The perfect opportunity arose when I was fortunate to find myself with a rarity of four days off. I had been wanting to exercise my camera’s shutter at a unique West Australian landscape setting – a pink lake located in the small town of Port Gregory. My fascination to photograph this bizarre landscape arose when I peered out from my window in a very small plane heading to Karratha from Perth. Even though I am extremely colour blind I was clearly able to see the pink hues from the air. Amazingly the pinkness comes from a bacteria – Dunaliella salina which finds itself trapped within the salt crystal of the lake. The psychedelic colour is most vibrant around sunrise and sunset. That was my goal – to photograph two sunrises and one sunset.
Pen went to paper as my visual ideas for a great shot consumed me. I felt a bit like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, I was simply pursing one of my dreams to capture the ‘precious’ shot. The days drew nearer toward the 6 hour Skoda drive that would see me at my destination. My thought train was rumbling and steaming as I debated what photographic gear I would take. The usual suspects were there the tent, clothes, sleeping bag and the like but the burning question on my mind was which camera and lens combination should I use?
Pondering the question over a beer some sense came to mind – I thought “I’m travelling all that way I should just take it all.” So I did:
Fujifilm X Pro 1, Fujinon 18mm f2; Fujinon 35mm f1.4, Canon 1D MK IV, Canon 17-40mm, Canon 85mm f1.2, Sigma 120-300mm f2.8, Canon MP-E65 f2.8, Canon MT-24EX Flash, 3x Lee Filters and a stack of memory cards all stuffed into my Lowepro Nature Trekker Case…oh and don’t forget the Manfrotto 190XBPRO tripod!
The night had arrived when I found myself standing in front of the seemly quite and eerie destination. The scene before me was pitch black with an encompassing blanket of stars reflecting on the gigantic lakes’ every ripple. Delirious from the trip I managed to take one photo on the X Pro 1 before I set an alarm to wake my fading Red Bull and coffee filled mind up from its unnatural state.
The developed photograph intrigued me as it revealed a dull glow from a salt refinery on the distant horizon. The aura produced by the man-made structure seemed to interact with the greater constellations. There was something else to the photograph – it was a bit of a surprise – at first I thought I had captured some sort of military plane or an object you would see in documentaries over the famous Area 51 – I took a second photograph to confirm my belief…but alas the UFO was classic lens flare. Just quietly before I took the second photograph I couldn’t contain my excitement – I thought I had made contact!
Morning arrived with rain filled clouds and disappointment written all over my face. I wasn’t going to get the sunrise I had been dreaming of – the clouds were simply way to cumulus for any light to penetrate. Picking myself up I reached for the Fujifilm X Pro 1 to test its high ISO abilities. During my oscar winning sad-sack performance the heavens had a break and decided to have a sneak peek of a light show as the sun played hide and seek with the clouds. During the intensely short game I managed to pick off a few which made me bounce right back into being Leigh Diprose – the happy traveller.
The rest of the trip I experienced downpours, sand blasting winds and extreme chills (youtube videos to come). I opted to leave the X Pro 1 in the car due to the intensely bad weather. The only advance I saw in using the Canon in the horrible weather was it’s weather proofing – other than that the X Pro 1’s image quality was on par with the Canons. All of these images were photographed in RAW on the Fujifilm X Pro 1 with adjustments made in Lightroom 4.
ISO 800 – 35mm – f1.4 – 1/100 sec
ISO 200 – 35mm – f16 – 0.5 sec
ISO 200 – 35mm – f5.6 – 1/180 sec
ISO 200 – 35mm – f16 – 1/10 sec
ISO 200 – f35mm – f16 – 1/110 sec
ISO 200 – 35mm – f8 – 1/750 sec
ISO 200 – 35mm – f8 – 1/55 sec
Until next time.