November Workshop – Arkaroola

June 14, 2014 at 3:39 pm

E Mt Painter 2


The last scheduled three day photographic workshop of the year at Arkaroola will be November 1, 2 and 3.

I have picked early November for several reasons; the busy season will be over and it is far enough advanced for people to be able to plan a trip around the dates….accommodation easier to get, temperatures should still be moderate and photography should be at its best.

This workshop is limited to 5 photographers so I can be spend time with each photographer  individually.

Flinders Ranges

Like the last very successful workshop in May,  participants  can expect to develop their photography and the way they see, have clear understanding of composition and how to use different factors to make stronger and more interesting photographs.

Participants will have also immediately improved results.

Most importantly, expect to have an enjoyable experience on this workshop, take in the wonders of the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and make some images you will be happy to take home.

All the details about my photographic workshops and the 3-day Arkaroola workshop  can be found  over on the right-hand column of this page.

For further information my email address is [email protected]



Golden Minutes

June 11, 2014 at 5:15 pm
E Mt Painter

©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2014. All Rights Reserved

Photographers talk generally about the Golden Hour – that hour around  dawn or dusk when photography is at its best.

In this case it could be filtered down to just a few minutes after the sun has risen.

East Mt. Painter Gorge, in the Flinders Ranges, taken in those few precious minutes at a time when this was part of plans for a uranium mine.

The picture was part of a panorama which shows the whole majestic area. Unfortunately panoramas lose a lot of their impact on internet posts like this.

Last Job of the Day

June 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm
Sharpening the Comb

Fuji X-T1 camera with 50mm prime lens. f4, 1/800 sec. ISO 1600 Peter MacDonald Photography – All Rights Reserved

I  had the good fortune recently to shoot an extended article on Commonwealth Hill station for the R. M. Williams publication “Best of Outback Stations”.
Commonwealth Hill is a vast 10,000 square kilometre sheep station in  South Australia, north of Tarcoola.
It is in the Woomera rocket testing zone.
While I was there they were shearing 25,000 sheep.
This is a portrait of one of the shearers sharpening the combs of his shears at the end of a long day in the shed.
Best of Outback Stations will be out in early July and you can read the full story there.



Red Hat

May 28, 2014 at 9:17 am


Red Hat-Arkaroola

It is not often I get the chance to include people in a landscape, so I take the opportunity when it arises.

The touch of red from the artist’s hat is a nice splash of colour amongst the stark rockface and the reflections in the waterhole.

It’s been a hectic three months and it is not over yet.

I was back at Arkaroola shooting aerials after the successful workshop there a few weeks ago.

Because the window for that was so small, there was plenty of time to revisit one of my favourite places there…..Nooldoonooldoona waterhole

One from the Archives

May 13, 2014 at 12:33 pm



A trip up the Birdsville Track a few weeks ago prompted me to look through some photos I took on Clayton station back in 2011.

The contrast between the weathered horseman and the young girl was striking.

It was part of an event to give city kids and their families a taste of the Outback.

Reflections on Screen Calibration

May 7, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Nooldy waterhole

Light is important for make a good photography but sometimes a little is just enough.

In this case the light was reflected off the steep rock faces of Nooldoonooldoona Waterhole at Arkaroola

It was taken during my last workshop there and while things were declining into deerp shadows there was just enough light for making a picture with oodles of mood.

Arkaroola Workshop 1a

Occasionally you can stuff up a good image and in the last post I did just that.

It illustrates the importance of calibrating your computer screen if you are working on photographs. particularly if they are being printed.

The unit that I have used for years to calibrate my screen finally died. I wasn’t aware of the malfunction so the image went out a lot darker than I would have wanted.

It probably appeared that way on your screen.  Most screens are not calibrated so what I see on my screen probably is not the same as appears on yours. Generally its OK, but not all the time.

Most people don’t need their screens calibrated unless exact colour is important.


April 30, 2014 at 5:39 pm
Arkaroola Workshop

Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm prime lens. f8, 1/125 sec, ISO 800. Jpeg shot in Astia film mode
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography. All Rights Reserved.

A successful three day workshop completed at Arkaroola in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges.

Some problems solved, good company, plenty of discussion and for the participants their first time to the wilderness sanctuary.

Despite overcast weather there were still the opportunity for photographing in several locations.

With lots to work through about composition and  post production the three days seemed to fly.

The last day though was perfect, a chance for everyone to work in spectacular scenery in ideal autumn weather.

I am already planning the next one.

A Couple of Characters

April 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Fuji X-Pro1 with 55-200 zoom f13, 1/340 sec, ISO 400.
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Cockatoos  noisily posing  in the afternoon sun


Peak Hour

April 14, 2014 at 6:27 pm



Peak Hour

Caught in city traffic. The Fuji X100s working in low light conditions in the black and white option. F5.6, 1/40th sec. ISO 800
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography. All right reserved







April 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm
Tom Kruze Truck

Arguably the major landmark in Marree, South Australia – the trruck driven by the late Tom Kruze, the famous Birdsville Track mailman.
©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All Rights Reserved

I have been through Maree many times on my way to somewhere.

It was the same a couple of weeks ago when I passed through Marree to do a feature for the upcoming R M Wiliams “Best of Outback Stations” magazine.

Maree is the beginning ( or the end ) of  the Oodnadatta and Birdsville Tracks – both legendary Outback stock routes and it was up the Birdsville Track this time.

Maree isn’t quite the bustling town it was when it was a cattle railhead …. or more recently when thousands of tourists flocked north to see flooded Lake Eyre.

Interior Kruze Truck

©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All Rights Reserved.

It must have been quite a sight  seeing Tom Kruze pull out of town at the start of his many epic journey’s up the Birdsville track.

A movie of his fortnightly journey called “Back of Beyond” was filmed back in the early 1950s. It is still for sale and an excerpt from the movie can be seen by clicking on the highlighted title.


Scobie Truck 1

©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All Rights Reserved.

In the back streets of Marree, the skeletons of less famous vehicles can be found. These too most likely had plenty of tales  to tell.

The sign on the door of this old wreck gives a clue to its working history. Allandale Station is up the Oodnadatta Track at the top of Lake Eyre . It would have spend its life carting supplies along the rocky track.


Scobie Truck 2

©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All Rights Reserved.

What was even more intriguing was its current location – right next to the bones of an old petrol bowser.

It is as though the old Chevrolet rolled into the garage and the two died together

I am sure there was more to this story but time wasn’t on my side this time.

Time Flies

March 26, 2014 at 6:14 pm
Lake Eyre sunset

©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All rights reserved.

I  suppose it will be a long time before we see a sunset over Lake Eyre like this. Taken four years ago as flood waters from northern Australia filled the vast salt lake.

A reminder about how beautiful this really harsh and forbidding part of our country can look.



March 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm



Gum Tree

©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All rights reserved.

Fun shooting into the sun. Always a challenge to avoid glare.


March 19, 2014 at 6:00 pm
FlInders Rock

©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All rights reserved.

With about four weeks on the road coming up, there will be a number of pictures posted that don’t require much of an explanation.

They are pictures that I have been hanging on to, looking for a reason to use them. Now is the time.

A fair chunk of rock sitting on a slope in the Munyalana Valley which is on Wooltana station, closely bordering the Gammon Ranges National Park near Balcanoona and Arkaroola in the northern Flinders Ranges.

Smoke from bushfires down south are forming the haze on the mountain in the background.




March 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Fuji X-Pro 1 and Fuji 35mm lens f8, 1/900sec, ISO 200
©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All rights reserved.

Wonder where the arabesque ( basically an S curve) was in the photo on the previous post?

There is an arabesque in the picture above running along the outside of the two leaves.

The more you look at the picture you will see how it strongly links to the two leaves.


More On Composition

March 14, 2014 at 1:49 pm
Arkaroola Ridges

Shot with Fuji X-Pro 1. f8, 1/105sec ISO 200. Hand held.
©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All rights reserved

Spectacular,rugged ridges, always a feature of the landscape at probably my favourite location for photography

But first to the image in the last post and the compositional elements I tried to use in the image.

There’s a  beautiful curve formed by the trees. It starts with the Casuarina in the foreground and goes right round to the strong parallel diagonals formed by the hills on the left.
The use of curves, diagonals and parallels are some of the compositional things we discuss in the workshops I conduct.

In the photo above, taken along the Echo Camp Backtrack at Arkaroola in the northern Flinders Ranges, there is an obvious strong baroque diagonal, parallels,curves and even an arabesque…maybe you can see them all.

The colour green is most noticeable at the moment, the result of recent rains.

There’s still spaces available on the 3 day workshop at Arkaroola starting April 26. There’s more information on the workshop here

Component of Classic Design

March 8, 2014 at 10:16 pm
Heysen Range Foothills

Fuji X-Pro 1, 50mm prime lens, shot at f11, 1/4 sec ISO 400 on tripod.
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography. All right reserved.

This landscape has two strong elements of design used by the master artists of old to construct their works.

These design elements can be used in making good photos, including landscape photos.

I have been teaching these at the workshops I have been conducting and while at first it might seem difficult to see how this can work in constructing an image, it becomes easier with a little practice.

Can anyone see the two elements in this picture?

Saltbush in the foreground with black sheaok trees  on the slopes  of the foothills of the Heysen Range.

The northern wall of Wilpena Pound and Mt Aleck, two icons of the Flinders Ranges, in the background.

A Gorge-Ous Morning

March 3, 2014 at 7:16 am
Sunrise 4

Fuji X-Pro, 35mm Prime lens f16 @ 1/7th sec. ISO 200
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography. All rights reserved.

Hard Day at the office.

The Sun’s first rays lighting up the hills of the Parachilna Gorge in the the central Flinders Ranges.




February 25, 2014 at 4:52 pm
Summer Pond

©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All right reserved.

A Train of Thought

February 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm


One aspect of bad composition for photography that is often overlooked is having large areas of no interest in the photo.

One of the most  famous  war photographer of the 20th Century, Robert Capa had an often quoted saying ….”If you photos aren’t good enough, you are not close enough.”

Lets use the train that runs coal from the Leigh Creek Mines in northern South Australia to the powers stations in Port Augusta.

Railway tracks


Good  leading lines in this picture. They don’t get much stronger than this.

LEC Coal Train

The mistake with this picture is that there is too much featureless sky. I should have waited another second or two when the locomotive would have been very close……Chicken!!

Leigh Creek Coal Train

I was trying to illustrate the length of the coal train, which is about 3 kilometres long but again there’s too much sky and too much uninteresting foreground. Get closer!

Leigh Creek Train 2


Close enough this time and there are those leading lines again which automatically take your eye from foreground to background.  Trains are good for this but being aware that getting closer is sometimes more important for a good or dramatic picture.

Happy shooting



February 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm
Dune Bush

©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All right reserved

I wonder sometimes, how life survives on sand dunes.

In Outback South Australia at this time of the year, its blazing hot.

It must be over 50C in the  middle of some days during summer.

The winds are strong  and they suck all the moisture from everything, yet this hardy plant somehow beat the odds.

Because of its size, it most likely got through the last long drought too.

The light on the leaves that also accentuate the ripples in the ever shifting sands give a sense dignity to this defiant fellow.