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Pic of the Week – Sunrise, Ormiston Gorge, Central Australia

The terms ‘Back of Burke’, ‘Outback’ and ‘Woop Woop’ are Australian euphemisms for remoteness. And, outside of its major areas of population, Australia has more remoteness than most other countries.

Central Australia or the ‘Red Centre’ is home to many of Australia’s grandest landscape icons. Uluru (Ayres Rock), Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Kings Canyon are all within a day’s drive of Alice Springs, the regions largest town.

Now here’s a little bit of local knowledge. There are many other locations in the region that provide fantastic opportunities for landscape photography. In fact I’ve yet to find anywhere else that provides such a unique and mesmerising mix of light and color. Though to experience it you’d want to be sitting quietly, at the edges of the day, in an area open to and able to reflect light. Very much about time and place, such sites offer a sanctuary from the stresses and strains of the modern world.

One of my favourite Central Australia locations is Ormiston Gorge. A popular spot for visitors to the West MacDonnell Ranges, Ormiston Gorge is within easy reach of the regions major town, Alice Springs.

Hasselblad 500CM camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor 160 Professional Film

Hasselblad 500CM camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor 160 Professional Film

Photographing Ormiston Gorge was a wonderful experience. Rising well before dawn I drank 3 litres of water prior to loading up my camera gear, tripod and an extra 2 litres of water and began my climb to the cliff tops above the gorge.

I climbed the steep winding track, with just a short rest to view the surrounding countryside, in the pink pre-dawn light. Reaching the top I willed by fatigued body and mind towards the edge of the cliff, so as to look down into the gorge, just as the sun began to spread its warmth onto the walls of an adjacent cliff face. Creeping downwards, like a thief in the night, the early morning light suddenly flared alive with bright, vibrant color as heat crept slowly down the canyon’s flanks. This first breath of sunlight, pouring over the top of the canyon’s walls onto the water below, turned russet and gold as if suddenly awaken or reborn. I’II never forget the feeling of exhilaration I experienced during the few moments it took to behold and then photograph this wondrous site.

The image was made on a Hasselblad 500CM camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Ektacolor 160 Professional film.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography


4 Responses

  1. I love how the gold reflections in those pockets of water show up in the upper half of the frame. Very nice.


  2. It’s wonderful seeing the gorge from a different vantage point. Having not made the hike to up to the cliffs, I got a more usual view (though that was still splendid). Of course, even more than the vantage point, the light makes this remarkable. But I suspect you knew that.

  3. I really appreciate your comments. I’II most some more shots from the region over the next few months. I’ve got an absolute ripper from Serpentine Gorge which I post over the next few weeks.

    You’re right about the climb. It really does offer a unique perspective of the landscape. The thing about elevation is that you somehow seem closer to the weather – a fact that the old master Ansel Adams certainly understood.

    Al the best,


  4. I look forward to “revisiting” Serpentine Gorge through your lens.

    And you’re right about Ansel Adams. No one understood light better than he did.

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