Red Dirt Day

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 15

Red Dirt Day

When David and I visited Broome in July last year, I found out about a photography excursion run by Nigel Gaunt of Red Dirt Photography. I decided then that I wanted to attend a day when we returned this year at the beginning of our Aussie Adventure. Soon after Robyn and Dion left, I called in to the gallery and booked the first available day. As it turned out, that was a good plan considering David ended up leaving for Singapore soon after.

Nigel picked me up in his 9 seater troopie at 7.30am. Already aboard was Liz Henson and we collected 6 others from various places around town before heading to the Port Jetty for our first 'lesson'. The jetty gave us opportunities to explore depth of field and look for leading lines. We also saw how the shadows and textures were affected by the direction of the sun. All things that are there to see any time of course but easy to become complacent about and not fully consider. Down on the beach we used a small aperture and low angle to exaggerate the size of close objects.

We headed to a gallery for morning tea. A number of local artists had their work exhibited there, from paintings to origami and sculpture to jewelry. Nigel of course had some of his work there and he explained the techniques he had used to take the various shots. Over a cup of coffee and cake or fruit, Nigel explained the importance of choosing the correct aperture for each photo to get the desired effect. From then on, cameras were all set to ‘aperture priority’!

A long drive out past James Price point on a pindan road took us to our next location. Before heading to the beach, we ate lunch on the cliff top in the Kimberley sunshine. We spotted several turtles fishing in the surf below. The whales arrive during the winter and are often seen playing along the coast.

Down on the beach, we took several shots along the shoreline, being encouraged to ‘move a metre’. Nigel reminded us that often a metre to one direction or another can make all the difference. And don’t forget a metre up or down! One of the biggest challenges was getting a photo without someone else’s foot or arm in the way. This was especially true of Cliff, who always seemed to off on his own – right in our shots! Cliff is a local artist. Lovely elderly English guy who has taught art and design for years in some quite prestigious places in the UK but now lives and paints in Broome.

Further up the beach, we tried a few shots of the spinifex with the brilliant blue sky as a background. To get these shots required you to hold your camera under the flower and shield the eye-piece from the light coming in. You didn’t really know what you were going go get until you reviewed your shot in the screen. I wasn’t that thrilled with any of my shots here but Liz took an amazing one of a purple flower with the sun’s rays bleeding through the petals. We tried our hand at a few macro or close up shots. One lady had a compact camera with her that could take a photo as close as you could put it to an object. Pretty impressive!

All too soon it was time to head back on the rough road into Broome again. This time we made for the famous Cable Beach. The sun was going down by now and we were just in time to get some great shots of the 3 groups of camels as they walked along the beach with the sun going down behind them. It really is almost too easy to get good shots of the camels! It was good to look for a few different ways to photograph them – sun behind; sun behind photographer; reflections; shadows.

There were no real clouds at sunset to give much joy to a powerful sunset. Experimenting with the white balance settings on the camera provided some interesting variants of colour emphasis though and I think my favourite photos were those taken with the balance set for tungsten. This created an incredible blue with just the sun yellow. I’ve set one of these shots as my desktop for now. I can position my Dulux weather ‘sun’ over where the sun is in the picture, which creates a bit of fun on my screen!

With the sun almost down, we took some ‘creative’ shots with movement, making the colours much more pastel. As we ventured into darkness, it was time to get out the tripods and some more fun was had with torches and long exposures. I wasn’t all that pleased with most of my time exposure shots but some others looked great. In the holidays I might have a night with the kids playing with some of the ideas.

All too soon it was time to go home. The 11 hours had been worth every cent of the $250 the day had cost. Nigel is extremely generous with his time and knowledge. Although he must have done this trip a hundred times with different people, he never once showed he was bored. He clearly loves what he does and genuinely wants others to be able to get the most out of their camera. I really would encourage anyone coming to Broome during April to October to book a day with Nigel. Book at or phone 9192 2334
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Lesley Watson on

You are turning into quite the talented photographer Sheryl. All of those photos are really beautiful.

Tania on

So cool Sheryl......what an adventure you are having! You can add another bow to your hat now, photography!!

Elisabeth and Jesper on

Dear friends.
Lovely that you are having a good time around in Australia.
Good pictures as well.
Jesper and I are feeling weel. Soon Pamala (our pastor in Perth) and her father John are coming to visit us and we are looking forward to spend some time together with them.

Love and hugs from Jesper and Elisabeth.

Janine Lane on

There are some awesome shots there. Look forward to seeing some of them on the wall at the Northam Show sometime. Sounds like it was a fantastic tour. Keep having a great time!

maria sinclair on

Well done I think you have an eye for this...the shots are brilliant. :)) say hi to that brother of mine....big love to you both... stay safe...

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