Capturing Manning Gorge

The Kimberley is home to many great gorges and one of the best known is Manning Gorge. It is very easy to access from the Gibb River Road, has a huge camp ground with a toilet and shower block (powered by a rather noisy generator that is turned off around sunset) so it’s quite popular and you certainly won’t be camping alone here. Slightly too busy for my taste Manning Gorge is still a gorgeous (gee that joke is getting old) place. This is a duotoned view of sitting on the banks of the billabong in the middle of the day. It’s a boiling 40+ degrees but the rock wall provides a nice shady spot:

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

Manning Gorge and Gum tree in duotone
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Manning Gorge is split into Upper and Lower Manning and the camp ground is at Lower Manning. To get to the Upper gorge it’s a great 3 km bush walk; but first you have to swim across the river floating your clothes, camera etc. in a foam box pushing it in front of you as you swim. Water is not all that appealing to me or my camera so I chose to explore only the Lower gorge this time!

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

Manning Gorge in Moonlight
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Photographing gorges

It takes a lot of practice and work getting good at shooting gorges. They’re big and beautiful but really hard to fit into a composition that shows them as big and beautiful. I always wish I could levitate (walking on water hasn’t worked for me) in the middle of the river shooting down the gorge with the gorge walls on both sides. But often you’re stuck shooting from the banks of a river or billabong and also you’re fighting the Kimberley light as one side of the gorge is bound to be in deep dark shadows and the other in extremely bright sunshine. You really have to work to find good compositions.

The answer as always: get up for dawn and stay for dusk (and bring mossie repellant!) My Finding a Tree post was from around Manning gorge at dawn and this is a Lower Manning Gorge panorama in very late dusk light:

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

Manning Gorge at Dusk Panorama
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

This little spot proved to work very well and I was fortunately the only one there. If you’re at Manning then walk down to the river at sunset, turn left and keep going until you find yourself standing underneath a rock wall and almost in the water. Wait for that glorious warm and red dusk light to warm the sky and you have your shot!

I am working on my Kimberley gallery at the moment so come along as I develop and upload; there are many more gorgeous Kimberley gorge shots to come!

PS. There are some beautiful old and very large Boab trees at the camp ground. Beautiful old trees some bloody idiot campers have carved their names into! People carving their names into trees surely should be fed to the crocs!

10 Comments on “Capturing Manning Gorge”

  1. Nice post mate!
    I love the third image! I always hang around for dusk but it is a good tip for these shooting conditions!
    The first one doesn't quite do it for me but I think only cause its a duo-tone… there not my favourite… at the minute anyway! 🙂
    But that last one is brilliant mate! Wouldnt mind seeing a smidge more to the right of frame though.

  2. Hi Flemming,
    Another good post, I like reading of your trip and seeing how you photograph these places. I personally love gorges and love trying to photograph them.And the lighting contrasts certainly can present some challenges.
    I also love water. 🙂

    Good to see you shot some fresh compositions and interpretations from this location.Though the duotone image doesn't do it for me – trees being white is just not right (imo). The second image has lovely light and a serene atmosphere to it. It's a bit of a pity the trees appear to suffer a bit from lens distortion (?) If shooting wide angle 35mm format that is something I really try to avoid. The dusk panorama would look fantastic really large and has nice tones but my eye seems to struggle to be lead on a journey through the frame.
    Actually my favourite image is the 'Manning gorge 180 pan' from your gallery page – wonderful ! 🙂

  3. Dylan, thanks very much glad you like it! I know duotone are a bit of hit or miss but I love 'em and they look awesome printed.

    Tony, cheers mate! I really like the challenge of gorges as well. Water not so much 🙂 The trees in the 2nd image are distorted from 17mm full frame barrel distortion in the lens you're right about that. I could easily fix it in Photoshop but I actually don't mind it here so left it in. I agree the dusk pano could use one subject to fix the eye, as it is now the eye travels too much. I forgot about the 180 degree pano, maybe should have posted that too! Here it is:

    Cynthia, thanks and yes the Kimberley is amazing. I wouldn't say the Gibb River Road is all that rough anymore. It was extremely rough 10 years ago but now the road is in much better condition and much busier. The camp grounds now usually have at least a toilet block and it certainly has become a lot more accessible. It's still stinking warm and rough but nowhere near what it used to be!

  4. Good work on avoiding banding mate! I always seem to get some on these bland sky shots! Its a pain in the ass!

  5. very nice shot's Flem.
    i like the composition of the top, but have to agree with the others (maybe i'm a sheep, escaped from Chistians blog, come to haunt you…) about the duo tone. It looks like there's some pretty harsh light in places so perhaps it's the best option, not sure though.

    2nd's a nice shot. lovely reflections

    3rds an awesome reflection. Very nice.
    Do you know what would have made a awesome focal point of the shot?? Everyone would love it….A waterfall!! 😛
    Hope I haven't just stuffed my chance of getting anymore tips off you haha

  6. Thanks Stephen and no worries, when I get to my Bell Gorge photos I will be posting a waterfall photo for y'all!!!! I'll leave the sheep to Fletcher though, that's his little niche 😀

  7. Na I dont tend to add much saturation. I know it gets added through other process' but I do keep an eye on it. Contrast is a possibility, but I think it may come down to slight over exposure!
    Cheers Mate!

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