Learning off-camera flash

As part of the his macro work The Doc is learning how to better use his flash, both on and off the camera. He did a little bit of macro on the Northern Territory trip, but the wind did not help. So more needs to be learned about off camera flash (which copes with wind much better and gives better results).

While at Ballina The Doc is also buying a basic off-camera kit like lightstands, triggers, adapters and flash cold shoes. He has spent several days reading, rereading and watching videos, when he is not painting his parents balcony. Up to coat 5 so far!Lets not forget about washing cars as well.

As part of his research he needed to learn about lightstand adapters and cold shoes. Here is the background research on the adapters and cold shoes.

Gregory National Park, the Northern Territory

When The Doc drove to the Kimberley in 2015, he noticed the red escarpments of Gregory National Park. A note was made to return on the NT trip.

While on the road I heard of someone who said there is nothing at Gregory National Park. It seems the red escarpments and the wild crocodile infested Victoria River was boring. I will let the reader reach their own view, after looking at the photos. The Doc thinks that person was either asleep or had a bag over his head.

Most of these shots were taken close to the Victoria River Roadhouse.

Sorry The Doc can only do basic processing on the images.

Corroboree Billabong and Sweets Lagoon

The Doc has spent the last 2 days out on tours, to Sweets Lagoon and Corroboree Billabong (Mary River Floodplain). The Patrol had been serviced and it was time to see the wetlands by plane and boat (to avoid the mud and crocs by doing it on land).

On paper, Outback Floatplanes Adventures trip to Sweet Lagoon looked the better option. It had a floatplane flight, airboat (flat bottom boat driven by a V8 using a propeller), helicopter flight and cruise in a flat bottom boat.

Corroboree Billabong was the Wildlands Ultimate Tour consisting of an airboat and flat bottom boat tour. The BBC has filmed twice here. This billabong has the highest concentration of crocs in the world. The billabong is feed by the massive Mary River Floodplain. The wildlife has to be be seen to be believed. Thousands and thousands of birds, fish a plenty and lots of top line predators like crocs and White Belied Sea Eagles. The Doc even got to eat some bush tucker from the Sacred Lotus Lily and another flower.

Hands down Corroboree Billabong was better and around 1/3 the cost of the Outback Floatplanes Adventure. Sweet lagoon was expensive at $800 for what it was, a little bit of the four things from around 8.30am to midday. They even charge a credit fee of 1.5%, unlike Wildlands. As an experience Outback Traveller I would not do it again, but would return to Corroboree Billabong in a heart beat, and that cost only $240 for both.

I was left with the feeling Sweet Lagoon was all about maximising bums on seats and putting the tourist thorough the production line. This is the first time I have felt this on my trips. It was not the people, but the production line process.

The auxiliary battery in the Patrol failed on Saturday morning so The Doc has extended his stay in Darwin 2 days to wait for the replacement. A bit lucky the battery failed while the The Doc was in Darwin rather than in the Outback. The Doc has never seen a battery fail so fast, almost no warning signs (I knew there was an issue Friday, but Saturday morning confirmed the failure). The demands of the hot weather was too much.

This is a sample of the floodplain in and around Mary River and Kakadu.

Corroboree Billbong, water, flowers crocs and birds, all in abundance.

Sweets Lagoon images.

A few macro images

The Doc is now in Darwin to have the car service next week.  He is exploring Nature Parks around Darwin (Darwin NP, Holmes Jungle Reserve & Knuckey Lagoon), with an emphasis on some macros photos. EDIT: The Doc managed to identify the flowers, both introduced from South America, at least the palm is native.

The Doc will also visit Litchfield National Park in the next few days and then decide whether to start Kakadu as well.

Ormiston Waterhole & Gorge – West MacDonnell Range

As noted in the last blog post, the first part of the week was hit and miss. While Rainbow Valley was impressive, the Rogue’s Triangle of Uluru, The Olgas and Kings Canyon was not. Kings Canyon was $40 per night for a single unpowered site! Ulura was $45! Plus the access fees. So The Doc gave both a wide birth, which involved more travel.

Diesel was $123.9 a litre in Alice Springs, 200km south at Erlunda it was 52 cents a litre more, and over $2 at Ulura. It comes to a point where a fair profit margin becomes a rip off. The Doc turned around and avoided the Rogue’s Triangle. If you want to visit these places, pay a travel provider and be ripped off in style – these locations are now hostile to the average traveller.

Sadly The Doc has not seen so many places, so close together requiring you so often to put your hand in your pocket – no other place in Australia is like it. Even at Standley Chasm the access fee is $12.

In contrast, the $32 entrance fee to the Alice Spring Desert Park was a worth every cent. While the fee seems high, the value for money was excellent, great displays, several walk in aviaries, nocturnal house with rare animals and the list goes on. Visit while in Alice Springs, as it is about a 7 minute drive from the highway along Larapinta Drive. A single morning in this one location shows you what could take months in the field to see.

So the week was not going well until the Doc drove into Ormiston Gorge Campground, when things changed for the better, nice grounds, showers, shade and the gorge a short walk away. Up early the next morning for a sunrise photos at the gorge, but the light was not right until around 9am. Then a walk along the gorge, with a climb up to the lookout. A steep decent and a bacon and egg sandwich was the reward at the end. Then off again at around 11am.

A visit to Grosse Bluff was interesting. It is an imposing bluff on the northern side, but the track takes you into a picnic area in the centre where you are surrounded by walls– it turns out it is a meteor crater. The cataclysm when the meteor landed must have been big, no humugous.

Images of Ormiston.


The waterhole and gorge also had many large Red River Gums and their amazing textures. Enjoy.

Back to Finke Gorge in the morning.

Finke Gorge (Palm Valley) – The Red Centre

The Doc has spent the last week travelling the West MacDonnell Ranges out of Alice Springs. Truthfully the week was hit and miss. It started poorly but improved a lot on Friday and Saturday.

The Doc is now in Alice Springs going to Mass and restocking. On Saturday it was the intention to return to Alice and then travel north to the Davenport Ranges, but on the way back The Doc checked out Finke Gorge. What a stunning place! And an afternoon could not do it justice. So on Monday The Doc heads to Finke Gorge and the nearby Palm Valley for two days and then onto Davenport Ranges, refuelling while he passes through Alice Springs. Some point and shoot photos from Finke Gorge. Enjoy.

Happy Mothers Day.

East MacDonnell Ranges – Alice Springs the Red Centre

ess well known than the West MacDonnell Ranges, the East MacDonnells has Emily Gap, Jessie Gap, Corroboree Rock and Trephine Gorge National Park.

The Doc’s youngest nieces are Emily and Jessie, so the two gaps had added interest.

Atherrke is the Arrernte name for Jessie Gap. Jessie and Emily Gaps are associated with the Dreamtime stories for three Three Caterpillars: Yeperenye, Ntyarlke and Utnerrengatye.

These caterpillars formed Emily Gap, Jessie Gap and many of the topographic features around Alice Springs, then spread out to the edge of the Simpson Desert.

Then onto Corroboree Rock and Trephina Gorge, including the Bluff and Trephina Creek (dry). Most rivers and creeks in this part of the Red Centre only flow after rain. Enjoy.


The Devils Marbles

The Doc visited The Devils Marbles today, near Wauchope in Outback Australia, about 110 kilometres south of Tennant Creek. The devil during a walkabout dropped his marbles all over the landscape.

The Aboriginal name is Karlu Karlu literally meaning round boulders. These are weathered granite boulders, lots of them. Kangaroo Island and Flinders Island also has granite boulders but not on this scale. Enjoy.