Coming to grips with the Vast Pilbara
Well we've been on the road in this vast continet for a few weeks now, about 5 I think. It’s marvellous how one day flows into the next. When you have no real set agenda, apart from collecting, wonderful images of the Australian landscape. Our focus was the large expanse of the Pilbara in Western Australia. I had heard about Mt Augustus, a rock located in the Pilbara and also a monolith like Uluru but much bigger. So I found it on the map and off we went travelling the backroads to find it. When we arrived, late in the afternoon with the light behind the rock, it was lacking the impact that Uluru has. So the next thing was to see what it looked like early in the morning light.
I found a location the previous day, so got up early 5-30 and drove the car to the selected location. ( I don't think I was too popular in the tourist park.) Got on top of the car, set up the camera and waited. Well I wasn’t disappointed as that sun slowly rose behind me and the light being cast on the rock and changing with every second. I was like a kid in a candy store. It was fantastic.
We next visited Karijini National Park as all my reading and people I spoke with said it was a must place to see. Well I did see it and to a point it was impressive. Mind you it was only for 2 days as the park was closed down due to heavy rains. But after awhile one gorge looks much like the rest, with only the odd outstanding feature. That is if you can get to it through the hordes of visitors. I must be getting old, wanting a place that isn’t over run, don't know if I’ll ever find it.
For quite sometime as we traveled around, I was always looking for the remoteness in this vast country. If it still exists you can’t get to it by car. I thought going to Karlamilyi National park ( formerly known as Rudall ) was going to be a remote location. I was mistaken. The only thing remote about it was that the closest place you could go to the shops was 350 kilometres away. To my horror every man and his dog knew about it. I was camped there for a period of 4 days capturing a selection of images. In that time there were 15 other vehicles that came and went. But as I said after weeks of travel, what I came to appreciate was the vastness of the top end of Western Australia. It is the distances that one needs to travel to get from one place to another. I have spent many hours behind the camera trying to capture an image that would depict this extraordinary vastness.
At this time I still don’t know whether I have managed to do this, it is quite a challenge. It’s not as there is nothing in the landscape to photographer as it is for ever changing. It is simple to grab a selection of that vastness as we do most times when photographing a landscape. But how do you capture open space in its immensity? if you are prepared to travel the back roads you will come across many opportunities to do so. As I only travel at around 80-90 km per hour it takes me a bit longer to get to most places,but then also I see more as I travel. I am always looking every which way. My wife watches the road for me I only operate the steering wheel and pedals.
But I think I have acquired a greater appreciation for the vastness of the Pilbara and surrounding country. And the people that live their lives in it on a daily basis. I was only a visitor passing through, just getting a small glimpse of what it is all about, this immense and vast Country called Australia.