Leaving off from my last post – Will, Andrew and I returned back to the top of the mountain to meet up with the rest of the group. We arrived back dripping wet, while everyone else was still bone dry. When we’d had time to gather our thoughts and dry ourselves off a tad, we got straight into business. I should probably first tell you a little bit about Andy and his Understand Down Under, or UDU, Tours. Then back to business…
Andy started Understand Down Under sometime in 2006 in the hope that he could share his love for the Australian outback, and in particular the Royal National Park, with the world. One of the tours that UDU offers is an overnight moonlit walk through the Royal National Park. Once a month, during full moon, Andy takes you on an unforgettable and once in a lifetime hike through the wilderness that is Australia’s oldest National Park. During this overnight hike Andy and his dad “Dad” take you on more than just a physical adventure but also one full of lessons and fun, scientifically and photographically speaking.
As I was saying, we had arrived back at the group’s designated meeting spot ready for our big night ahead. By this stage, the sun had been down for about 30 minutes so it was starting to get quite dark. And what better thing to do in the dark with a bunch of photographers? …Light painting! As this group consisted of experienced photographers, we were pretty much able to get into things straight away. But incase you aren’t too familiar with your camera, Andy is an extremely knowledgable photographer who is second to none with light painting and by the end of the night you will be more than capable of capturing your own awesome images.
Whilst I was mainly concentrating on getting dry, I didn’t get too carried away with the painting. I did however, capture this shot of an illuminated tent. The only two light sources in this image are the light from my head lamp (lighting the tent) and the ambient light from Sydney’s city lights (orange sky). For this shot I lit the tent from behind. Usually in this type of image you would light it from the inside, but these were not our tents…
Shutter Speed: 8 sec – Aperture: f/4 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 17mm
After we finished light painting for the moment, we were treated to an awesome and extremely filling dinner at the top of the falls, Wattamolla that is. I guess they thought we needed the energy, as for the next 4 hours we would be on our feet – traipsing through the bush.
We finally left for our hike through the National Park, after our extremely satisfying meal, stopping occasionally for a little rest and for some educational insight from Andy’s dad. On one of these stops Andy volunteered to sit on this overhanging rock for some of us to shoot him, with our cameras. It was only about a 30 metre drop onto some gnarly rocks and crashing waves in the middle of the night, so it seemed pretty safe… One thing I don’t like about shooting during full moon is that it can look a bit like you’re out in the middle of the day.
Shutter Speed: 30 sec – Aperture: f/6.3 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 17mm
At the end of our walk we reached the beautifully secluded Curracurrang Falls where most of the crew decided to have a late night or early morning swim before our walk back to the campsite. By campsite I mean sand. Not sure if I mentioned it earlier, but part of the UDU Moonwalk Tour is sleeping on the beach at Wattamolla Lagoon. Pretty cool, right? By the time we made it back and set up our sleeping bags we were all pretty exhausted. I can’t possibly describe how cool it was to fall asleep on a beach to the sound of the ocean and the perfectly clear night sky above us. It’s really something that needs to be experienced personally.
The next morning we woke to the sun rising over the ocean, and what a view it was! Unfortunately, I didn’t come away with any spectacular shots, so I won’t be sharing those few images I did happen to capture.
I must say, this weekend was definitely something different for me. From the amazing group of people I spent it with to the awesome experiences we shared, it really was something I will never forget and something I hope I get the honour of being apart of again.
Let me leave you with some words of wisdom from a fellow landscape photographer I was lucky enough to shoot with over this ‘Visit the Shire’ weekend.