The alarm goes off at 04:00, around one and a half hour before sunrise. The sky is full with stars and the Milky Way is clearly visible overhead.
I keep lying down for a moment not wanting to start the heavy diesel in the middle of the sleeping camp. Then it simply has to be done: VROEEEEEEEM, hahaha. Think I have startled a couple here and there and drive away quickly.
First I hobble back the same dirt road as yesterday evening for the sunrise.
And shoot some photographs from the parking lot.
Warm hues and a nice shadow effect (left) that repeats the form (right).
Then to the river-bed. Here I had a look yesterday already and I am well in time. Almost everything is still in shadow. The river is dry and the floor is a grey-white sandstone that has been polished smooth. Deep furrows have been cut, some well over a meter deep. Slowly the light ascends over the hills illuminating the Bungles. The sun is playing left back here.
For a while I follow the sun going down on the rock wall in front of me, but then my right side grabs attention, where all of them are already in the light.
So many compositions are possible here. I am completely in my element. The moscuitos drive me completely crazy though. They keep buzzing and tickling and it’s impossible to drive them away. They are aiming at mouth and eyes in particular. Sometimes one of them flies into my ear, RAAAAAAAA.
In front of me they are completely illuminated and the sun is also lighting the river-bed. It’s all going so fast now. The trick is to have a sharp foreground and to get as much of the background sharp as well. This is especially difficult for photos in portrait format.
It’s much easier with landscape format photos.
Right of me all of the river-bed is illuminated and this delivers a new one. Everywhere pebbles have been left behind by the leaving water.
The river-bed consists of the same material as the orange/black rocks. This is sandstone that erodes easily. If I rub my hand over it, lots of small grains come off. The black on the rocks are bacterial mats and the orange is iron-oxide (rust). Those two layers protect the soft inner sandstone and create these beautiful mountains.
I follow the river for a while, but the light is getting stronger by the minute. It’s also starting te get warm. The river can be followed much further until a side branch on the left from where other canyons can be explored. The side branch can be reached in a couple of hours walking, but any further takes at least one night sleeping outside and possibly more. Without backpack and tripod with only water I could go much quicker of course. Better to return.