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Lunar Odyssey

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 11 June 2018 in Landscape & Rural.


One of the most interesting and unreal places we have visited recently was Lake Mungo in New South Wales in Australia. It is now a dry lake. Water used to exist here many thousands of years ago and with changing climate it had dried out a long time ago. It is also where the oldest human remains in Australia have been found - Mungo Man and Mungo Lady.

The eastern shore of Lake Mungo forms a geological feature known as lunette – a crescent moon shaped line of sand dunes that stretch for more than 33 km along the lake bed. This lunette was named "The Walls of China" after Chinese workers who were working in the region in 1800s.

The formations that you can see in this photo are made of sand and clay, eroded by wind and rain. They are very fragile and access to most parts is only through a guided tour. These formations really come to life at sunset and hence we went on a sunset tour to be able to as close to the lunette as possible. There are some areas of the dunes which are less restricted and we were also able to explore them during this trip. It really felt like walking on the moon amongst these alien shapes.

Side light is the best kind of light for photography at Lake Mungo. It brings out the shadows and they help to add a wonderful 3d effect to the dunes. One can then notice every line, crease and crevice as well as the detail in the surrounding sand. The lunette is sloping downwards towards the west and hence sunset is probably the better time for photography, although there are good locations where a sunrise could work very well too. In addition, it is a great spot for astro-photographers with zero light pollution and clear skies more often than not.

It was fantastic to watch as the changing colour of the light at sunset brought out beautiful subtle tones in this lunar like landscape. The sand was progressing from orange to subtle reddish hue and the harder clay section took on some of the blue glow from the evening sky. I took this photo about twenty minutes after sunset and absolutely loved the colours and detail. I hope you find them as interesting as I did.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 8 seconds F/8.0 ISO 200 55 mm

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