It was a long held dream to go to the Bungle Bungles and when the experience was finally there we found the uniqueness of the place unbelievable. The stunning colours and dramatic land formations make it a photographer’s paradise – evidenced by the amount of serious photographic gear being toted everywhere.
Any assumption of a sense of camaraderie and sharing amongst photographers is not well founded. It is more the case that every special location or angle or point of view remains, as far as possible, a closely guarded secret. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery simply does not apply. In fact the point and shoot hobby photographer is likely to earn him or herself at the very least some condescending and/or impatient looks by attempting to imitate the pro.
These sentiments were even more alive and well with two European photographers we happened upon in Echidna Chasm who had taken up a prime position and were not about to give ground. The same situation was repeated the following the following day in Cathedral Chasm. Then late afternoon we climbed to the lookout, the optimum spot to photograph sunset over Purnululu, only to get the ultimate stare-down from the same two blokes. We tried to be diplomatic and stay well clear of them by climbing further up the ridge, where we found a great spot with foreground depth being provided by the ubiquitous and always photogenic spinifex. After setting up we were enjoying a peaceful sunset reverie until to our great surprise abuse began being hurled at us from our ‘friends’ down the ridge. It seems they had shifted position and we were now in their field of view! While many not so subtle responses came to mind neither of us are the yelling back types but there was no mistaking the message in the eloquence of Steve’s hand signals!!!
The so called ‘golden hours’ are a photographer’s best friend, i.e. the hour around sunrise and sunset when the light is softer and more golden rather than the harsh and contrasting light of the middle of the day.
As mentioned, in the case of this panoramic shot of Purnululu we arrived well before sunset to set up and waited for the optimum light which is sometimes only fleeting. Capturing the expansiveness of this view involved taking about six images and stitching them together in Photoshop. It is essential to have the camera on a precisely levelled tripod and to use manual settings rather than auto to keep the light and focus consistent while the camera is rotated.
We initially tackled Echidna Chasm before the heat of the day, only to realize that in this instance the sheer sides of the chasm meant that the best shots were going to be had with the midday sun directly overhead. This meant gathering gear together once again and making the trek once again, this time being rewarded by the magnificent fiery reds and golds lighting up the whole chasm. We were then wised up to doing the same thing the following day with Cathedral Gorge – an equally spectacular experience.
A good wide angle lens is a huge advantage for much of the photography around Purnululu.
Camera: 5D Mark II with EF 17-40 f.4L USM lens