One hundred years ago, what we now know as Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair NP was first declared a protected area.
It turns out the same climate change forces contributing to coral bleaching have also taken a toll on the trees that inhabit Queensland’s tropical rainforests.
Though oysters may be brainless bivalves, they can “hear” and swim towards attractive sounds of the sea. Yes, seriously…
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Says photographer Peter Elfes, “These dune islands crop up in the midst of thick salt pan. A combination of thousand-year-old sand dunes and millions of tons of salt deposited by the ancient sea bed has left the region surrounding the Lake Eyre Basin a bizarre and visually rewarding place.”
Peter Elfes’ national exhibition, “The Arrival”, on the flooding of Lake Eyre 2009-2010 will be held at The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, from 27 January to 21 February 2011. For more of Peter Elfes’ photography visit his website.
“This is one my favourite images of my time in the desert around Lake Eyre,” says photographer Peter Elfes.
“I was running over the dunes lugging a heavy camera pack and tripod looking for a shot, as I watched the sun streaming through the heavy clouds and the approaching storm in the distance. I spotted, way off in the distance, this group of daytrippers heading out to look at a flock of birds. At the time I was over a kilometre away, but I already had a long lens fitted to the camera and decided it was worth the effort to run, laden with gear, across the sand dunes.
By the time I reached the edge of the dunes and was within range of a shot, I was shaking from the sprint across the dunes. I tried to steady myself and waited for a few seconds for the sun to highlight the people and fired off three frames. That was it! The people left had created too much distance between them to get another shot.”
“I will never forget the first time I saw an ocean of water spilling over the desert plains and into the lake. That morning I had arranged to take a helicopter flight over the lake and a blanket of cloud arrived which covered the desert for a hundred kilometres. Most people would have been dismayed, but I was overjoyed because I knew by the time we reached the lake over 100 km away the cloud would still be around. This is the result.”
“This is one of the most unusual photos I have ever taken; it shows pelicans on the surface of the lake, which is still filling and only just covering the desert sands. The water was only a couple of metres deep and rippled the fine desert sand creating this strange effect.
The colour comes from the algae in the water. I was very lucky to get the shot because at the time the helicopter pilot decided to make a tight turn to the left as I was hanging out of the right side looking straight down for the shot. With the door removed at 180 km/h this was a hairy moment.”
“The desert region around the edge of Lake Eyre is an extraordinary place. It came as a surprise to me at how diverse it really is. It’s an area full of visual mystery, hence its name “The Illusion Plains.” In the distance (top left corner of the photo) you can see the water spilling into the Lake Eyre Basin.”
This area has great significance in the Aboriginal Culture of the Arabunna people, the traditional owners of the land, and is referred to in their dreamtime.”
“It doesn’t appear so in the image, but we were flying at over 200 m above the water at quite a speed.
While I was hanging out the helicopter with the door off, the pilot thought it was a good time to tell me about the two planes that had crashed because their pilots had forgotten to check the altimetre, and subsequently flown straight into the lake. He said “You can get spatially disoriented very easily out here”.
The planes are apparently still stuck in the lake as the cost of removing them is higher than the value of the wrecked craft.”
Home Travel Destinations Gallery: Rare Lake Eyre flood
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