home to white beaches, blue skies and red cliffs. And Three Men in a Beach shelter. The shelter is really 3 walls and a roof made of palm leaves. It is perfect, we had an outstanding camp right on the beach (all houses should have sand for floors!). Outstanding camp. Outstanding fun. Outstanding weather. Outstanding photographers. Cape Leveque slightly less outstanding though. Nice and beautiful, sure, and we did get some great clouds. But, pristine, not. Too many photo-wreckers (people), too many foot prints in the sand. Something is up with the horizon here as well. I shot some horribly crooked images including one mega crooked horizon shot (I blame the beach, tripod was sinking) that I promised Rod I would post un-edited…stay tuned! Having shot every angle we left one day early as we wanted to do a sunset shot at…

James Price Point

Just 60 kilometres north of Broome it is what Cape Leveque isn’t. Untouched. Cliffs are higher and a deeper red, blues are bluer, whites are whiter, beaches are pristine and no photo-wreckers (people), all serenity! Price Point will soon have a large gas hub on the beach though – Save the Kimberley! – so get up there and get your images before you have to clone out a gas pipe line on this beach:

Price Point. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Marble Bar

The hottest town in Australia, a fact the town is very proud of. Record is 167 straight days with temperatures reaching 40+ degrees. Population…well, the couple running the caravan park (they opened the office when we arrived at 3pm, not the busiest day ever), two women and two kids at the Info office and we saw the same couple with two kids twice. So population, around 11-12 people. We pit-stopped here for one day on the way to Karijini having arrived via the lesser known but extremely beautiful Boreline dirt road, taking us through some amazing Pilbara landscapes that are truly spectacular:

Boreline Road to Marble Bar. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Possibly the funniest quote of CAKE09 is also from Marble Bar. Having asked for directions to the caravan park at the Information/Internet/Tele office, we asked for a good spot to shoot the sunset. “Oh you mean photography” says Info Woman and proceeds “You should ask Steve. He’s down at the Garage. He’s an amateur photographer. He is REALLY good!”. Steve, if you read this, we are not knocking your work, it just came out extremely funny! Incidentally, when shooting the sunset in Marble Bar do not go to the top of the Water Tank hill. View is remarkably ordinary. We should have asked Steve. I did shoot a stitched pano of Marble Bar at sunset from the water tank, a piece of art I plan to flog to the Info Woman, I think it is just what tourism in Marble Bar needs.

Karijini National Park

More than 1,000 kilometres south of Broome in the heart of Western Australia’s Pilbara region is the Karijini National Park. Home to gorgeous gorges with waterfalls, water holes and steep beautiful iron rich deep ochre coloured rock walls. Home to beautiful Pilbara landscapes featuring the Hamersley Ranges, blue sky, ochre red dirt, golden yellow and green spinifex grass and white gum trees. Also home to Three Men in a Tent for 7 days!

I am all about ‘Grandscapes’, shots of wide open spaces with sky and horizon. So while Casey and Rod abseiled into gorges on their private tour with the excellent West Oz Active guides, I explored the red soil topside by for example hiking Mt Vigors with the excellent RemTrek Adventures. View from the 900 meter peak is outstanding, offering a 360 degree panoramic view of the region. One of my images of the outstanding sunset from Mount Vigors:

Mount Vigors. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I also shot several gorges and pools but I am not so confident about the results. Could not shoot a good water shot to save my life although I may have done another waterfall shot I like. Images will be a while to come, as I shot many of them as HDRs and they need work to work, so stay tuned, and also read the blogs from Casey and Rod for beautiful gorge images from their abseiling adventures.

Last day in Karijini rain was forecast and the clouds brought us a beautiful sunrise with a touch of Pilbara Magic. Shooting into the rising sun, clouds on fire, I look back and am awestruck. Big fat rain clouds are lit up over the Hamersley Ranges and a perfect 180 degree rainbow hovers above it. It is astoundingly beautiful. Unfortunately before I find a composition, rainbow is fading as quickly as it appeared, leaving me with this image and many more gorgeous cloudscapes that was a perfect end to Karijini for me:

Karijini Sunrise. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Camping at the Karijini Eco Retreat (no fancy expensive eco tents for us, I brought my outstanding $32 tent from Coles supermarket, a tent which Casey actually ended up using) is a great and true outback Pilbara experience, sleeping right on the Pilbara red rocks. Outstanding fun was had at camp again. But also a bit cold at night. Karijini in June is winter, 20-25 midday but gets down to 5 or even colder at night. One time it was warmer in the fridge than outside. One morning there was rim frost. My brain does not pack well at 6am so I left warm woolly sweater purchased in Namibia + my jacket back in Broome! Only the tough survive – using a National Geographic windbreaker. I also hope deep ochre red colour comes into fashion. My skin and my clothes will be very trendy!

Three Men in a Troopie – to be continued

I have just scratched the surface (and stolen the title from Tim Flannery), many more CAKE09 images and stories to come. My deepest thanks to Casey and Rod for inviting me along, do check out their websites and blogs, they are REALLY good! Casey Smith: web and blog. Rod Thomas: web and blog.

Randomness

  • Karijini and gravity. First I dropped my 77mm filter adapter ring into Joffre Gorge. Went pling-pling-splash then floated down a waterfall. Brilliant. Means I now hand hold filters resulting in more than one shot with my fingers in the image! Numbnuts here also dropped 77mm lens cap in rocks, spent 30 minutes finding it again. Then dropped it again at Dales Gorge but got it back. Driving back to Broome we get out to shoot the clouds, I had been videoing road trains so had my camera in my lap. First thing to fall out of my door onto dirt road – is my lens cap!
  • Western Australia is one huge state. Friday Super Driver Casey in his Super Troopie truck drove from Karijini to Paraburdoo to drop Rod at the airport, then from Paraburdoo to Broome. 1230 kilometres from 5.00am to 6.30pm. Longest I’ve ever travelled in a car in one day and on the map it doesn’t even look like all that much as shown here. Turned on GPS once in a while to check progress, at one point it says “turn left in 395 kilometres!”. Great Northern Highway is really great and really long!
  • Rod’s Manfrotto tripod with leveling base and huge 3-way head is so heavy it should be registered as a lethal weapon. Watch yourself if you walk behind him, when Rod wears this giant on his shoulder and swings around you could be knocked sideways into the neighbouring gorge!

All in a day’s work for Mother Nature

Nature never ceases to amaze me. No matter how many days, nights, sunrises and sunsets I experience, Mother Nature always comes up with something new. It is one of the reasons I love landscape photography so much. Trying to capture these short moments of magic that most people never see, never experience, never even notice. I can think of no greater thing to point my camera at than Nature itself. We pale in comparison.

I previously mentioned that the laws of physics seemed warped in Namibia. The clear desert air removed all filters, we had pure 100% Nature. That horizon seemed to always be at infinity. That sky was twice as tall as anything else. After shooting in the desert we would be driving home through the gravel desert. Driving West towards the coast and Swakopmund we were going straight into the most striking fiery red and orange post-dusk light in a banner on the horizon. Not dusk really, but post-dusk, a good 30-40 minutes after sunset. In every other direction no light existed, except for a million stars like diamonds in the sky. To the right perhaps the moon. And always to the left, our trusty night sky companion – The Southern Cross. One time we just had to stop, kill the engine, get out and stare into the universe. Stare back into time. No words can describe it, no camera can capture it. You have to be there.

I have attempted to capture some of Nature’s work. They are not necessarily art, but are simply attempts to document Nature warping the laws of physics!

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Glowing night clouds in Namibia. This is not dusk light. The sunset lit up the clouds, then they went dark. Then dusk light lit up the clouds, then they went dark. But then…they lit up again! On fire. It was pitch black except for these night clouds on fire. I stared in disbelief, finally had to get out and try and document this. It was pitch black, couldn’t see the camera. It was also blowing a gale. It is a 10 second exposure, iso400, f/6.3 – tells you how little light there was. Live view on my camera gave up, was just blackness. Couldn’t see much in viewfinder so I just pointed. And got this. Night clouds on fire. White part in top right corner is the moon, shame I didn’t get that. The ‘frozen wave’ on the horizon is the infamous mist/fog coming in to swallow the coast and Swakopmund!

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Dusk lighting up the atmosphere in the Namib gravel Desert, opposite direction of the setting sun. The blue line is actually the earth’s shadow, it is blocking the dusk light from hitting air particles in the lower part of the sky – hence the pink/blue banners. I have seen this many times before but never so clear, so colourful as in the desert! Desert makes everything clearer.

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Rain cloud in the Namib Desert, you can see where it touches the ground. Most rain in the desert never hits the ground, it evaporates long time before that. This is a rain cloud that gave us a few hundred drops of water in the middle of the desert for about two minutes. Just enough to register some drops on the windscreen. We experienced rain in the desert! When locals tell you “we had 15 centimeters of rain” that means that they measured the distance between the rain drops and they were 15cm apart!

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And lastly, a sunset from Cable Beach in Australia where Mother Nature really turned on all the party lights and just lit up every cloud! She also kindly arranged a low tide so I could get mega reflections. I have a stitched 180 degree pano of this coming up, actually for a full 360 degrees the sky was on fire. A 5 minute demonstration of power, of Mother Nature having a party!

The camera’s we use nowadays are incredibly advanced hi-tech tools. Yet I always feel I am holding the equivalent of a stone age tool when Nature flexes it’s muscles. Nothing can capture that. Will not ever keep me from trying though! Won’t keep me from having my head in the clouds, walking into things!
I am a Nature Junkie!

A day with the Jarlmadangah mob

This week I had the pleasure of visiting the Jarlmadangah Burru aboriginal community and spending a day out in their gorgeous Country. I am fascinated and have a deep respect and interest in the indigenous people of this world and had a fantastic time learning about law, culture and history of the two language groups in Jarlmadangah Burru. One of the young fellas, Angus, in training to be a tour guide, even tried to teach me a lot of words in the Nyikina language! Not easy, it is a complicated language to repeat!

In almost every country in the world where white man appeared and stole the land by planting a flag (see Eddie Izzard’s funny ‘do you have a flag?’ skit), the indigenous people suffered terribly. Namibia was and is certainly no exception, the Herero were almost wiped out systematically, San people removed from their land – and they still have apparently the greatest economic disparity in the world. Denmark is no exception. Australia is no exception. Australia has treated the original, the first Australians, absolutely appallingly. Removing them from their Country (after having called Australia uninhabited in the first place to get around any legal problems). Slave labour on stations, murder, rape, massacres etc. Passing a law that says the police will come and take your children. Think about it. Say your government passed a law that meant the police showed up, stole your children, you would never see them again! Introduction of alcohol has also been devastating for aboriginal communities. 50 to 60,000 years of culture, knowledge and law on the verge of extinction. A rich country like Australia and the Original Australians live in 3rd world country conditions. I am quite often ashamed to be white but that’s just me.

Anyway, it is a topic of another long post some day -  it was a pleasure to see a dry (meaning no alcohol) community like Jarlmadanga Burru working so well and I loved the short time I got to spend with Harry the elder and the rest of the guys at the community! It was great fun and a privilege to gain such insight! Wish I could have spend a week with you fellas!  I went with their own tour company, owned by the community – “Purely Unreal” Kimberley Dreamtime Adventure Tours. Great, albeit slightly long name! I highly recommend this tour. If you are in Broome I would say you have to do this, it is that good! You will have a brilliant, fun day with people from the community, do a camel ride (Harry the elder loves his camels!) in the gorgeous Country, see rock art and have a unique experience! I wanted to spend two days out there, unfortunately only the one-day tour was running but if I am lucky I will go again on the two-day tour.

This day was all about the experience, not about photography. But of course, I did shoot a few ‘snapshots’ with the 5D mk II

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Large boab trees lead the way to the community

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Boys from the community having fun!

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Beautiful Jarlmadangah Burru Country!

Their Country is gorgeous, I could shoot for weeks in there. The largest boabs I have ever seen. White gorgeous snappy gum trees, red rock, caves with rock arts. Just confirms what I already knew from Hawk Dreaming – some of the best areas of Australia are fortunately not accessible to the public! We can only hope it stays that way, although if the mining companies have their way, Kimberley will be one big mine soon!

For more images, check out the beautiful gallery at the tour site for Purely Unreal Kimberley Dreamtime Adventure Tours! And next time you are in Broome, this is the tour to do! If you would like to know more about aboriginal culture, law and country, I know some great books, do email me.