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Pilbara Convection

It’s well over due once again, I know. Work being crazy, trying to chase down storms and now footy pre-season in full swing it’s hard to get on here to post some pics haha.

pilbara, thunderstorm, white gum,

Convection Wonderland

This is standard of this time of year up here. My work mates must think i’m crazy, as we progress through the day my excitement grows. Lunch time and after it builds. And what causes it is not only home time- it’s storm time! The classic Pilbara day in the wet season is perfect morning, then few puffy clouds around lunch, then some of these nice fluffy lil clouds decide to grow some balls and go off! Up they rise, how ever many thousand feet, and all within a 5-10min period sometimes. These can keep building, and turn into a nice lil thunderstom, or they collapse on themselves and fade away to nothingness just as quick as they formed.

It’s an awesome experience, and trying to pick what cloud is going to be a winner is one hell of a gamble. Sometimes you get it right, other times not. But really it comes down to luck, and just putting yourself out there in the first place. 🙂

This summer is far from standard for the Pilbara however. We have just come off over 2 weeks of really sub standard temps, mostly under 35deg, and quite a few around 30. On top of this there’s been consistent rain, with decent falls of 5-10ml, or more recorded nearly every day for over 2 weeks also. Definitely not what I was expecting coming up here- and not used to either with a couple of months up around or over 40deg. But still, seeing the region like this is something to treasure. Most locals have never seen it this way, and i’ve managed to get it in one year. So I’ll enjoy it while we have it 🙂 Makes it difficult however with most roads being closed though haha. 3 roads out of town and for much of the last 2 weeks- 2 have been closed totally.

Anyway I hope you like this pic. My partner came up from Perth around New Years so we headed out to my favorite spot just out of town for sunset. There were a couple of storms building, but then this beautiful lil convection built up over Mt Newman in the distance.

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Check this out!

Pretty crazy footage of a bloke surfing some huge waves at night!!

A little bit of history

Not sure if anyone has heard of VIVIAN MAIER, I hadn’t until today anyway. But definitely well worth a look if you have a spare bit of time. Street Photography is something I’m not good at, and not really sure where to even begin with to attempt it. Yet it is something that when done well, really grabs my attention. I don’t always understand the image, or know why it is that I do like it- but a powerful image sometimes does not require that.

This ladies work is incredible, and shows a time that probably none of us are familiar with. Sad that she was not discovered until after her death, but then again- she did it for the love, so probably cared not for fame or acclaim. Check out the above link.

Street photographers are so important with capturing moments in time within ever growing cities, and I always am fascinated with seeing how things once were. Really has inspired me to want to give it a go- I just get dirty looks though mind you, when there’s even just a slight chance my camera’s in their direction…..actually…. even when it’s still in it’s bag too haha.

Happy New Year

I’ve not had a chance to post anything lately as i’ve been back down in Perth catching up with family and friends, on what was a very busy, but enjoyable holiday. Probably the first relaxing holiday i’ve had for many years, very different to the usual up at 4-5am, and back to camp at 7-8pm that my trips usually are like haha.

I’m back in Newman now, and quite possibly kicking the New Year off in style with a quick trip out to Karijini. I am after all here in the Pilbara, so will be making the most of that this year. Now things are kind of settling down I should be able to do that a bit more then I have done lately. I look forward immensely to travelling up, into and through the Kimberley with a trip along the Gibb River Rd and other locations. And later on in the year I should hopefully be doing an even bigger and exciting trip taking in a lot of new area’s and locations.

Thanks to those of you who are regular visitors, and especially those who leave comments and help me improve my art. Stay safe in 2011!

Mark Webber

Good news is that i’m myself again, finally full of energy, enthusiasm and energy! And to top it off we’ve had some awesome storms around Newman again, so i’ve been out getting some pics. Stay tuned for these.

Mark Webbers Car

I had to head to Perth last week for some training, which meant I ended up in Burswood for a few nights. Which wasn’t too tough a stay to be honest. Very different from my usual accommodation which of course is my lil bullet, my yellow hiking tent haha. I must admit I felt very out of place for pretty much the whole time lol. And it was very weird being here sober, think it was the first time haha.

Mark Webbers Car

One of the highlights was that it also happened to be the same time F1 driver Mark Webber was in town for his drive around Barbagello. I was hoping to get to meet him, but he was a few floors above us all the whole time I think in the penthouse rooms lol. Second best was getting up close and personal with his race car though. Just a couple of snaps on a compact camera.

It’s been great watching him tackle the championship over the last few months. Bummer he couldn’t quite get there, but now as the “number 2” driver, and with a taste again that he can be in contention, i’m sure he’ll be more determined then ever! Hopefully he’ll teach that punk Vettel a thing or 2 😉

It would have been pretty cool to see him race around the track too. Which brings me to these pics…. of what not to do when spending a day in the sun. My step sister went along for the day, quite a warm day with no shade. The results, well you can see for yourself…. Had some bad burns myself over the years but nothing half as bad as this! Ouch! Thanks to her for bein a good sport and letting stealing these pics though! 🙂







Anyway my next post will be the proper stuff. The Pilbara landscapes I love so much. 🙂

Know your limits

Well after finally getting this blog up and running again like i’d like, regular posts and images- i’ve then gone and disappeared for a couple of weeks sorry. For those of you who read my last post, you would have picked up on my absolute excitement about getting back down to the Stirling Ranges. A place I love so much. I was beside myself with excitement, as I was tackling the ridge walk. No tourist walk here- this is the real deal. I’ve done it a number of times myself in the past, and while always a challenge, and respect always needed to be given to the mountains, i’ve been able to do it well within my limits. Unfortunately this was not to be my time….. so what went wrong…..

Now I just want to make a note that i’m not doing this post for sympathy. As a matter of fact I hate the constant bombardment by people especially with things like Facebook etc these days where attention is seeked. I’m not putting this stuff out there to brag about what I can do either, just simply stating what I am capable of so you can see how easily things can go wrong. There is a valid reason for me with this post- and I hope the right reasons are picked up in it. If you read the entire post I hope you’ll understand that.

In the past i’ve done the overnight walk, with aprox 27kg in my pack- very possibly a couple of kg over what I should carry. But it’s something i’m capable of dealing with, so I take it. Water is often an issue with me, I go through a lot. So for 2 days in this region where no reliable water is to be found. I take 10-12L (kg’s)

I’ve done day trips, of the same mountainous area. All over 30km’s for the day, carrying aprox 15kg of gear. Some of these trips have been on days where the temps are in the 30’s also. So once again while tough, it’s well within my reach. One thing i’ve always taken pride in for myself is that I can go in the red zone all day, push through the walls so to speak. So once again, what went wrong this time…..

The lead up. Now this was certainly not ideal. I headed down from Newman on the Saturday. 13hr drive, headlong into my mates bucks night. Which was a 12hr drinking session haha. Somehow survived, and slept pretty damn well the Sunday night. I had things to do on the Monday, so didn’t get to head away until late Monday night. Arriving at the Stirling’s about 1am. So once again not really ideal, but i’ll still do it. I was dead set on that! So what went wrong…..

I got dropped out at the Eastern end of the ridge by my good friend who is a caretaker at the caravan park. And off I set. Due to not being as fit as i’d have liked- I cut back my pack slightly. So was carrying about 24kg. The first 6km is a long straight walk along the fence line that borders the national park. So pacing myself, got along that quite nicely. I was feeling great, excitement was building. In 8 hours time i’ll be bedding down in my cave with the best view in WA. So what went wrong…..

From the Northern boundary you head to the foothills, aprox 4km in through bush. Following what track there is. I was making good time, still feeling good. But then hit the hill. Now this isn’t even the first peak you climb, this is the small hill that is at the foot of that, a small hill that stretches maybe half the height of Ellen’s Peak. Now when I hit the hill, I hit the wall….. wow did I hit it. I’d actually never felt it like that before, which was quite weird….. Was my dream going to end right here?

No of course not. Pushing on I drove myself to keep going. Push through that wall, and get your butt up the damn hill! Pretty simple goal, so do it. So I pushed on, but literally could only get 2min up the hill before I needed rest. And not my usual rest where I normally would just pause for a minute before continuing. The rest I was needing was 10min, for 2min of walking…. What’s going on!??

So I continued, expecting to break through and then i’ll be fine. But just could not get a consistent go at it, and never made it through that wall. At one stage I sat down, totally exhausted, to the point where I actually laid down and went to sleep, for a good half hour. Now when this happened I knew something was just not right. Then comes the hard decision…. continue up the hill, and along the ridge as planned. Or make the most painful decision i’ve made and turn round…..

Now with the ridge, once you’re up there- there is no coming off. Not easily anyway. There are a number of narrow ledges, and everything is a big drop too. The cliffs are well over 400m straight down in sections. So in my semi delirious stage I knew I had to turn round. It simply was not worth it. The cruel thing was that to get out, was first of all the 4km back to the Northern track, but then another 15odd km’s West, back to the caravan park.

So off I set, by this stage I was seriously not well, and was having to rest every km despite being on the flats. Once again this was extremely foreign to me as I usually wouldn’t rest on the flats. So I plodded along, barely managing to get anywhere, probably averaging aprox 3km an hour. I had to lay down and nap again a couple of times too. Lucky for me I was able to get picked up with about 2km left, which I was extremely grateful for. In hindsight now, and knowing the reason for my struggling I would have organised to be picked up much earlier. Instead of trying to be stubborn and get myself out of it. So i’ve still not told you what went wrong…..

It’s 2 weeks later now, I still literally feel like i’ve been hit by a truck. I’m requiring 8-9hrs of sleep a night, quite often napping after work too. Yet I am still needing more. So finally realising it was a bit more then simple fatigue, I got some tests as to which came back yesterday thank god. Turns out I managed to get an uncommon viral bug, which causes pneumonia. Straight out without a flu, cold or any onset. This is why I went from feeling great to absolutely nothing in no time. So now finally with some antibiotics i’ll hopefully start to get back to feeling myself.

Now as I said at the start- there was a valid reason for me making this post, not milking for sympathy, not bragging or ego boosting or anything like that. But that reason is of course to know your limits. Not just your limits, but your limits on each particular day. Because for various reasons, you will not be anywhere near your peak performance on everyday. This particular day I don’t think I was anywhere near 50%, so I had to throw away every limit I was accustomed to. It only takes one day not knowing your limits to get yourself in big trouble. And I know for myself definitely, but also for other landscape photographers out there we do push the limits in many, many ways. So watch yourselves, because I now know all too well how simple it is for it to all come undone. And it could have been a lot worse too…..

I hope to start posting a bit more frequently again. First of all need to get out and take photos, but that will all come back to me soon 😀 Sorry for it being a while, but i’ve simply not been able to think enough. It’s been hard enough checking out a few blogs of fellow photographers, which I think I must be well behind on also haha.

The simple things

Well the simple things in life aren’t always free, but quite often it’s the small pleasing feelings in life that remind you what it’s all about. A few years ago I never would have thought i’d be publishing my own calendars, and now i’m on my third.

I’m a bit delayed on this posting due to being flat out in preperation for my move to Newman, but the feeling you get when you see your work published is one I always enjoy. The feeling you get when you show that product to people, who then have a smile come across their face, as they relive their own experiences in the locations makes all the early mornings and long days worth while.

So with this, i’m please to announce that my 2011 Landscape Calendars are now in my possession. So make sure you head over to the 2011 Calendar page to check it out. Also the images featuring in this years can be found on the images page.

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Time for some fun!

Well I took this image at Kalannie the other week. Liked the straight lines contrasting with the curves of the track, also the rich colours of red, green and yellow. It’s not really come up as I would have liked, so I thought hey- lets put it out to you guys to rip it up and see what you can come up with in post processing. I’ve done nothing to this but convert the RAW file, and honestly have no idea how to do anything else. But quite a few of you are pretty nifty.

So if you want to have a bit of fun, and completely cook this image and show us what you can do. Let me know and i’ll send you an email with the image file. It’ll just be jpg as I can’t work out how to export the RAW file back out of Aperture, so unless someone knows how to find that file?? I’ll google it later on when I have a sec anyway.

Work your magic, send it back to me in web size and i’ll put it up on here of course with credit to you for the processing. Wish I had a funky prize to offer, but I don’t. So you just get to gloat for the favorite image haha.

Anyway I hope you think this is a good idea anyway, i’m looking forward to seeing what an imaginative mind can do! 🙂

Awesome Iphone App for photographers

Well i’m never a real big fan of getting the latest gadgets as I like to let everyone else iron out the bugs haha. But i’ve just gone and signed onto a new plan and got my hands on an Iphone. Nifty little gadget that’s for sure. Main reason I got it actually is so that I can use it in Next G area’s so i’ll actually have some coverage in some of the area’s I like to travel to…. oh ok, and maybe for some games 🙂 hehe

“The photographers bible”

Anyways, I came across this app the other day. Freakin fantastic!! It covers just about everything you need as a photographer. Moon phases, Sunrise/Sunset times, Sun highest point, Exposure Calculator, DOF and hyperfocal calculations, bulb timer, it can even work out difraction for your particular camera model. Yeah you can work all this out via other ways, but hey- we’re in the age of being lazy and having everything done for us, and of course instantly in our hand. So check it out! You’ll probably all turn round and tell me you all got this ages ago. Well if that’s the case, why didn’t you share!? hahaha 🙂

Man vs Wild- Stephen Williams

Well i’m just back from 10 days of pure bliss in the South West of Western Australia. Been quite an eventful trip, with some pretty fantastic conditions for the majority- so no complaints there! Except for the fact I had to return….

So to start with I thought i’d share my little adventure- one that occurred in Cape Arid National Park- 100km or so East of Esperance. I packed up and set out with intentions of camping at Lucky Beach in Cape Le Grand NP. But with the wind in early, and not great conditions as such I decided to skip past and head out to Cape Arid, then return to Le Grand to camp. I had already had near perfect conditions in Le Grand 2 days previously so had got some pics I was reasonably happy with already.

My Hotel

So I put a bit of extra fuel in the car to get me out there and back- and then decided to pop just a bit extra in (which proves to be a good choice further on) and set off.
I checked out the campsites for future reference, did a marvelous walk around the headland to a stunning beach, then thought I’d try and seek out the dunes I’d seen some images of that looked very interesting. Not sure what dunes that was at though, I could see some decent one’s along the beach, but I wasn’t too keen in doing that alone with no knowledge on the tides. What to do, what to do…. Israelite Bay of course! I’d heard about this place and thought it was my kind of place. Upon looking at good ol Google Earth at home I think there were some others I could have checked out easy but that can be for next time 🙂

Did quick calculations in my head for time and fuel, no worries, taken into account a sandy 4wd track, no worries, there was a campsite out there anyway if time was getting tight so no probs… Off I go!

Well the first 5min of the track was bliss- nice soft sand, cruising at 30-40km easy. Then you get to the corrugations. OMG were they corrugations! A good 3-4inches deep, and at that distance apart you just can’t do anything, so crawling along at 10-15km I went…. and I went…. and I went. Headland after headland, must be the beach, no- just land to the horizon. I wouldn’t mind this but by this stage it was getting mid to late arvo, so would like to get there haha. Some sections would get better and I could pick up speed again, but then would hit more corrugations. There’s a few new sounds coming out of the cruiser I tell you! My stiffer suspension handles the big bumps and ruts fine, no probs- but makes it not so nice along here. Well by the time I get out to the dry lake and fly along the edge of that to make up time, it was now getting dark.

A track goes off that is well used, so off I turn as well, follow it along and eventually get to some ruins of the old telegraph line. I had a look around- contemplated setting up tent- but yeah…. I’m a chicken around old buildings by myself at night haha. So I kept going. Little did I know that this was about 100m from the turn off to my destination. I back tracked slightly, saw a sign post along another side track as I went past, but drove on to the next turn which I thought would then meet up at that intersection. Wrong again haha.

So as this track I was on was pretty used, I thought it was heading to the campsite, so I stayed on there and it kept curving around to the right- must be heading the right direction. There were some dunes a couple of hundred meters to my right, so I climbed up through the bush and water! Woo Hoo, can’t be far now. What a beach it was too. Looking around I couldn’t see any sight of the camp, but further along the track I was on, there was a bit of a headland with a nice grove of tree’s tucked away in the dunes. Nice- if I was going to camp this would be the place! So back down I go and continue, now in very fading light.

Around more, climb dunes, still near water- all good. Continue along more, by this stage it was a maze of tracks! But I kept heading that same course, using the main rule of navigation (when you have no idea where you are/going) by not talking any severe turns, and always remembering in my mind to the best I can the way back. Now were was that GPS of mine….??? Oh yeah, back in my house… bloody hell. So alone I go, nice track by this stage and then once again i’m near the dune. Up I go, water…. no. Land everywhere! I’m now somehow well away from the ocean, no where near my headland I was hoping to get to. Damn!

So common sense prevailed and I thought it best to turn round and get as far back along the tracks while it was still light, and I had the route roughly in my head. This is when the petrol started creeping into my mind, Now being 90 odd kms from the road and then 50 further to the nearest petrol station if I wasted much more time driving around there was a chance of not making it back out. Who knows when the next car would come along the track either.

Then as the sun was hitting the horizon, I came across a nice spot on the track that i’d be able to set up camp. It overlooked a saltlake, so that may be good for the following sunrise too- best scenario for me so far. Then as it got dark, I was all alone, no real idea where I was, my survival instinct kicked in- all those hours of watching Man vs Wild, and that man legend himself Bear Grylls, so off I go foraging for bugs, catching rabbits and finding water. Sorry… got a little carried away there I think. haha. No I cooked meself a nice feed, followed with peaches and custard… doin it rough I was! lol.

Then I had the choice, tuck away in my sleeping bag like a scared lil kiddy…. hiding away from all the bad creatures that lurk in the dark…. nah. Time to do some night photography. Well I did the photography before dinner, but it didn’t fit into the story too well that way 😛
I’ve had an image like this in my mind for quite some time actually, so it was a perfect time to give it a go. It has been a year of firsts for me so far- knocking off a lot of types of photography I hadn’t yet tried. So illuminating the tent with a low powered torch, winding up the ISO and doing a 30sec exposure this is the result. I even tried a bit of light painting to bring out the beast, which is the cleanest my cruiser has looked for years…. I can tell you this is an illusion as it’s filthy here haha. With the moon at half strength in the top right, that’s the other light source I was pretty impressed at the result. ISO performance on the 40D is still not great- so a bit of noise. But I think it’s only a small problem.

And yes- this is how I do my travel! No fancy hotels, posh cars… ppffttt, this is the way I want to be! My “lil yellow tent”, or coffin tent as it’s also called…. cops a bit of flack. But I can tell you that thing has seen more of our state than most people in Perth have! And it’s also tougher!! haha. I’ve also just ticked over 100,000km of travel in the cruiser, done in just under 4 years, so this setup is perfect for me. Considering it only had 125,000 on the clock when I bought it, I think i’ll be doing a few more years with this set up too.

Dolphin Cove

The other image is from the beach I walked round to. When I first arived it put up a stunning wave, perfect tube and holding form along the whole beach…. do you think it did it again?? Of course not haha. I waited for about half hour and then gave up. It’s Dolphin Cove for those of you wondering anyway.

Well that’s enough from me for now…. big enough post for you Charlene?? 😛

Stay tuned as I have plenty more to share, and from a personal point of view I think my photography went up a level this trip- so hopefully you’ll all agree! Hmmm…. back to work now tomorrow…. grumble grumble…

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