Winter Blooms

August 29, 2015 at 5:45 pm


There’s an upside even to the last month of winter. Overcast skies and cold winds seem to make August  the least likely time to be out making pictures let alone getting out of bed before sunrise.

You can always  turn your hand to the little things though.

In this case a small twig of eremophila freelingii or native fuchsia which doesn’t mind the harsh conditions together with some rock lichen thriving in the damp conditions.


Fire Bush

August 24, 2015 at 6:50 pm
lobe-leaf hopbush c

©Copyright Peter MacDonald. All Rights Reserved.

It doesn’t take a lot of rain in the Flinders Ranges or indeed the Outback for wildflowers to turn on some spectacular performances in Spring.
There are plenty of references to burning bushes in religious stories and
this little beauty is about as close as you will get to the miracles of old in this modern age.

It goes with the most unromantic name of “lobe-leaf hops”.

When in flower it stands out among the rest of the shrubs and bushes and as the afternoon sun sinks towards the horizon the tiny flowers really start to blaze.

lobe-leaf hopbush a

©Copyright PeterMacDonald. All Rights Reserved.

As can be seen from this close up of a branch, the flowers look beautiful and delicate but like most things that live in arid zones the bush is very tough.

The lobe-leaf hop bush is a real standout although its is going to get some serious competition from other species in the next couple of months.

Annual November Workshop at Arkaroola

August 18, 2015 at 10:39 am


Modern technology….sometimes it bites hard.

You may have noticed there hasn’t been too many pictures from the Sentimental Bloke in recent times.
The problem has been the internet service which has, since last May been so slow that  uploading from my home is often not possible.
I’m not the only one complaining about it but nothing seems to be getting done.
Apart from internet problems I recently upgraded my computer and in the transfer it looks like I have lost some emails including ones from people interested in the Arkaroola 3 day workshop in early November.

The Arkaroola workshops are the most popular and best value for photographers of any level to learn a great range of knowledge about the art of photography.

There’s plenty of information on the website about the workshops. Just click on the workshop section on any page of www.thesentimentalbloke

If you would like to participate in this workshop you can email me on [email protected]

The highlight of the Arkaroola workshop is a whole day ex-loring and shooting in the closed Ridgetop Tour area of the sanctuary.

Not the Wild West

July 31, 2015 at 12:57 pm

No red indians, no cowboys. Mesa country in the Great Victoria Desert around Lake Eyre. Perhaps a cow might wander this way. It’s on Anna Creek station, the world’s largest cattle station or ranch – the term depending on which country you come from.

Lake Frome Dune

July 23, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Dune with Salt

Here’s further evidence of the whiteness, the brilliance of the salt on Lake Frome in South Australia’s far north, particularly when it is dry.
Pilots of aircraft flying low near the surface of the lake are likely to experience a phenomenon usually associated with the Antarctic or Arctic where the horizon becomes indistinct because of the large surface area of white.
The spectacular dunes, like the one here, are found mostly at the southern end of the lake and they provide landmarks in the salt which covers about 2,500 square kilometres.

Whiter than White

July 19, 2015 at 5:31 pm
Frome Dune

©Copyright Peter MacDonald. All Rights Reserved.

The whiteness of the salt on Lake Frome is startling. Whiter than white as the soap suds ad goes.
I’ve been told astronauts used the salt expanse to do their white balance checks for the cameras on their space stations.
The other remarkable things is the numerous sand dunes that are trapped on the salt surface.
The desert surrounding the lake have the usual large dunes that run north to south for hundreds of kilometres.
The dunes on the lake are part of that system which was formed in the last ice age more than 10 thousand years ago.
They are significant landmarks trapped in the salt.

Frome 3

©Copyright Peter MacDonald. All Rights Reserved

I am up very high on these runs so that what you see in the images cover quite a large surface area of the lake



From the Air – Day One

July 12, 2015 at 6:30 pm

Frome Islands
Fresh rainwater surrounding islands of pristine white salt…so beautiful.
Unable to get to Lake Eyre after some very heavy rainfalls a couple of months back the opportunity to fly over Lake Frome in South Australia’s vast outback was something of a surprise.
After all the images of Lake Eyre that have been posted here previously, it would easy to think, just another desert salt lake. Not so.
The Salt Lake project continues…..

Wind Blown

July 2, 2015 at 4:41 pm
Dunes-Lake Frome

©Copyright Peter MacDonald. All Rights Reserved.

The images I have been posting about Lake Frome in recent times have centred around a sand dune location at the edge of this giant salt lake.
It is hard to imagine the size of Lake Frome and like the work I did around Lake Eyre to the north, the images posted here are trying to illustrate that.

The winds that blows across the lake reshape these dunes back and forth almost daily.

Apart from the occasional animal that climbs the dunes or the wandering photographer, the winds erase footprints and and constantly change the beautiful shapes and ripples.
In short, it almost always looks pristine.

Dunes 2-Lake Frome

©Copyright Peter MacDonald. All Rights Reserved.

However the extent of this unusual formation is only truly seen from the air.
This photograph shows the fine, clean sand surrounded by the salt lake on almost all sides.

But the story doesn’t end here.
There is an equally beautiful relationship between sand and salt to be found far out on the surface of Lake Frome.

Nature’s Surprises

June 28, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Little Corellas

Nature is full of little surprises. Sometimes they can be as close as walking out into your backyard.

It had been a week of rains, swollen creeks and muddy outback roads.

With storm clouds still around just before dusk, the sun broke through for a few minutes.

It created an eerie evening light that caught a bunch of noisy Corellas and a trio of Galahs on a nearby tree.

A Line in the Sand

June 25, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Frome Dune

The link between sand and salt on Lake Frome is probably stronger than any of the rest of the dry lake system in South Australia’s Outback.
Lakes Eyre, Torrens, Gairdner and the other smaller ones that cover large areas of the deserts have little in common with Frome.
This is where the salt along one section of the coast finishes and sand dunes begin.
What start out as few low ripples grow to exquisite formations of wind shaped dunes.

Shores of Lake Frome

June 21, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Frome ws

Lake Frome in South Australia’s far north is a a bit over two and a half thousand square kilometres of salt, glaringly bright in the heat of the day, deceptively beautiful on the first light of the day.

Occasionally a rabbit scampers from one clump of bushes to another along the shoreline. You wonder how they can survive out here. It doesn’t rain often.

Far out on the lake a mob of emus, dots in the shimmering haze.The dune in the distance an outstanding landmark.

A strange landscape for sure.



Legends of the North – Akurra, the Snake

June 11, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Sala Entry 1


Exploring the edges of Lake Frome in northern South Australia, an amazing mixture of textures and formations, even aboriginal culture.

The lake is part of the local Dreaming story told by the Adnyamathanha people explaining how the region’s geology and species originated.

According to this Dreaming story, Lake Frome was emptied of its water by the Rainbow Serpent Akurra when he ventured down Arkaroola Creek (which flows onto Lake Frome) to drink.

The snake drank all the water in the lake and returned to the ranges where it still sleeps.

Because of its significance the Adnyamathanha do not venture onto the lake’s surface.

From the air over the edges of the lake, its easy to relate to this legend when rain has recently fallen in the area.

Forward Planning

June 7, 2015 at 3:09 pm

Busy Bee

Most of my workshops are now tailored to suit the the busy lives of most people, whether it be a one, two or three day courses or a one hour Skype session.

However there’s one popular workshop that needs a bit of forward planning.

The last 3 day event held at Arkaroola in the northern Flinders Ranges last April was a great success and I am scheduling another later this year.

The dates are November 3, 4 and 5. Maximum 5 people, minimum 3.

That’s plenty of time to plan for the trip to Arkaroola.

Details of the workshop can be accessed by going to website and clicking on the Workshop header at the top right corner of the page.

If you interested in joining this event I can be contacted by email [email protected] or by phoning 0429703693

Information about Arkaroola, accommodation, how to get there and what you will need to bring in the way of camera gear will be provided as well as a list of the functions on your camera you should be familiar with prior to the workshop.

Photographers at all levels of experience can participate.


Lake Frome – A World of Salt

June 1, 2015 at 10:29 am
Frome Tracks

©Copyright Peter MacDonald 2015. All Rights Reserved.

The memory of a scary night caught on Lake Eyre, not that long ago makes me very wary of driving or even walking on salt lakes.

The surface is treacherous. Underneath is thick, deep black mud, about the constituency of treacle. Not something to get caught in as I did.

Of course the salt eventually eats away at everything.

Lake Eyre is only  a few hundred kilometres north of Lake Frome and the conditions are no different.

Here I am safe, not too far out on the lake and on foot as the sun starts to climb above the horizon.

Lake Frome – An Eerie World of Salt and Sand

May 24, 2015 at 1:43 pm

©Copyright 2015 Peter MacDonald. All Rights Reserved

Glad not to have false teeth. The track(very loose term) to this location was a real car killer.

I’m on the edge of Lake Frome, a very large expanse of salt to the east of Balcanoona in the northern Flinders Ranges of South Australia.

The salt on the lake is dotted with sand dunes said to have been formed in the last ice age more than 10 thousand years ago.

The formations on the edge of the lake are no less intriguing. Shifting sand constantly being reshaped by the wind.

Changes to the Sentimental Bloke website

May 19, 2015 at 5:00 pm
Para Gorge Rd

Along the Parachilna Gorge Road, Flinders Ranges. ©Copyright Peter MacDonald. All Rights Reserved.

It’s been a while since a new image was posted here.
Not from want of trying.
Too much time on the road, three projects that have taken up a lot of time, have produced only a small number of images and are not finished yet are the reasons.
However there have been some small changes to the Sentimental Bloke website.
I have finally made an effort to update the gallery section with image, that while familiar to some, have been buried in the day to day posts.
I have also had several really worthwhile workshops in the last couple of months.
Based on those events, I have made changes to how workshops can be conducted in the future, giving more options for those who want to improve their photographic skills.
It has been really rewarding hearing how students, who have been to my workshops, have been reporting back about improvements in their work. Maybe one of the options is worth considering.
You can access both the Gallery and the Workshops sections on the top line of the Sentimental Bloke home page.

Changing Seasons

April 6, 2015 at 9:23 pm
Hawker Showers

Showers rolling in along the hills south of Hawker in the Flinders Ranges. © Peter MacDonald 2015

In some ways the change in  seasons is gradual. In others it comes quite quickly. It’s no so hot anymore and you realise summer is gone. The first cold weather, showers, the end of daylight saving all indications winter is not too far away.

Still autumn is really the best time to be in the Flinders Ranges or further afield in the Outback.

Pictures are a bit hard to come by at the moment. I have been involved in a couple of projects where for one reason or another, I can’t use images that I’ve recently  taken.

A Sense of Calm

March 27, 2015 at 6:00 pm

©Copyright Peter MacDonald 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Less painterly than the image in the previous post. More minimal but a strong sense of peacefulness.
The people in the water are there just to break the transition from the calm waters to the sky.
I’m printing more and more images these days.
There’s something much more rewarding having a printed picture in your hands than a image on a computer screen
The size I most prefer is 50 x 40 cm but this one, in the right location has the potential to look most effective printed quite large.


March 23, 2015 at 6:00 pm

©Copyright Peter MacDonald 2015. All Rights Reserved.

There are  two elusive qualities that can make a good landscape.
One is a painterly-like feel to the image.
The other is a sense of peace about the scene.
This image taken of Port Willunga on Adelaide’s southern beaches comes reasonably close on both counts.
Perhaps its the beach-gowers that add that little extra touch even though they are so small.

If there was the luxury of painting the scene, the clouds would probably have looked a little more effective positioned closer to the horizon.

On The Road – Peak Hour

March 19, 2015 at 6:00 pm
peak hour

©Copyright Peter MacDonald 2015. All Rights Reserved.