Madigan Gulf, Lake Eyre., Australia
Robert Dettman
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Australia Madigan Gulf, Lake Eyre.

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Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre is a protected area in the Australian state of South Australia. It is located 697 km north of the state capital of Adelaide. It is the nation's largest salt lake and the lowest point on the mainland. Most of the time the lake is dry but occasional floods bring wildlife and colour to the lake.

Photography Tips

It is best to fly in an aircraft without a door or with a door that can be opened while in flight. Check your seat belt! Immediately after sunrise and before sunset is the best time when warm light grazes over the shoreline and the subtle relief on the surface. The air is smoothest at dawn.

Advice varies but it's best to use shutter priority with shutter speeds of 1/500+ for 24-70mm focal length and 1/1000+ for longer focal lengths. Lower altitudes require a faster shutter speed. Light levels are low at sunrise or sunset, so raise the ISO to maintain a high shutter speed. Of course, a fast lens will help with shutter speed. Depth of field is not a problem when shooting straight down. The contrast on the lake surface is generally very low. This can make it difficult for auto-focus to work. Just look to get focus on an area of higher contrast then re-compose.

I flew at 600 ft much of the time but up to 1,000 ft. Others prefer 1-2,000 ft. Some prefer a prime lens but zoom lens provide the greatest flexibility when composing a scene.

Travel Information

Flights over the lake can be had from William Creek, the nearest point to the Lake that offers this service. Other points of origin include Marree and Wilpena Pound Resort. To see a lot more of what South Australia offers, driving from Adelaide to William Creek is recommended, ideally in a 4WD vehicle. Roads can be very rough or sandy.

The best time to visit Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park is between April and October. If summer monsoon rains provide floodwaters locally or from Queensland, you are more likely to see water in the lake during these cooler months. In summer, temperatures in the area can soar to more than 50 degrees Celsius. Travelling in this region in that heat is dangerous.
Crowd Factor Nearly no other people
Best Timing Sunrise during winter
Sunrise & Sunset 06:45 - 20:19 | current local time: 00:07
Photo Themes Aerial Shot Landscape nature salt lake shoreline water
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