Locations: Nambung National Park (The Pinnacles)
Nambung National Park is about three hours drive north of Perth in Western Australia. It's most well known feature is the popular Pinnacles Desert environment that occupies a relatively small section of the park. It is very accessible and has an un-surfaced one-way loop road running through it. It is only fifteen minutes drive from the seaside town of Cervantes so access to accommodation near the park is easy. On my most recent visit I brought my swag and camped in the local caravan park. It would have been nice to stay on location or somewhere close by but no overnight camping is permitted in any of the national park area's or beaches.
My evening shoot was a bit of a disappointment as the hoped-for clouds were absent and the plain blue skies meant my shots were also a little plain. Sometimes a nice interesting foreground needs an interesting sky to go with it. Still I got some nice shots of some small pinnacles that looked like teeth sticking out out of the sand.
I stayed on location till about ten o'clock to try some night photography in the light of the full moon. The moonlight was so bright that star trails were a little difficult to shoot (a new moon is better for star trails as it allows the longer exposures needed) but I got some slightly eerie moonlit landscapes which were quite fun.
The next morning I was at my previously scouted spot well before sunrise and was extremely pleased to see some interesting clouds that I knew were going to make for fantastic sunrise shots. Landscape photography is mostly about being on location at the right time - a bit of luck with weather and skies always helps.
I was shooting with both my 24mm TS-E and my 17-40. When using the tilt shift lens I use it as a standard 24mm prime but also try and get multi-shot panorama's I can stitch together later in Photoshop. The below image is an example of a two shot stitch with the lens shifted all the way left then all the way right. This stitching method is a 'flat' stitch which means that there are no parallex errors or perspective corrections needed (which can be a problem if you simply swivel the camera) and the shots join seamlessly and perfectly using the Photoshop 'photomerge' function. Images made using this method can end up being around 8500 pixels wide. More megapixel means bigger prints and if you can't afford a medium format digital camera like a Phaseone (who can) this is the next best way of getting really large files.
Shortly before the 'golden light' finished I found a nice location to watch the sun hitting the tops of the pinnacles (making sure to put myself in front of a large pinnacle so that my shadow didn't appear in the shot). The results were nice but not quite as moody as the earlier shots as the colour had by now washed out of the sky.
One of the challenges of shooting here is that the area is so popular that there were footprints everywhere. It's worth exploring a bit further from the road to find a nice clean area where there aren't any footprints to spoil the nice rippled and sun dappled foregrounds.
All in all the pinnacles are a fantastic location to visit and I will certainly be back here again sometime.