Ganguddy, Wollemi

Wollemi NP from the Pagoda Lookout

Last week I took some time off to relax, get in some riding and try out the new lens. I spent a few days on the Cudgegong river, in Wiradjuri country at the Ganguddy campground in Wollemi National Park (also known as Dunn’s Swamp). Apparently, Ganguddy means “good place”, and “was once a birthing area for Aboriginal women”. I spent my time there lounging around, walking, reading, and swimming. You can rent kayaks and paddle boards there too, which was very popular.

The area is stunning. Although not an entirely natural river (the Kandos Weir was erected abount nindty years ago to supply the cement plant), the unchanging water level has created a stable ecosystem for all sorts of bird life, with reeds along much of the riverside. The area is quite flat, rock formations notwithstanding, and offers pleasant walking. There are two main tracks (not listed on the NPWS site): one east (Waterside Walk, to Cudgegong Picnic Place, which is only a flat area close to the river – there are nicer places to stop along the way) and one west (Long Cave via Pagoda Lookout, which involves climbing).

The main topographical feature of the place are the pagodas, regularly breaking out of the sclerophyll forest to offer plenty of climbing opportunities. It would have been interesting to see the Pagoda Parkour at a recent Cementa (PDF program).

Ganguddy campsite

You’ll have to forgive me in advance. It’s common knowledge that ulta-wide angle lenses should be used sparingly, lest they overwhelm with their unusual perpective. I took along both the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM and the new Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D, and they worked well together. There were plenty of shots for the 12mm lens: restraint wasn’t easy. With the 17-40mm for the regular landscapes, the 12mm was available for unusual perspectives. Ken Rockwell is right to say ‘get in close’, but I’m not sure I’ve found the lens’ sweet spots just yet, in terms of balance between focal distance and distortion. One learning from the weekend is that the Laowa 12mm gives strong results when cropped square. It’s certainly an extremely versatile lens, and a precise optical instrument, with close, exact focus and very sharp results. See you yourself…

Sunrise silhouette, Ganguddy

I found this article by Margaret Brown in Photo Review the best summary of the park.

More of my photos from Ganguddy are on flickr

Still inside the shell...

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Posted on November 8, 2018

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