In looking through some of the photos I have taken over the last 6 months or so, often there’s a common theme.
Without a doubt there’s plenty of ridges throughout the hills and mountains of the ranges but the contrast between them can often be quite pronounced.
Lets start with the powerful, rugged volcanic and granite country of the northern Flinders Ranges.
No prizes for guessing where this is. Arkaroola, in the Sillers lookout area with the Freeling heights in the background.
I took this photograph at the height of the last drought.
It is of Arkaroola in the northern Flinders Ranges with Dinnertime Hill on the left and Mt Oliphant on the right.
It doesn’t look anything like this at the moment.
The regeneration of bushes, trees and all sorts of smaller plant life has been an explosion since the breaking of the drought.
However back in 2008 when this shot was taken, conditions were pretty terrible – so much so that the two mountains and much of the surrounding countryside had lost their vegetation cover.
The bare bones of this rugged terrain are totally exposed.
This scene is constantly changing – time of day, weather, seasons – they all contribute.
Even though it has been seen a hundred times before, sometimes the change can be starling.
This is the ancient Flinders Ranges – so different from the much visited central and southern areas.
The Freeling Height and the Mawson Plateau in the background.
The photograph was taken not long after the previous post – a natural haunt of eagles.
The heat and humidity clouds of a summer afternoon, a strong wind blowing and the sun dipping towards the background all contribute to this picture.
The first landscape taken with the Fuji X-Pro 1 and a 50 mm prime or fixed lens.
I have been working on a commission at Arkaroola in the northern Flinders Ranges recently. It required an afternoon shot, so mornings were free.
It was a chance to visit a really beautiful waterhole there.
I have taken photos of Arkaroola Waterhole previously in the morning light but when it has been nearly full. You can see one of the images here
Now well into summer the waterhole has contracted to where the water level is quite small.
However it has become an essential part of life for all the wildlife that live in the area.
Before the sun’s rays had reached the rocky crags surrounding the waterhole it wasn’t hard to spot yellow-footed rock wallabies.
I counted eight and took quite a few photos. I’ve used just two that show the little wallaby’s extra long tail – a very handy body part that enabled them to be so nimble across the rock slopes that are their home.
I’ve posted articles about yellow-footed rock wallabies before and how they are still considered endangered.
You can find that on the link here.
However actually photographing them at the water’s edge is a first for me.
Beautiful little creatures in a beautiful location.
Each year the Bureau of Meteorology puts out a calendar of spectacular weather scenes from around the country.
The 2013 Met Bureau calendar features a photos of mine of a dust storm over Arkaroola in the northern Flinders Ranges a few summers ago.
It is one of three pictures taken of the front at pretty close quarters. I had been hanging onto the shots in the hope I could make a triptych out of them. That’s if I could find a wall big enough to do them justice.
There’s a pretty good explanation of the actual storm and how it formed from a meteorological point of view by going to the Met Bureau site HERE where you can also purchase a copy of the calendar.
The photos does give a pretty good idea of the size of the storm. The hills and mountains of Arkaroola, which are quite substantial, appear almost dwarfed by the incoming front.
I have just spent a couple of days on a workshop at Arkaroola and was surprised at the spectacular show of wildflowers that is already out this spring.
Wild hops or Rosy Dock, the variety said to have been introduced by Afghan cameleers back in the 1800s, laying a carpet of red in many areas.
The vivid reds are just part of the scene, with many acacias in bloom like the Dead Finish (Acacia tretragonafila) adding bursts of gold on the hill slopes.
Having battled to get the spectacular Stubbs waterhole into perspective in the previous photograph, it is now easier to concentrate on the actually water hole without the massive rock face it sits beneath.
Nevertheless the other surrounding cliffs provide a wonderful setting for this waterhole.
Over the recent drought years this was a mostly dry and austere landscape. It’s amazing what good rains will do. The rocks seem redder, the trees and other vegetation very lush and green.
This is still the Arkaroola Creek at Stubbs, where it flows around to the right in the first picture.
With sand dunes and salt and tiny little towns the focus of my attention this past week, it was a bit of an effort to come back to these photographs but easier that starting on the process of dealing with over 1500 new photos.
It’s a marvellous world we live in. This photograph was taken on my last trip to Arkaroola, which only seems like yesterday but in fact was two weeks ago now.
I’m off in a totally different direction now, but thanks to a friend, Trevor Wright from WrightsAir in William Creek this picture gets to make it onto the pages of the Sentimental Bloke.
The photograph is of Stubbs Waterhole along the Arkaroola Creek…..something I’ve photographed quite often but never satisfactorily.
The problem is the waterhole is small compared to the towering rock face is sits beneath.
Then of course there’s the position of the sun which is often putting flare all over the lens or its overhead, and washing out all the colours.
It was bit of a climb but worth the the effort. The cliff face turned out to be quite dramatic in the afternoon sun…..a sort of grotesque skull, if you have an overactive imagination like me.
I am having another look at Lake Eyre over the next two days. They say it’s quite different from my previous visits.
I’ll be using WrightsAir again for several flights over the lake and to Birdsville and Innamincka. Then its on to another project for over a week, so once again picture are going to be very intermittent for a while.
One of the bonuses of the recent workshop at Arkaroola was coming across a really rare sight.
It’s an albino yellow-footed rock wallaby.
Numbers of these animals have been in decline for many years so an albino is a fairly rare creature.
Apart from having a striking resemblance to a stuffed toy, the albino is at least twice as big as a normal fully grown member of the species and possibly even bigger.
Typical yellow-foots are about the size seen in the photo here
The animal in the right hand corner of this photograph is probably an offspring of the albino which is a female and has a joey in the pouch.
Albino animals are usually very sensitive to sunlight and this wallaby is no different. It wasn’t until I noticed something different about her eyes that I magnified the picture and found that her eyelids and eye lashes had grown very large as protection again sunlight.
The albino seems to have adapted to her environment despite here generic handicap.
It is really nice to come away from a workshop with a nice shot in the bag.
Keith and Glenda are two lovely people who I had the pleasure of taking on a workshop at Arkaroola a few days ago.
I generally start at Bolla Bollana waterhole which transforms into something new at each visit.
After big rains weeks ago, the waterhole has been flushed out yet again
This photograph is a marked contrasted the the last one I took at Bolla Bollana a few months back. Different weather, different light and a steady stream of water flowing in.
A good place to pick up on good techniques for taking landscapes.
Shot at f22, ISO 200 at 1/6th sec. Circular polarising filter on tripod