Uluru, my white whale no longer WTF?
After 3 years and around 130 visits to Uluru I can definitively say that I have had that magical waterfall moment and the pleasure of sitting back at the sunset area watching rain cells move over the landscape and rock itself.
To be treated to such a rare sight and for it to happen on a Photographic workshop tour where everyone was just as spastic about being there as I was you really can't ask for more. Of the morning we spent about 4 hours in the rain at a few key locations around the sunset areas and at the base photographing in detail the waterfalls the colours and the clouds. Most of the time I shot with my digital camera but at the sunset area I did shoot a whole roll of really nice colour film with the Mamiya RB.
The scene nearly all morning was literally a perfect exposure with dark clouds complementing the light levels on the rock surface. So it was very easy to control the potential lost data in the very bright parts of the sky making the mornings shooting relatively easy.
But perhaps the most definitive moment of the morning was when a single shaft of light shone through the clouds for just a few seconds illuminating the landscape around the Mutitjulu waterhole. With my current love of back-lit photographs I pointed my camera the "wrong"way and faced into the sun with the rain falling heavily and the sun adding the most amazing highlights on the wet rock. The trick was to get the rain, I could expose for the highlights, I could compose a shot very easily but it all came down to the focusing distance, f/ stop and shutter speed to get those rain drops. I've seen a wet rock, a bright rock, a shining rock but I have never seen the rain falling, I'm so happy with this shot and I think that it is easily my most dynamic photograph of Uluru.
These photographs represent a long standing respect for not just a place but also the dynamic environment that surrounds it. These photographs also hit home for me particularly with Ken Duncan's recent attacks on the "commercial photography restrictions" at Uluru.
Photography at its very core is an artistic expression, a very personal one to share with others and celebrate events, locations or just life as it passes us all by. Fixing moments that we witness and sharing them with the people around us is such a fundimental part of photography that is often over looked by the "Commercial" fixation. I do plenty of commercial photographic work around Alice Springs (which does form a large part of my love of photography) shooting events and meeting the marketing needs of businesses but there is a big difference between standing in the rain for 4 hours waiting for a moment and taking a shot to meet someone else's needs.
The difference is that commercial photography is tainted with other peoples expectations and budgets while the artistic only serves to express the personal experience.