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.
This morning the subject is a perfect cascading waterfall in the remote north Kimberley. Some Kimberley waterfalls are elegant, gentle, graceful almost. The north Kimberley’s Mitchell Falls on the other hand is thunderous, powerful and awe-inspiring. Seeing it for the first time – or every single time for that matter – it speaks loudly of timeless forces at play. Forces like seasonal floods and erosion that stretch over millennia. Here beneath me the bedrock of sandstone and quartzite stretches back 1.8 billion years – older than complex life on life. It is a timeframe hard to comprehend.
Everything in the north Kimberley seems to exist on a grander scale. Mitchell Falls, Big Meterns’ Falls and King George Falls all seem to exist on a scale that we don’t normally experience back in the real world. Our biggest cathedrals, our mightiest bridges and most impressive architecture just doesn’t compare. This is nature at its biggest and best.
My early morning photo session is followed by a coffee and a cool swim in the Mitchell River. I’m less than 2 hours into my day and already I feel inspired and alive. My senses are heightened, my mind is clear. And, thank God, news of Donald Trump is a million miles away.