Monday, 21 November 2016

Sand Dunes - Worimi National Park


Just north of where I live is Worimi National Park; 32 kilometres of awesome beach and the largest sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere.

The name Worimi comes from the name of the indigenous tribe that inhabited the area of Port Stephens and the Great Lakes region of coastal New South Wales.

I have wanted to get out to the sand dunes for a while to capture their harsh beauty and especially that definitive line between bright sand and blue sky (great for minimalism!).

One of the main access points to the National Park is via Lavis Lane off Nelson Bay Road at Williamtown.  You can drive to a certain point (car park) but after that you require permit to drive on the beach and it can only be done in a 4WD vehicle.  I don't have a 4WD and had to leave the car at the car park.  It is only 1-1.5 kms from the car park to the start of the dunes and I was prepared to walk there and back on the dirt road.  By the time I got out there at about 11am, the temperature was at 32 degrees celsius and was just a bit hot!  A big thanks to the 4WD who stopped and gave me a lift out and also to another driver who offered a lift back to the car park (both of which I took advantage of!)

I spent 45 minutes wandering around a couple of dunes before deciding to head back to the car.  I did get some good photos but really, you will need a 4WD to get around there if you want to capture the whole awesomeness of the place!  There are 4WD tours of the dunes and I am going to make further enquiries about these.  It would be ideal to get onto the dunes just before sunrise or just at sunset.  The light and shade would provide some wonderful photos and that great golden light would reflect off the dunes and set them afire!

A little further north of Worimi is Birubi Beach.  It is the northernmost point of the sand dunes.  From the Surf Lifesaving Club there, you can wander onto smaller dunes and still capture some great subjects.  This is probably the easiest access for sunrise and sunset photos if you can't get 4WD access; you can walk say 300 metres and be in the midst of a great location without having people wandering into shot or 4WDs or Quad Bikes suddenly appearing over a dune and leaving tyre tracks everywhere!  Although I didn't go that far north for this last shoot, I have included a photo from a previous safari to Birubi Beach so you can see just how beautiful it is!

I took my Voigtlander Bessa 1 folding camera also, loaded with Fuji Acros 100 (black and white film).  The sand was very bright in the middle of the day with the sun reflecting off it, so I set the shutter for a faster speed to hopefully compensate for that extreme brightness.  Hopefully it works; I hate wasting film, especially 120mm!  It may be a while before those results are in though.  I will keep you appraised!

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This is Birubi Beach further to the north of the Worimi National Park.