I realized when I was at Karlu Karlu in 2016 hat I found  the country in the northern part of South Australia  (ie., north of  Port Augusta) that we  had passed through on the way to and from  Lajamanu to be as  interesting as  the destination itself. I realized that wanted to explore this country rather than travel though  for 12 hours a day to  get to a particular destination. It was the journey, not the destination that was crucial for me.

Pylons+ Flinders Ranges

But how to explore the northern part of Australia? Aerial photography was too expensive; I didn’t  have a 4 wheel drive; I wasn’t prepared to go into this semi arid county on my own;  I wasn’t interested in just sticking to the main highways, stopping for a break and a quick photo;   or just taking photos through a car window as I travelled  through the landscapes limited.

The landscape looked interesting through the window:  there were the salt lakes either side of the Stuart Highway, the various deserts, the pastoral landscapes north of  Goyder’s Line, the Flinders Ranges themselves,  and the country of the northern Flinders Ranges. This was a landscape that I didn’t know. 

How then to  photographically explore it? Many of the standard images that I had seen of this northern South Australia landscape on the internet were in colour, touristy and  very highly saturated. Most of  the images  were centred around the lower Flinders Ranges around Wilpena Pound, or Arkaroola as these were prime tourist spots and easily accessible from Adelaide or Melbourne with 4 wheel drive vehicles.

Goyder Highway

I knew that other photographers had work on various projects.  I knew of the colour work of   Stravos Pippos or that of  Peter MacDonald. Both  had been exploring this landscape and I found the prints of MacDonald’s salt lakes images,  which I’d seen at Atkins Photo Lab, to be  impressive. I didn’t have the resources  to camp on Lake Eyre itself and take colour images with an 8×10  field camera be able to do what  Murray Fredericks had done. I had to be very  modest.

The only possibility was what Suzanne had  been doing with her ARPA  friends on the Heysen Trail: self-funded and walking the country.  But their ARRPA  bush walking  model was destination orientated and involved walking 15-20 kilometres a day. This kind of walking model  was based on staying in hotels  or cabins in  the country towns  as a base for the walk rather than camping,  and it  allowed very little time or space  for taking  photographs,  other than  than a quick snap whilst walking, and then racing to catch up with the group.

trees, Goyder Highway

So I was stuck. How could I  do the walking, photography  and the camping out in this kind of remote, semi-arid country? I knew that it  could only be done with experienced guides, transport to get to and from the remote locations,  and some form of logistic support for food and water that would allow me to carry a day pack and hand held cameras. Some research was needed.

One response to “re-assessing”

  1. […] solution to my predicament about how I could  photograph in northern South Australia was to do  a camel trek with an […]


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