Louise Denton Photography

northern territory

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….

Jatbula Trail - Part 3

Darwin and the Norther..., TravelLouise Denton

Day 4 was the big day on the Jatbula trail - 17km. The walk was broken up in to two chunks, 12km and 5km with a stop at Edith River crossing after the first 12km. We got through the first 12km a supersonic speed and arrived at Edith River crossing when we thought we still had 3km to go. A lovely shady spot for lunch with a chance for a cool off! The first 12km on this day was an easy walk - flat and good terrain. The remaining 5km proved to be a little trickier…

Jatbula Trail - Part 1

Darwin and the Norther..., TravelLouise Denton

I’ve just returned from a hike in the Katherine region known as the Jatbula trail - a combined photo-trip/remote camping getaway! This walk is the first multi-day bush walk I’ve done in years and the first one my partner had ever done. The first thing I have to say about the Jatbula is that it was AWESOME! We loved it! The walk was really interesting and travelled through a variety of Top End habitats. Maybe we appreciated the varying landscape a little more than an interstate or overseas visitor, as we could really notice the smaller differences in the vegetation and the types of habitat as we were a little more familiar with the area.

We travelled through open woodlands on top of the escarpment, where we saw some amazing open views across hills, cliffs and buttes. There were monsoon pockets, bushfire-burnt regions, 2-metre high grasses, mushy marshy floodplains, amazing rock formations and colours, creek crossings and some of the best waterfalls I’ve seen in the Top End. We saw so many birds too (but thankfully only one snake and no face-to-face encounters with buffalo)!

For anyone considering walking the trail…

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….

A quick trip - Edith Falls, Nitmiluk National Park

Darwin and the Norther...Louise Denton

As most of you who follow me on Facebook will know, things have been a bit hectic recently and I have had very little time to get away to take photos. My partner and I decided to grab one night away whilst we could, before the Christmas rush starts! We left Darwin at around 5am, to get to Robin Falls (near Adelaide River, NT) for dawn. We were a little bit late, but turned out to be near perfect timing - we walked along the creek to the falls, arriving when the light was shining perfectly on the rock face. Bad news was, there was absolutely no water in it!…

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.


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.

Kakadu National Park

Darwin and the Norther..., UncategorizedLouise Denton

I've visited Kakadu quite a few times over the last few years, but I don't think I'll ever get bored of exploring the area and taking photos! Escarpment country, near Jim Jim Falls, Kakadu

I recently traveled out to the park because Jim Jim Falls had just opened for the dry season. Despite seeing the "falls" three times, I've never seen it flowing due to visiting too late in the dry season. So this trip was all about the "stone country" region, the region of Kakadu characterised by red, sandstone escarpment and gorges.

Jim Jim is the tallest falls accessible in Kakadu - a 200 metre high escarpment - which in the wet season is a spectacular, fast-flowing flood of water. As this falls is not spring-fed and only rain-fed, it dries up late in the dry season. Unfortunately in the wet season, when the falls are at their most impressive, road and walking access become impossible due to the amount of rain that floods the region. I'm hoping to do a scenic helicopter flight next season, but for now I was very happy with the amount of water still flowing from the escarpment.

We arrived at Garnamarr campground around 4pm, set up camp and headed straight down the 4WD track to check out the falls and escarpment in the sunset light. I wasn't disappointed! The gorge-like landscape is stunning, and I was surprised to see so much water still flowing. The light got better and better as the sun dipped below the hills behind me.

Jim Jim Falls

The light seemed to be most evenly spread after the sun had gone down, and the escarpment country glowed bright red. The below photo is a composition of 3 photos, to even out the exposure in some dark shadows and too-bright-highlights. The main photo was taken at ISO 100, f13 and 4 seconds, with an area of bright sky above the cliffs brushed in, and the area on the left with the darker trees brushed in too.

Escarpment glowing in the last light, Jim Jim Falls

Last light shining on the escarpment at Jim Jim falls

We also visited the falls the next morning too, to check out the light. The escarpment did not appear to glow as red, but it was still spectacular in a different way: hazy and mystical - well worth the early (cold!) morning.

The flow of Jim Jim Falls, Kakadu

The next afternoon we headed to Maguk - a waterfall I was convinced we had previously visited, but on arrival we realised we hadn't! The time we visited was not ideal for photography as the light was harsh around midday, but I think the falls itself would be very difficult to photograph at either sunrise or sunset due to it's position.

Maguk falls and plunge pool, Kakadu National Park

The walk to Maguk pool was lovely too, following a creek up to the falls. The creek and backdrop of red, rocky hills would make for some great landscape photography at a better time for light (although I would have to revisit to figure out what that time would be!).

Cascading waters down red rocks in a creek on the way to Maguk waterfall, Kakadu

We headed to Gunlom waterfall to camp and stay the night. This place is one of my favourite places to swim - the steep walk to the top of the falls is well worth it! Walkers are greeted with a series of natural rock pools, which end in nature's own infinity pool, looking out in to the vast open landscape of Kakadu.

Unfortunately, this time we did not have time to venture to the top of Gunlom waterfall. Instead, I explored the bottom pools, and photographed the very small trickle left over from the wet seasons rain.

Gunlom waterfall viewing platform, Kakadu

Last light reflections at Gunlom plunge pool

The falls were only a trickle, but luckily there were a few other interesting areas to keep me occupied with the camera!

This tree stands in the plunge pool at Gunlom, and made for a few interesting shots.

Tree against the dark cliff backdrop

Crystal clear water :)

A shady, clear, place to swim!

Monitor Lizard

My partner and I are thinking about revisiting again for another quick visit to Kakadu next week! I love getting out there, just wish I could spend longer. The next trip we will probably take the boat, so I can try my hand at some more bird/wildlife shots on Yellow Waters. I could already do a long photo essay on Yellow Waters - it's probably my favourite place to relax in the Top End.

More to come soon, hope you liked them! Let me know what you think... I think my favourite photo I took this trip is of Jim Jim Falls, with the reflections of the red cliff tops. :-)

Photography Equipment

Tutorials and TipsLouise Denton

For those who have been following me on Facebook or Flickr over the last couple of years, I do generally post my EXIF and camera data with the photos. Here it is a little more detail (and up to date!):

Camera body: Canon 5D Mark iii - which I love! I upgraded from a Canon 450D last year (2012), and the jump to full frame is definitely worth it. The colour, sharpness and quality were differences I noticed straight away - especially when viewing images on the LCD screen.

Storm passing through Darwin harbour - the storm light illuminating the ocean green

Landscape lens: Canon 17-40mm F4 L lens. This lens is great, it's perfect for my needs. I was debating between this lens and the 16-35mm F2.8 L lens, but decided to go for the cheaper option. I could not justify spending an extra $1,000 for that extra 1 stop of light, when I rarely shoot below f9 or f10 anyway. I do notice a little Chromatic Aberration with the 17-40mm, and there is definitely barrel distortion too, but it is easily correctable with Adobe Camera RAW.

General Purpose lens: Canon 70-200 F2.8 L IS lens. I LOVE this lens. It fills the gap between landscape and telephoto, with gorgeous sharpness, clarity and colour. It's great for landscapes too. Awesome bokeh, excellent with the IS, love it!

Azure Kingfisher at Yellow Waters Billabong, Kakadu National Park near Darwin

Telephoto lens: Canon 300mm F4 L lens. This is great for me, as it's not too heavy to carry. It's small enough to handhold for a long time, and as a prime lens gives great sharpness and bokeh too. I do all of my bird shots and wildlife shots with this lens.

I also have a Canon 50mm F1.8 lens, which for the price is an awesome lens! It was the first non-kit lens I bought and I don't really use it that much anymore, but it is still an excellent lens and I use it when I'm trying to challenge myself a little! It's a good lens for stitching panoramics together with too.

I always use a tripod for landscape photos. It can be a pain lugging one around, but as I generally like to use around f11-f14 and ISO 100, the shutter speeds tend to get a little too slow to hand hold, as the light is fading. A lot of my sunset photos are actually taken when it's quite dark - between 15 and 30 minutes after sunset.  No matter how bright that sky can get, a tripod is a MUST, without severely sacrificing image quality (for example, by increasing ISO therefore increasing grain, or by having blurred images due to camera shake).

I always use a remote shutter release with my landscape and sunset photos. This eliminates any risk of camera shake. When taking photographs with shutter speeds of one second or longer (a lot of mine are 20 and 30 seconds), touching to camera to release the shutter can cause it to wobble and cause blurred photos. A remote shutter means you take the photo using a remote, so you don't have to touch the camera!

This is a 30 second exposure of Nightcliff Jetty in Darwin. Long exposures are great for smoothing out the water and waves to make the scene look calmer

Filters are a big part of landscape photography, and eliminate a lot of the need to use editing software - the exposure can be captured right "in camera". For sunsets, I use Graduated Neutral Density Filters, which are half clear and half grey. The sky is bright - the grey section in the filter darkens the sky and the clear part on the bottom means the foreground remains bright. I use Lee filters, I have a 0.3 soft grad, a 0.6 and a 0.9 hard grad. I usually use the 0.9 hard grad, with the 0.3 soft, to soften the transition caused by using these filters.

I also have a new 10 stop ND filter by Lee - these are very sought after, but I haven't had too much chance to play with this yet! It is a very dark filter, and you cannot see the scene through the viewfinder with it on. I have found that I have to compose the scene normally, without the filter - take a few test shots and then turn the camera to manual focus and put the filter in place to take the shot.

A circular polariser is useful for brighter days, and for controlling reflections (whether optimising or reducing). I use a Lee Circular Polariser too.

Cliffs reflecting in wet sand at Casuarina Beach, taken with a polariser filter

I also use an AEO lightning trigger for capturing lightning shots.

Midnight lightning over Nightcliff Foreshore

An introduction

UncategorizedLouise Denton

Basically, I want a platform to share photography and ideas with on a regular basis.

When I store my photos on my computer, I file them by date and I have a file for every single day of the year. There are a LOT of photos that I do not post or even look at, because another one or two photos from that day are "better". I want a platform to share the "unseen" photography, or to share photography from a trip, and to share photography from others, share other blogs.

I think this blog will fulfill that.

My passion is the ocean, and the sunsets that go with it, here. So what better way to start than to share my favourite sunset photos from Darwin, over the last twelve months or so? These are all photographs that I have taken myself, found at Louise Denton Photography.

A bright sunset from Lee Point Beach, Darwin

This sunset was amazing! Out of nowhere, as I was leaving Fogg Dam to head home.

This one is after a storm, with the sun setting behind me. I was shooting the opposite direction and looked behind to see a rainbow against the storm glow! at Nightcliff Foreshore

Silhouetted mangroves at Nightcliff, by Louise Denton

Some of my images are custom, panoramic sizes too.

Pandanus silhouetted against a Fannie Bay sunset

This East Point mangrove is one of my favourite trees to silhouette against a red sunset sky.

Nightcliff Foreshore, by Louise Denton

Clouds at Casuarina Beach, reflecting in the wet sand

Sunset over mini-mangroves at Rapid Creek mouth

As you can probably see, I like trees! I love just getting outdoors: the Territory is a perfect place for it.

What colours are your favourite? I love the reds and purples, but have found most people really like the blues and calmer colours. Darwin wet season sunsets can be unpredictable - sometimes bright and sometimes very calm.

Casuarina beach on an outgoing tide: a 13 second exposure

Calm waters looking over Fannie Bay

I think these photos summarise what my work is about!

If you simply like landscape photography, sunsets and beaches to look at, you can subscribe to this blog.

If you live in Darwin and want to see great photos from our area, you can subscribe.

If you are interested in photography, or learning to take photos - subscribe, as I can share tips, ideas and discuss ways to do things. At the moment, I am researching in to types of torches best for light painting.

I want to visit so many places in the Top End - you can follow this blog to follow my journey. And this can be a place to share ideas - you can comment on my blogs. Before the year is out, I am planning another trip to Kakadu, a trip to Uluru and the Red Centre, via the Devil's Marbles. If I get time, I would LOVE to go through Arnhem land to the Cobourg Peninsular. If anyone has been to these places, share ideas and locations and I can share them back with you!

If you are visiting Darwin, I will be talking about great places to see and go, and events upcoming in the area.