Kakadu National Park is one of Australia’s most important and spectacular national parks. Providing the visitor with a great introduction to many of the regions key elements: landscape, wildlife and weather. While interaction with indigenous people is usually limited, dialogue with local tour operators, guides and national park officers provide the visitor with fascinating insights into indigenous culture.
Making great images at Kakadu is really no different than other locations. To maximize opportunities it’s desirable to be photographing with the best possible light. Early or late in the day is ideal. In the middle of the day overcast weather reduces contrast, helping to maintain detail in shadows and highlights. Alternatively, inclement weather often provides dramatic light (quality, direction and/or color) on the edges of the weather. That is just before and/or just after the onset of rain.
The other consideration in making great pictures is to be where and when the action is. A lot of wildlife is most active at the edges of the day (early or late). So its important to plan your trip so that you can be in position to record the light kissing the mountaintop, or (safely in the boat) on the water when the birds or crocodiles are likely to be both visible and active.
The above image was made from a boat on the Yellow Waters Cruise in Kakadu National Park. I have taken the cruise on two separate occasions: early morning in summer and late afternoon in early winter. Both trips were great as I got to witness and photograph the significant changes that occur to the waterway and surrounding environs at different times of year. The winter shoot (2007) coincided with the heaviest rainfall in the region for 100 years. Of course changing rain patterns worldwide do not always result in less rain, as is the case in Melbourne, where I currently reside. Other places will see significant increases in rainfall. The environmental balance can be a tenuous one. A local guide told me that, in the case of Kakadu, a significant increase in long-term rainfall would have a catastrophic effect on the local environment. I’m reminded of the saying that the only constant we have is change.
Image processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop CS4, where a warm/cool split tone was applied.
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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography