Louise Denton Photography

kakadu national park

Kakadu National Park Intro

Darwin and the Norther..., TravelLouise Denton

I'm always looking for places to go in the Top End region, new places to explore and photograph. I was recently looking for some information on Maguk (or Barramundi Gorge) in Kakadu National Park and although could find the basics from the Parks Australia website - http://www.parksaustralia.gov.au/kakadu/ - I found it difficult to find "real life" experiences on exploring and the location. When I say "real life" experiences, I mean blogs from travelers of where to go, when is best to go, different routes and walks, experiences on what people saw, what was great, where to look for certain things, etc etc. There's actually not much in depth, local information in a "kakadu blog" google search. What does show up are mainly short excerpts from people just doing the highlights of Kakadu as part of an extended trip.

Anyway. So what I want to start doing is sharing my experience and knowledge of these places in Kakadu….

TIPS | Photographing Darwin's waterfalls | PART 1

Travel, Tutorials and TipsLouise Denton

The country surrounding Darwin has more than its fair share of waterfalls. Our landscape is patterned with rivers and rapids, gorges and escarpment. Our landscape goes through extreme seasonal changes: whilst our waterfalls are perfect for a refreshing dip in the dry season (as long as they are crocodile free, of course), they become a deathly torrent of raging flood waters in the wet season. Our waterfalls are some of our most loved attractions - loved by tourists and locals alike. So how do you go about photographing these natural wonders….

TIPS | Seeing Stars?

Darwin and the Norther..., Tutorials and TipsLouise Denton

A few of you who follow me on Facebook or Flickr will see I've had a couple of recent attempts at taking photos of the stars. This was all sparked by me hearing about the Perseid Meteor Shower. I've never heard of it before this year - it is an annual shower, that provides regular and spectacular meteors for us viewing down here on Earth. Every year it peaks around the 11th of August, and I decided to try and catch my own meteor on camera.


PHOTO ESSAY | One morning, at Fogg Dam

Darwin and the Norther...Louise Denton

I've just bought myself a Canon 1.4x Extender for my 300mm F4L lens, and I thought a trip to Fogg Dam would be the perfect place to test it out - great bird life, lilies, and bugs galore.

Fogg Dam is quite close to Darwin - only around a 45 minute drive for me, down the Arnhem Highway toward Kakadu National Park. It is signposted at the start of the "Wetlands" Region, a few kilometres before the "Windows on the Wetlands" visitor centre.

Fogg Dam is no longer a "used" dam, but it is catchment for wet season flood waters which attract hundreds of birds in the dry season as other waterhole dry up. Fogg Dam generally stays wet all year around, but obviously wet season is when it is at it's fullest. The current water levels there are quite low, due to a lower than average rainfall last season.

Fogg Dam is a lovely rest stop for tourists on their way to Kakadu or other further-to-reach places. There is a look out over the floodplains, a couple of short walks and a couple of platforms for birdwatching (and croc spotting!).

At the right time of year, Lotus Lilies blanket the billabong in a brilliant shade of pink. Unfortunately for me on this visit, their brown remnants did not make for gorgeous landscape photography! There did look to be a few new buds sprouting though, so maybe they are a little slow this year.

Small lily at Fogg Dam

This morning's sunrise was an awesome "outback" sunrise - the sun glowed bright red as it peeped over the horizon. Unfortunately I was busy taking some wide angle shots of the pandanus silhouetted against the misty red sky. I managed to get my telephoto lens ready (and new teleconverter!) just in time - before the sun moved too high in the sky.

sun1

sunrise1

For me, a visit to Fogg Dam is never really about great landscape photos. Don't get me wrong, the landscape is special! I've just never found that angle to show it off to it's best. Something to work on, I guess! For me, Fogg Dam is all about the bird photography.

Birds flock here in the hundreds, and sunrise is a perfect time to catch them on their morning commute. Magpie geese in huge flocks, pairs of Forest Kingfishers, swooping Rainbow Bee-eaters, squawking Darters, Egrets, honey-eaters, flycatchers, finches..... There is so much variety here, kites and goshawks, jabirus and herons.... and a resident White-bellied Sea Eagle.

This morning was quite exciting for me actually! I discovered a couple of new species, chatted birds with a couple of keen bird-watching tourists, and found some juvenille crimson finches.

baby crimson finch

Darters are common in and around Australian waterholes. In the short "dam wall" section this morning I spotted around a dozen. The below photo was taken from the dam wall itself, I managed to earn the trust of this bird and sat only around two metres away from him for a good twenty minutes or so!

darter portrait

The Fogg Dam resident White-bellied Sea-eagle

The below photo I figured to be a Grey Goshawk - a bird I had not seen this close before. Someone please correct me if I am wrong on my identification of this bird. I figured the distinctive red eyes (and awesome eye liner!) were a give away to it's ID, but I could be wrong. (And yes, the colour of those eyes is real, not "photoshopped"!)

EDIT: Ok, I am now thinking the below is actually a Black Shouldered Kite, due to the stronger eye markings and beak colour.... If someone could help me out, please do!

hawk

And below another semi-new one for me - a bronze winged cuckoo, I believe. I have seen these birds before, but any previous shots I have were from the front and did not highlight their awesome shiny feathers! I also saw a couple of Rainbow Pittas this morning, but unfortunately couldn't get a shot of one.

cuckoo1

dragonfly1

dragonfly2

Both of the walking paths at Fogg Dam are easy and full of local wildlife (the good and the bad!). Both are quite easy trails, but my favourite is the shorter of the two - I always find different birds down this trail!

spider colour

skink

leaf panning

The above abstract is of a palm leaf, blurred by "panning" with the camera. I quite liked the lines and the smooth blur mixed with the bright green!

honeyeater1

All in all, a great morning at Fogg Dam!

Sunrises are definitely my favourite here - and if the conditions are right there are some great opportunities for foggy morning photos too. (Maybe that's why they called it "Fogg" Dam?!)

Some other Fogg Dam tips:

  • Watch out for large salt water crocodiles!
  • Watch out for large "golden orb spiders" in their webs, carefully constructed across walking trails!
  • Watch out for Water Buffalo
  • (Not everything here is scary, honest)
  • Bring your mozzie repellant!
  • Look for the sea eagle in the trees at the start of the dam wall, just where the woodland opens out.
  • Great place for storm watching (toward the east)

Those that got away... June 2013

Darwin and the Norther...Louise Denton

Every month I want to start doing a blog post for the "unseen" photos I took that month. I take photos at least five days a week. In wet season, I usually go out everyday, sometimes twice a day! Although I am not as "trigger happy" as I used to be, I still end up with a LOT of photos. Each sunset shoot I probably come back with between 15 and 30 shots. On a longer trip I can take hundreds of shots.

I only usually post one photo a day to social media - Facebook, Flickr and G+  - I pick my favourite shot from the day to process and then share online. A lot of photos become archived, and forgotten about, all because there was one I liked slightly better. So I have a lot of photos that never see the light of day!

Each month, I want to make the effort to post the "runners up" of my photo outings. Other shots that I liked, but weren't the favourite of the day. These are shots not shared elsewhere, so if you have any thoughts/critiques/comments on any of the photos, please do leave a comment!

 A close up view of some of my favourite trees!

I don't do black and white too often, but this seemed to fit right :)

A shot from my first Photowalk, as the sun sets.

A very similar shot to another I took of Jim Jim Falls this visit. This one differs in it's wideness - this is four vertical shots stitched together to make the view of the gorge a bit wider.

Another shot of the supermoon setting on at sunrise, 24th June. Taken from East Point with the iconic Casuarina tree framing the moon

Close up of some (more) of our interesting rock formations in Nightcliff!

Nightcliff Rocks - a long expoure

Nightcliff Foreshore viewed across the cliff-tops (looking toward the pool)

This month has been very hectic with markets and making photos, but I am hoping to get out and around the area a little more over the next month or so!

Let me know what you think!

Lou :)

Things to do in Darwin - for Photographers

Darwin and the Norther..., Tutorials and Tips, UncategorizedLouise Denton

There are some awesome places in Darwin to photograph our landscape and wildlife - unfortunately quite a lot of time is required to check them all out and be able to do our varied and vast landscape justice!

I have a few favourite local spots I visit regularly - some further away from Darwin's city than others. Darwin receives a lot of tourists and visitors every dry season, so I thought I would write about a few of my favourites in an attempt to help out future visitors with planning things to do in the area.

I am a photographer, so most of where I would recommend are great for photography. Darwin is rich with a lot of other things - a varied food culture and history: a significance in World War II which surprised me and a fabulous array of indigenous culture.

In Darwin suburbs:

Anyone who is half interested in landscape photography will understand that sunrise and sunset are the best times for photographing the scene.

  • Darwin is mostly best for sunset photography - there are not too many places where you can see the sunrise. One of my favourite places for sunrise is Buffalo Creek (near Lee Point). This is around a fifteen minute drive from the CBD and although there is not a whole mass of interesting landscape here, the creek is interesting and attracts an array of bird life. Watch out for crocodiles here, and check the tides.... Anything above a 6.5 metre high tide will leave you with a very limited area of sand to walk on.

Storm approaching Lee Point

For sunset, you can't beat the variation and colour along Nightcliff Foreshore.

The cliffs are a fabulous shade of red, the rocks are flecked with orange, yellow and purple. There are mangroves, open expanses of beach, rock pools, pandanus and of course the ol' favourite Nightcliff Jetty! Showing their true colours Those finger rocks, again Untitled

There are barbeques and on weekends food/drink outlets so you can watch the sun go down with family. From a photography perspective, there are so many nooks and crannies to explore.

Another awesome and varied location is East Point Reserve. Fabulous mangroves, perfect vantage point to the city as well as a perfect viewing platform for storms passing through the harbour (Oct-May). Passing Rain

The afterstorm glow

Framed with fire

The perfect view

Litchfield National Park (1-2 day trip) and Kakadu National Park (2-infinite number of days trip) are must see trips from outside of Darwin, but there are some fabulous lesser known hideaways along the way.

Fogg Dam is a beautiful location for bird photography

Willie Wagtail Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo Australasian Darter

And when the skies deliver, is a great place to soak in the sunset!

Over the dam wall

Corroboree Billabong is a beautiful wetland habitat - abundant bird life and crocodiles amongst tranquil waters.

Corroboree Billabong

Jabiru

A flash of colour

Are you sure you want to get any closer?

I could go on... Darwin is filled with perfect landscape photographic opportunity! If you have any great locations or photography things to do in Darwin, let me know by leaving a comment below!

Darwin Photo Tours

As some of you are now aware, I am conducting local photo tours in the area - taking groups of  photographers (beginners - intermediate), out around my favourite locations. I'll be sharing my knowledge, techniques and ideas. I know what level the tides need to be at for the best locations, and I can show you where they are!

If you are interested in joining me in Darwin, check out my upcoming photography itineraries here - Darwin Photo Tours. Private tours (1 - 3 people) are also available - Contact me for ideas, dates and pricing.