A quick break from Iceland for a more recent photo. Last month we took a quick road trip to the mid-west region of Western Australia. Spring season is absolutely wonderful in outback Australia with the dry red soil covered with millions of wildflowers popping up everywhere. For some reason we have never ventured out into our own state during this time of the year. It was often reserved for travel to the northern hemisphere for autumn. This time we had a chance to do that (partly due to covid travel restrictions) and it was a revelation. I have not seen the harsh outback transformed in such a way before.
One of the locations on our list was Coalseam Conservation Park between the towns of Mullewa and Mingenew. We set aside one afternoon and evening to discover this place and to stay until the sunset to see what conditions would be like for photography. The evening was wonderful indeed with the wildflowers were glowing everywhere in warm sunlight. The clouds broke up nicely as the day was ending and that gave us some hope for a beautiful sunset to end our trip.
As we were walking and driving through the nature reserve, I was on a lookout for possible spots to park myself as the sunset approached. There were many paths around the flower fields which allowed me to find many different compositions without trampling on the flowers. I wanted to find a view that was not too cluttered with trees and branches but one that would provide an interesting foreground in addition to the field. There were often distracting branches and trees poking in and out of the frame, so I had to work with my angles and tripod elevation to get the scene right in my mind.
This is one of the few compositions that I picked out and this one worked really well for this time of the day, just before the sun went down behind the hills on the horizon. I wanted to photograph a couple of things - one was the starburst and the second was the last rays of sunlight still hitting the flower field before the sun disappeared for the day. This spot worked the best for me because the opening for sunlight to come through was large enough for that light to illuminate enough of the field to give it a lovely golden hour glow.
It was not an easy image to work with in post processing. I took five exposures to cover the dynamic range in the scene and I was lucky that there was almost no wind, which kept the branches and flowers nice and still. If they kept moving about, it would have been very difficult to blend together later. Blending of exposures around the branches was especially tricky and I used two methods to get the final result - HDR feature in Lightroom and additional exposure blending in Photoshop to fine tune some of the more problematic areas and specifically the shadows in the mid-ground part of the scene.
Because of our discoveries this year, spring has quickly become my favourite time of the year in Australia. We explored a little bit of the state during this road trip and also through various walks and hikes around Perth Hills. To see all these flowers come alive and waterfalls form in streams that are usually dry for 80% of the year was simply amazing. I am very keen the set the months of September and October aside in future years to explore even more local spots during the spring season Down Under.
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