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Motorhome Travels - May 2014

11/05/2014

Karijini National Park is our favorite park in all of Australia. It is nothing short of spectacular. We have been to Karijini quite a few times, last time we were there we stayed for three weeks exploring and photographing almost every aspect. This time we returned with some new toys to capture the landscape from a different angle. Ever since I purchased the quadcopter I have imagined what it would be like to fly over, and photograph Karijinis gorges from the air.

The narrow gorges become wind tunnels with just the slightest bit of air movement, GPS signals (used by the copter to navigate) can be difficult to find and the iron bearing rocks block both radio control and the video signal retuned from the copter very effectively. All of this meant that flying and getting the photos and video we wanted would be anything but easy. For normal photography the early morning and later evening light is the best - but at these times the gorges are very dark and at this time of the year, even the midday sun does not fully light the gorges. We would just have to do our best.

Hobohome crosses the bridge near Cheela Plains on the way to Karijini NP. - [Click for a Larger Image]
Hobohome crosses the bridge near
Cheela Plains on the way to Karijini
NP.

Flying from the lookout at Dales Gorge - [Click for a Larger Image]
Flying from the lookout at Dales
Gorge

Flying in tight spaces at Karijini  - [Click for a Larger Image]
Flying in tight spaces at Karijini

One thing in our favor was time - we have lots of it. If after looking at the photos and video we were not happy - we simply go and do it again!

The GoPro camera that the copter flies is able to take video and still photos at the same time - however we have learnt that doing this produces a less than ideal compromise - the photos are more highly compressed and the video has to be shot at a lower frame rate. Also the type of flying required for each is quite different - for still photos its "get into position, hold still and shoot" - for video it is all about "smoothness of motion". For this reason we flew each location (at least) twice - once for still photos and once for video.

Flying the quadcopter from Oxer lookout in Karijini NP. - [Click for a Larger Image]
Flying the quadcopter from Oxer
lookout in Karijini NP.

Looking stright down - [Click for a Larger Image]
Looking stright down

Karijini in the evening from high above our camp - [Click for a Larger Image]
Karijini in the evening from high
above our camp

Our visit to Karijini was not all about flying the quadcopter - we also walked most of the gorges. This time instead of carrying many kilos of SLR camera gear and tripods, we took only the little GoPro camera in its waterproof housing. This allowed us to capture video from some unique angles and also record some interesting mishaps...

This video is of Tracey using the (not recommended) "fast entry method" to get into Handrail Pool. Amazingly, she was not badly hurt. She sported some interesting bruises and the sandwiches in her backpack were a write-off, but apart from that it was a very lucky escape. 

 

Leaving Karijini we headed towards Wittenoom - yes, that asbestos place. The history of Wittenoom is fascinating (you can read about it on Wikipedia or on WA Now and Then). Wittenoom Gorge is an amazing landscape.It is a narrow gorge with high walls. Clear water collects in large pools and there is abundant bird life. Sadly there is also blue asbestos everywhere! The ground is just littered with the stuff and it can be seen as thin seams in many of the cliffs. For this reason the gorge is normally devoid of human life - we stayed for just two days.

Our camp spot at Wittenoom Gorge. - [Click for a Larger Image]
Our camp spot at Wittenoom Gorge.

Wittenoom Gorge at sunset - [Click for a Larger Image]
Wittenoom Gorge at sunset

Wittenoom Gorge and the asbestos mine tailings - [Click for a Larger Image]
Wittenoom Gorge and the asbestos
mine tailings

After leaving Wittenoom we took the scenic route to the coast and our old favorite fishing spot - Cleverville.  More on that next time.


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