Photography trip to the Australian Outback
With no cities for hundreds of kilometres, it should be peaceful. And it is, until a howl cuts the silence.”Are those dingoes?” I manage to squeak out. “Yep”, says Jamie, our Scottish guide, “plenty of dingoes out here.””Snakes?” I ask. “Oh yes, but most of them aren’t venomous.”My 1.8m tall, 60cm wide tour guide is far from home, stretched out on the dirt of a dusty cattle clearing. The ground is flat and smooth, trampled down by thousands of hooves over the years. He stares up at the sky without a care in the world.Sitting as close I can without being rude, I try to blend into his shadow so the dingoes think twice about creeping up on us.I enlist my photography teacher Ewen Bell to stand as a shield on the other side. The only threat left is above. Of course a bat decides to swoop just centimetres above my head.
Once I’ve stopped shrieking, and the jibes about Dracula die down, we’re back to the occasional click of a shutter and the silence of the bush. it is just us and the dingoes, the snakes and the bats.Halfway through Air Adventure Australia’s two-week Grand Outback Photography Tour, this is our crash course in shooting star trails. Tonight’s one-hour shoot is a practice run for tomorrow, when we’ll drive to an isolated boab grove for a longer session.The minutes tick by slowly; marked by the click of a shutter every 30 seconds, and I ponder all the ways I can get out of another night shoot.When the stopwatch finally beeps I’ve decided there’s no way I’m going out tomorrow, but by the time we’ve driven back to the homestead I’ve already decided how I want to compose my next shot. When images of the starry sky pop up on to the computer, the idea of three hours in the dirt doesn’t seem so bad.I’ve caught the shutter bug. And I’ve got it bad. This is what happens when you’re covering 4200 nautical miles (8500km) to locations hand-picked for their picture potential. You can’t help but take a good shot. And you want more.Air Adventure Australia was established by Rob Dyer in the 1970s. A pioneer of private plane tourism and a driving force in the establishment of outback cattle stations, his legacy lives on in the Rob Dyer Outback Jet, a twin-engine Cessna 411 Conquest II with plenty of zip.Rob’s son John now runs the business and is sticking to his father’s non-traditional methods. For him, it is the luxury of the experience, not gold taps and sky-high thread counts. His motto is “why not”, so when our professional photographer Ewen wants a few horses rounded up for a shoot at the Pentecost River Crossing, no problem.
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