Tag Archives: rock

The Hawk Dreaming Aboriginal Art Experience

I wish to take you on a journey into one of the Hawk Dreaming rock art shelters and try and make you feel what it is like to travel back in time. It is a difficult task describing this in words (time travel is a bit hard too), but do come along on this illustrated trip as we explore a Hawk Dreaming aboriginal rock art shelter.

I am often asked how large is Hawk Dreaming and I don’t actually know, it’s not marked on a map of course. We’re only allowed access to a small area anyway but it is a significant and beautiful area along the East Alligator River with around 15-20 art sites included Bill Neidjie’s cave and important sites like the painting of the Warramurrauungi – the creation mother. All the paintings we can access are found around the large range shown here in my panorama:

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

Hawk Dreaming Ranges Panorama
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

This is a stitched panorama shot from the river looking southeast towards the ranges. It was a hazy sunset but with good clouds and light above the rocks. I am trying to shield the camera as it was so windy on this night that I had to hook my backpack to the tripod to prevent it from blowing over! I managed to get some sharp exposures and I am very happy with this shot, it is quite successful I reckon at expressing the open expanse of the Hawk Dreaming floodplains and the ranges.

The art sites are found in shelters in these ranges. Look at the full size version of the panorama above and you see some of the shelters as horizontal lines along the side of the range. One of them is a large spectacular cave accessed through a bit of climbing. It has a huge collection of art on the walls and grind holes in the rock. It also offers a magnificent view North and if one was allowed to bring a swag up here it would offer a truly special place to sleep. I have attempted to capture the feeling of sitting in the shelter in the following panorama. This stitched pano required a lot of work in PTgui. It is shot at 17mm so I could include the cave as well as the view. But 17mm means distortion and a very tough stitch. In the end I got what I wanted, a pano of looking out of the cave:

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

Rock Art Shelter Lookout Panorama
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

As you sit here in the rock shelter and lookout over the glorious landscape then think back tens of thousands of years and have a look around. There are grind holes on the floor from grinding paint and flour. There is still charcoal on the floor leftover from fires. There is absolutely nothing to break the illusion. You are back in time. No fences, no signs, no roads, no people! This is not a museum. This is real; this is authentic and you are right there in it, experiencing traditional living with the land lifestyle. Imagine a clan of Bunitj people sitting right next to you, laughing, eating, painting, sleeping. Living in this very shelter. It is a great place to live, the land here provides plenty of food and the natural shelters make for perfect homes. It is a slice of magical time travel.

Now. Look up and look behind you and what you see is this panoramic view:

Shelter art pano - 1000pix web

Tens of thousands of years of living here is documented on the walls in layers and layers of painting. Again; this is no museum. This is time travel; this is real. The paintings range from just having fun recreational paintings to very important sacred paintings. A lot of it is food sources and dreamtime stories and ceremonies. Very interesting are the paintings of encounters with white people and before that, meetings with the Macassan traders in the year 14-1700. I apologise for the large watermark but have to protect this image as it is sacred art and is something I shot for the present custodians of Hawk Dreaming. I’m afraid I can’t show you close-up of the art; you’ll have to visit and see yourself!

If you have visited other rock art sites in Australia I think you have spotted why this Hawk Dreaming experience is unlike any other. This is so real it becomes a time travel. Again; no fences, no crowds, no lines, no boardwalks, no signs, nothing that turns the experience into a museum like viewed from a distance feeling. Hawk Dreaming enables you to sit down in a shelter and take it all in with no filters between you and the authentic experience.

I trust you enjoyed this trip in Hawk Dreaming sitting in a Bunitj clan rock shelter. It defines the word special and I can only attempt to capture a bit of this in my photos. It feels like ‘my country’ like home to me.

Rock music from "a land down under"

Powderfinger & Silverchair on tour together A post – not about photography for a change – but about my favorite Australian bands. Australian music you say? What, stuff like “I come from a land down under” by Men at Work? Yeah but there’s heaps more besides the internationally known stuff like AC/DC (the ultimate classic rock act I reckon), Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue, Natalie Imbruglia etc – read on!

MJ Thriller I love music, absolutely love it. I listen to music practically every moment I am awake. I love going to concerts (although I don’t get to go as often as I’d like). Music is life! Music is the answer! I have gone through lots of different phases where I listen to one genre, but the recent years I’ve listened to really a bit of everything I am just extremely picky about what I like. 90% of all new music is shit (the computerized vocal of Rihannah is the most annoying sound in the world!) but then 90% of everything is shit (or shithouse as Aussies say). These days I mostly listen to rock (indie, melodic and also a bit harder), electronica, pop (if there’s such a genre anymore) and indie. I grew up in the 80s which means that Michael Jackson (say what you want about him but Thriller is the best album of all time), Depeche Mode and U2 are my all time fave artists in that order. These days bands like Powderfinger, Mew, Blue Foundation, Death Cab for Cutie, Trentemøller and Snow Patrol gets played heaps!

I’ll just briefly interrupt this with a little plug for my cousin Søren’s band from Copenhagen, please check out his band The Black Volts !

Naturally I tend to listen to a fair bit of Australian music especially when I’m here. You get all the latest worldwide radio hits here as well but apart from that rock music in all forms does really well, I think better than most places in the world and there are a lot of great Australian rock acts. Enough of the talk, here’s some Aussie rock and indie recommendations. I’ve linked to their Myspace (even though I hate myspace.com) pages so you can easily have a listen.

powderfinger Powderfinger – Australias biggest band presently and easily one of my all time favorites. Some say they’re sorta the U2 of Australia, but there’s a reason for that: They’re brilliant! The latest 3 albums (Odyssey No. 5, Vulture Street and Dreamy Days at Hotel Existence) are quite different and each have a theme – so start off by getting all the latest 3 cds! Singer Bernard Fanning has also done a solo album, recommended as well.

Silverchair – has grown into a really great band with their very own sound. Latest stuff is very cool.

Evermore -Fantastic indie rock with big panoramic cinematic sound.

Kisschasy – good guitar driven rock, scores high points as well for actually singing with an Australian accent!

Eskimo Joe – great rock; sorta indie rock I guess.

Something for Kate – classic Australian rock band.

Butterfly Effect – Amazing sound, quite hard rock with super big widescreen cinematic sound.

 Jet – most of the world knows “are you gonna be my girl”, check out the rest of their great stuff.

There ya’ go – lots of Aussie rock acts for you to check out so get listening!


  • I have now made it to Sydney so next photography post will be about the harbour city which is as always huge, chaotic, with heaps of people everywhere – but also super gorgeous and Spring weather here is beautiful, sunny and 23-28 degrees!
  • Language watch: I’ve noticed a lot of young Aussies ending sentences with “ey” as a sort of exclamation point to the sentence; to underline it. Like “this is really good, ‘ey!”. I asked a guy working in HMV for the latest Kisschasy cd and he replied “oh you’re going to the concert tomorrow, ‘ey!” Sounds really weird, I hope it’s just a phase for them!
    The word “shithouse” is also commonly used, something really bad is not just shit, it’s shithouse. Actually I guess it would be shithouse, ey!
  • I will be back in Denmark in only two weeks. Bit strange; but then I’ve done and seen so much in so many different places down here that 21st of August seems like half a year ago to me. Fatigue is almost beginning to set in at least today I am very tired. I’ve been to so many extraordinary places and so many tours (presently I’ve had enough tours, glad to be on my own in Sydney) that the extraordinary almost becomes ordinary at some point. Also it’s quite a bit of work when you travel with photography as your job and no. 1 priority every day. I am always scouting locations, planning how to get shots; at what time of day to be there etc. I get up early to shoot in the morning light, then scout locations, relax,maybe a nap and waiting for late afternoon where I start shooting again. Then back to room with all my gear, fire up laptop and transfer all of today’s work, make back-ups etc. I love it, but it requires more energy than I have today.
    It will be good to get home, see family and friends, really start pushing my photography business (got 2500+ new photos in my library) and think about future (all ideas welcome hehe).
    So I’m alright with the fact that this photo odyssey is about to end. Anyway if it didn’t end how would a new one begin! I do wish I could take the weather home with me, hello winter-depression!