Experimentation New Work

Kakadu National Park | Adventurer Photos

January 7, 2015
Kakadu Adventurer | Matt Korinek - Photographer

Lone Tree in Kakadu | Matt Korinek - Photographer

It’s been a big year and next year looks to be an even bigger adventure. I only got away for a holiday once this year and boy was it worth it. My fiancée (then girlfriend) Rach and I flew up to experience the Northern Territory of Australia and spend time in Kakadu National Park.

A bit about Kakadu

Kakadu is Australia’s largest terrestrial national park and is different from any park I’ve ever visited.

Most parks that I’ve visited are built around epic scenery and wildlife. It’s not that Kakadu isn’t beautiful, it’s just didn’t strike me a particularly scenic and it’s wildlife is in decline due to a number of reasons. For me the Kakadu National Park experience was more about the history of the aboriginal people who have survived off the land for over 40 000 years.

What to photograph?

I always find it a bit tough to balance the experience of traveling with my desire to photograph. Some might say that they’re one in the same thing, but for me I find the camera puts up a barrier between me and the experience. Not to mention when I’m in “photo mode” it’s hard to be present with my travel companions.

Gunlom Falls Adventurer | Kakadu National Park | Matt Korinek - Photographer

Gunlom Falls Adventurer | Kakadu National Park (same settings as below)

Instead of focusing on landscapes, I instead chose to do a bit of photo testing with Rach as my “adventurer” in a couple key locations.

A touch of light

In these shots I wanted to capture my “adventurer” in a beautiful landscape. In order to enhance the “adventurer” the photograph, I used off-camera strobist-style lighting while keeping a natural look.

Ubirr lookout over the Nadab Floodplain | Kakadu National Park | Matt Korinek - Photographer

1/200 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100 – Flash with CTO gel fired through translucent umbrella on camera right to emulate the sun wrapping around my Kakadu adventurer

Sunset at Ubirr

The hike up to Ubirr Rock is awesome. On the way to the top you get to see incredible aboriginal art both ancient and more modern. Once you get to the top, you’re greeted with a spectacular view of the Nadab floodplain (above). The lookout allows you to view the entire expanse as the sun sets in the distance.

Gunlom Falls Adventurer | Kakadu National Park

1/50 sec at f/4.0, ISO 800 – Flash fired through translucent umbrella on camera right to mimic moonlight

Twilight at Gunlom Falls

When I say that Kakadu isn’t particularly scenic, there are some exceptions. Gunlom Falls (a.k.a. Waterfall Creek Falls) is one of them (above). It must be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.

It’s a natural infinity pool that looks over the rolling Kakadu landscape. It is also one of the few swimming holes in the area that is deemed “Crocodile Free”. So not only do you get an incredible view, you also get to cool off in the heat of the day. Yes, even in “winter” it can still get quite warm.

Final Thoughts

I’m really happy that I came back with these photographs and was able to test something new that I know will come in handy. Even though photographs can tell 1000 words, it is how they anchor my experience of Kakadu that really gives extra meaning for me.

Both of the shoots allow me to deepen my understand of using strobes to balance with natural light. There was definitely a few mistakes, failures and lessons, but that’s all part of the creative process. If you have any questions – ask away below!



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  • Reply Maria January 10, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Beautiful pictures Matt! Rach is a perfect model too! All the best for 2015!

    • Reply Matt Korinek January 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Thanks Maria! Glad you like the photos. All the best to you and your family in 2015 as well.

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