Being a passionate photographer can be very frustrating when travelling. Everything is on a schedule and there is nothing worse than seeing wonderful sights fleetingly from a bus window or a glorious sunset missed as it clashes with the designated meal time.
This is where a dedicated photography tour becomes a must. Photography is everything and timetables are worked around being in the best place for great light, often in stunning locations. A professional guide is there to help as needed and often of an evening memory cards are downloaded and there is tuition on editing and tips on how to make your images "pop".
On a recent visit to the regular photo market at the Leederville Town Hall my eye caught sight of a display by On The Verandah. The company has joined forces with Kimberley cattle station Digger's Rest, whose claim to fame is being one of the locations for the movie Australia, to offer workshops on bush cooking, song writing, painting and so on, along with photography experiences led by Bewley Shaylor. Perfect. Five weeks later I was on a flight bound for Kununurra.
An amazing week of photographic opportunities followed. The small group of participants was met at the airport by Bewley along with Rachel Dillon and Andrew Kikeros from On the Verandah and two hours later we were at Digger's. Immediately we were all the best of friends, made to feel at home in lovely little bush huts and spoilt rotten with good country-style meals.
I rate myself a pretty experienced photographer so I wasn't there so much for the learning experience, though that was certainly available if required. What I did want was to be taken to great locations at the best time of day and this I got in spades. The Kimberley is magnificent and Digger's Rest is no exception. How often can you stay in one place and experience stunning scenery, abundant birdlife, station life and North-West characters?
Andrew, Rachel and Bewley went the extra mile to ensure we made the best of every moment. Nothing was too much bother. We could stop wherever we wanted and spend as much time as we liked. I was in a photographer's heaven.
A very special opportunity was being at Digger's during muster. Normally photographers would be considered a nuisance but we were welcomed (after a few hints on how to avoid spooking the cattle). We had stockmen saddling horses and rounding up cattle, and were right in the yards as cattle were sorted and tagged. Memory cards quickly filled with images that showed the action, the dust and the wonderful colours.
My artistic expectations were more than met. Never before have I been on a photography trip where I also had the opportunity to go barramundi fishing, horse riding and riding on a bull catcher. Even non-camera-toting partners would find plenty to keep them interested.
Back in cold, wet Perth, my heart is still in the stunning Kimberley and I can't wait to return.