A few weeks ago I was booked in for a commercial photography shoot in Kalgoorlie, having never previously been to Kalgoorlie, I thought it would be a great opportunity to explore the area and visit a few places that I’ve had my eye on for awhile now. The trip was mostly a location scouting trip, rather than a strictly photographic trip, but I managed to come away with quite a few images that I’m really happy with.

The trip started Sunday afternoon with me driving out to Kalgoorlie from Perth.. it’s a good 600kms drive east from Perth. On my way there I made a few stops to capture some star images as it was very close to the new moon and the stars were incredible!

Print available here

This next image is actually a 360 degree panoramic image, it’s well worth the full view.. or if you can check out the fully interactive version here

I spent the Monday doing my shoot in Kalgoorlie and just exploring the area a little bit, I checked out the super-pit and most of Kalgoorlie.. the people at the Kalgoorlie Boulder Pure Gold visitor centre were very helpful, giving me maps, brochures, directions and some advice on where I should explore.

Early Tuesday morning I headed back out to Coolgardie before going off the sealed road for the rest of the day. As I arrived in Coolgardie from Kalgoorlie, there was a thick blanket of fog laying across the entire valley, it made the dawn quite unique:

From Coolgardie I headed off the sealed road and onto some great red dirt roads, I drove for most of the day, exploring many ruins and abandoned townships, there is just so much to see and I didn’t have anywhere near enough time to see it all.

I did some exploring off the main tracks and in to some really remote areas.. I wouldn’t recommend doing these areas without a good 4×4, spare fuel, enough food & water to last you a few days and some form of communication other than a phone.. as you’ll get next to zero coverage most of the time. This next image was very typical of what I saw, I really enjoyed the solitude of the Australian bush and exploring areas that few people will ever see.

Gold Fields Bush: Print available Here

After wandering around for most of the day I headed to a town that was of particular interest, a great little place called Kookynie. Kookynie is a ghost town that, paradoxically, still has people living in it. The Kookynie Grand Hotel has exceptionally friendly service, fuel if you need it and some very welcome cold beverages, it’s the only functioning store as far as I can tell. There are a couple of houses that are occupied, but for the most part there are just ruins and abandoned buildings.

Kookynie Wreck: Print available Here

From Kookynie I headed back through Menzies and out to the iconic Lake Ballard. The mud and salt surface of Lake Ballard is host to the art instillation by artist Antony Gormley, 51 kms from Menzies, it is pretty remote and nicely isolated. The 51 statues are spread around the lake, 750m apart from each other, it’s quite an amazing experience. I spent the late afternoon exploring the Lake and taking photos, planning a few images for dusk and then another couple once it got nice and dark.

Lake Ballard Sunset: Print available here

Lake Ballard Dusk: Print available here

Lake Ballard Dusk Reflections: Print available here

I set up my swag and had dinner, got my camera gear ready.. being so remote there is next to no light pollution, so when the stars came out, it was absolutely breath taking! I headed out on to the lake and captured a couple of images I had already planned out. Out of the images I had planned, I only missed getting one image that I wanted to. I didn’t realise how temporary the water was, it had completely receded while the sun was setting, that shot will have to wait until my next trip.

Dawn breaks over Lake Ballard: Print available here

Lake Ballard Dawn: Print available here

I’m really looking forward to doing another and much longer and more extensive trip into the area. I’ve got a few shoots planned for Lake Ballard and then further than I explored this time.

All comments appreciated!


Paul Pichugin