Bells Gorge – with falling water

I am on record for not being a big fan of photos of waterfalls. I very often find them quite boring and there are too many ordinary waterfall photos in galleries around the world for my taste. A long exposure close-up photo of a waterfall is a winner with most customers and viewers but not for me; I have little fascination with water. I am a desert man. An interesting waterfall shot has to at least place the waterfall into context and show the surroundings. Ken Duncan and his incredible eye for composition is very good at this as demonstrated in his Mitchell Plateu shot. With no surroundings it is simply water falling; it is gravity at work!

During my recent photo trip to Australia I shot one composition that included a waterfall – even though the Kimberley has quite a few waterfalls. I love The Kimberley, but it’s the landscape and not the falling water that does it for me. I have promised several people to post this one waterfall image and as I’m always a man of my words here is magnificent Bells Gorge from Kimberley, Western Australia, complete with falling water:

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

Bells Gorge Panorama 
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Bells Gorge and composition

Bells Gorge is one of the many impressive Kimberley gorges cutting through the rocky and dry landscape. I’m no Ken Duncan but I have certainly placed the waterfall into context here. To the extent of the waterfall almost disappearing in this small web sized image; but at full size I quite like dramatic wide angle view in this shot. When I return I will work on improving composition though by climbing some more rocks! It is great fun and a great challenge climbing the rocks in these Kimberley gorges seeking the perfect composition. When viewing my shots later I often think ‘oh I should been standing there’. It’s the great skill challenge of composition and finding the most effective viewpoint (without falling down and killing yourself) and in the Kimberley gorges you can certainly sharpen these skills! If you study the photo you’ll see little travellers by the pool. It’s possible to climb much further; all the way down the the rocks on the left side and access a lower part of the gorge way out of this frame. You have to be a mountain goat though but I hear the results are worth it so I’ll attempt it next time!

This image is a stitched panorama and I deliberately went for a dusty and hot arid look here. Bells Gorge in mid September was a nice warm spot with 40+ degrees in the sun and the special Kimberley light. I remember exactly what it was like but then again I don’t. You can’t remember this; you have to experience it. Nothing but the desert would prepare you for these fantastic conditions in the Kimberley. It is incredibly hot; the light is blindingly bright and the sun rays cuts like lasers. As impossible as it is; I want to replicate these conditions in my photo; make you feel the Kimberley and these great gorges!

This is my one Kimberley waterfall shot but who knows – after my next Kimberley trip you may actually see waterfall image no. 2 from me. Start a trend!

7 Comments on “Bells Gorge – with falling water”

  1. is that??…is that a waterfall??
    omg, i think it may be! :-p

    I do have to be honest Flem. It's not what I was expecting. And as a waterfall shot as such, i'm not sure i'm a fan of this image.

    As an outback setting image though, I do like!! 🙂 I love the rocks on the left, and then especially how the whole scene comes to the peak with that hill! Very nice composition.

    What are our chances of getting a "falling water" shot from you with more then 5% of the image water?? 😛 But this is a step forward, we'll get you there one step at a time haha.

    p.s that Ken Duncan shot it awesome hey

  2. Be honest! Always. And you're right ehehehe, it's no waterfall shot, it's an outback shot that happens to have a small waterfall. Sorry to disappoint ya 🙂 Typical for me, the landscape is the subject. A typical falling water shot from me is unlikely (just as photos of humans, cars, etc are unlikely) but when I get to the Mitchell Plateau next year I'll see if I can get anything even remotely like the incredible stuff Ken has shot up there.

    I'm glad you like the outback shot!

  3. well it certainly is a harsh land ! I think you have managed to acheive your primary objective with the image.
    This place is highly photographed in recent years with so many similar compositons of which there is few images that really 'do it' for me.

    Don't be scared to take more waterfall shots Flemming… 🙂

  4. I meant to touch on how I agree with you about the harsh Kimberley light (which is present on other regions as well) and one needs to experience it to appreciate or understand it. (try it in November!) 🙂

  5. Tony, I have done the Gibb River Road in January once – talk about hot, humid and mozzie infested!

    As for more waterfall shots…we'll see, but it'll be hard to shoot around them at the Mitchell Plateau next year so may cop a few 🙂

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