Pic of the Week_Sunrise_Ormiston Gorge_Central Australia
Ormiston Gorge, a major stop on the West MacDonnell Ranges, is situated 135 km west of Alice Springs. Offering photographer and walker alike a range of great opportunities the gorge is best visited in the cooler months (May to August) when the 7 km Ormiston Pound walk can be undertaken without too much physical stress.
The above image came about as much through persistence as through technique. I awoke early and walked down to the dry waterhole in the pre-dawn light. The morning was cold and windy and the light flat. It looked like the sunrise was going to be a fizzer. But my experience is that, once you’re out of bed, it’s worth making the most of the situation and either sitting it out and waiting for the light or, alternatively, moving around the location to discover alternative angles or subject matter.
As the sun rose the cold, bleak dawn light gave way to the warm, luminous light hitting the distant cliff tops and reflecting down into the water in the middle of the frame. The magenta blue light from the overhead sky washed over the foreground rocks and provided a great contrast with the more dynamic sunlight. And, while I wouldn’t recommend drinking from the pool in the bottom right corner of the frame, it did provide me with an added visual element. As well as illustrating that the water is stagnant the green slime leads the eye from the foreground through to the reflection in the middle of the frame and, from there, onto the sunlit cliff tops in the background. As green is the opposite or complimentary color to magenta the slime, in the absence of direct sunlight, acts to separate and emphasize the color of the foreground rocks.
I’m very interested in dualities and the exploration of opposites is a constant theme in my photographs. While the color of the rocks was interesting, the lack of dramatic light in the foreground was initially a concern. This photo is not so much about the sunrise but about the variation in light and color throughout the frame. I employed a 21mm wide-angle lens on my beautiful Leica M6 camera and walked in close to place extra emphasis on the foreground rocks. The idea is to explore the relationship between shaded foreground and illuminated background and encourage examination of the similarities and differences within the frame.
The original slide has been in storage for some time. After scanning it was great fun to bring the image back to life with Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.
If ever you have the chance an extended stay in Central Australia is great for both your photography portfolio and your soul. It is an ancient landscape embedded with Aboriginal Dreamtime mythology where ancestor beings both walked through and shaped the landscape. Their presence remains evident in that most inspiring landscape.
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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography