' Uluru Moondreaming ' - The process.....

Jun 10, 2015


I've had this idea in my head for several months now of capturing Uluru in a very long night exposure so when the opportunity and conditions presented themselves I jumped on a plane to Alice Springs to spend a week in the region. Sunrise and sunset photo’s at Uluru sure look spectacular, but it’s one of the most photographed places on earth and I was motivated by the chance to create something completely different, unique and out of the box from normality. Ayres Rock is an icon of Australia and is a recognised landmark around the world but I wanted to give the viewer my own interpretation of this special and sacred place. I was only slightly disappointed to learn I'd missed the rain at Uluru two days earlier, as the rare shots of cascading waterfalls coming from the top of the rock are rare treat in any photographers portfolio, but the good news was the cloud was clearing and the night I had planned for the shoot was looking perfect. With a little help the from The Photographers Ephemeris I was able to pinpoint the exact time and position of the rising moon and more importantly where the moon finished at the end of the exposure. This type of info just wasn’t available years ago when using film so things were a lot more hit and miss back then. The next issue for me was the priority in locating a viewpoint to mount the tripod as shooting with a reasonably long focal length lens was necessary to give the moon trail a longer and more impactful presence, so the plan was to use a 120mm lens (77mm in 35mm equivalent ). After a couple of hours of searching different dunes I finally found a perfect position around 7 kilometres away on top of a red dune amongst the snakes and dingoes. I was initially intent on starting the trail at the base of the rock but decided the composition would benefit more if the moon started above the rock and finished in the centre and finished higher. As it turned out, even trying to compose and frame the image in live view in the total darkness pre-shot was very much trial and error. In the end, the 1 hour exposure itself went entirely to plan with the cool night and low humidity keeping the lens and filter fog free. The absolute silence, solitude and clear moonlit sky on this particular night was as close to perfection as you can imagine. Not even as much as a dingo howl! Yep, I love immersing myself in the real world…


Camera - Alpa 12 STC technical camera | Phase One IQ260 | Schneider/ALPA Apo-Helvetar f5.6/120mm SB34 Aspheric | Lee ND filter & hood.

Location - Uluru (Ayres Rock). Northern Territory, AUSTRALIA.

Time - 8.03pm to 9.03pm Date - 4th of June, 2015.  Moon at 96.4% waning gibbous

Single Exposure - 3600 seconds ( 1 Hour ) Aperture - f5.6 ISO - 140.