Ayers Rock, or “Uluru”. Uluru refers not to rock itself, which is not sacred, but to the whole area around it, where every cave, valley, ridge and waterhole has a name.
Outback – Photo Tip

Don’t settle for an average shot, try again

Photo by Maarten Udema

Outback – Photo Tip Don’t settle for an average shot, try again

I had heard about the color transformation at Uluru – or Ayers Rock – at sunset. The light from the setting sun changes the faint dormant red giant into a bright red spectacle. I'm here to take the perfect picture.

Maarten Udema
Maarten Udema

Uluru in Australia's Outback is a very, very remote place, especially if you are from Europe, but it is well worth the trouble to visit. At the end of the day the rock is off limits and most visitors gather in a designated area to watch and capture the sunset.

I set up my tripod with the Hasselblad and kept my Nikon close for handheld shots using a mono-pod to stabilize it. It was like a countdown to the new year. Slowly the sun was setting and Uluru was glowing more, minute after minute, until finally the shadow crept up the rock. There is a 20 seconds time period in which the color transformation is optimal. Got it!

My result was nice but average, so I decided that I wanted to try again the next day. I returned to find a cloudy sky above Uluru. Not the usual kind of weather for the season. Because everybody is restricted in their movement at sunset, most photos look alike and you need some luck to take a photo that stands out.

This day the aboriginal Gods were with me. Seconds after the sun had set, the light reflected off the clouds, onto the red earth and bathed the scene in a warm red-purple hue. That was the shot I was looking for. It really did justice to this spectacular place in the middle of nowhere.

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Even from a great distance, Uluru is instantly recognizable. And once you stand in front of it, its nine-kilometre perimeter overwhelms. Photo by Maarten Udema

Maarten Udema

Maarten Udema

Nikon SUPER COOLSCAN 5000 ED

Even from a great distance, Uluru is instantly recognizable. And once you stand in front of it, its nine-kilometre perimeter overwhelms.