Australia - Jeff Henry Photography
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The Moon, Stars and Uluru

The Moon, Stars and Uluru

Dark, cold, and still. That is exactly how it was early one morning when I drove into Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and made my way the 50km from the park entrance to the Kata Tjutu sunrise viewing area. I was the first visitor though the park gate early that morning, and the first to arrive at the viewing area. The bitter chill that hit me as I exited the car betrayed the high temperatures that would come in mere hours. The sun had not yet begun to highlight the horizon, though that change was approaching. The landscape was still; no people, no sounds of tires on asphalt, and only the occasionally faint sound of a wide animal beginning their day.

I expected to shoot Kata Tjuta as the sun rose, capturing the rocks glowing a deep red as the sun crested the horizon and watching as the sun rays hit the rocks. Instead, I found myself facing the other direction; the direction of the coming sunrise. I'm grateful I did.

When I captured this image I was still the only person on site; while others would arrive within minutes I cherished my time alone watching this scene unfold. The cloudless sky slowly began to glow red and then orange along the distant horizon, while the sky remained a black that transitioned into the deepest blue. The moon, big and bright, cast shadows on the ground, even as the sun continued approaching. Even the stars remained visible until just before the sun rose.

Through it all, as the horizon went from black to blue, from red to orange, the silhouette of Uluru became more pronounced and defined. Despite being nearly 50 kilometers away, it was an imposing sight on the horizon.

Then, just as quickly as it began, it was over. The sun crested the horizon, the landscape in front of me became bathed in light, the moon and stars disappeared. Twilight turned into day.

AstrophotographyAustraliaDawnNorthern TerritoryOceaniaUNESCO World Heritage SiteUluru Aryes RockUluru Kata Tjuta National Park