It’s been a couple of months now since I got back from Kakadu National Park and now that I’m back to the grind at work it means that I have precious little time to post up images individually so here is a wrap up of all of the images that have made it into my portfolio. I had spent a few months planning this trip by researching tourist sites and looking through other photographers work for inspiration. The biggest thing you need to factor into a Kakadu trip is the weather, you can generally categorise NT seasons into the ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ seasons. I wanted to get to the park in the wet season when there is a lot more water in the billabongs and waterfalls. The problem is though, the rain starts to close roads and tracks that you need to go down to get to the places that are best seen in the wet.
So I headed out of Darwin with a plan of what I would hit and when, first up was Ubirr Rock but needless to say that after visiting there nothing went to plan!
After checking into my accommodation I drove out to Ubirr, as this area is only open in the afternoons during the wet season. With the threat of rain there were few other people there so I pretty much had the whole place to myself! At Ubirr there is a walking track that takes you past Aboriginal rock art paintings that are tens of thousands of years old. I spent a fair bit of time photographing them from various perspectives. The overcast light was perfect for getting the details in the art out. I spent the whole time considering that for all the progression in technology, art is still fundamentally the same. To stand in the same spot where another artist like me had spent many thousands of hours was truely remarkable.
It’s hard to show the scale and the detail of the art on screen. This panel is quite high up and probably 15 meters wide, it is full of drawings and even includes some areas that look like they were painted over at some time. You really need a large print to appreciate this scene, the above panorama will easily print out 50 inches wide.
Here is a close up of a section of the above wall. A lot of the art documents the lifestyle of the Aboriginal people from thousands of years ago, there is drawings of the food they ate, how they hunted and also moral stories.
After finishing up with the rock art I climbed up to the top of Ubirr rock. You can find many images taken by photographers and tourists alike of the sunset at the top of Ubirr but I didn’t travel all that way to simply re-create the image that everyone else gets so I looked for something different. The image above provides a unique perspective of the trees in the area, the leaves are finally getting some water and have gone a nice green and because I could photograph it from the top of the rock you don’t see any sky in the background.
At the top of Ubirr there is a really dynamic looking rock, after roaming around to find a foreground object I found this large tuft of grass growing in the cracks of the rocks. By using focus stacking I was able to get high sharpness right from the foreground to the background of this image. Unfortunately the rangers ushered me out of the park right on sunset so they could close up, I wasn’t too upset as I knew I had gotten some great shots already.
It was during this shoot that I realised that I had left one of my batteries and the charger back at home!!! This meant that the next day I would have to drive 300km back to Darwin to pick it up then drive back out again. I wouldn’t be able to go to at least one of the spots on my list but my wonderful wife agreed to bring the battery and charger half way and save me a bunch of time. Isn’t she a keeper?
With recent rain in the area some of the best shots I got were from the side of the road. With a little time up my sleeve before meeting my wife I stopped in a few spots to shoot the grass and trees in the water – a favourite subject of mine.
After picking up my battery charger and once again being indebted to my wife for my own stupidity I did a little exploring that was mostly fruitless while I waited for my sunset cruise on Yellow Waters.
As I’ve already mentioned on this blog I got a private cruise! When no other tourists turned up in the meeting area I was kind of worried that they would cancel the tour, but when my guide showed up he was lugging a long-lensed Nikon, as soon as he saw my camera gear out and ready he was more than happy to go. Turns out he studied photography but now works in tourism, over the next two hours I got a private tour and he was more than happy to go certain places and stop so that I could get shots that I wanted.
There’s nothing better than being able to get into the right place with the right light. I don’t think I would have gotten the same results if I had been on a ‘regular’ cruise. I asked my guide for suggestions as to what to shoot the next morning and he pointed me in the direction of Motor Car Falls. It was going to be a bit of a walk but I decided to go for it and hope the effort would be worth it. I’ve already written about that ‘little walk’ here but here are the images I got from the falls for the sake of completeness.
Last but not least one more of the flooding on the side of the road. There were areas with a lot more water but it was these kind of images that I was aiming for so I didn’t stop for the really flooded bits! (Plus, you know crocs and stuff!)
Well that ticks another item off the bucket list and a main reason for moving to the NT. I’ll be back but with the family in tow so that we can share the experience, that’ll mean a bit less time for photography but I’m content with what I have for now (but I still need to go to the Gunlom infinity pool).