Coober Pedy to Home

The trip back from from Coober Pedy over two days was uneventful which is what your after. Coober Pedy to Adelaide had the rest of the Australian Army travelling in convey which made over taking a regular occurrence along the Stuart Highway. Unfortunatley a combination of long tiring days and high wings mean’t only once we were able to get our aerial platform airborne. Since we were shooting for a European client sharing the images for now is not part of our contract.

What I can share is a little of our experience in the Outback. Travelling to Coober Pedy for a “family” vacation would have never been on my wish list. So I am thankful this project took me there. I met a local miner briefly one night before a BBQ over a beer. he had been there 40 years and remembers the town when population was over 30,000. Today it’s one tenth of that and that’s in the winter with around half of that again exiting in the summer months. He described the town as a place that was full of dodgy people, villains and those not wanting to be found. If you want to stay of the grid it’s a place to hide out.

It was interesting learning from some of the local miners some of the history and methods for Opal mining. It’s a harsh climate to work and live in. The flies, the bloody flies. I thought I had experienced flies up in the Victorian highlands at Mt Hotham were we used to do a lot of mountain bike riding. Large bush flies and the Bogong Moths. I was wrong as the Outback flies while small in comparison were in their hundreds and just never went away. File repellant was useless and you just had to learn to work with them.

As independent miners that work with little frame work around HSE and often 7 days a week. If they don’t find Opal then they don’t make any money. They literally live day by day. While as a artists we chase the next great image or painting there chasing the next big find. One night while having a few beers and cooking a BBQ was was given a tour of a miners dug out. His under ground home was an amazing cavern of rooms which he had personally dug out further after purchasing the dug out some years back. He had a long way to go to complete his dream but needed to hit payday with his mine to complete the renovations.


Eight days away with four hot and tiring seventeen hour days to complete the 16 shoots shot at 16 locations. There was a few changing to plans as several locations could not be achieved and several others are on my wish list to shoot at if I ever get the opportunity to return. The 6 weeks of planning was a crucial part of the overall success. We learn from the spirit of life and take from that what we can make better. There was learnings and given a bigger budget many of those changes could be made such as hiring a mobile home out of Adelaide or Melbourne as a mobile studio, additional crew to assist with the lighting, equipment maintenance and data acquisition. An extra day or two would have been ideal to allow for a rest days both model and photographer were exhausted and ready to thump each other, smiles.

To those whom my path crossed in the Outback thank you for sharing your time, hospitality and stories with me.

4 days of driving & 4 days of shooting – One Model One Desert

Were on a four day drive covering four thousand kilometers for four days of shooting. One model, one desert and one chance not to have forgotten any equipment. I had been commissioned to shoot a series in the desert with a model. We’ll be shooting stills, video and hopefully aerial video as well. Our journey will take us close to eight hundred kilometres from Melbourne to Adelaide were we’ll stay over night and then day two (today) the eight hundred and fifty kilometres to Coober Pedy.


I have arrived as they say. A fairly uneventful day one of travels with the unfortunate stop in a little town called Beaufort. The bakery’s till had jammed and I was unable to get a coffee. Having a good food supply from my local bakery early that morning all I needed was a coffee which was forgone. Coming back in thirty minutes was not an option. A old but clean motel close to heading out of Adelaide to Cober Pedy had been booked and I was lucky to get a room being a long weekend in Adelaide and the Australian Masters games were in town.

Getting away nice and early after loosing an hour for daylight saving time but picking up thirty minutes with a chance time to South Australian time I was underway. The Stuart Highway is essentially 8 hours of straight driving. Nothing to see and nothing to do. Time to crank up all those good Aussie bands (live recordings) and try and pass the time. I did see the following which kept me on my guard but fortunately no stray over grown rabbits (Kangaroo’s). Mind you mist of the drive up from Pt Augusta was thirty seven degrees celcius.

  • Solo walker – noted a guy wearing a full fly face mask hunched under a tree late afternoon trying to get shade.   He had what looked to be a trolley on bike wheels with all his gear on it.
  • 2 x solo bikes – At different times through the day but two solo bike riders loaded with gear heading to PT Augusta.
  • Road trains – Numerous road trains carrying all sorts of commodaties.
  • Grey Nomads – year your 4WD and Caravan.
  • Wicked –  backpacker vans with your o/s tourists. 
  • Super campers – Some tourists others wealthier grey nomads.
  • Australian Army – There was well over eighty vehicles from lad Rovers, Bush Masters, trucks and other support vehicles all heading towards Pt Augusta
  • Part of the Stuart Highway is also a run way for the Royal Flying Doctors (RFD) which may get used when there’s a need.
  • At one time I have to stop and allow not one but five Emu’s cross the Sturt Highway hoping the 4WD behind me would stop as well, which they did.

So not so boring day two. Now time to get some sleep and chat with our model about tomorrow’s schedule. Ohh and staying in a dug out, one of those underground houses is pretty cool too.