So… when I first got the call from the Survivor team, my first thought was, ‘oh my god, this is a dream come true’. Second thought – ‘oh shit, there’s a lot of stuff I’m meant to be doing in those two months’.
One of them was a major campaign for Tourism NT, an epic trip to the red centre with some of my favourite people. Well, I couldn’t tell the team exactly why I had to pull out, but promised that I’d be back as soon as I could.
After a few months of trying, we finally found a window – right in the middle of wet season. Now, some people are turned off by the thought of the humid weather at this time of year. But while yes, it is a little steamier, wet season brings about some awesome opportunities for shooting nature at it’s best. Waterfalls enter beast mode, seas of green take over the landscape and the tropic storms roll in, bringing epic lightning shows with them. Add one little bestie Melissa Findley to the mix and we’ve got a perfect trip. Where do I sign up?!
We met these kids mucking around on the beach the same time we were hunting for an epic Darwin sunset spot to shoot. So instead we ended up playing with them as the sun went down behind us. For a while I put down the camera and went for a ‘parkour’ session down the rocks with the lads. They tried to get me to do a backflip but shamefully I still don’t know how to (shame). It’s nice to be reminded that it’s not all about the big epic landscapes… it’s the small moments, the people you meet along the way.
Something I wasn’t expecting was how much green we’d be finding in the outback. Green, of all shades, everywhere we looked. The colour of life.
Nourlangie Rock is an ancient rock art site home to paintings created twenty thousand years ago. I couldn’t even comprehend the idea that the first Australians were standing in the very same spot, so so long ago. It really puts time (and your own significance) into perspective doesn’t it. What are people are going to find twenty thousand years from now? (That is, if we haven’t wiped ourselves and the planet out by then. I don’t like our chances)
We spent the evening laying down on the warm rocks at Nawurlanja Lookout (a little Survivor PTSD may have kicked in) and watching the storm clouds roll in as the sun went down.
Not gonna lie, our 7km hike to Motorcar Falls in the middle of the day, in the middle of wet season…. was not the chillest thing ever. BUT…. the bigger the effort, the bigger the reward. And boy were we rewarded. Motorcar Falls is a hidden gem that we had all to ourselves for a good few hours – probably days if we stayed long enough.
We capped off our stay with a scenic helicopter flight over Kakadu National Park. We requested the doors off – windows create reflections which show up in the photographs. Now, shooting with the doors off increases the thrill factor by ten – it’s an indescribable rush, flying 180km through the air feeling the wind blow through your hair. It also means I live in perpetual fear of my cameras flying out the door but hey… you gotta make some tradeoffs.
At one point we swooped down low over Twin Falls. I was concentrating on shooting the scene on my phone, when suddenly I feel the chopper bank sharply to the right. I look up to find up us speeding through the middle of the gorge, Anakin Skywalker style. One of the coolest moments I’ve experienced in the air!
Special thanks to Hannah from NT Tourism for showing us around, as well as Cooinda Lodge, Wildman Wildnerness Lodge and North Australian Helicopters.
Visit http://northernterritory.com/ to plan your own wet season adventure.
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