Location

Gunung Mulu National Park Sarawak

Malaysia

Gunung Mulu Gunung National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia is a stunning World Heritage site inscribed for both the enormity and magnificence of its limestone caves and for its enormous biodiversity.  At 52,865 hectares Mulu is about a third the size of Fraser Island yet it has tremendous biodiversity.  It has daunting biodiversity of both plants andanimals.  It list 3,500  vascular plants alone.  That is at least five times as many plant species as found on Fraser Island). I was surprised to see Angiopteris evecta growing right outside the HQ offices. The stunning and enormous limestone caves (Deer Cave has a roof 300 metres above the floor and you could fly a 747 into it) hold an inestimable number of bats (several million).

However it wasn’t the World Heritage values that made such an impression on me but the superb and sustainable management that the Malaysian authorities have established there.

  • There we no cars allowed in Mulu.  People have to walk although they can take a longboat ride on a river to visit some sites up-river.  The only motor vehicles I saw in the park were small motorcycles for staff to take their children to school.
  • The walkways are wide and substantial. I estimate that this Borneo park must have had at least 5 or 6 kms of boardwalk or proper paths that I walked on to get to the great World Heritage caves.  In fact we didn’t walk anywhere in Mulu that wasn’t on a substantial boardwalk or concrete path.
  • We stayed in accommodation provided by the Park.  We did three tours — Two cave tours and the 500 metre long tree tops walk.  All required a guide accredited by the park.  All were local indigenous Penans and they we very good
  • Although the park currently is reported to  attract only 35,000 visitors annually. That accords with what we saw, about 100 per day with most visitors spending 2-3 days there as we did.  Yet this developing country, Malaysia, has installed an infrastructure that shames the paltry or non-existent Queensland efforts to protect the integrity of Fraser Island.

Having visited more than 50 World Heritage sites I was most impressed to observe just how this country was able to manage and present a great National Park so sustainably and in a way that makes the management of Fraser Island, the World Heritage site I am most familiar with shameful.  A comparison of the photos of the two sites shows just what a contrast there is and yet the Queensland Government refuses to explore the options for people movers and has failed to develop adequate boardwalks on Fraser Island that would make visitation more sustainable.

How can Malaysia do so much so well for 35,000 visitors annually and Queensland that reaps the financial rewards and kudos for 350,000 visitors to Fraser Island fail to do enough to stop the degradation there? Worse, why are the Queensland and Australian Governments so indifferent to the degradation occurring on Fraser Island?

Photos from Gunung National Park

Mulu Boardwalks

Mulu Boardwalks

Mulu World Heritage Values

Mulu World Heritage Values

Mulu Park Head Quarters

Mulu Park Head Quarters

Mulu Park Tracks between Caves

Mulu Park Tracks between Caves

Mulu Park Discovery Centre

Mulu Park Discovery Centre

Mulu Park Deer Cave

Mulu Park Deer Cave

Mulu Park Tree Top Walk

Mulu Park Tree Top Walk

Dolphins at Dawn

About the photo

 

This image is simple and powerful. It captures a time and a place. I captured it because I was ready. The dolphins surfaced while I was waiting for the fog to lift to photograph the light house (just visible). I worked out where they’d come up next, waded out to there and waited. Luck was on my side.

 

How it was taken

 

The image is on Kodachrome 64 and shot using a Sigma APO 400mm f5.6 telephoto at f5.6 and a shutter of about 1/500th of a second. It was on apeture priority on a Petax Super A. I used a motordrive but only this shot (the first) worked. Exposure compensation was a +1 stop to allow the orange glow of the sun to come through. The meter in older SLRs was fairly heavilly centre weighted. Focus was manual and pre-focused where I guessed the dolphins would surface. I got wet shorts as I had to wade into the water to get the right angle to have them, the sun and the lighthouse and headland in the one shot. There’s no zoom on the lens so I had to compose based on what I had to work with and use my legs to zoom in to frame it.

 

 

The Island Stack

About the photo

Lawn Hill Gorge is in the Boodjamulla National Park in far North Western Queensland, Australia. There’s a spectacular gorge carved through the limestone with fantastic walks around the cliffs. One evening I was coming back well after sunset when the glow from the clouds on the horizon lit up the cliffs. It was so dark I had to steady the camera on a tree during the long exposure. Luckilly I had a very fast lens because I was using slow film. I used the trees in the foreground to frame the shot and exposed to saturate the colour in the cliff while leaving the trees black.

 

How it was taken

I used a Pentax Super A, 35mm SLR on manual. I removed the motordrive and steadied the camera against a tree trunk. Exposure was about 1/8 sec at f1.4 with Pentax SMC A series 50mm lens. I had no tripod but by holding my breath and using the tree the shot worked fine. Fortunately there was no wind to move the trees. The film was Kodachome 25. This was the best slide film ever made. There’s no grain and the colours are amazing plus it lasts in archive forever. It was scanned with a drum scanner.

 

Stradbroke Island Recreation

About the photograph

This image was taken in the afternoon of a winter’s day in 1990. It was too cold to swim so I took my camera for a walk instead.

How it was taken

The camera used was a Nikon F801 35mm film SLR. It was shot on Kodachrome 64 and drum scanned. I can’t recall the exact details but it was a 200mm telephoto shot at about f11 to give me a shutter speed of 1/250 sec or more. This was needed to freeze the splashes the boy was making while he was running. I had to shoot fast when the shot appeared and ran down the beach a little to get the sunlight on the rods. There was no exposure compensation and it was shot in apeture priority mode and manual focus.

 

Where it was taken

Cylinder Beach, North Stradbroke Island looking West towards the mainland. The colour is caused by the sun shining through smoke from fires in the pine plantations on Bribie Island.

Brisbane at Night – A Photographic Record

 

Brisbane came of age during Expo 88 and is now a vibrant city. As night falls you can head out to Kangaroo Point and the cliffs near the city to capture the river and the lights.

 

The images here are all from a Canon G3 (4MP) on a Manfrotto tripod on manual exposure. Images are up to 30 second exposures as you can see from the distances boats and cars are travelling during the shots.

I try not to use the minimum f-stop (in this case f2.0) at night as it leads to flare. Most of the shots were up to 2 stops overexposed. White balance is AUTO and the the ISO is set manually to 50.

Story Bridge

Story Bridge

Canon G3, 8secs @ f5.0, 55mm eq.

Admiralty Towers

Admiralty Towers

Canon G3, 15secs @ f4.5, 35mm

Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens

Canon G3, 57mm (35mm eq) 10 secs at f4.0

 

Riverside Place

 

Riverside Place

Canon G3, 8secs @ f3.5, 35mm