The Twelve Apostles, Australia
The Twelve Apostles stacks located on the South of Australia not far from Melbourne is the second most known symbol of Green Continent after the Opera House in Sydney. Beautiful cliffs, arches, harbors, bays and grottos, all of them attract thousands of people. In fact, the Twelve Apostles are twelve stacks in a coastal zone. Unfortunately, one of the most beautiful sea shores yearly loses its symbols. The sea feels no mercy towards the stacks wearing away soft limestone. The Apostles haven't been twelve yet for a long time and one of them has recently come down. Nowadays, only eight stacks let tourists and photographers admire them.
The other places of interest of the national park are going through unlucky streak too. The stack named London Bridge was partly destroyed several years ago. Before, at a height of 30 meters it was possible to go along the natural bridge to a separate cliff and in a full pacification admire the sunset's beauty. It was a lucky occasion that there were no victims when the stack fell. At that time two tourists admired the sunset there. I'm not sure that peace was in their souls that moment but they had got plenty of time to enjoy the wild beauty... till a rescue helicopter appeared.
Two years ago Island Archway, which is one of the most beautiful arches in the national park, came down. As a result, the access to many interesting observation areas located on the brink of a precipices was completely denied. New paths, which are enclosed and situated in the safest but not very attractive places for photographers, are controlled by the park's rangers. If you jump over a small fence you must pay $300 penalty. And during this difficult time for the national park I had an ability not only to arrive in Australia but also visit the rest beautiful places of the Twelve Apostles national park.
Despite all the problems and restrictions my expectations came true. Having arrived at night, I enjoyed the star sky on the beach Gibson Steps which is one of the few picturesque places of the park opened for visits without any restrictions. Having successfully finished a night shooting, I began to prepare for a panoramic helicopter shooting. It was my first independent flight when I was completely responsible for the panoramas' quality and, as a consequence, I was a little bit nervous. The process of preparation was successful enough, I revised all the necessary adjustments and I thought that I had completely prepared the equipment for the future shooting. As a pilot required I had to leave my backpack with other equipment on the ground. Although the weather wasn't the best one, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and I took off with pleasant anticipation. My soul sang. Unfortunately, every song has its end. Having taken the first shots, I understood that the camera didn't function anymore. When I was preparing for the helicopter shooting I just forgot to change the accumulator and after the night shooting the battery was low. That would be the end of my first independent flight unless a miracle happened. I was lucky in finding a spare battery. A brain storm helped me to remember the moment when at night on the sea shore, I don't know why and how, but, I put the spare accumulator in a pocket. Finally, I was lucky in finding it right in the pocket...
Having finished the morning shooting with still good but boring weather I appointed one more flight in the evening. Moreover, the local thunder storms were forecasted. And Australian weather forecasters said the truth. Just after midday the sky was full of clouds and the lightning appeared this or that side but it rained from time to time and I hoped to have a good chance for a nice evening. Having waited for a suitable clear space in the sky sitting in the helicopter cabin more than one hour, we finally flew up. I didn't succeed in shooting either lightning or rainbow during the flight but there were heavy clouds in the sky which were lightened by the evening sun. The limestone stacks were also brightly illuminated. It just was a beautiful state of nature. And I really hope I've succeeded in show you at least a small part of this beauty.
16 March 2011
Virtual Travels in 360°Uzon caldera, Kamchatka, Russia. Part I