Day 11/35

Flight to Perth

At 04:15 the alarm goes off. Within 20 minutes I am driving to the airport and another 20 minutes later I have returned the car. I can check in immediately and the friendly lady behind the desk has a nice seat for me with extra leg space at the emergency exit. I’m early and will have to wait for another 2 hours. Could have stayed in bed a bit longer, but I rather am here. If you are here every week you know the routine and you can easily arrive 1.5 hours later, but not for now.

This morning things are not completely clear though. My boarding pass tells me terminal 2 and gate 13, but there are only 5 gates here. Am I really in terminal 2? I had to go up here. My flight is not on the monitors either. Better ask. It appears to be gate 2, 13 is a kind of sequence number.

The Boeing 717 (not flown with before) first goes to Alice Springs. In front of me on the other side of the aisle there is a rather strange bird. Sometimes someone pops out of the ordinary and this is such one. Pair of glasses, large wild haircut. Dressed well. Could be a suit, if the jacket and trousers were made of the same fabric. White shirt with red vertical stripes, yellow socks, a yellow bow tie with red spots and a red breast-pocket handkerchief. A lot of attention has been paid here. How on earth can someone combine these things?

He is writing in a large reader and looks like a professor that’s correcting some students work or something. But later it occurs to me that it’s just too massive for it. When breakfast arrives he stows it away, but immediately after, he opens it again. Because I don’t have something else today it keeps my attention and I’m getting more curious even. When he opens it again I think I can read something like ’Bach…’. Maybe he has to present in perth or Melbourne?

Do I see this right? Does he wear a yellow and a pink sock? It’s truly so. Maybe a joke to use on stage? The reader is opened and stowed away many times. Sometimes he is reading a piece very intensively and writing lots of things. At other times he just flips some pages and puts it away again. Apparently he’s very happy with that thing, because he just can’t leave it alone.

There is indeed ’Bach’ on the cover, but what can it be? I keep watching it and every time as he grabs it again I try to read more, but it just goes a bit too fast. Almost at the end of the flight I have become so curious that I just HAVE to know. Then I get my chance. This time he holds it without flipping the front side. I lean a bit forward and then I’m finally able to read it completely. It’s a philosophical thesis of a doctor on the musical development in the young live of Bach. He’s a philosopher! Yes that explains it all, especially these socks. Pfffffffft. Thought I was getting crazy. It shouldn’t happen that that question would keep floating around in my head without ever being answered (-;

In Alice Springs we have to get out for half an our. Just before the landing I notice the MacDonnell Ranges extending from east to west. Here I have been the last time (West MacDonnell Ranges). Then continue to Perth. The whole flight takes 6 hours, which is quite long, but over quickly even so. Halfway we see Ayers Rock in the desert. There I have been last time as well. Nice.

Around 12:00 I’m in my brand new car. Vroeeemmmm. On my way to Nambung National Park.

During the last week I often wondered why my GPS was acting weird. There’s always something with that thing. It produced very long driving times and came with a little beep at the very last moment of a direction change. Yesterday I suddenly understood the problem. It’s set to walking instead of driving. Dear Lorrrrd. Now, luckily everything is working normally and I get those beeps well in time.

Nambung has been on my list for a couple of years, from the moment that I saw a beautiful photograph of it. It’s a area with yellow sand and pinnacles. Very photogenic. Always have been wanting to go wild with a camera there some day. It’s only 200 kilometer away. The GPS guides me to another road than I had in mind and as soon as I see a turn-off to the Indian Ocean Road I take it. This appears to take an extra hour of driving.

I thought that I would have enough time because the sun sets at 18:30, but then I remember that I’m in a different timezone now and last week in Bungle Bungles (same timezone) the sun set at 16:30 already. Shit, because my little diversion I will have not enough time. Back to the other one then. Better to find out at what time the sun sets here instead and that turns out to be 18:10. Of course, same timezone, but Perth is a whole stretch more to the west.

The whole afternoon it’s completely overcast and it doesn’t look good. Rain is predicted as well. I very much would like to see a golden sunset above Nambung.

Just before I reach the hotel I see a kind of little park with Banksia’s, beautiful flowers that only grow in Australia. All of them have flowered already and I wonder whether I’m not too late for the flowers here.

Around 16:00 I have found a hotel and return immediately in the direction of the park. On the way I see a couple of Kangaroos. A mother with a youngster, that poses for me nicely.

Kangaroo

Little smart-ass (-;

Kangaroo

I haven’t seen these in the north. Must be too hot or something overthere. Shortly after the little one gets a bit nervous of me and runs of with his mother in close pursuit.

Kangaroos

Kangaroos

The sky is completely closed now. Doesn’t look good at all. Arriving at the pinnacle desert there is a 4 kilometer long route that one can drive. The car can be parked at a couple of places to walk between the pinnacles. I pick a nice one as foreground material and shoot a couple of photographs. Light isn’t bad at all. The sand lights up beautifully because of the cloud cover.

Nambung National Park

Nambung National Park

Large showers are floating above the ocean and only a few moments later I see them approaching. At about three quarters of the route I notice a small hill with pillars. Let’s see what we can find here. Have to keep a sharp lookout on those showers because it doesn’t take them long anymore and I will become very wet if I am caught by them.

I have to walk for a couple of hundred meters and when I am halfway I see a pair of pink cockatoos on one of the pillars. Hmmm that changes the matter. Getting closer and closer I shoot photographs of the birdies, a technique I developed last year in New-Zealand. Whatever happens you end up with the best possible photograph. The birds will fly away at some point when you get to close and if you postpone shooting you end up with nothing.

Despite the hard wind, that sometimes almost blows them off their socks, I succeed in getting a couple of nice ones.

Nambung National Park

Kakatoes

Kakatoes

I keep looking behind me for the rain shower that comes in fast. The whole sky darkens. Quickly get one of the desert before it all comes down on me.

Nambung National Park

Soon after it starts to rain and I have to retreat to the car as fast as I can. I drive another loop and mark the places that I consider interesting for sunrise and sunset. Then I notice a hole in the cloud layers above the ocean, where the sun is going to drop in. That means that a large flashlight is going to light up the pinnacle desert later. I find myself a nice spot and wait for it to happen.

After a while this happens as predicted. Phantasically beautiful! Everything bades in a golden light. I have to shoot quickly, because the sun will disappear again in moments only.

Nambung National Park

Nambung National Park

I barely succeed to shoot 2 sets and despite the sun is still visible, the effect is already gone because there is a thin cloud layer in front of it apparently. Had I not anticipated, I would have been without a chance.

As soon as the sun has set, the light becomes flatter.

Nambung National Park

Nambung National Park

Then it becomes darker fast and I remember my flash light. This I always had in mind doing. Wait until darkness falls and then light up the pinnacles with a flash light. For half an hour I play with several lighting settings, while running a half circle around a pinnacle and flashing the flash light manually with the lens open. This provides for nice effects, but the light throws harsh shadows, even with a dimmer attached and the flash unit pointed to the sky.

By combining 11 flashed photographs of the pinnacle with an exposure set of 5 for the desert background, I finally have a smoothly exposed photograph. The effect I had in mind though, one pinnacle jumping out of it all is lost. Tomorrow I have to try some more, because it must be possible.

Nambung National Park

40 Minutes after the sun has set, it really becomes too dark and I return to my hotel. Then I think about the softbox I am carrying with me. That I should have used instead. Maybe tomorrow, who knows.

On the road I notice a couple of kangaroos. Everywhere there are warning signs and I drive as cautiously as possible back. In the village, only a couple of hundred meters before the hotel I am startled suddenly by a couple of shadows. In front of me three large kangaroos are running across the road. Damned. I don’t want to think about hitting one of these.

Tomorrow I’ll have another session among the pinnacles. I am not finished with them yet. After that I continue further north.

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