Adventures In Oz

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Adventures In Oz

Ormiston Gorge and the Mereenie Loop Road

Day Three:

Looking into Ormiston Gorge

We left Glen Helen just as the first glimmer of sunrise was on the horizon. Ormiston Gorge is well known in Central Australia and is very picturesque, so our aim was to photograph it from one of two vantage points, both focusing on a wonderful red river gum sitting on a headland at the gorge’s entrance.

The wonderful gum at the top of the hill, Ormiston Gorge

I photographed this tree probably 20 years ago on a Central Australian photography tour with Doug and Ruby Spowart. Back then I was shooting on 4x5” film and I can remember being a little disappointed with the results because an early morning breeze was moving the branches, creating unwanted blur.

Although the morning was still down the bottom, by the time we got up to the top of the hill, the breeze was back again and so I wondered if the morning would be a repeat of my earlier adventure. Essentially it was, but who cares! It was simply magical up the top and I managed to get some great photos anyway – as did most of the group. We found a spot below the tree and shot it looking up, with the red Ormiston cliffs as a backdrop. There was also a great contra-jour shot looking down into the canyon as the sun peeped over the horizon.

While I was up the top, Tony was at the half way point with the rest of the group, also getting some really strong graphical images of the tree from a lower angle. I will send Tony up the top next time, I think!

A lone tree at Tylers Pass

Felix - just outside Kings Canyon
Phillipa was also pretty keen on the dead tree...
Alan was never far away when the light was good!
Mark, making the most of that dead tree!

We returned to Glen Helen, packed our bags and headed off for Kings Canyon. Just before the bitumen ran out, we stopped at Tylers Pass which sits in the middle of the most wonderful rolling hills. Although the light was a little hot, there was still plenty to photograph, especially with a telephoto and if you could eliminate the horizon from your composition.


The dead tree and some magical pink clouds

The next few hours were on the rough Mereenie Loop Road itself. It certainly shakes you around, but the landscape is spectacular. In some parts you’re not supposed to stop because it is Aboriginal land, but eventually the road smooths out and you head into Kings Canyon.

Looking towards Carmichael Crag

We arrived an hour or so before sunset, so we scouted around for a location, settling on a position in front of the George Gill Range and Carmichael Crag. What a wonderful evening, watching the sun slowly dropping and the colours of the outback erupting all around. We had the most amazing clouds above a dead tree with an incredible backdrop – I will never forget this evening or the smiles on everyone’s faces as they madly pressed their shutter releases!

Lorri at the end of a magical night

That night is another swag adventure, enjoying the warmth of a camp fire and snuggling into a swag, tired and happy. (However, for future trips, we will stay in a hotel so we just have a single night in a swag.)

Our second camp fire. Dinner is cooking!

Next: Kings Canyon and the Curtain Springs Station Road

Back: Glen Helen Gorge

Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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