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Published: September 11th 2014
Before I headed into the outback, I would have said there was definitely only a limited number of sunsets, sunrises, moon rises and moon sets that a photographer could shoot – well, this photographer anyway. Now, I’m not so sure …
This is especially true of Menindee, which by the way and just in passing, is I think the windiest place on the planet. As I write this the Sally Wagon is being buffeted by a gale that has just caused me to pull down the pop top and she is still being shaken and rocked like a leaf. In fact I am not sure the pop top will not be ripped open again by the wind at any moment.
We arrived in Menindee yesterday afternoon about 2pm and after a quick look at the town, made our way out here to Pamamaroo Lake on a road that had more corrugations in it than the colorbond tin on my roof at home. It was a slow and tortuous trip which thankfully only lasted for about 7 or 8 kilometers. We eventually set up camp on the foreshore with a perfect view of the sunset across the water. Tonight however we have
retreated to the Burke and Wills campground which is set in a gully on the edge of the Darling River, back from the lake. We remained at the lake and put up with the wind for a sufficient amount of time to allow us to get more sunset shots, but then retreated here thinking we would be protected from the wind. However right now I am far from certain that we are protected … got to be better than the lake edge though. (Well perhaps not – we have just moved location to find some better protection from the wind. I am now parked right up against the wall of a toilet block and Lou has parked right along side of me. Hopefully we will now be secure for the night. And also hopefully the wind will blow itself out over night and tomorrow will be picture perfect.
But I digress … back to the matter of how many sunsets it is possible to photograph. Out here they are just spectacular and it’s hard to resist. Last night we shot from well back from the water edge – the wide angle view. Tonight however we got right down in among
the old trees at the water’s edge. The results are here for all to see. How many more sunsets will my blog readers have to suffer? To be honest I don’t know. But we will shortly be heading out of this outback country and down to the Murray River, so perhaps they will come to an end. This much I know, the standard for a sunset, sunrise, or moon shot has now been set very high. It will have to be something spectacular for me to photograph it after seeing what Menindee had to offer.
Among the photos in this blog you will see a Moon Set …. I think because of the wind my sleep was restless and light last night and I found myself awake at first light this morning. Quite without plan or reason, I pulled back the curtain just as I was about to lie back down and snooze off again and I noticed what I though was a reflection of the sunrise over to the western horizon. I looked more closely with my glasses on and realized it was the super moon right on the horizon and about to set. I literally fell out
of bed, clambouring over Polly and shouting at Lou to “get out here quick” as I grabbed my camera and tripod (which fortunately was still all set up under my awning and ready to go) and ran literally half naked down the sand to get into the right position to take some photos. Shouting all the while to wake Lou and get her out in time. It was probably the most spectacular sight I have ever seen and truly a stunning gift from mother nature. What a start to our day. (Fortunately we were the only campers in that spot last night, so my semi PJ clad state was not on view for all to see – other than Lou who muttered with regret over breakfast that she had been too sleepy to think to get a photo of me to put on Facebook!!)
This evening, as we were driving back to this camp site after taking our sunset shots, Lou caught sight of the same moon (I think it is actually full moon tonight) rising in the east. We acted like a couple of storm chasers, each driving off in a different direction to try and
find the perfect spot to get the photograph of it calling to each other through our CB radios about who had the best spot. What a couple of crazy old women!!!
Anyway, is a place of striking mixtures for me. The lakes unfortunately have very little water in them. Bird life is not as abundant as I had hoped it would be, but there is a fair variety of birds here, including the ubiquitious pelican – is there any scrap of water on this continent that is not home to at least one or two pelicans?? I was surprised to find that the edges of the lake are like beaches, with beautiful beach sand. The inevitable dead trees in the water are both beautiful and sad. They make a wonderful photograph especially set against the vivid reds and greens of the grasses growing around the water’s edge. The banks of the river and deep, shear, dry and dusty. The clouds are amazing. The wind is wild. The sun is hot, and the scenery is to die for. And the colours, indescribable. Oh by the way, all my photos are true colours, I’ve done nothing post processing to
make them more vivid or alive.
Tomorrow we will go for a look in Kinchea National Park. I intend to hide Polly under the seat and pretend she is not there. So more to come. Don’t think we will be back here camping tomorrow night … the road is too terrible. Maybe somewhere in town, or maybe we will just head off south towards Wentworth and the meeting place of the Darling and Murray rivers. Which way we go will depend upon research tomorrow about the state of the roads that head to the south and west from Menindee … or maybe we will do it the long way and drive back to Broken Hill and then head south. Who knows? Who cares? Its great being this free and relaxed. And that drive from Broken Hill was very enjoyable … the closest I’ve come to finding a stretch of road with horizons so wide and clear that they remind me of driving across the Barkley Tableland in the Northern Territory … and yes, you can almost see the curve of the planet along the horizon. I’d like to drive back through that again.
you will see a couple more photos of the trotters at Broken Hill Racecourse at the bottom of this blog entry. I've included them because I was fascinated at the progress of the horse being led at the side of the trotter ... saw him each day, obviously in training. At first he was galloping at the side of the rig, but in these photos, on the last day I saw him/her, I noticed that he/she is learning fast ... now doing the special trot (not sure what its called), but look, in both shots he has three feet OFF the ground. Clever!
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