The Kimberley….

Bungle Bungles

Let’s be honest, I tend to talk about the Kimberley as this place of almost indescribable beauty and joy and satisfaction. And it certainly is. There’s no shortage of amazing places and memorable moments to make a lasting impression. But what this trip has also reminded me of is that all of the good stuff – the beautiful swims and the scenic lookouts and the big starry skies – definitely comes at a price. It’s the price of having to work a little bit – or a lot – for those rewards. It is the price of stinking hot walks in the afternoon sun – and sunburnt skin – before turning the corner and seeing that waterfall for the very first time. It is the price of driving a little too fast on rough roads and changing a flat tyre in the afternoon heat. And then figuring out where you should – and probably shouldn’t – go now that you’ve only got one spare. It’s the price of feeling adventurous and driving that track you probably shouldn’t be on. And the sense of discouragement – and maybe a little concern – when you lose the track and wonder why you’re such a f%#kin’ idiot to be out there in the first place. And the excitement of finding the track again! And the relief of getting back on bitumen. Followed quickly by the boredom of being back on bitumen.

It’s the feeling of being invincible and then getting stuck in soft sand just short of where you wanted to be. That feeling of being invincible and discovering in the middle of nowhere your car won’t start. And the feeling of being invincible again when you dig yourself out of soft sand, and get your car started, and all the cool shit you saw along the way. In that sense the Kimberley is whatever you want it to be. It is all of those highs and all of those lows.

Parrys-Lagoon-Kimberley-Gary-Annett

It is waking up in the morning with no plan and making a plan – and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It is getting to your favourite spot to find there’s no water. Or too much water. Or too many people. Or no people at all! It’s simple dinners over a gas burner. Burnt toast and burnt sausages. And freshly brewed coffee at sunrise. Oh, the sunrises! It’s being a dickhead and catching your leg on a barbed wire fence you probably shouldn’t be climbing. And tearing off skin on a tree you probably shouldn’t be jumping off. It’s strapping things to the bottom of your car that are trying desperately to fall off. And unexpected detours to fix the things that have definitely fallen off. It’s losing your hiking boots and trying to walk a gorge in thongs and breaking your thongs and walking back in bare feet. It’s getting tired and making bad decisions and driving after dark and dodging wildlife and knowing you should have pulled up an hour ago. And then finding that spot you’ve been looking for, pulling out a camp chair and watching the moon rise over a perfectly still night with a cold beer in hand.  It is moments of pure elation and moments of tiredness and frustration. And the whole time Broome and Netflix and aircon are only a few hours – or a day – away. It’s not Disneyworld, that’s for sure. It is the natural world at its best and most nourishing. And the natural world kicking your ass and leaving you half broken, sore and crumpled along the way. And being half broken, sore and crumpled and slumping into the river and being perfectly happy and content.

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It is trying new things and being reminded of why trying new things is important. It is about revisiting familiar places that are easy and comfortable and being reminded of why easy and comfortable is also important. The Kimberley in many ways is a playground. And like any playground there are highs and lows. Good bits and bad bits. Easy bits and tough bits. There are moments of getting it right and moments of knowing you’ve definitely gotten it wrong. And plenty of time in between to reflect along the way. No TV, no radio, no Facebook approval porn. Lots of time to enjoy the views and time to think about where you’ve been and where you’re going that day. Time to think about where you’ve been and where you’re going in life. And perhaps doing the unthinkable and stopping to figure out who you are and who you want to be. And after all of that…. at the end of each day you go to bed dusty and tired and satisfied knowing it was all worth it – every last bit of it. The sunburn, and the flat tyres and the getting bogged and the getting lost. It was all worth it. Because along the way you saw some pretty amazing stuff and you felt something – you felt alive. And for all of these reasons and more, when people ask me to describe the Kimberley, I think it’s fair to say it is everything you want it to be. 

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www.discoverthekimberley.com.au

Manning Gorge | Simply Magical 

Manning GorgeManning Gorge, on the Gibb River Road, is a great example of how photography can help us see a place with fresh eyes and experience a familiar location in new ways. Every time I’ve been there over the last six years different things catch my attention and I walk away with very different photos. Instead of photography taking over the experience it can help us to slow down, help us pay attention and encourage us to keep exploring.

When I first visited Manning back in 2013 it was late in the Dry Season. The waterfall had stopped running so my photos were all about the sandstone gorge itself and those beautiful burnt orange colours. The busiest part of the tourist season was over so the place was quiet and still. Aboriginal rock art in the gorge was a nice reminder people have been sitting on these same rocks and looking at these same colours for millennia.

Manning Gorge

Manning-Gorge-Gibb-River-Road-Gary-AnnettMy second visit was early in the Dry Season in 2015 and the waterfall was at its best. Continue reading “Manning Gorge | Simply Magical “

Thank You | RFDS Fundraiser | 2017

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Happy new year folks!

We saw a great response again last year to my new RFDS Kimberley and Gibb River Road photography calendars for 2018. The larger format and extra images seems to have made them very popular with locals and visitors alike.

Amazing to think this all started with a small batch of 10 calendars printed for friends and family back in 2013. To now have them selling through 35 outlets across the Kimberley, to have the photos on people’s walls around the world, and to be able to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in the process is all pretty staggering.

Two words. THANK YOU!

We ended up selling more than 2800 calendars this year and officially raised $13,855 for RFDS Western Australia. With a number of outlets also donating their calendar profits directly to the RFDS the real total raised was more than $18,000 in 2017. This brings our overall fundraising total for 2016-2017 to more than $30,000 thanks to everyone’s generosity and support.

I’m also pretty stoked that after last’s year’s 6 week Kimberley camping trip I’ve got more than 60 new photos that I will be featuring in next year’s calendars, available for the start of the 2018 tourist season.

I hope your own photo adventures are treating you well. Stay creative. And stay curious.

Til next time,

Gary

Supporters-2017

www.discoverthekimberley.com.au

 

Discover The Kimberley | Aerial Drone Video

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Check out my latest drone video from the spectacular Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Every year for the last 5 years I’ve clocked up about 6 weeks exploring the Kimberley’s dusty, corrugated roads and beautiful gorges in my free time. This process of going back to places at different times of the day – and different times of year – builds a familiarity that feeds my photography and video work. This latest video is a collection of footage shot over that period and helps set the context for all of the adventures and misadventures that I’ve enjoyed along the way.

Room With A View

Mitchell Falls

Back in the real world my days start slowly. Coffee helps clear any lingering fog of one beer too many the night before. My morning scan of world news and the latest Donald Trump scandal lulls me into a false sense of feeling like I have learned something new  – something useful – about the world, as if my daily consumption of bad news – or ‘fake news’ – makes me a better person. It doesn’t. Back in the real world it’s very easy to waste time – to fill our days with chores and emails and busywork. And when the day is over it’s all too easy to wind down with another cold beer and crappy TV. These are the days when I am completely uninspired.

And then one day I wake up in the middle of the great wilderness that is the Kimberley and it couldn’t be more different. Out here surrounded by nature it is a different world. I open my eyes in the morning and a soft pre-dawn glow illuminates the burnt orange rocks around me. In an instant my morning is filled with purpose and excitement. I reach for the camera and the hunt for a perfect sunrise photo begins – that exciting and frustrating chase for a perfect image, a perfect Kimberley moment captured in time – an image that captures the place not only as I see it but as I feel it.

Continue reading “Room With A View”