Tag Archives: sunrise

Rottnest Island with True North Mark

A few weeks ago me and my friend Signe had the pleasure of being invited aboard True North Mark’s big and beautiful private boat for a brilliant weekend at Rottnest Island with Mark and friends. A huge thanks to Mark for having us along and Brett, Greg and Jordan for outstanding company and great fun. We toured the whole island, we shot some photos and had a wicked and unreal time (using a bit of the surfer slang we learned). We also went snorkling twice, for hours, and this was a huge thing for me, only the second time ever I have been snorkling. Swam a long way and saw beautiful reefs and absolutely loved it. Wetsuit experience was nice, those things work really well at keeping you warm and it is a somewhat funky feeling against the skin too. First day I did not have one and I think my lips were blue for hours after becoming seriously cold!

Mark and I shot quite a few photos and we had some good luck and bad luck. Beautiful clouds on the first day but not enough sunshine. Second day Mark is kicking me awake (takes a bit of work) at 5am asking me if I want to come for the sunrise shoot. Having slept about 5 hours I mumble a long “ehhhhhhh” followed by a “ehhh…….yes”. I jump in the True North tender boat and Mark steers us towards the lighthouse for a sunrise shoot. I am barely awake and have not brought shoes. Good decision for rock walking when one’s feet is not exactly leather yet! Happy I got up though, we capture images from dawn to after sunrise and these are my two favourite Rottnest images:

Rottnest lighthouse dawn - blog

It looked nice as well when the sun peaked up over the horizon but this is more dramatic. Quiet calm dawn with gorgeous big clouds.

And after sunrise this enormous cloud covered 180 degrees of the sky. After a bit of Lightroom work, mostly warming the cloud a lot, it yielded a very dramatic image which I like a lot:

Rottnest lighthouse cloud - blog

You can see a few more of my Rottnest images by going to my News gallery, click here: www.flemmingbojensen.com/new

Cheers Mark for a brilliant weekend, thanks for showing us “your” island!

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!

New Angels on New Albion – aka Sydney

I have to apologise for not blogging much for the past month. I have ideas for articles and tutorials but haven’t found inspiration. Time has somehow slipped through my fingers, and winter depression kills my otherwise strong urge to write. So I’ll just stick to sharing a few photos this week and am even reusing a title and a few of the photos, talk about writers block!

Sydney was originally named New Albion which works with New Angles as a title – and I am always looking for new angles. I have visited Sydney 5 times and this gorgeous city always offers new light and new opportunities. Here’s a few from my visit in September 2008. The first two shots are from across the bridge (obviously!) at Kirribilli Point, a superb spot for sunrise. It is a wonderful feeling to stand in a city of millions at 5am in the morning witnessing first light – with not a single soul anywhere! Just you and the light, as if you’re part of this big secret and no one else is awake to know this is the best and most beautiful part of the day!

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

First Light in Sydney
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

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

Morning in Sydney
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

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

Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay in duotone
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Finally; as you get to know a place your images always improve and I reckon I made my favourite Sydney image ever on this, my 5th visit, and I think I even succeeded in capturing a New Angle on New Albion:

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

Sydney Opera House and Cityscape from Harbour Bridge
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

The story behind this shot is here and a few more new Sydney shots are in my Sydney gallery. Enjoy the photos as I will work on unblocking the writer block!

Capturing Australian tropical sunrises

As a follow up to Where Sunrises Rule The World I will take you back to Hawk Dreaming and the edge of the crocodile and mosquito rich river. I will share my sunrise shooting experience with two new panoramas from this morning.

I am back in Hawk Dreaming on the edge of the river. I have arrived early to capture the dawn light and greet the mosquitoes. I have chosen my composition, setup my gear and applied a full can of mossie repellent. It is an astoundingly beautiful morning; it is already more than 25 degrees but the air still has a crisp and fresh morning feel and smell. As the very first dawn light appears I capture the first panorama while it is still quite dark:

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

East Alligator River at Dawn
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Ten minutes later and it is already close to daylight and the light has warmed considerably. I make small adjustments to the composition and exposure and shoot our second panorama in this series:

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

East Alligator River at Sunrise
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I could have wished for a few more clouds (the appeared later as seen here) and a stronger composition. But the colours and the light are gorgeous and a true representation of sunrise at this river, and at large size you can see the lovely thick layer of mist on the floodplains. Let us examine in detail how to capture this light and these colours.

Shooting the tropical sun rising

Walk softly and always carry mosquito repellent! The composition in these panoramas is dictated by the mosquitoes. Ideally I would have been lower and closer to the water; making the river (a finger of the East Alligator River) seem bigger with more colour reflection in the water. No go mate. I have never experienced a wall of a million mosquitoes quite like this! There was no choice but to step back 7-8 meters from the edge of the river and still I was getting eaten. Without mossie repellent you won’t get these shots so arm yourself. This is Where Mosquitoes Rule The World!

Be prepared; be quick! Coming from a cold dark non-tropical place you will be surprised by how quickly the sun rises in the tropics. You have very little time to work in before the sun basically jumps to the top of the sky and is at full force. So be prepared, arrive early and find your composition before the light show begins. The very best light is usually at dawn so no sleeping in! You should basically be setting up in complete darkness.

Use ND graduated filters! I used a Cokin 2-stop ND grad filter to even out the exposure between sky and ground but learned that this is nowhere near enough to tame the tropical sun rising. I needed a 4-stop and even a 6-stop in my kit as the difference in light level especially at dawn is incredible. Still a 2-stop is better than nothing and without an ND grad filter you would either blow out the sky or capture a pitch black foreground.

Do not blow the red channel! The red channel will be at least a couple of stops brighter than the other channels, so do not trust the luminance histogram on your camera. A blown red channel will ruin a tropical sunrise or sunset, creating ugly yellows and greens where there should be orange and red! Study your RGB histogram carefully if you have one, or bracket your exposures.

Finally…enjoy! Do not get so caught up in shooting, checking histograms, looking through the viewfinder, levelling the tripod, setting exposure, focus and aperture etc. that you completely forget to enjoy the spectacle! Step back once in a while and take it all in. We shoot landscapes because we love nature so don’t let the camera get in the way all the time. Enjoy!

Where Sunrises Rule the World

People who used to work with me when I did IT full time will testify I am not a morning person. I don’t function well in an office before I’ve had countless coffees and an hour of sulking. The solution? Change your job to shooting sunrises!

I got up at 5am for about 3 weeks in Australia. Didn’t need an alarm clock as when you’re bush camping and dawn approaches, my internal “time to shoot” alarm simply goes off in sync with nature and I wake up. Well; you also wake up as it’s getting stinking hot and all the birds, mossies and flies wake you up as I was sleeping outside with no tent. It still feels so bloody early but as soon as I’m out there you realise it is the best time of the day. It’s the time for capturing spectacular scenes like this one:

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

Hawk Dreaming Sunrise Cloudscape Panorama
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Standing at the East Alligator River (with no alligators; just crocs) at 6am watching this light show is simply mindblowing. Imagine it is 6am, 25 degrees and Mother Nature rules the world. Every single sound (apart from my camera) is orchestrated by nature; every single light ray is controlled by nature. No people, no buildings, no power lines, nothing to distract. Just 100% pure humbling power of nature taking you back to When Dinosaurs Ruled The World. Sometimes scenes are so beautiful you just want to forget about the camera, sit down wishing you could live here and hoping the future never comes. 
(oh yes there was a million mosquitoes as well, all part of the nature experience)

This is a simple stitch; it is only two very wide horizontal images shot at 17mm stitched. It is a technique I use sometimes as I feel it better preserves the extreme 17mm wide angle look compared to shooting say 8 vertical shots but the stitch still gives me a wider view than 17mm. Nature did all the work as I did very little post processing of this. I set the white balance and added a vignette and a bit of shadow detail recovery and we’re done.

I recommend getting up for every single sunrise, especially in tropical Australia. Often in the tropical bush the heat and haze of the day mixed with smoke from bushfires can result in a muted sunset. Sunrise on the other hand gets the fresh clean morning air to work with. Here; the sunrises rule the world.

Developing a Hawk Dreaming

I am developing all the RAW files from Hawk Dreaming as no. 1 priority. I want to get all the landscape and aboriginal art shots to Dwane from the Djabulukgu Association Inc  as quickly as possible; to reassure him I am definitely a man of my words and honour my end of the agreement! You will hardly find any other photographers with photos from Hawk Dreaming and I am very happy and privileged to have been allowed to shoot there.

Hawk Dreaming has some large open floodplains so it is possible to shoot some very isolated subjects with a horizon far far away. This is shot with just a bit of dusk light left and I like doing these sort of arty simple compositions. Simple compositions are the hardest to achieve, isolating subjects in the natural chaos of nature takes a lot of searching.

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

Pandanus Palm Glow at Dusk
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I previously blogged about watching dawn and sunrise from a rock shelter and the next shot is the sun just making it’s appearance on the hazy stage. I used a 2 stop (I need to get a 4 stop) ND grad filter, without it the foreground would be pitch black. It may look a bit dark at small size but the larger version is clearer. It was still very dark as the haze and mist softened the sun and I want the picture to reflect this.

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

Sunrise over Cannon Hill
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

This is just a taste of the upcoming hundreds shots that Hawk Dreaming provided me and yet I could easily go back and shoot many more in this awesome place.

It is a Hawk and Photographer Dreaming! It’s very easy to escape into the screen while developing these shots.

Sydney; From Dawn till Dusk

Although it is a freezing cold 15 degrees as I write this; Sydney has warmed up to me and I to Sydney. Saturday and Sunday were very warm and summery, just as I like it and just as I apparently need it as I am a cold blooded reptile desperately in need of the sun. I still very much miss “my country” the outback, but after the culture and climate shock has settled down a bit then a little sun and fun goes a long way.

Still have to get back to “my country” soon. Feels like part of me is missing. Strange feeling. Like finding my home and knowing things will never be the same again. I keep looking at those Hawk Dreaming shots and dreaming.

Waking up the world

I spent Saturday with a friend and fellow photographer who lives in the Sydney suburb Manly and was shown this beautiful place she is fortunate to call home. We began the day at 5am on Manly Beach for a lovely sunrise; this shot is the beach at dawn:

Manly Beach at Dawn. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

No clouds this morning so just a normal beautiful Manly sunrise and a quite ordinary shot by me; but some good colours and the photo is a nice memory of a brilliant day. It is far from every day I get to stand on a beach and witness the sun rise out of the ocean; it is always a humbling and thrilling experience.

New angles on New Albion

In my quest to get a few cityscapes of Sydney (originally called New Albion) from new angles I also finally got a dusk shot of the city, shot from the Harbour bridge. I’ve had that shot in my head for a while and finally got around to shooting it. Took a bit of effort as the next story will tell, but the results I reckon are worth it. The duotone version is very nice but decided to post colour version for this post:

Sydney at dusk. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I like this new angle on Sydney as it has a very nice 3D effect to it and will look impressive printed big.

If it was easy everyone would do it

Sydney Harbour Bridge shootIt was a nice very warm Sunday but late afternoon the wind changed, it cooled down and it started blowing a gale. Very strong winds. But clouds looked interesting. I wanted a dusk shot of Sydney shot from the bridge and decided this was the day – the shot you see above is the end result. I vaguely remembered that it should be possible to manoeuvre a tripod into place shooting through the fence on the Harbour bridge. It was. Just. On the right you can see the result of 10 minutes of cursing the fence and finally getting the tripod legs stuck in the wire just right so I could have my 17-40mm lens peaking through. May look a bit flimsy but was very steady.

harbour bridge shot uncroppedThe camera is actually way over my head. Standing on my toes and jumping (kept me warm!) I could see through the viewfinder and kept shooting and adjusting till I had my composition. But wait. They fired back with a massive light cannon underneath the bridge shooting straight at me! Lots of light bleeding into my shot. So I use the lens cap (no room for lens hood) and hold it in place to shield the light – see uncropped shot on the right. Jumping to peak through the viewfinder, holding the lens cap into place, shooting using cable release and almost getting blown off the bridge in very windy conditions – sometimes ya gotta put in a bit of effort! I don’t mind battling Mother Nature’s crocs, mossies, rocks, snakes etc. but why oh why can’t the design of the Harbour bridge include a little shooting hole in the fence for photographers!

In the footsteps of Bill Neidjie and the Bunitj Clan

Imagine sitting in a shelter, a large natural rock cave 30 meters above ground. Look out over the floodplains and you have a timeless uninterrupted panoramic view. No roads, no power lines, no people. Look down and on the rock you sit on are grind holes from thousands of years of grinding paint and food. Turn around and study the rock walls close up. Aboriginal art in several styles from up to 40 to 60 thousand years old grace the walls. No signs, no fences, no people. No sounds. Just you and the power of Hawk Dreaming; country of the Bunitj clan in Kakadu National Park.

Then the sun rises. The world awakens. Sounds of the wildlife of Hawk Dreaming fills your ears. I feel almost embarrassed to mix in the loud shutter sound from my camera. Sounds like a gun in this natural soundscape. There is nothing to distract you; nothing to remind you that the year is 2008. It might as well be 10,000 years ago and you really expect a family from the Bunitj clan to be there as you sit in their home and their shelter and watch the sun rise.

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I have blogged about Big Bill Neidjie and Hawk Dreaming before and first visited this magical place in 2007. I wanted to return this year and further explore and photograph this area as I cannot image a more special and powerful sacred place in all of Australia. Nowhere else will you find a place with amazing floodplain landscapes and one of the highest concentrations of aboriginal art sites in Australia. Certainly no place with access to as there are probably more places like this in Arnhem Land but they are totally off-limits. Hawk Dreaming has it all.

I hired a private charter for 3 days (from now on this is the only way I’ll go on tours!) from the only company allowed to bring people into Hawk Dreaming – the super good Aussie Adventures. Les Thorne – known as “the white aboriginal” to his friends for his deep love and knowledge of aboriginal culture and history – was my brilliant guide and teacher. My aim was to shoot landscapes at Hawk Dreaming and see and learn as much as I could about the aboriginal art and history. I am extremely fascinated by and feel connected to aboriginal culture though I only know just a tiny bit about the incredible 60,000 years of history.

The 3 days were absolute magic and spectacular. With my own guide, teacher, mate and 4WD I got all the landscapes I wanted with 2 sunrises and 2 sunsets at Hawk Dreaming. I got to see the roughly 15-20 art sites that we were allowed to go to and Les kindly shared his deep knowledge. A personal highlight for me was sitting in Bill Neidjie’s cave where he lived from 1975 when the land was finally given back to the Bunitj people – Bill played a huge part in this – almost up to his death in 2002. In Bill’s cave you will see rock art and that is 10,20,30 thousands years old – and rock art that is perhaps 20 years old! Bill’s children and grandchildren would paint rock art and paint things they learned in school in the Oenpelli community such as the British alphabet and an image of Sydney Harbour Bridge! A strong and powerful place; an experience burned in my memory forever.

Adding to the magic; I was actually sort of on assignment. Every commercial photo from Hawk Dreaming has to be approved by Jonathon Neidjie, Bill’s son and the current custodian of Hawk Dreaming. Of course no art shots can be sold; not that I would ever do that anyway – that is not my art to sell! Les got me in touch with Dwane Baker, manager from the Djabulukgu Association, at the Bowali Visitor Center in Kakadu. Dwane had Jonathon on the phone and I showed a few of my shots from Hawk Dreaming last year (fortunate I had these in my bag). Dwane seemed to really like them and quickly asked if I would supply them with copies of the landscape files I shot and also help shoot and document the art sites? If so I could shoot and sell all the landscapes I wanted. They really wanted some landscape shots from Hawk Dreaming and also the art documented and I was more than happy to agree; I get my landscapes and I help Dwane, Jonathan Neidjie and Hawk Dreaming. Making a small contribution that way is an honour. Thanks to Dwane and Jonathon for all the help and setting up an agreement so smoothly and quickly in 15 minutes, something that I know from Les can usually take a long time. Very much appreciated, I know I was very very lucky and fortunate. Must be my amazing photography skills and country boy charm 😀

So I was on a mission and shot photos from dawn till dusk. Landscapes and art sites, rock climbed with tripod etc. to get pristine shots of the art sites for Dwane and Jonathan. I had a fantastic time; absolutely loved it! I have enough photos (the two featured here are quick and dirty previews) and stories from Hawk Dreaming to last a year so stay tuned on this blog.

I’ll end with my ongoing relationship with mosquitoes. Me and Mossies. We go way back. I donated quite a few liters of blood to the mossie community in the Kimberleys and continued my contribution in Hawk Dreaming to the fantazillion of mossies that call the East Alligator river (brilliant name you white folks; there are no alligators in Australia!) at Hawk Dreaming home. Standing by the river at dawn ready for sunrise and a wall, an armada of mossies attack me and Les. I empty a full can of toxic and highly flammable but effective Bushman mossie repellant on my body and clothes. Had I still been smoking and lit a ciggy I would have exploded, I was that saturated in chemicals. The repellant helps some. Little bit cheeky them mossies though. Climb under my shirt and get fresh blood! Les escapes to the Landcruiser leaving my blood as the only food source. So as you watch this sunrise shot from Sunday morning; know that I payed for it in blood!

Hawk Dreaming Sunrise 21-sep-08

Hawk Dreaming. home of the Bunitj clan.
I will return.
Feels little bit like your country is now a part of me!

 

Bill Neidjie

Rock stays, Earth stays.
I die and put my bones in cave or earth.
Soon my bones become earth, all the same.
My spirit has gone back to my country, my mother.
This story is important.
It won’t change, it is law.
It is like this earth, it won’t move.
Ground and rock, he can’t move.
Cave, he never move.
No-one can shift that cave, because it dream.
It story.
It law.
This law, this country,this people,
no matter what people,
red, yellow, black or white,
the blood is the same.
Lingo little bit different,
but no matter.

Country, you in other place.
But the same feeling.
Blood, bone, all the same.
This story,
this is true story.
My people
all dead.
We only got few left.
That’s all, not many.
We getting too old.
Young people.
I don’t know if they can hang onto this story.
But, now you know this story,
and you’ll be coming to earth.
You’ll be part of earth when you die.
You responsible now.
You got to go with us.
To earth.
Might be you can hang on.
Hang on to this story.
To this earth.
You got children,
grandson.
Might be your grandson will get this story,
keep going,
hang on like I done.

– Bill Neidjie

Kimberley. Home.

“Man was born in the desert. Desert is home.” writes Bruce Chatwin. The Kimberley in North West Australia is not a desert but the extremely hot and tough conditions and wide open desolate plains certainly makes Bruce Chatwins words ring true to me.

The Kimberley is an area in North West Australia of wide open spaces, stunning scenery and vast desolate expanse creating an amazing sense of wonder and adventure. A land as old as time – and almost as timeless to quote a very funny Australian comedian. It is much larger than Great Britain but only home to less than 30,000 people. The Gibb River Road runs from one end to the other and was originally built for transporting cattle. It is an unsealed rocky corrugated dirt track most of the way and usually only accessible by 4wd – sometimes not even by 4wd. Although it is fast becoming more accessible and touristy in the cooler months of June and July it is still a rough and rugged experience travelling it and an experience like no other in Australia. September is a very hot month to hit the Kimberleys but the upside is you will have the scenery and the mosquitoes to yourself!

I cannot describe how much I love travelling through the Australian far outback like the Kimberleys. It feels like home. It creates an actual physical reaction in me. I simply love it. It can make me incredibly sad as well. I just want to stay for all eternity. I want to roll out of my swag in a bush camp on the Gibb River Road every morning every day and shoot sunrise like the one I caught here:

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I want to travel through the bush and end the day every day with sunsets like the one I caught here in Purnululu (also known as Bungle Bungles) National Park:

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I never want it to end…

Pit stop

Having said that; a little pit stop is alright. 14 days of bush camping in stinking hot humid heat with flies and mozzies can get to ya; even to me. It was pushing +40 degrees all days in the sun; it was 37 degrees in the shade at Mount Barnett. The buildup to the wet had already started and conditions were trying. It is an experience like no other. I cannot count the number of mozzie and ant bites and bruises and cuts on my arms and legs (fire ants are bloody lethal!). Shooting every day at sunrise and sunset means you take the full force of the first wave of attack! I have a heat rash so bad I had to buy bloody skin irritation cream relief lotion crap stuff today at a pharmacy. I then had to apply the lotion to arms and legs. Not normally into any kind of bloody lotion! But I was scratching myself to a bloody pulp. All minor details though and totally worth it!

Shooting the Kimberleys

I shot thousands of shots and many large stitched panoramas. Lightroom 2.0 is killing my laptop so I have just exported these 2 quick and dirty previews of the many shots to come when I get home. The Kimberley light is a tricky thing to master; it so incredibly bright and harsh with a dynamic range no camera can capture and it takes a lot of practice and a different shooting style. I’ll go into more details in a post some day. All my equipment survived the Kimberley just fine; but my Canon 20D backup camera did see action as I lent it to fellow photographer Rosi from Sydney to use after her 350D died.

A sad day in Bungle Bungles

A very sad note about the Purnululu Sunset photo; actually from my second visit. The smoke is from a 1 kilometer long bushfire started just hours earlier by a helicopter crash and explosion that killed the pilot and all 3 tourists. I did not know this when I shot the photo and it makes it very weird to look at now. I was up in those very same helicopters just a week before during my first visit to Purnululu and had booked to go up again the day right after the crash. All flights were cancelled of course after the accident. Accidents happens unfortunately and I still feel safer in any helicopter than in any car. But it is a very strange uneasy feeling looking at this shot now knowing what is causing the fire. A bad day in the Bungles.

House

Funny story. Today I arrived back in Darwin for 2 days of pit stop and lotion. Some of the people working at the hotel know me by now and as I stepped in the door towing bags of camera gear covered in red dust they all shouted “hey mate; how are ya; how was the Kimberleys; got good shots?”. Then because I had to wait an hour before my room was ready they upgraded me to a town house! A bleedin’ 2 story larger than my flat town house with downstairs kitchen and living room and upstairs bedroom and bathroom. I just want a swag and a sleeping bag!

So you will have to excuse me; I am busy applying lotion to my skin in a feckin’ town house! Thank the maker I go bush again Friday morning as I take off for Kakadu National Park!

Crocs, Boxer Shorts – and a Sleeping Buddha!

Continuing the newly started tradition of telling some of the older travel stories here’s the story of how I encountered a few crocodiles wearing nothing but boxer shorts and a camera.

I was camping in the Kimberleyland Caravan Park in Kununurra  in January 1998 in the middle of a 5 week 11,000 kilometer outback trip with Amesz Tours going from Perth to Perth the long way – through Darwin and Alice Springs! And in the wet season no less. Some would call it crazy, I call it a holiday! We had just made it through the Gibb River Road in the wet season and every day it was 40 degrees heat or more and with enough humidity, flies and mosquitoes to go ‘troppo’ (a special kind of crazy reserved for the tropics!) in a second. We had one day with 52 degrees heat and you couldn’t touch any rocks when walking in the Kimberleys or your hand would melt. So this nice caravan park with showers and a nice breeze from Lake Kununurra was a welcome two day change from hot bushcamps.

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

‘Sleeping Buddha’ Rock in Kununurra sunset
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

The caravan park is right next to Lake Kununurra and the above sunset of the ‘Sleeping Buddha’ rock is shot on the bank of the river from the caravan park. It’s a gorgeous place to camp.

The very next morning I wake up in a big pool of sweat – as usual. It’s just before sunrise and the temperature inside the tent is already reaching boiling point – as usual. I look out and my eyes cannot believe that the entire lake is on fire! It’s just before sunrise and the colours are something you would never believe unless you’ve been here in the wet season. I grab my trusty Canon EOS Rebel SLR camera and run the 100 meters or so down to the banks of the river. All the way I am staring at the sky in disbelief, we’ve seen some out of this world sunrises and sunsets every day but still this is something very special and barefooted I run towards the light. Now, when I’m almost at the river bank I hear about 3 or 4 splashes and startled by this sound I take my head out of the sky and look down – just in time to see 3 or 4 crocodiles swimming away rapidly! I stop dead in my tracks eyes wide open! It was not the first crocs I had seen on the trip but certainly the first that I almost ran barefoot straight into dressed in nothing but boxer shorts and a camera (normally when I run into crocs I at least prefer to do it in style and be dressed for the occasion!).

The crocs are gone in a split second or two and I don’t get the lens cap removed and the camera ready nowhere near fast enough. I get no photo, I just stand there saying ‘wauv’ to myself pausing for a bit until I remember…the sunrise! The crocs may have gone but the light show is still on so I manage to get a few shots with the blood red sky on fire.

I wasn’t much of a photographer back then so I underexposed them way too much but have managed to rescue them somewhat by scanning the Fujichrome slides using Vuescan software and working them in Photoshop. Here’s the best two, click to see large:

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

‘Sleeping Buddha Rock’ sunrise
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

 

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

Sunrise at Lake Kununurra
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I wish I could reshoot this with the camera and skills I have today but I still like the photos, the colours are spot on and exactly as I remember them from this special morning. I can’t help but think though how fantastic the photos would have been with a few crocs in the foreground!