Category Archives: Kimberley

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

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)!

Capturing Mitchell Falls

I am on record for not being a big fan of waterfall images in general. Unless you place that running water in an wide open interesting context and show the surrounds I find close-ups of running water not so interesting. Wanting to get a nice waterfall image in my portfolio while in Western Australia I figured I might as well get a big one! Or rather, four big ones as Mitchell Falls is not technically one but four stringed together.

Mitchell Falls are found on the Mitchell Plateau, off the Gibb River Road in far north Kimberley, Western Australia. Access requires either a plane or a fun but spine-breaking 5-6 hours of driving on a corrugated rocky dirt road turning north from the Gibb River Road up the Kalumburu Road. The Gibb is a highway compared to the Kalumburu, especially the last 90 k’s to the Mitchell Falls camp ground. I went with my mate’s company All Terrain 4WD Safari and we broke both back shock absorbers going up there! Hardly felt it though, was so bumpy anyway! Just a few days earlier, two 4WDs had rolled over on the road, so if you go up here, safety first and get all the up to minute advice on the road condition from Drysdale River Station.

Once at Mitchell Falls campground you trek about 4-5 gorgeous kilometres through the outback crossing rivers and other waterfalls to get to the Mighty Mitchell Falls. Safely arrived you trek around the waterfall and this is where the real fun begins – find a good spot for shooting without actually testing gravity too much! The area is bushy and rocky and first of all with a steep drop into a huge plunge pool. Very much like the wall you see on the left side of the image below. I did not want any foreground protruding into my image rather I wanted a clean composition. I accomplished this somewhat hanging over the edge, holding on to camera, tripod and cable release with one hand, holding on to a tree with the other hand. With the waterfall roaring loudly in front of me almost shaking the ground this was quite a thrilling shoot.

I used my 9 stop ND filter to slow down time or rather prolong the exposure (how awesome if this thing could really slow down time!). Unable to look through the viewfinder – that would test gravity too much – live view was extremely handy for composing this 2 image vertically stitched panorama. I like this composition as there’s a great sense of height here.

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Mitchell Falls vertical panorama
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I am also releasing this image as a horizontal panorama as well as seen below. Must cover all bases now that I finally captured a waterfall!

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Mitchell Falls panorama
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

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!

Kimberley, final frontier, no shock absorbers

Kimberley. Final Frontier. Captain’s log, stardate 8975.1. We received a distress call from bloody tourists lost in the wild and have been sent to investigate. We are not at warp speed 9 but bumping along on a corrugated washboard-like dirt road that threatens to dislocate every bone in our body. Scotty is keeping the engine alive with a never ending supply of Scottish swear words. Our phasers are useless in this setting and have been replaced by cans of mossie repellant. First officer Flemming has clearly lost it, keeps repeating ‘Into the Wild’.

The Gibb River Road and the Kimberley area of Australia is often described as the ‘final frontier’. Well, Space is the final frontier, but the Kimberley is still a wild, remote, rough and reasonably untouched wilderness part of Australia. Three times the size of England, home to only 35,000 people but you will be surprised by the amount of people you meet since there is only one main road. But  you can at least pretend you’re charting uncharted territory as you bump along on corrugated dirt roads into the wild:

Kimberley. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Driving the Gibb River Road is as much about the journey as the destination. Photographic opportunities are there but can be few and far between. I have a knack for attracting extraordinary light and clouds but used up most of this year’s supply in Namibia. Light was bland, but the journey was amazing, had a brilliant time with a brilliant group, got the shots I wanted and the shots I promised my mate at All Terrain Safaris. A brilliant journey! A few highlights:

Windjana Gorge at dawn

If you are a regular reader, you know I love Windjana gorge as described in this post. The power of this place is awesome. This time I walked in the gorge at 5am in the darkness, the eyes of freshwater crocodiles reflected in torch light. Many people do not think much of Windjana Gorge, but it is my favourite gorge in The Kimberley. You can feel the Bunuba people’s spirit here as you stand in between the mighty towering walls of what was once a coral reef under water in the Devonian period, some 350 million years ago! You can also feel the pain of Bunuba’s massacred by the police.

Composition is hard here and it helps to re-visit this gorge a few times. The view is so wide you need to stitch a lot of shots to capture the grandscape here, this is just a quick cropped jpeg preview of a wide angle shot at sunrise:

Windjana Gorge. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography.

Mitchell Plateau

The Mitchell Plateau and mighty Mitchell Falls was new for me, was my main mission and what an awe inspiring experience it was. And I am not easily impressed by waterfalls. A waterfall itself is boring, but string 4 of them together, have them roaring down a massive plateau shaking the ground you walk on ending with an 80 meter fall into a massive pool surrounded by towering walls -  and I am mighty impressed!

To find a vantage point without trees or grass in your shot takes courage, dedication and a love of spinifix grass cutting up your legs! I scouted the very rocky bushy area and without falling into the abyss, found a good spot someway down a cliff face. I had my tripod right on the edge of a 200 meter drop, holding on to a tree with one hand, cable release in the other. I had the 4 tiered Mitchell Falls roaring in front of me drowning all sounds and the abyss threatening to swallow me. A sensational and humbling experience of power, Mother Nature showing off!

Mitchell Falls. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography.

As you can see I used a bit of my powers to attract beautiful clouds on this special day, was the one day with nice light!

The Gibb River Road is a bumpy corrugated dirt road but having just been grated it was in very good condition. Now the Gibb is a six lane tar highway compared to parts of the Kalumburu Road leading up to the Mitchell Falls. Rocky, bumpy, treachery with river crossings, it is 6-8 hours of bone and car breaking track! Day before we got there, two 4wds rolled over on the track. We only broke off both back shock absorbers (shockies) on the truck. Not that it made much difference, track is so rough you hardly feel the difference, shockies or no shockies!

King Brown Snake

I like snakes and I have finally seen a King Brown Snake in the wild! They are highly venomous and have a bit of a reputation of being aggressive but I reckon you are fine with snakes as long as you do not step on them or do anything stupid like pick them up! This King Brown Snake was spotted at night, 10 meters from our camp. About 1,6 meters long it was obviously cold and shy, moving very slowly through the grass just trying to get to cover. So beautiful. Peaceful. Potentially lethal. I slept fine outside under the stars in my swag, no worries, happy to have met and share camp with a King Brown.

Randomness

  • 4 weeks of walking in bare feet or thongs (flip-flops) have almost cured my toes. And made me hate socks and shoes, back to nature, into the wild in bare feet! My feet will never get clean again, a little warning to Rod and Casey who I will soon be going on road trips with!
  • My little portfolio photo book is a huge success and I really recommend bringing something like this with you as a travelling photographer. Had I brought 50 copies I would have sold them all (and had to pay for a bit of overweight on the plane with the earnings!). I have been taking orders from everyone interested, a photo book from me is definitely coming up later this year so stay tuned.
  • What the hell is going on with me and mossies on this trip? I continue to donate blood, I continue my love/hate relationship (they love me, I hate them) but this is getting ridiculous. I tempt fate by sleeping outside of course but even on Cable Beach they track me down and have a feast. Fresh Scandinavian blood is obviously a delicacy for mossies!

Gibb River Road and We eat the snake!

I will be offline for 8 days as I depart Wednesday for a trip up the good old Gibb River Road in Kimberley, Australia! I am going with All Terrain Safaris, I am friends with the manager and in return for the trip, will be shooting landscapes for me – and him. He has also asked me for some ‘people shots’ for his website so I’ll have to remember to disable my Anti-Face-Recognition software! We’re going up the Mitchell Plateau up to Mitchell Falls where I have never been before. Should be interesting, the Mitchell road is so bad it breaks 4WDs in half and eat them for breakfast and people regularly get stuck up there!
Until I return, enjoy my personal favourite of all my Kimberley images:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Kimberley, Silent Grove Sunrise Panorama
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Randomness

  • Many years working in IT, dealing with servers, storage, faulty hard drives, corrupted files, blown up controller, blown brain cells on operator (me) has made me paranoid about data protection – see my post on backing up your images. While travelling I have 4 copies of each RAW file. The images from Namibia are priceless, irreplaceable, can never be re-shot. The light we had was one in a million, the trip I had was unique. So I am not formatting the memory cards from Namibia (memory cards are almost impossible to kill). And I still have 4 copies on 4 hard drives of each RAW file. I even carry one, a small WDC Passport drive, everywhere I go so even if my room is raided, or the backpackers burn down – I still have my files!!!!! Like I said, paranoid! Storage is cheap, my images are priceless (to me at least). Murphy’s Law is real and he was a very optimistic person!
  • Having not walked into anything seriously for two weeks my sprained foot and toes (one of them at a strange new angle?) are ready for outback action. Hope the Flying Doctors answers our call as I foresee beautiful clouds and me walking into more things! Need new bionic left leg!
  • Absolutely brilliant quote from the brilliant book ‘Someone Else’s Country’ by Peter Docker, spoken by an aboriginal elder. Adam is of Adam and Eve of course. ‘Mob’ basically means people or group.
    “We’re not Adam’s mob though.
    Snake come offering apple?
    We eat the snake! haha!”
    I want that on a T-shirt! Snake offers apple? I eat the snake!

The Unchosen Ones

On a busy day at a world class location like Hawk Dreaming or Purnululu National Park I may end up with hundreds of different compositions and several hundreds RAW files. I then spend many hours in Adobe Lightroom in preview mode, marking my ‘picks’ simply by pressing P. I repeat this until I feel I have found and developed all my Chosen Ones.

After a bit of time it can be a great eye opening exercise to filter out the picks and look at the rest with fresh eyes. Often there are subtle gems and future favourites hidden in these rejects; pictures that were left behind when all the obvious choices screamed “pick me! pick me!”. These are the stories of 3 photos that were picked late in the game but ended up outshining others:

Having climbed up into a rock art cave in darkness; I witness first light looking out over the Hawk Dreaming landscape. This shot is not wide angle for a change, but a 100mm zoom view of Cannon Hill in the misty morning light:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Misty Morning at Cannon Hill
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Trekking in the Bungle Bungle Ranges is an otherworldly experience. This image of blue sky, white gum trees and orange rock is perhaps only for outback fanatics like myself; but I like it very much:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Bungle Bungle Ranges landscape
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Purnululu National Park has very quickly become one of my favourite spots in Australia. Watching the sun fire up the colours of the orange Bungle Bungle Ranges is a visual wonder:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Bungle Bungle range in the setting sun
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

The Unchosen Ones. Often ending up being some of my very favourite images!