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Outback

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Well, it rained all day Friday, all Friday night and into Saturday with around 35mm recorded in an empty creamy rice can, left in the open. Most of this time the wind blew pretty well, too.

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The wind blew all Thursday, the day I arrived at Mount Gunson Cattle Yards and it blew for a couple of days after the rain. The whole event wasn't all that much fun, but I survived pretty well without getting wet.

A couple of times I got a campfire going to cook some food by lighting it in a drum, using kerosine, and then tipping the fire out onto the ground, at which it fairly well roared in the raging wind. Most of the time, during this wind and rain event, I cooked on the gas ring in the drum, still a battle to keep the gas burning.

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But today was different! The day started with promise, a fairly clear sky with a few wisps of wind clouds and ended pretty much the same.

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A few chores to be done: Get the axillary battery on to charge by solar power, repair the speedo on the bike, start the bread baking process, fuel up the bike and sundry other little jobs that all need to be done and all take time.

So it was lunch time by the time I was ready to move from camp to check out the tracks and have a look at Elizabeth Creek and Pernatty Lagoon.

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In this seven inch rainfall country, it was great to see several dams with a generous water supply. None full, mind you, but nevertheless, enough for stock watering in the coming months.

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Pernatty Lagoon was a sheet of water as far as I could see, the crystallized salt of the dry lake bed dissolved to form brine tasting about as salty as the sea, useless for any pastoral purposes.

Similarly, Elizabeth Creek, rather than being a string of super saturated salt waterholes was one long stretch of salty water, in it's lower reaches.

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After the rain it was not unexpected but it sure was disappointing. I've come 1800km to photograph the salt encrustations in Elizabeth Creek and Pernatty Lagoon, and the salt is all dissolved and much of it washed down to the lagoon. I expect it will take six months to get anywhere near what I would call it's prime. I'm sure glad I got some salt images at the mouth of Woodforde Creek where it enters Lake Torrrens!

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I'll certainly make the most of my time here and photograph the arid region landscape as I see it: The contorted myall trees, both dead and living, the colourful sand hills, the huge skies, waterholes and rocks, and the sunrises and sunsets as only the Australian outback can turn them on.

As for moving on to the next leg of my photographic trip, I'm still undecided. It's a long way out through Andamooka opal fields to Lake Torrens on Andamooka Station, without the incentive of the salt. The rain was quite widespread and the creeks up that way would also have run.

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