Stars Before the Dawn at the Bungles Bungles

It was an early start for us to get to the Bungle Bungles before dawn. The camp was about 30 minutes drive from the Piccaninny Creek entry, plus we had about a 20-25 minute walk in the dark from the parking area down to the dry creek bed.

It was an interesting walk – everyone had headlamps but noone knowing where they were going, just following the leader. It was dark and there was no Moon – we couldn’t see much around us but the stars in the night sky shone brilliantly. We couldn’t really look around us or up at the sky because we had to pay attention to where we were stepping – every time you looked up, you tripped over or almost twisted an ankle.

When we finally reached Piccaninny Creek, myself and Ray stopped at the first small water pool looking for something that might reflect nicely, while the rest of the group continued around the corner to the next small pool.

Unfortunately the pools had almost dried up, but it was a nice opportunity to stand still and start looking around – now we could see the dome shapes of the beehive domes and I spotted the Milky Way setting in the South-West so I setup my camera and took some nightscapes before the dawn.

This first image is of the setting Milky Way (lower right) and the Small Magellanic Cloud (top left), with the domes of the Bungle Bungles dimly lit by the coming dawn. It’s a 2-frame panorama, each exposure was 30s at f/2.8 with a Samyang 14mm and Canon 5D Mk II @ ISO2500.

Setting Milkyway and the SMC at the Bungle Bungles

Setting Milkyway and the SMC at the Bungle Bungles

I turned around and pointed the camera towards the North and captured a few reflections in the small pool. The domes in the middle are lit by the torches of the rest of the group as they rounded the corner of the creek and setup near the second small pool. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but I captured the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) in this image – it’s the small fuzzy patch right in the middle of the sky. Same settings as above, single exposure.

Andromeda Galaxy over the Bungle Bungles

Andromeda Galaxy over the Bungle Bungles

I then turned the camera a little to the left to capture the stars over the domes before they were washed out by the glowing twilight. The Andromeda Galaxy is in this shot too, in the middle right of the sky. Same camera settings as above.

Pending Dawn at the Bungle Bungles

Pending Dawn at the Bungle Bungles

Then the sun rose.. and the Bungle Bungles is just a magnificent place during sunrise too 🙂 More images coming soon. Keep an eye on the Kimberley tag for new posts.

 

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