Chasing Waterfalls in the Red Centre

It’s the middle of winter in Australia’s Red Centre. The rain is smashing down in biblical proportions. I’m standing at the foot of Uluru, soaked to the core and shivering cold, but I’m having the time of my life.

Rivers of water cascading off the rock walls of Uluru.

Rewind three days and I was photographing at Uluru under pristine blue skies as part of a photo workshop. After the workshop I was left to my own devices, which is when the rain began with a light drizzle. It soon developed into relentless, torrential rain, eventually dumping six times the monthly average in just twelve hours.

While most tourists sheltered in their hotels I optimistically made my way out to Uluru as I’d heard about waterfalls forming on Uluru in heavy rain. As I drive closer Uluru grows in stature, taking on a more purplish hue. Low flying clouds dance across the top of the rock, forcing it into an impromptu game of hide and seek.

I can now make out dozens of thin white trails on the surface of the rock. I can’t believe my luck… the waterfalls on the rock are in full flow! Locals say that less than one percent of visitors to the region ever get to see this amazingly rare spectacle. Up close, the waterfalls on the rock are simply spectacular. The top of Uluru vanishes into a blanket of white clouds and everywhere you look is awe-inspiring.

The next four hours is the most challenging but rewarding shoot I have ever undertaken. With torrential rain, howling winds and 15kg of camera gear on my back, it’s near impossible conditions for photography. How the heck am I going to keep everything dry?

To protect the camera from the elements I employ a highly sophisticated set-up of plastic bags and an umbrella to shield the camera. To make things even more difficult, I’m also using an ND filter to slow down the exposure for silky smooth waterfalls. This means I can only get one or two frames before I have to wipe everything clean again.

I must have looked a sight to the few brave tourists I bump into. A strange bedraggled fellow, soaked to the absolute core, squelching around in water filled hiking boots and sheltering a camera and tripod under shopping bags and umbrella.

But I was a man on a mission. Nothing was going to stop me while the waterfalls flowed. So from one amazing scene to the next I snapped and clicked my way through every memory card I owned. Before long the light was fading fast and the rock surface turned an eerie purplish hue. And just like that, the shoot of my life was over.

The rain continues all through that night, fed by a massive rain event sweeping across Central Australia. The next day I awaken early, keen to drive 300km to the north to Kings Canyon, where the same rain event is still sweeping across the region. Apparently Kings Canyon is under flood with overflowing creeks and potential road closures. Sounds great to me, so I set off immediately for the long drive. But that’s another story for another time.

If you would like to purchase any prints from this rare event please get in contact with me. All images have been pre-approved by the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks office and are licensed for sale as art prints.

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