Time Stands Still
Dales Gorge has two main attractions. The first is Fortescue Falls, a beautiful cascade of rushing water that falls maybe 20 meters over the sharp lines of the Western Australian rock. The second is Circular Pool which, unlike the power of Fortescue, is a place of tranquility.
I visited Circular Pool twice. Once during the middle of the day, after a 2 hour hike from Fortescue Falls along the bottom of Dales Gorge. It was an easy hike, but I hadn't brought along enough water. Rookie mistake. A few days later, after making the steep hike down into the gorge, including climbing down a few metal ladders, I arrived back at Circular Pool early in the morning. For the next few hours I had the entire place to myself.
Circular Pool is located at the very end (or beginning) of the gorge. The rock walls, forming a semicircle, rise a hundred meters or more straight up into the sky, and this results in a soft glow of light for a few hours after the sun rises. Eventually the sun is high enough to illuminate the gorge floor and the Pool, but in the few hours before that happens, Circular Pool is a magical place to photograph.
The weather had warmed steadily during my time at Karijini, and by this day the water was cool but not cold. I slipped off my shoes and socks, waded into the water, and set up my tripod in a spot that afforded this view. With the water thigh high, I carefully composed this image in my mind, under no rush as most people in the park were still sound asleep. With no wind to move the leaves, and only the slightest trace of water flowing in the pool, I knew that a long exposure was what I wanted.
I used one of the best lenses in my bag and attached a strong neutral density filter so I could have a 30 second exposure. That length would smooth out the Pool's surface and turn the water flowing down the rock face into a ghostly transparent white. Over the next three minutes, I captured the five images that were used to create this panorama of Circular Pool.
The peacefulness, tranquility, and serenity of Circular Pool made time stand still while I was there, which this image portrays.