Photographer Dan Westergren recently traveled throughout South Australia, capturing the people and places of this exciting region.
Wilpena Pound is one of the visual wonders of South Australia, located in the heart of the Flinders Ranges National Park. From the ground, this spectacular rock formation shows as a dramatic escarpment that looks especially nice when struck by the rising sun. I headed out at 5 a.m., hoping to be at Hucks Lookout in time to photograph “the Pound” as it was hit by the day’s first light.
But Mother Nature had a different idea. Flinders Ranges is normally an arid place, but my visit there coincided with a period of unusually heavy rainfall. Even though the sky was completely filled with thick clouds, I drove to the lookout hoping that, somehow, the rain would stop. Soon after arriving and about 20 minutes before the actual sunrise, I saw what seemed like a little spotlight shining on the trunk of a small tree. I was hoping to photograph alpenglow—the magical, colorful light that appears just before sunrise—as it kissed the ridgeline, but the mountains were completely hidden in the clouds.
Realizing I was witnessing alpenglow shining on a small, chest-high shrub, I shot two frames before the scene returned to a drab, ordinary state. A little later, the clouds parted, and the sun did shine on the cliff, but this photo of the shrub is by far the best picture from that morning. The atmosphere put on a little show for me, and luckily, I was paying attention.
Photo Tip: Photographers love to complain about how the weather ruins their plans. Over the years I’ve realized that the best maxim is that “bad weather makes good pictures.”
Photographed with a Fujifilm X-T1 and a Fuji XF 14mm, f/2.8 R.
Follow Dan Westergren on Instagram @danwestergren.