One of my photographic quests is to capture the perfect Outback Australia image. My perfect Outback Australia image that is.

Outback Australia is a million different things; but for me in my perfect image in my head there are some elements that must be present: Red rock and earth, a few gum trees, spinifex grass, all bathed in golden light on a huge wide open desolate desert-like plain with a blue sky of outback clouds (you’ll know when you see them). A morning in the Kimberley area of Western Australia presented a very special moment with many of my elements present:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Silent Grove Sunrise Panorama
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Unless you’re as obsessed with the outback as I am (is there anyone else?) I don’t know if this panorama means much but I am extremely happy with it. It is not my perfect outback image of course; but I feel it really expresses the desolate beautiful nature of the outback and has a lot of the elements I love (you see what I mean by outback clouds?). I do not like any man-made objects in my photos, but here I picked the middle of the dirt road to have a strong leading line into the image. I shot this as 8 vertical images and stitched in PTgui. Silent Grove is just the name of the camp close to Bell Gorge on the Gibb River Road; and this is basically just me having run about a kilometer down the dirt road finding an open place. The hardest part was finding a spot where I could hide the shadow of me and my tripod!

The sunrise itself was out of this world fantastic by the way; albeit a more ordinary image for me personally. I woke up at camp before dawn; saw the clouds, rolled out of my swag, grabbed my gear and sprinted down the road to find a spot. This is just me standing on the dirt road pointing the 17mm lens at the sunrise, standing next to the tripod with cable release in hand, shooting and enjoying the spectacle of nature:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Outback Kimberley Sunrise 
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Like any quest for perfection it is futile and will never end; the perfect outback image exists only in my head (although Ken Duncan sometimes comes very close with his brilliant outback work). I will just have to keep coming back to the outback and enjoy many fun and frustrating experiences chasing perfection!

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13 thoughts on “The quintessential Outback Australia photo

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  1. Charlene 11 years ago

    Have to agree with you on Ken Duncan. The last issue of Australian Traveller included some of the best vertical panos i've seen so far by him. Check the web version out here:
    http://www.australiantraveller.com/index.cfm?page

    As for the perfect outback photo – i've come to the conclusion that there'll never be one. Too much of a hard call considering the variety presented from hour to hour, nevermind region to region 🙂

    You sure found some great clouds!

  2. Flemming Bo Jensen 11 years ago

    Thanks Charlene, and thanks for that link. Really shows the incredible eye for compositions that Ken has. Some gorgeous work he did there in the Mitchell Plateau. To get to some of those spots that helicopter is essential!

  3. Stephen Williams 11 years ago

    i prefer the top by a fair bit. those clouds draw you into the image so much. the road does create nice lead in lines but my eyes didn't even notice it at the start to be honest. they saw the clouds, then looked down and saw the road. it is a very nice shot you got there.

    it is nice but perhaps the 2nd image needed it's own post to give it more impact. cause sorry, but I can't really look at it too long when you have that other image just above it! not a bad dilemma to have though! 🙂

  4. Flemming Bo Jensen 11 years ago

    Hi Stephen and thanks. I really love the first one and am going to do a huge print for my wall. The second is nice but "just" a record of a spectacular sunrise. But nice to have two good images from one morning as you say 😀

  5. mervfrench 11 years ago

    Yeah …I like the top one, just has that bit more to it.

    The bottom one looks just a touch over sharp to me.

    I'd be happy with both if they were mine though.

    Cheers

  6. Flemming Bo Jensen 11 years ago

    Cheers Merv – pretty happy with both of them but first one is the special one!

  7. tonymiddleton 11 years ago

    The first one is a nice warm image Flemming. Yes – you are obsessed though… 😉

  8. Flemming Bo Jensen 11 years ago

    Cheers Tony! I don't think obsession covers it, I don't reckon there's a word for my condition!

  9. Tim 11 years ago

    The first shot sums up the outback nicely; I love those clouds. On my Outback experience in 2000 I awoke very early to see wild camels grazing nearby with the sun back lighting them. I thought I was still dreaming!

  10. Flemming Bo Jensen 11 years ago

    Thanks Tim and that morning you describe does sound amazing, like something out of a dream!

  11. thomasparkes 11 years ago

    Awesome sky Flemming, well captured.
    I haven't seen anything like that in eons.

  12. Cynthia 11 years ago

    Red rocks, gum trees, and a dirt road leading into the spinifex has always been my idea of the perfect outback image.