Sunday, 28 June 2015

Uluru Moonrise

Since I became the proud father of a little monster, I have had fewer opportunities for serious photography. One such opportunity arose during a recent family holiday to Australia, where I managed to sneak away from my family for a few days and head to Alice Springs in the middle of nowhere. Nearby (i.e. a mere 450km away) is a big red rock called Uluru (a.k.a. Ayer's Rock):

Uluru Moonrise - Canon 40D + Canon 70-200 F4 IS, 1/8, F/8, ISO 400

In the weeks before the trip I had carefully planned where to be at moonrise on 2 June 2015 so as to see the moon rising directly above Uluru, and to be far enough away so the moon would look big in comparison to the rock. Unfortunately, the only affordable way to see the rock at all was with a camping tour for backpackers (arranged by Emu Run, it was actually quite cool), and of course they have their standard viewing spot for Uluru at sunset, and there was no way for me to make it to my designated spot on my own. Besides, I didn't want to miss the champagne sparkling wine.

Greatly did I rejoice when the moon obliged anyway by rising just next to the rock. Okay, since we were quite close to the rock the moon looks relatively small, but I'm still happy with the result.

Uluru Moonrise II - Canon 40D + Canon 70-200 F4 IS, 0.3s, F/5.6, ISO 100
Yes, I know these pictures aren't amazingly original. I'm not sure what one needs to do to stand out from the approximately one billion photos of Uluru that one finds online, but I think these at least beat the median.

Fuji X100s, 1/110, F/8, ISO 400
Uluru is a geological oddity. It is a chunk of sandstone, lying on its side. This is not unusual, but typically the forces that tilt the rock layers will also bend them, and hence cause cracks. Uluru has no such cracks, it's one solid piece.

Another wonderful thing to see near Uluru is a mountain range called Kata Tjuta (a.k.a. The Olgas):

Canon 40D + Canon 17-55, 1/15, F/5.6, ISO 100
These are every bit as impressive as Uluru itself, but are not advertised widely overseas, for the simple reason that the Aboriginal People still use it for ceremonies from time to time, at which point the whole place is closed to gawking tourists. This doesn't go down well with visitors who just flew half-way around the world specifically to see the place...

Canon 40 D + Tokina 11-16, 1/320, F/8, ISO 100
Here are some more pretty pictures:

Fuji x100s, 1/600, F/8, ISO 200

Fuji x100s, 1/500, F/8, ISO 200

Canon 40D + Tokina 11-16, 1/640, F/5.6, ISO 100

Usually when shooting a panorama, an iron rule is to shoot much more than you need, so that you have enough canvas to make the rectangular crop you want without bits missing near the edges. As usual, I forgot about that when making this 230 degree panorama of the Valley of the Winds:

Valley of the Winds - Canon 40 D + Tokina 11-16, 1/320, F/5.6, ISO 100, 7 exposure panorama
But in this particular instance, why bother cropping? The bulbous borders of the full panorama complement the domes very nicely. I think I'll try more uncropped panoramas in the future - rectangles are overrated! Next time, though, I'll try not to cut off the greenery at the bottom.

Here are few more pictures for your viewing pleasure:

Canon 40D + Tokina 11-16, 1/500, F/5.6, ISO 100

Canon 40D + Tokina 11-16, 1/125+1/500+1/2000, F/5.6, ISO 100, HDR

Canon 40D + Tokina 11-16, 1/100, F/5.6, ISO 100