Kimberley. Final Frontier. Captain’s log, stardate 8975.1. We received a distress call from bloody tourists lost in the wild and have been sent to investigate. We are not at warp speed 9 but bumping along on a corrugated washboard-like dirt road that threatens to dislocate every bone in our body. Scotty is keeping the engine alive with a never ending supply of Scottish swear words. Our phasers are useless in this setting and have been replaced by cans of mossie repellant. First officer Flemming has clearly lost it, keeps repeating ‘Into the Wild’.

The Gibb River Road and the Kimberley area of Australia is often described as the ‘final frontier’. Well, Space is the final frontier, but the Kimberley is still a wild, remote, rough and reasonably untouched wilderness part of Australia. Three times the size of England, home to only 35,000 people but you will be surprised by the amount of people you meet since there is only one main road. But  you can at least pretend you’re charting uncharted territory as you bump along on corrugated dirt roads into the wild:

Kimberley. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Driving the Gibb River Road is as much about the journey as the destination. Photographic opportunities are there but can be few and far between. I have a knack for attracting extraordinary light and clouds but used up most of this year’s supply in Namibia. Light was bland, but the journey was amazing, had a brilliant time with a brilliant group, got the shots I wanted and the shots I promised my mate at All Terrain Safaris. A brilliant journey! A few highlights:

Windjana Gorge at dawn

If you are a regular reader, you know I love Windjana gorge as described in this post. The power of this place is awesome. This time I walked in the gorge at 5am in the darkness, the eyes of freshwater crocodiles reflected in torch light. Many people do not think much of Windjana Gorge, but it is my favourite gorge in The Kimberley. You can feel the Bunuba people’s spirit here as you stand in between the mighty towering walls of what was once a coral reef under water in the Devonian period, some 350 million years ago! You can also feel the pain of Bunuba’s massacred by the police.

Composition is hard here and it helps to re-visit this gorge a few times. The view is so wide you need to stitch a lot of shots to capture the grandscape here, this is just a quick cropped jpeg preview of a wide angle shot at sunrise:

Windjana Gorge. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography.

Mitchell Plateau

The Mitchell Plateau and mighty Mitchell Falls was new for me, was my main mission and what an awe inspiring experience it was. And I am not easily impressed by waterfalls. A waterfall itself is boring, but string 4 of them together, have them roaring down a massive plateau shaking the ground you walk on ending with an 80 meter fall into a massive pool surrounded by towering walls –  and I am mighty impressed!

To find a vantage point without trees or grass in your shot takes courage, dedication and a love of spinifix grass cutting up your legs! I scouted the very rocky bushy area and without falling into the abyss, found a good spot someway down a cliff face. I had my tripod right on the edge of a 200 meter drop, holding on to a tree with one hand, cable release in the other. I had the 4 tiered Mitchell Falls roaring in front of me drowning all sounds and the abyss threatening to swallow me. A sensational and humbling experience of power, Mother Nature showing off!

Mitchell Falls. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography.

As you can see I used a bit of my powers to attract beautiful clouds on this special day, was the one day with nice light!

The Gibb River Road is a bumpy corrugated dirt road but having just been grated it was in very good condition. Now the Gibb is a six lane tar highway compared to parts of the Kalumburu Road leading up to the Mitchell Falls. Rocky, bumpy, treachery with river crossings, it is 6-8 hours of bone and car breaking track! Day before we got there, two 4wds rolled over on the track. We only broke off both back shock absorbers (shockies) on the truck. Not that it made much difference, track is so rough you hardly feel the difference, shockies or no shockies!

King Brown Snake

I like snakes and I have finally seen a King Brown Snake in the wild! They are highly venomous and have a bit of a reputation of being aggressive but I reckon you are fine with snakes as long as you do not step on them or do anything stupid like pick them up! This King Brown Snake was spotted at night, 10 meters from our camp. About 1,6 meters long it was obviously cold and shy, moving very slowly through the grass just trying to get to cover. So beautiful. Peaceful. Potentially lethal. I slept fine outside under the stars in my swag, no worries, happy to have met and share camp with a King Brown.

Randomness

 

 

  • 4 weeks of walking in bare feet or thongs (flip-flops) have almost cured my toes. And made me hate socks and shoes, back to nature, into the wild in bare feet! My feet will never get clean again, a little warning to Rod and Casey who I will soon be going on road trips with!
  • My little portfolio photo book is a huge success and I really recommend bringing something like this with you as a travelling photographer. Had I brought 50 copies I would have sold them all (and had to pay for a bit of overweight on the plane with the earnings!). I have been taking orders from everyone interested, a photo book from me is definitely coming up later this year so stay tuned.
  • What the hell is going on with me and mossies on this trip? I continue to donate blood, I continue my love/hate relationship (they love me, I hate them) but this is getting ridiculous. I tempt fate by sleeping outside of course but even on Cable Beach they track me down and have a feast. Fresh Scandinavian blood is obviously a delicacy for mossies!

25

25 thoughts on “Kimberley, final frontier, no shock absorbers

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. slamdunk 10 years ago

    Wonderful shots and write-up.

    I have to admit that I would not have slept soundly if I was in that part of the wild knowing that the King Brown was so close.

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 10 years ago

      Thanks for your comment and thanks very much, glad you like the writing and photos!

      There was probably quite a few more King Brown's around, can't worry about it, just gotta enjoy it! Heck, they are much less dangerous than your average car, traffic kills a lot more people than snakes!

  2. SebastianP 10 years ago

    Nice post! Will think it twice before camping next to a couple of King Brown´s, but you are convincing me 😉 with the shots

  3. Rod Thomas 10 years ago

    clean your feet or your not coming…… ! ! !

    cya tomorrow mate

    Rod

  4. Charlene 10 years ago

    I think some people are just more attractive to mozzies than others. I know I am, sigh! It's rather entertaining for those who aren't too 😛

    Brilliant photos Flemming, really really wish i was there.

    P.S. Feet – always the first to get dirty, and the last to get clean. Think of it as a… er, fond reminder of the red dirt? 😉

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 10 years ago

      Must be 'cos I'm such an international superstar, mossies just luuurve me 😀 My feet do not seem to scare them off at all!

      Thanks heaps Charlene, glad you like the images! Quite hard to get good shots in the Kimberley, so glad I didn't totally fail 🙂

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 10 years ago

      Indeed I am! But Rod, can you please bring an extra shovel or two as we now seem to have developed a knack for getting Casey's 4WD seriously bogged in sand!!!!

  5. Beau Mitchell 10 years ago

    Don't have the time to read at the moment – will come back later – but that Mitchell Falls photo is a stand out. What time of the day and which filters did you use, if any?

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 10 years ago

      Hi Beau. It is about noon, perhaps 12.30pm. A little earlier would have been nice as one side is already in shadows. I used my 'dark hole in the universe' 9 stop ND filter to slow the exposure, did a lot of different experiments from 1 to 10 seconds.

  6. Stephen Williams 10 years ago

    ah now i feel more at ease… you're back in love with oz! 🙂
    i knew you'd come crawling back. after your lil affair there i'd say you need some time in the doghouse… but you probably wouldn't mind that at all 😉 not after swagging it after seeing a king brown! lol.

    love the gorge sgot. the composition is marvelous! really love the light kissing the top rocks!

    mitchel falls is a stunning image also.
    you did well summoning the clouds.

    have fun in karijini 🙂

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 10 years ago

      I was never out of love with Australia mate 🙂 But gotta say that Namibian desert is probably the no. 1 landscape location I have ever visited. I can be obssessed with more than one country at a time can't I ? I think I am more than enough schizo to do that!

      Thanks for the comments, glad you like the photos! Kinda pleased with the work as well which is nice!

  7. Stephen Williams 10 years ago

    schizo… that probably explains it 😛

    going from your images of Namibia though, I can see why you do love the place though. especially for someone who is in love with desert as much as you.

    for me, it's mountains, and when i finally get round to visiting New Zealand, Canada/Alaska, Himalaya's etc… I think i'll be struggling to stay faithful to my homeland too 😉 lol

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 10 years ago

      schizo and manio depressive at the same time – something close to it anyway 🙂

  8. mervfrench 10 years ago

    Quite impressed with Mitchell Falls shot, very nice.

    The filter is a screw on I take it ?

    So is that a stitch or single image?

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 10 years ago

      Thanks Merv! Yes it is a screw on filter, 9 stop Heliopan ND filter and it is like a dark hole in the universe! This is just a single image, quick preview, I do have a stitched version although if it works with the filter we'll see (9 stops tend to vignette the shot a lot)

  9. Dylan Fox 10 years ago

    Really like that second image mate!
    and what the hell are u doing photographing water falls?

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 10 years ago

      Cheers Dylan !! I hear there's a fortune to be made from shooting waterfalls, heck I have even just up at Cape Leveque been shooting those seascapes you all seem to love so much 🙂 I've gone commercial, shoot what the customers want 🙂

  10. Tony Middleton 10 years ago

    It is fantastic to read about your travels Flemming. I like the Windjana image the best, as you say it is hard to get satisfactory images in this place and land…I know I was disappointed with mine…though this is just an extra reason for me to want to get back up there !

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 10 years ago

      Hi Tony and thanks so much – makes me very happy that people like my travel writing, I love reading travel writing, love writing travel writing, so the fact that people actually read my nonsense is thrilling.

      Windjana Gorge is so hard to capture, I think this is the first I have done there that I am happy with. Glad you like it!

  11. mervfrench 10 years ago

    Flemming……I've put a post up on my blog nearly as long as one of yours. I just hope someone reads it.

  12. christianfletcher 10 years ago

    mate a great read as always. I think you need to take the pink out of the white clouds though. I know they can get a bit pinkish up there but they look better white!! You love your oranges don't you. You are a bushie at heart!

    1. Flemming Bo Jensen 10 years ago

      Thanks very much mate! The image is just a quick develop on my laptop so colours will be all over the place, will do actual develop back home on 24" calibrated screen.

      I love the oranges and reds for sure, a bushie at heart – and after 7 days in Karijini all my clothes are now ochre coloured as well 😀