Tag Archives: lightning

Sounds of then

Out on the patio, we sit, and the humidity we breathe, we watch the lightning- crack over cane fields, laugh and think, THIS IS AUSTRALIA!

storm, lightning, pilbara, newman

Sounds of then

These famous lyrics by Ganggajang, of course from their hit song Sounds of then (This is Australia) is some lyrics (well and song) I find going through my head quite often. Well more times then not when I’m out and about, imersing myself in this great land. Funny thing is, i’ve never owned this song, not got the CD, not got the MP3, I simply think I don’t need it, it’s always going through my head.

For me, the song sums up love for this magnificent country, I feel the artists have a similar passion for it to what I do. In saying this, never have these words rung more true to me then here in the Pilbara. No we don’t have canefields…. the humidity we do, the patio’s we do- and thank god the lightning we certainly do! So often I find myself driving through the lands, with the biggest smile on my face. I simply can’t help it! There’s no one around to see it, so why do I need to express such joy and excitement when there’s no one else to see it?? As I said, I simply can’t help it.

During these times I realise how lucky I am, how lucky I am to experience what I have, to see what I have, to go where I have, to live where I do- to be Australian. I’ve not been elsewhere, but not once have I ever thought of living elsewhere, really not even within other states to be honest. I am a passionate Ozzie, but also a passionate Western Australian. Yes we have to drive some huge distances to get between places. But those places are well worth the journey, and the journey for me is just as good. Amazingly I’m just scratching the surface too, seen so much- but there is oh so much more I want to see and experience.

But that’s enough of the state divides, we are one at the end of the day. And every single state has it’s own amazing locations. Of which I hope to one day be able to visit also. As yet apart, from Sydney and the High Country, they have not been able to pry me away from my home state yet. It is a very big YET though, and I look forward to being able to get there and travel the other states, very much look forward to it actually. But in the mean time i’m proud to say this is my state, this is my country, this is my home- This, is Australia.

Now where was I going before all this ramble you ask……. well of course a post like this has to have a lightning image to accompany it. This is taken from the hill just near town, overlooking East Newman, and the main road into town. I’d been out North of town and hiked up into the hills to get a decent look at a storm that was building. Unfortunately for me it decided to run parallel with me and head on towards town, so no shots there but it did give me a chance to try my luck with this image, one which i’ve had in my mind since I moved here. Bit more ground strikes would have been nice, but that will come πŸ™‚ 15 sec exposure with 1 nice beautiful lightning strike in it πŸ™‚

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Pilbara Storms

One thing I really look forward to here in the Pilbara, is the storms. I’ve always had a fascination with weather, I guess it goes hand in hand with photography, and hiking- which are my 2 main passions. But it’s just something I love all round. I’m forever on the BOM site, and various other weather sites, always tune into the Foxtel weather channel in the morning, and usually throughout the day to. I’m a nerd haha. Well when it comes to weather anyway.

So many times i’ve heard about the Pilbara Storms, but yet to experience it for myself. In the last week however, she decided to give me a small taste. So out I went, eyes wide open, big smile on my face. There are quite limited routes to go, literally North, South and one other road that kinda goes North North East. So that doesn’t make it easy to get into good positions, but I could still experience it anyway.

pilbara storm, newman, cloud

Pilbara lift off

The first image is of the storm building. I was heading North, when I checked the side mirror and saw this beast looming behind me. So I pulled over, and sprinted up the first hill I could find, not really getting the view I was after I followed a bush track for a couple of minutes before once again sprinting up a hill. This time I could capture the storm.

pilbara, storm, lightning, cloud

Pilbara UFO


From here I continued to go North, there were actually 2 storms, another one about a km behind me when I took the 1st image. They were heading towards each other so I thought they were going to collide- and hopefully go extreme!! This never eventuated, but I came across this scene anyway. This cool little valley had lightning going crazy at the end of it. Unfortunately once again, this ceased as soon as I set up lol. But then this wicked little cloud formed, and in this particular shot- was rimmed entirely by some in cloud lightning. It’s given that definition to it, and separated it from the rest of the cloud.

pilbara storm, sunset, newman, clouds

Pilbara Blues

The last image here is from earlier this week. More storms fired up in the arvo- so out I went again. This time I headed South, before spotting a small hill just off the road. I found some tracks that headed towards it, and then actually went right up the side as well. So into 4wd I went, and up the hill I go. Saved me a run on this day which was good, running through spinifex with camera gear isn’t exactly my thought of fun haha.

There was a big cloud just out of frame of this image, and as a result the cloud behind was tinged with the most amazing blue. The images I took of it are going to be one’s I think i’ll forever be asked if it was the colours I saw, and if I did any adjustments in post processing. That I can confirm is a definite no- these clouds were freeking incredible! πŸ™‚

It’s been a weird week for me. It honestly feels like a holiday, despite working full time. So as most of my trips last 2-3 weeks, it felt all week like i’d be heading home soon, back to the people I care about, and back to my normal life. So it’s now hitting home that I am here for good- here for a while anyway. Ready to explore the depths of the Pilbara as I go. And I can’t wait! πŸ˜€

Make sure you open up the images to the large size as the wordpress compressions play around a bit with the smaller images.

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The Holland Track- the wrap up

Here’s the final couple of shot’s from my Holland Track trip.

In Full Flight

The first is of course the storm…. hope you’re not sick of hearing about that just yet! πŸ™‚

It’s another in the vertical orientation but a bit wider. This enables you to see all the way to the cloud top, and there’s still some cool illuminated clouds stretching all the way to the top of the frame. The lightning went off during this exposure too, and while I don’t think it’s as nice as the previous, tighter composition- I still really like it.

Dreamy Pool

And finally here’s an image from Thursday Rock. The sunset wasn’t all that great, but with some clouds around I was able to get this real moody and atmospheric image looking across the pool and up to the rock cairn in the distance.

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The Holland Track- now for the details!

The other week I touched briefly on my trip along the Holland Track- which was mainly about the amazing storm we experienced on the first night. So here’s a bit more of an in depth post about the trip and what the Holland Track is.

The Track

The Track

Originally cut back in 1893 by John Holland- the track was made as a short cut for miners coming up from Albany who were heading out to Kalgoorlie in their rush for gold. It set off from Broomehille, heading North East through dense scrub land to Coolgardie, 530km’s away! Unbelievably this was cut in 2 months, led by John Holland who set out each day on horseback to locate the distinct rocks that trace the track. These were generally the only source of reliable water. What makes this feat even more remarkable- was that the section of track to the North East of Hyden regrew very soon after due to the Perth to Coolgardie train line being completed. It remained overgrown until in 1993 Adrian Malloy and Graeme Newbey retraced the route as close as they could with a tractor. I’m not entirely sure how long they took to cover the same ground to re-open it- but the first official trip occurred 5 months later.

2 months to cover that distance, in the dense scrubland and extreme climate conditions really is something to be admired. We went for a bit of a walk to try and locate some remnants of the original track at Thursday rock (which is no longer used for about 15km) and that was enough to realise partially what the original team experienced. It still wouldn’t even come close. The crossing was only made possible with the help of local indigenous people who knew where the rocks and their precious Gnamma holes were. Gnamma holes are water holes, kind of like wells that naturally occur in some of the large rocks found in the region.

The section from Hyden to Coolgardie is a popular 4wd track, with some tight, twisted and rutted sections to negotiate but all in all a pretty simple drive. We cruised along at a reasonable pace, taking in the sights. The Goldfields and their especially Mallee sections are stunning- when you see the magnificent Gimlet Tree’s you will be blown away. Growing in groves of hundreds of thin, wiry tree’s- the reds that can be found in their bark is unbelievable. Unfortunately this time I wasn’t able to get any pics of them, but next time I’ll be making sure i’m at a nice location late in the afternoon when the sun lights them up in spectacular fashion.

We didn’t stay at the intended campsite the first night as there was a large number of travelers staying at Sandlewood Rock- so we made do on a side track. Which of course provided the incredible view of the thunderstorms that were in the region. A night that I still think about daily. After packing up we set off to our campsite for the next 2 nights, which was a nice big campsite nestled at the base of Thursday Rock.

Here we were lucky to pretty have it to ourselves for the 2 days, and each morning and afternoon I headed up the rock to try and get some photos. Managed a couple but nothing that I was really happy with. The light just wasn’t co-operating and I managed to find myself in the wrong places. There’s always next time πŸ™‚

So here’s another couple of photos I got on the trip. The first is sunset on the first night. The clouds lit up quite uniquely, so I used the track we came along for the foreground. As you can see there was no foreground interest anywhere as the tree’s are still quite young after the fires that swept the region. This is quite a contrast to the scene that was unfolding to my left.

Electryifying Sunset

To the left was were the storm was building, sparking up and then going nuts! The ground lightning just wouldn’t spark out of the storm head for me, so I had to go a bit wider to get some. Unfortunatley resulting in a bit too much black for my liking in the top right, but the clouds were that thick there wasn’t much else I could do. A nice bit of cloud lightning in that area would have topped this off I think. I love how the rain has been iluminated by some lightning!

Golden Sunrise

The last image here is from Thursday rock. I waited for sunrise to light up the rock face. I think this image sums up the feel of the Goldfields. The precious water, a golden bit of light, and then the harshness of the region. I still didn’t quite get what I was after, and I wish I tried a few other things with this pool. But that will unforetunately have to wait untill next time.

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The Holland Track- oh what a night

Well what better way to get the photography juices flowing again, and a bit more encouragement to get the blog going again- then getting out amongst it and take some photos! πŸ™‚ I usually wouldn’t post an image immediately, but with something like this I can’t help it!


I’ve just got back from a 4 day trip along the Holland track in the Goldfields for Easter. My first time out there, and wow- did it put on a show for us! 4 days of 4wd and camping through some amazing area’s, topped off by some insane thunderstorms. This is my first attempt at lightning, and especially after missing out on “The great storm 2010”Β  that hit Perth a week or so ago I was pretty keen to give it a go. This is from our first night camp, just pulled along off the track as we missed our intended campsite. So pure luck I spose that this is the result πŸ™‚ Also if we camped where we were planning weΒ  would have been flooded out as the rain was intense a kilometer or so either side of us! So no flood, and lightning=massive win!

The lightning was everywhere as the storm rose up, intensified time and time again in front of us. So I ran up the hill to get a better angle, forgot my shutter cable, ran back and forth again. All was worth while and I was up there in time. Now even though this image is instantly captivating- it was probably one of the least challenging to set up the shot as nature really does the hard work for you in this situation. I was just fotunate to be in the right place, and got the right angle. But i’m pretty wrapped to have got the image all the same, so it’s a weird feeling for me haha.

I must say that when the thunder got directly overhead that my pace back to camp quickened haha. This area only had waist high vegetation (meaning I was a good 3 feet higher then it) as itΒ  had been hit severly by the fires that went through the area a few years ago- unfortunately resulting in the deaths of 3 truck drivers. Which seeing the burnt area is very scary, as you can get a much more accurate view of the utter devastation. The fire front was huge and I couldn’t imagine the fear of the drivers as they saw it coming across the plains towards them.

Well I hope you all like this- I mean LOVE this, as much as I do. Otherwise I’ll feel kinda silly haha πŸ˜›

And there’s a few more images from the trip to follow

At very least I reckon it’ll interest Tony- so just make sure you give me a comment Tone lol. The storms were incredible, and I see why you head North every wet season. It was the first time I’ve seen anything like it!!

Just like to put it out there that my emails broken down- can’t seem to get into them lately (for over a week now) and still can’t access it. So i’m not ignoring anyone, just can’t do much right at the moment. Hopefully will be back up before I head away again so I can get back to the couple of you expecting to hear from me. Thanks, Stephen