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Fragile Land

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 29 March 2022 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

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Sunset over The Granites in the midwest region of Western Australia. Crumbled granite rock formations were fantastic as were the wildflowers growing between the rocks. This was probably the furthest we have ventured inland in Western Australia, into the more rugged and drier parts of this vast land. We always wanted to discover more of Australia and especially our state but we were always putting it away until later. Covid changed all our other plans, which in turn allowed us to explore what is hiding closer to home. We hope to discover a lot more when we get a car more suited to such exploration. Our cars can only get us so far at the moment. We love driving through the wilderness but our red dusty country roads are not very friendly to small passenger vehicles.

This large area sure was a wonderful discovery. It is scattered with alien rock formations and caves. There is also an escarpment which reaches about 15 metres in height. The rocks are made up of soft white granite with a hard red brown iron cemented capping. That brownish hue gives the rocks an unreal feel. In some areas it felt almost like being on Mars. This land is also of cultural importance to Aboriginal people and specifically to the local Badimia tribe. There are examples of Aboriginal art that has been dated at 9000 years old and there are many ceremonial and burial sites around.

We were lucky to get great evening light and also some clouds to hang around until sunset. It was very windy and I got this particular photo just in time before all the clouds were blown away. On the next set of images they were almost out of the frame. I really liked this particular rocky outcrop as there were many compositional possibilities with jagged rocks leading in all directions. This spot caught my attention because of the rocks, the wildflowers and also because it gave me the best angle to work with the sky. Getting a little sunstar was a great bonus. I had a slightly different composition prepared a few minutes earlier but the overall balance just did not work for me and the sunstar effect was gone before I could adjust. Still, I was able to then shift a few steps sideways to get it right and find another spot for sun to shine through.

I think the biggest challenge for me here was the strong wind. The branches and flowers were moving about unpredictably and I was worried that I would not get enough of them to be still and sharp for the final image. What worked in my favour was that the wind was not constant and it arrived in gusts. I was able to time my shutter clicks somewhat to coincide with moments when the wind was at its calmest. I was also doing what you could call "listening to the wind". The idea was to press the shutter button not when the wind stopped but just before it did. After a few attempts I could almost feel when the wind was about to drop off and this was the moment to take some shots.

I took a few sequences of multiple exposures to cover both the dynamic range of the scene and to ensure that I had enough sharp material to work with. Later at home I picked the best photos and blended in the sharp parts to form one final image for processing. There are still probably a couple of little spots which remained blurry but I do not think they take anything away from the overall mood so I was very satisfied with how it all turned out. There was an option to go for a more deliberate artistic blurry effect to create a kind of motion abstract but I felt that it would not work in a wide composition. I have been experimenting with more intimate compositions including blurred abstracts but that is till work in progress.

For now I am very pleased with how this final image looks. It reflects our time spent at The granites perfectly and I hope you enjoy it as well. Travelling closer to home has allowed me to mix my local seascape photography with other landscape work. That in itself is another great learning experience and I look forward to brining you more photos from this amazing part of the world.

Canon EOS R5 8/5 seconds F/16.0 ISO 200 15 mm

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