Tag Archives: gorge

Bells Gorge – with falling water

I am on record for not being a big fan of photos of waterfalls. I very often find them quite boring and there are too many ordinary waterfall photos in galleries around the world for my taste. A long exposure close-up photo of a waterfall is a winner with most customers and viewers but not for me; I have little fascination with water. I am a desert man. An interesting waterfall shot has to at least place the waterfall into context and show the surroundings. Ken Duncan and his incredible eye for composition is very good at this as demonstrated in his Mitchell Plateu shot. With no surroundings it is simply water falling; it is gravity at work!

During my recent photo trip to Australia I shot one composition that included a waterfall – even though the Kimberley has quite a few waterfalls. I love The Kimberley, but it’s the landscape and not the falling water that does it for me. I have promised several people to post this one waterfall image and as I’m always a man of my words here is magnificent Bells Gorge from Kimberley, Western Australia, complete with falling water:

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

Bells Gorge Panorama 
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Bells Gorge and composition

Bells Gorge is one of the many impressive Kimberley gorges cutting through the rocky and dry landscape. I’m no Ken Duncan but I have certainly placed the waterfall into context here. To the extent of the waterfall almost disappearing in this small web sized image; but at full size I quite like dramatic wide angle view in this shot. When I return I will work on improving composition though by climbing some more rocks! It is great fun and a great challenge climbing the rocks in these Kimberley gorges seeking the perfect composition. When viewing my shots later I often think ‘oh I should been standing there’. It’s the great skill challenge of composition and finding the most effective viewpoint (without falling down and killing yourself) and in the Kimberley gorges you can certainly sharpen these skills! If you study the photo you’ll see little travellers by the pool. It’s possible to climb much further; all the way down the the rocks on the left side and access a lower part of the gorge way out of this frame. You have to be a mountain goat though but I hear the results are worth it so I’ll attempt it next time!

This image is a stitched panorama and I deliberately went for a dusty and hot arid look here. Bells Gorge in mid September was a nice warm spot with 40+ degrees in the sun and the special Kimberley light. I remember exactly what it was like but then again I don’t. You can’t remember this; you have to experience it. Nothing but the desert would prepare you for these fantastic conditions in the Kimberley. It is incredibly hot; the light is blindingly bright and the sun rays cuts like lasers. As impossible as it is; I want to replicate these conditions in my photo; make you feel the Kimberley and these great gorges!

This is my one Kimberley waterfall shot but who knows – after my next Kimberley trip you may actually see waterfall image no. 2 from me. Start a trend!

Capturing Manning Gorge

The Kimberley is home to many great gorges and one of the best known is Manning Gorge. It is very easy to access from the Gibb River Road, has a huge camp ground with a toilet and shower block (powered by a rather noisy generator that is turned off around sunset) so it’s quite popular and you certainly won’t be camping alone here. Slightly too busy for my taste Manning Gorge is still a gorgeous (gee that joke is getting old) place. This is a duotoned view of sitting on the banks of the billabong in the middle of the day. It’s a boiling 40+ degrees but the rock wall provides a nice shady spot:

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

Manning Gorge and Gum tree in duotone
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Manning Gorge is split into Upper and Lower Manning and the camp ground is at Lower Manning. To get to the Upper gorge it’s a great 3 km bush walk; but first you have to swim across the river floating your clothes, camera etc. in a foam box pushing it in front of you as you swim. Water is not all that appealing to me or my camera so I chose to explore only the Lower gorge this time!

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

Manning Gorge in Moonlight
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Photographing gorges

It takes a lot of practice and work getting good at shooting gorges. They’re big and beautiful but really hard to fit into a composition that shows them as big and beautiful. I always wish I could levitate (walking on water hasn’t worked for me) in the middle of the river shooting down the gorge with the gorge walls on both sides. But often you’re stuck shooting from the banks of a river or billabong and also you’re fighting the Kimberley light as one side of the gorge is bound to be in deep dark shadows and the other in extremely bright sunshine. You really have to work to find good compositions.

The answer as always: get up for dawn and stay for dusk (and bring mossie repellant!) My Finding a Tree post was from around Manning gorge at dawn and this is a Lower Manning Gorge panorama in very late dusk light:

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

Manning Gorge at Dusk Panorama
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

This little spot proved to work very well and I was fortunately the only one there. If you’re at Manning then walk down to the river at sunset, turn left and keep going until you find yourself standing underneath a rock wall and almost in the water. Wait for that glorious warm and red dusk light to warm the sky and you have your shot!

I am working on my Kimberley gallery at the moment so come along as I develop and upload; there are many more gorgeous Kimberley gorge shots to come!

PS. There are some beautiful old and very large Boab trees at the camp ground. Beautiful old trees some bloody idiot campers have carved their names into! People carving their names into trees surely should be fed to the crocs!

Finding a Tree in The Kimberley

You would be forgiven for thinking “how hard can it be to find a tree?”. Often it is actually akin to finding gold. Especially when you’re looking for that solitary tree in just the right spot with just the right light that you can isolate in just the right composition. Much of nature and indeed the Australian outback is incredibly messy and extracting a beautiful composition out of chaos is the very essence of landscape photography. Finding a tree is a never ending quest!

I love the mornings when bush camping. Waking up before dawn and rolling out of my swag. Getting my tripod and camera gear. Walking into the bush all alone in the crisp morning air. Experiencing the world with little to no sounds at all. Connecting to nature, to the rocks, the trees, the light, the smell. Looking for a spot to shoot dawn and sunrise. The experience doesn’t last very long as the sun is fast approaching but every second experienced at dawn is pure bliss.

One of the places in the Kimberley I explored at dawn was Manning Gorge. Here my never ending search was successful; I found a tree. A beautiful gum tree at dawn in very gorgeous and very soft light. The usually chaotic nature let all the elements come together here and created a close to perfect composition for me:

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

Gum Tree at Dawn
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Only a few minutes later and the sun has jumped above the horizon and I managed to find another tree; a young Boab tree bathed in the rays of the rising sun. I chose to hide the messy foreground using the spinifex grass to simplify the composition:

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

Boab Tree at Sunrise
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I will end with the words of Bill Neidjie and as I search for more trees; I will look in the morning and say “nice tree this!”

Bill Neidjie: Tree grow, every night he grow. Daylight. He stop. Just about dark, he start again. Just about morning, I look. I say, “Oh, nice tree this!”