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 thesentimentalbloke.com 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.


Rock Wallaby

March 15, 2015 at 6:00 pm

©Copyright Peter MacDonald 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Aah, the morning sun, a favorite rock hole out of the breeze….the perfect place to prepare for the day ahead.

One of the many yellow footed rock wallabies that have grown in number around the Arkaroola waterhole in recent times.

They seem to be quite used to people. I made no attempt to hide my presence as it went about its business quite happily.

Nevertheless it was gone in an instant when it needed to.

Summer Rains and a Carpet of Green

March 11, 2015 at 10:07 am

©Copyright Peter MacDonald 2015. All Rights Reserved

The recent rains have opened up all sorts of opportunities that have kept me on the road or in the air over the last few weeks.

The most obvious result of those rains has been the greening of the countryside over a wide area of the Flinders Ranges and Outback.

It is something of a shock to see such areas of green when you are so used to the brown and yellow hues that normally cover the land.

From the air it is very evident.

The Wooltana Station homestead nestling up against the foothills of the Flinders Ranges is surrounded in a Green carpet


Copyright Peter MacDonald 2015. All Rights Reserved.

After rains the vegetation takes on a rather striking shade of green.

It’s almost iridescent as seen here on both side of the Nepowie Range near the Gammon Ranges National Park.

The time of day could have a bearing on this.

The image above was taken mid afternoon..the other two, top and bottom, in the early morning.


©Copyright Peter MacDonald 2015. All Rights Reserved

Further north you could almost imagine playing an extended round of golf on the plains near the Beverley Uranium mine.

The bunkers could be  a bit savage though.

In the world of digital photography, green seems to be the colour most difficult to capture correctly. Whether that’s an Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom thing I am not sure. It could be just me.

However I have found that taking  care to get exposures right is the best way round this.

Mt. Alec in the Mist

March 1, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Mt Alec

Mt Alec in the Elder Range is often photographed. It’s formation is spectacular, highlighted in the morning by the rising sun.
A different view of the mount this morning, its peak almost hidden in the clouds still hanging around from the night’s previous storms.

There has been summer rains several times in the previous weeks around Wilpena and Mt. Alec, the green healthy vegetation quite noticeable.

Before, during and after bad weather is always a good time to be out looking for interesting light.

Outback Floods in Summer

February 26, 2015 at 6:00 pm


Only six creek between me and home and the rain is falling so hard the windscreen wipers are struggling to clear the water.

Summer in the Flinders Ranges and for another thousand kilometres north means occasional  unpredictable rains, swollen fast running creeks and what seems like oceans of water.


The next day the sun is shining but water is everywhere. Dirt roads have turned to sludge, creeks are still flowing.

This guy didn’t even stop for a chat.


Surf Fishermen

February 23, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Surf fishermen 1

©Copyright Peter MacDonald “The Sentimental Bloke” 2015. All Rights Reserved.

The Murray Mouth is being dredged at the moment so a landscape photo was out the the question.

However the dredging wasn’t stopping these blokes.

You might think there only two chaps out there…in fact there’s four.

Extremely brave or mad they may be, but they are keen fishermen.

Battling the tide, the surf, rips and currents caused by the water flowing from the Murray, they are after Mulloway or Jewfish, which can grow up to 2 metres in length.

Surf Fishing 2

©Copyright Peter MacDonald “The Sentimental Bloke” 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Over the years there’s been a few fishermen who have lost their lives, caught by freak waves, changing current and bad weather.

When they catch a fish, rather than wade into shore, the catch is clipped to a belt around their waist. I have been told that a shark or two cruising in the surf have snaffled an easy meal from the dangling fish.

Not for the faint hearted.

Coorong Blue

February 20, 2015 at 11:44 am
Coorong waters

©Copyright Peter MacDonald, “the Sentimental Bloke” 2015. All Right Reserved.


The Sentimental Bloke staggers along on a routine of sorts. These days, time is set aside, usually on one day to choose pictures and write posts which are scheduled for weeks in advance.
It’s the only way to do it, if you want to keep taking pictures.
The dilemma is whether to lay it out in chronological order or some other way. I opt for the dog’s breakfast approach.
I have an interest in photographing the Coorong….the waterway which is a series of lagoons connected to the Murray River mouth and Lake Alexandrina that extend about 130 kilometres into the South East of South Australia.
Exploring the Coorong is not without its difficulties…you need a boat and a guide with lots of time on his hands to start with.
The above picture was taken about an hour after sunset on Hindmarsh Island again demonstrating the versatility of the Fuji X100s with a 6 second exposure.
It was taken at f11 with an ISO of 400 for a sharp image and no noise.

Thanks to Simon Cardone for his local and boating knowledge.

Corellas In Flight

February 9, 2015 at 6:30 pm
Corellas b&w2

©Copyright 2015 Peter MacDonald Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Little Corellas like galahs, fly in flocks particularly towards nightfall….circling to find a roost for the night.

The sun’s rays catching their white wings against a darkening sky…perfect for a black and white photo.


The Waiter

February 4, 2015 at 6:00 pm

©Copyright 2015 Peter MacDonald Photography. All Rights Reserved.


A little Vietnamese restaurant I frequent  in Adelaide, the Yen Linh in Field Street,

There’s several elements of  composition illustrated in this picture …..the main one being figure to ground or using light and shadow to let the viewer know the central figure.  A concept covered in depth in workshops I conduct.


The Photograph.

February 1, 2015 at 6:00 pm

©Copyright 2015 Peter MacDonald Photography. All Rights Reserved

There’s a resurgence of interest worldwide in black and white photography…a medium that has fallen  from favour in the digital age.

Taking the colour out of an image and using the contrast available can sometimes make a much more power photograph.

This is the first of a three part black and white series of images …… three lads connected by the  photograph that’s on the  camera’s screen.

The Spectacular Flinders Ranges…No 6

January 28, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Ridgetop aerial

©Copyright 2015 Peter MacDonald Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Experimenting with angles and light.

The window is about 5 minutes before there is a dramatic change in the landscape.

The Ridgetop track, Arkaroola as not often seen.


January 25, 2015 at 6:00 pm


25-thousand sheep brought in from all parts of a 10-thousand square kilometre station, shorn over 40 days and on their way back to the paddocks.

The last day of this mammouth task shows in the eyes and stance of the station manager who’s orchestrated it all….until the same time next year.

Simon Robinson, Commonwealth Hill Station. Woomera Prohibited Area, South Australia.