Travelling the Red Centre
Travelling the Red Centre
I have recently taken a trip to the Red Centre in Australia. There are a few things that I came across and could be useful to whoever coming this way.
As most of you might know, Australia's Red Centre covers such landmarks as the Ayer's Rock (Uluru), Kata Tjuta, the MacDonnell Ranges, and Kings Canyon, with Alice Springs as the major township in the region.
Whatever you do in the area, whether you are travelling in a car or by foot, you would need to bring two things all the time with you, namely, water and fly net. To avoid dehydration, we are told to drink a litre of water every hour. As such, a water bottle is inevitable.
The next thing we learnt about on arrival was the fly net. Don't worry, the flies would remind you of that in no time. If you want to save a bit of money, consider bringing a nylon mesh the like of those used for bouquets.
It is always a good idea to take a broad brimmed hat with you, and have long sleeves to protect your arms from the blazing sun.
Sunrise and Sunset
Watching sunrise and sunset would most certainly be on everyone's agenda visiting the place. The tourist information at the Uluru town centre has a map suggesting the best places for viewing. It is of course very useful. However, please be mindful that the indications are all in terms of seeing direct sunlight throwing onto the rock(s). In other words, if you are expecting to see the silhouette effect, you would have to interpret the indications in reverse.
It didn't take me long to notice that the colour of the earth there shifts invariably at different times of the day. It can range from ordinary to exceptionally stunning, depending a lot on the strength, and the angle of sunlight throwing on it. For the brilliance one would expect of the outback colours (the red and the orange colours in particular), the hours under stronger sunlight would generate best results.
The other thing I observed is that the metering through the camera might be "fooled" in a similar way as in the snow environment. To enable optimum brilliance in the colours, I found that I need to adjust the EV by increasing one-third stop or even in some cases two-thirds of a stop.
Rim Walk at Kings Canyon
The Rim Walk is a must for everyone visiting the place. It takes about 3.5 hours to finish and is definitely worthwhile. Likewise, for the Creek Walk which takes an hour to finish.
The best time range for photography in this case would be when the sun is directly overhead.
You would have the advantage of the brilliant colours (as I mentioned earlier), and also avoid the extraordinary harsh contrast between the lit up areas of the Canyon and those in the shadow.
Flies on the Lens
Last but not the least, please keep an eye on the flies which somehow seems to be in front of the lens or hovering on the glass of the lens whilst you shoot. It definitely pays to check your result every time.
Live life, Junius.
p.s. To travel light, I brought 2 lenses with me. However, for most of the time, I found that the combination of my Nikon D800e and the wide angle zoom 14-24mm f/2.8 lens suffice. Showing here is a snapshot of my gear in action.
p.p.s. click here to see more selected images from the trip.