Mungo and Uluru

Aug 26, 2015

Day 1
 
We drove from Melbourne to mungo through mildura. We saw the lunettes at mungo and stayed up late for one of the clearest night skies that I’m ever likely to see. Saw emus and mobs of kangaroos, almost smashed into one of them. I’m shooting with the 5ds which is on loan from TEDs. The intervalometer function really saved me as the batteries ran out on my canon cable release. I had batteries in the car but as we found out later that night it was difficult to get back to the car in pitch black darkness (the moon was down).
 
We witnessed the clearest view of the milky way I’d ever seen and I believe witnessed the tail end of a meteor shower. Hopefully the images turn out. It really was surreal being in that environment.

 
5ds vs 5d2
The 5ds is clearly the superior camera. It feels bulky compared the the mark 2 but the additional features make it an amazing camera. I was shooting the milky way under a moonless sky and I realise that my trusty intervelometor had run out of batteries. I can use it as a remote but nothing else. This is where the 5ds saved me. I had fresh batteries in the car but that was so far away on such a dark night. It didn’t all go smoothly though. I set the camera to take 25 images. It captured a few then stopped. I thought the buffer might be the issue, it wasn’t. I finally figured out that the camera was calculating the interval multiplied by the number of shots. Well I was shooting at a shutter speed of 20 seconds which was much less than the interval of 5ish seconds. Silly that this is an issue but the workaround was easy. I put in an interval of 9 seconds and a shot count of 85. That was plenty of time to get the shots I needed.
 
The other issue I had with the 5ds was learning the buttons. Not an issue with the camera but I had fun trying to figure out which button did what. It all worked out eventually so no dramas. I really like the 5ds. It made me question my decision to buy an a7r2 instead. Unfortunately my a7r2 didn’t arrive till after the trip so I’ve had to use the 5ds instead. This worked out really well actually because now I’ve used both cameras. (UPDATE) After reviewing some of the images on the computer I am confident that the 5ds is a much better camera than the 5d2 and possibly has an edge over the a7r2 in terms of resolving detail. I may end up adding one of these to my kit once the price comes down. For now the a7r2 has arrived and I look forward to testing that camera soon.
 
Day 2
 
Got up early after a night of no sleep. Witnessed a kangaroo go arse over tit in an attempt to hop away from the car. Unfortunately sunrise was underwhelming at the walls of China. So we scouted out some shooting angles again for sunset. Saw more kangaroo’s and emu’s. Had a great sunset and went out to shoot the stars again. This night was even clearer than last night. It was amazing. The moon set to a blood red tinge as it had the night before. The clarity in the sky was beyond belief.
 
Day 3
 
Got up early again and shot the sunrise at the walls of China. This was far better than the day before although we didn’t have much time to enjoy it. Went to get on the road when I hit a kangaroo on the way to mildura. Stuffed up the car but fortunately no damage was done internally. Stopped for lunch at a nice little town called Burra. Saw a picturesque abandoned building so I stopped to take a shot. Saw many canola fields and beautiful landscapes as we drove. However we were behind schedule and needed to reach coober pedy by 9pm. Eventually we got there on time. The beds were very comfy after what we’d been used to at mungo. Got a notification that my a7r2 had arrived. Thanks Sony but you are a bit too late. Meanwhile I’m continuing to enjoy using the 5ds.
 
Abandoned house near Burra
 
Day 4
 
Got up early in the morning to get to the painted desert. I think this was worth the effort even with the amount of cows we had to stop for. We saw several mountain ranges that looked stunning but we were glad to leave the dirt road driving behind us. We pushed hard and made uluru by 2:30 and prepared ourselves before heading to the national park for sunset. The sky behind us was better than the sky in front of us but even though it was nice I had come here to shoot uluru. I want to leave here with some good shots. I don’t think I’m a good enough photographer.
 
Painted Desert SA
 
Day 5
 
Got up early for sunrise at Ayer’s Rock. We were the third car to reach the gate but got to the lookout spot first. Witnessed some lightning before shooting the rock. Climbed the rock or most of it at least. I’m too unfit at the moment. Ate lunch at a local cafe.
 
Walked through Walpa Gorge at the Olgas. It was beautiful. Witnessed sunset from the sunrise viewing platform. I will return tomorrow.
 
Uluru and Walpa Gorge
 
Day 6
 
Went to the olgas (Kata Tjuta) for sunrise. Then did the valley of the winds walk. It was the most amazing of the trip. Stopped many times to take pics. It was fun trying something different. Sunset was back at Uluru. Tried a slightly different position this time after being yelled at by park staff for being in a non-designated photo area. Seriously the rules here and at Mungo are very annoying. Had a decent sunset and went back to Yulara for dinner.
 
Uluru at sunset
 
Day 7
 
Got up early for sunrise and for once I wasn’t the first one to get to a certain spot. Luckily the photographer next to me set up in a position that I wouldn’t have set up in so it was all good. Took a quick walk around the base (not the whole thing, just the mala walk) and really enjoyed the walk. We were on the road by 9:30am and went straight for Melbourne. I was very tired at the end of this trip.
 
 


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ben@benjaminperrinphotography.com

Benjamin Perrin
Melbourne, Australia