From time to time I come across a place or scene that I feel deserves a lot of time and attention. Desert Queen Baths in Karlamilyi (Rudall River National Park) in Western Australia's Pilbara region was one such place. Regarded as the most remote national park in Australia, the park is the also the second largest. I had been in the desert for about 35 days at this stage and still had a few weeks to go before getting back to Alice Springs. By that I mean I had no internet, telephone, food supplies (fuel came from a couple of stations) and my only contact with the outside world was a satellite telephone text to say I was ok. I met a few people along the way which gave me someone to talk to from time to time.
When I arrived at Queen Desert Bath's I was lucky to have the place to myself for a few days and really got to enjoy the remoteness of the Pilbara region. After so long in the desert I think I was looking a little worn, dirty and fresh food was fading to a distant memory. Then I met some fellow travellers who I think felt sorry for a very dishevelled bloke travelling by himself through the deserts. A couple of shared camp oven feeds put some pluck back into my step and I was like a new man. Travelling the remote areas of Australia not only gives you chance to see the best Australia has to offer but also to meet like minded people - who love camping under the stars, swimming in remote water holes and driving the dirt roads of Australia that just disappear into the distance with little or no change.
There are about 4 permanent water holes in the gorge and the last one was what had caught my attention. When I first saw the deep red rock contrasted by the white gums growing straight out of the rock I knew I was going to be there for awhile. It would be easy to get a good shot with the reflection in the pool as this waterhole was hidden deep in a gorge of the Little Sandy Desert.
Using a prime lens can be challenging at times because to compose a shot you have to walk in and out of the scene with the tripod to get the correct composition. I was lucky in this case my lens was just about perfect for what I needed and that was not a bad thing because in front of me was this deep black water body that never saw sunlight, and behind me was a row of Red River Gums.
It was about a 3.5km walk/ scramble over rocks and through water to get to the location, and I would walk it morning and night trying to get it right. One day a slight breeze that could not be even felt would disturb the water, at the start I was getting my angles slightly wrong and the end result was not as i wanted. (I don't have a view finder on my setup so it adds to the challenge of creating these panoramas.) A couple of days conditions were so wrong I walked in walked out without even taking a shot, and that is frustrating. After 7 days and over a 100km walked up and down the gorge with my gear I finally go that perfectly still mirror.
I enjoyed the challenge of this image because for me it was a place that deserved to be made great and only time and patience can do that.
Paul's Landscape Photography Tip
Patience and perseverance are the key to images and art. With the creation of digital photography, the 'art' of photography is fast becoming something of the past because we are becoming desensitised to the real skill of photography, as opposed to the point click and move to the next shot photography. In order that you stand out above the crowd and continue to survive and be respected in the world of photography the age old skills of patience, perseverance and not expecting a shot every time you get the camera out still apply.