Tag Archives: karijini

Capturing the other Karijini

Karijini National Park in the beautiful Pilbara region of Western Australia is home to incredible landscapes and gorgeous gorges’ (trying to be funny here!) that are some of the most photographed sites in Western Australia. The gorges of Karijini are incredible, beautiful and tremendous fun to climb around in but for photography I am going against the grain and prefer the topside. The gorges are cramped, walled in, claustrophobic and below the horizon. Not my style, not my love. I seek dimensionless wide open spaces with a huge sky where I can dream myself into a magical universe with no limits! So here is a slice of Karijini but not quite as most would know it!

A little short on time again; I shall let the images say whatever they have to say this week and just present a slideshow of three topside images from Karijini:

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

Mt Vigors Sunset
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Taking in a magical sunset after hiking through the bush and then a great 1 kilometre climb to the top of Mount Vigors with great Phil from RemTrek: highly recommended.  The view from up here is extraordinary offering a stunning 360 unimpeded view of Karijini. We got great clouds and light on this day and I was high on the whole climb up and down and during the shooting. Magical experience. The climb down and walk through the bush in pitch black conditions lit only by torch light and a million stars is a truly otherworldly experience.

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

Karijini Gum Trees in early morning light
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Karijini is also home to some very fine gum (eucalyptus) trees and I am happy to have captured this beauty bathed in the morning light.

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

Karijini Red Dirt Road Dawn Cloudscape
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

On our last day in Karijini a big cloud system moved in and dumped rain on us later in the day. I have already blogged about this brilliant morning here, and present another image of the same morning. I can never get enough of dramatic skies like this one and if you look closely there’s still a touch of rainbow left here.

A short glimpse into my version of ‘the other’ Karijini. If you have been fortunate enough to visit, what is your favourite spot at Karijini National Park?

Dales Gorge in HDR and CAKE09 tales

“Oooohhh, are you guys from the fair” says the very excited woman behind the counter at Coles supermarket; in the small mining town of Tom Price in Western Australia. “Ehhh…what…No?!” I say to her disappointment. “We look like we belong in a fair?” I ask. “Ohhhh no” she says, ” just saw your little shoulder bag”. I ponder what a ‘fair-looking-shoulder-bag’ looks like. Like mine I guess. “Ok, cheers, see ya later"!” and Rod and I collect our shopping. Meet Casey outside – where I briefly study the big town fair and wonder if that is where I really belong. We then go in search of junk food feeling like burgers and chips. 35, yes thirty-five, dollars and some awful junk food later we mostly feel…ripped off!

Later that day. We’re back in Karijini after fuel and food in Tom Price. We’re shooting in Dales Gorge on a gorgeous afternoon. When the sun is out it is so lovely here in June. When the sun sets. Bit on the cold side! I drop my lens cap. As I do. Catch it before it dives into Fortesque Falls.  I keep wanting to point my camera up at the sky. Walls, any sort of walls, and I do not agree. Confining. Boxed in. I need a wide open space with a view to infinity. Open composition. As we are doing a CAKE group portrait next to a massive tree, I somehow manage to run into someone who excitedly says she recognises me from Mitchell Falls in the Kimberley. “I’m everywhere” I say, not really remembering her. Life of an international superstar (cough cough). What a funky day in the universe!

Finally; at the bottom (or top?) pool of Dales Gorge I somehow manage a gorge shot that I like very much. And finally; after many words here it is:

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

Dales Gorge pool and waterfall
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

There is a massive range of light here from the highlights to the shadows. Maybe 10 stops. Much more than any camera can capture. So I chose to do a High Dynamic Range image, shooting 3 exposures of the same shot at –4, 0 and +4 stops. I don’t really like the HDR results from any software be it Photoshop or Photomatix. I do my own blend as I find I get more natural looking results. Using layers in Photoshop I simply use masks to blend the 3 different exposures together. Highlights from the –4 shot, shadows from the +4 and perhaps just a bit of midtone from the middle image. I find I can much better control the result this way, a result that looks less fake and less obvious HDR. This image is probably quite close to what the eye can see when at the scene. However; as we’re not used to any cameras being able to capture details in highlights and shadows an image like this tends to look a bit like a painting. It is not a bad look for a photograph as long as it doesn’t scream ‘HDR generated’. I am quite happy with the results here and would love to hear your opinion or questions in a comment.

CAKE09 – short for Cape leveque And Karijini Expedition ‘09. You are forgiven if it slipped your mind! More tales to come…

Karijini Rainbow Sunrise; magic on a cold morning

Scene: Camp ground at Karijini National Park, Western Australia. Time: Very early on a very cold morning in June. Rodney wakes me up. It is still pitch black. “Beautiful cloud cover, wanna go shoot?” Rod’s frozen voice asks me. Karijini in Winter is a bit on the cold side when the sun isn’t out so my warm sleeping bag is tempting, having to put on the same clothes I have been wearing all week and step outside is not. However; I cannot miss a potential wide open Karijini landscape bathed in light from a rising sun under the watchful eye of big clouds. So grab clothes and gear and out of bed it is. “We’re taking the troopie” Rod says in the direction of Casey’s tent. It is actually my small $30 Coles tent but Casey chose this tent for better insulation from snorers. “Fine, go” says Casey, not feeling like joining us in tasting the cold morning air.

Off we drive towards Knox Gorge, one of the better places near the campground where you can find a view with a bit of wide open space (my kinda setting, gorges are too confining for me). With the air con on max heating the Troopie is heaven. Having shot the sunrise a few days earlier as well I know one spot on the way to Knox Gorge where the landscapes opens up a bit. It really is still pitch black so we miss it and drive back and forth a few times until we find it. I then have to use the bush toilet. Why this always happen when I shoot is beyond me. In the meantime Rod unloads my gear and takes off. Looking back, slightly surprised I see Rod pointing Troopie’s headlight at something in the spinnifix grass and I hear him shouting “your bag is there, I am off to the gorge lookout". So I find my composition, point in the direction of the upcoming sun and run around a bit to keep warm. Many nice sunrise shots later I almost miss the real hero shot from this morning!  Look behind you numnuts and you shall see this!

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

Karijini Rainbow Sunrise
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I was shooting into the sun and forgot to attach rear view mirrors so were oblivious to the lightshow behind me. Suddenly I notice, there’s a massive 180 degree visible rainbow behind me. Numnuts here is too slow in moving and setting up composition to catch all of it as it disappears in seconds. The rainbow lasted for about one minute and I almost missed all of it. Only caught the tail end of it. I got in one shot before it was completely gone. One exposure capturing mostly the reminder of a once-was rainbow. Still, the scene I ended up with retains the truly remarkable Karijini magic from this morning!

Please comment on what you think of this slice of magic and story from a cold but beautiful Karijini morning?

 

PS. Rod took forever at the gorge so I shot heaps more photos, yet to be posted. What took so long? Bloody keys dropped out of the ignition! Troopie keeps running so you don’t notice. Until you need the keys that is and can’t find them!

Sands of Time. Turn the hourglass and next stop Malaysia and Borneo

“The principal joy of human life comes from encounters with new experiences. Hence there is no greater joy than having a new horizon every day”.

The words are Christopher McCandless but are also very Chatwin-esque. I wholeheartedly agree. It is why I love travelling and photographing so much. The promise of a new horizon, new photos, new experiences.

Sands of time has once again run through the hourglass as I bid goodbye to Australia and head for new horizons in Malaysia and Borneo. The downside to these constant new experiences is they also constantly end. It is a rollercoaster of highs and lows. After leaving what quickly felt as a home in Namibia in early May, I now leave what feels like home in Broome, Western Australia. As always feel a little sad having encountered yet another end. But new horizons, new photographs, new experiences await. Would not want it any other way. Rather the highest of highs and lowest of lows than never-ending mediocrity!

In Malaysia and Borneo I am shooting landscapes for United Plantations in and around their palm oil plantations. A visit to see the orangutans are also planned, promises to be rather magical. I do not know if I will have internet access but hope to post a report or two.

I illustrate the Sands of Time with this image from Namibia. A very strong wind is fiercely whipping the sand dunes in the setting sun, creating a magic moment in time on a Wednesday afternoon:

Namibia. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Randomness

  • Camel Man! You must read Rod’s super funny CAKE09 blog post about Camel Man & yours truly. I was planning to write the story as well but Rod’s tells it better than anyone. “Albert” is my CAKE09 nickname, something to do with Albert Namatjira (famous aboriginal artist).
    Casey has also posted some great CAKE09 shots on his blog.
  • Still on CAKE09 expedition, in Karijini we had to one day do a re-fuel and shopping trip to the mining town of Tom Price. Now, in Tom Price they were setting up a large fair with carousels, rides, etc. As Rod and I pay for our food at the Coles Supermarket the Coles Woman says excited “oooooh are you guys from the fair?”. “Ehhhh…what?” I say and laugh. “We look like we’re from a fair?”.
  • I spent a day working for Beaches of Broome backpackers (my home in Broome) shooting new photos for their website. With little preparation, no budget, no models, no props, no flash or light of any kind and me, the landscape photographer, the conditions were challenging. Necessity being the mother of all inventions, Michael (staff from Beaches) and I simply hi-jacked 3 backpackers who agreed to model and posed them in rooms, having breakfast, riding scooters, at the bar etc. and I fired away hoping for something useable. Was lots of fun and a few of the photos are even halfway ok. Joe McNally need not worry though! Will let you know when some of our work is online at the Beaches website.

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!