While I am dreaming away a bit on my bench, two Australians come and sit with me for a talk. These appear to be the people that camp in front of me: Chris and Morene (as I learn later during the day). Nice people, around 60. They come from Queensland and have been traveling for 5.5 years now. Indeed, I woke them up this morning starting the engine, but now they can laugh about it.
When I am recovered a bit, I return to the visitor center to have a good look again on the photographs. All but one I do recognize now. The ranger doesn’t know either where that has been taken. Most probably a lot further up river. Pity, as it looks very nice. It occurs to me that the really nice ones show water with beautiful reflections.
The raining season starts in october, changing the landscape completely, after 6 months of drought. The river will be filled with fast flowing water and everything turns green, even the black bands on the hives. The dirt road into the park will be impassible and the park will be closed until the eind of march. According to the ranger, the park is the most beautiful during the second half of april. Just after the raining season everything is still beautifully green and there is lots of water in the park. This disappears after only a few weeks and is replaced by the dry wilderness I am experiencing now. Good to know for my next visit.
I have to keep a sharp eye on my fuel stock by the way. The first gas station is a good 3 hours driving away. Most people that visit the park take both roads to north and south once and then leave the park again. I take these roads several times a day to either photograph or to scout locations for later today or tomorrow. This adds up. Every time it’s 68 kilometers of 4WD that even costs more fuel.
I visit the camp site but there is no shade at all. Back to the hives then. I wouldn’t know what else to do. It’s only 11:00 hours and after 16:00 things become interesting again.
Arriving there I shoot the same photograph…
…of this morning again (here).
What a difference. That photograph I just took has been improved digitally by enhancing the colors. With the naked eye you see a dark mass without any detail or color. You are in fact blinded by the bright sky, something that can be fairly compensated by the camera. Most people, in particular on organized trips, seldom or never get to see the beautiful light of early morning or late evening.
This provides me with the motivation to get up this early every time. The light, the colors and the soft shadows are so beautiful. Pity that it’s always gone in the blink of an eye. It’s there for only half an hour and the moments available to take these photo’s are limited to just minutes and even then you have to be in the right place, otherwise you end up with nothing.
Now I have to wait for another 5 hours. Couple of hours reading, dozing a bit and then it’s 15:30. The sun is still a bit too high in the sky, the light too harsh but it’s coming. Have to wait some more.
Then suddenly I feel it and open my eyes. The intensity of the light has dropped considerably, the wind has stopped, the shadows are softer and the colors more vivid. It’s just after 16:00 and time for action. Only one hour to go before sunset and I have to get going quickly. Maybe I should have started even a bit earlier, but closeby I can shoot the first one.
At the same spot as earlier today in the morning, but now on the other side of the river I shoot a nice panorama. Without robot it takes somewhat longer but the result is the same.
Here another one with a different perspective.
Then I walk back to the view on the river (the path to the left I went this morning). This appears to be a good gamble as the light is really beautiful here. But soon I discover that I am a couple of minutes too late. Both the light and the color drop away while I am putting down my bag. So close to really good light…
The photographs are quite good after all, but could have been a lot better.
Then it’s time to go. Now the sun has set, darkness comes in fast and I will have to find my way back to the car. Luckily I do not have to go that far and soon I am back on the parking lot. The sky has a vivid red color where the sun has set. I look around for a bit, but can’t find a good spot to shoot from. Back to the camp then.
The light keeps attracting me while driving. It’s exactly the same as yesterday, but tonight I am going to use it. Stop the car, turn the lights off, setup the tripod and shoot a couple quickly before the light is gone.
Succeeded after all! Somewhat further down the road a Wallaby keeps running in front of the car. She doesn’t know well what to do with all that light and noise, but finally leaves into the forest.
After another hour ratling down the road I am back at the camp site.
Morene invites me for a cup of thee in the pitch black camp. There is almost no one here. We talk for a while about our lives. Nice people. 5.5 years ago they have sold their house and started traveling. It took them 12 months to only leave Queensland. The last years they have been traveling in the mid and west of north Australia. During the monsoon they work in and around Darwin and during the other 6 months they drive around with their caravan.
Chris is now 58 and tells me that it’s very easy to find work in Australia. Who doesn’t have work doesn’t want to work. He really likes the thunderstorms in november. This you find nowhere else on the planet. Lots of rain fall during the raining season, but it’s only a couple of times during an hour each day. The water is gone as quickly as it came.
They think the south of Australia is too cold for them (20 degrees on average) because then you have to wear long trousers (-; They have 3 sons and 4 grand daughters and see them only during Christmas and sometimes in between. I really like them.
The temperature has dropped in the mean time and it’s a lot colder than yesterday around this time. I am preparing myself for another comfortable night on the back seat. Not! Inside the car it’s still warm and I close the doors to keep all that warmth in for as long as possible.