The Pinnacles Desert – A Challenge For Nature Photographers

This location is one that I love to visit,  my two loves, landscape photography and nature photography are brought together here in this beautiful natural environment.

Just two hour’s drive north of Perth, Western Australia is one of the strangest landscapes a photographer could hope to find, a small desert landscape of windblown sands, almost no vegetation and thousands of rocky pinnacles of varying sizes and shapes, all surrounded by quite dense coastal heath. A truly intriguing place for nature photographers.

Just one of the many pinnacles in the Nambung National Park in Western Australia

Pinnacles Desert – Nambung National Park, Western Australia

I first visited and photographed this strange place more than thirty years ago, before it was a tourist destination and when it was still quite remote and difficult to get to. The hoards of visitors have since trampled and generally destroyed much of the smaller original inhabitants, leaving us with just the larger more durable pillars of stone. Now days most of the “desert” areas have been closed off to the public in an attempt to halt the damage caused to the smaller more brittle pinnacles. These fragile areas are still accessible by foot but I have not been back into these parts to see just how much is still there. I fear there may not be anything left of the very fragile and quite irreplaceable tiny pinnacles, many not more than three or four centimeters tall and no thicker than a drinking straw.

Creating nature photos of this beautiful and natural landscape has always been special.
Each time I arrive and enter the desert area, my thoughts and feeling are the same as the very first time I visited. I am completely overwhelmed by the scenes before me and I struggle to frame my photographic images in my cameras viewfinder to capture images that express how I feel about the forms in front of me. I am getting better or should I say, “I am more satisfied these days with my photographs than I was in the beginning”.

Looking west towards the setting sun in the Nambung National Park

Pinnacles At Sunset – Nambung National Park, Western Australia


The landscape or nature photographers challenges here in this beautiful place are many, the harsh flat light during the middle of the day, rock pinnacles that have been damaged just where they will be most visible in the picture, people and vehicles are always in the background and most difficult of all, footprints everywhere.

Being in this place on a weekend is impossible as there are so many people around, most of whom delight in taking pictures of each other climbing on and over the rocky forms.




Thousands of these small bushes struggle to survive on the surfasce of this windblown sand dune in the Nambung National Park in Western Australia

Life on a Dune – Nambung National Park, Western Australia





Within this orange sandy desert, there are beautiful white sand dunes with small bushes struggling to grow without the protection of stony windbreaks.

An advantage for photographers who see the slopes of these white sand dunes as great picture opportunities is, there are no pinnacles and therefore nobody else is around, the footprints are not a problem and provided the sand blowing in your face is OK, beautiful landscapes are much easier to capture.





Serious photographers are advised to get started early. Before dawn until about 8.30 is best, as the best light goes about the same time the visitors arrive for their day’s adventure. There are always people to contend with in the evening session as many love to sit and watch the beautiful sunsets in the peaceful surrounds amongst the silhouetted pinnacles. I suppose other people have as much right to be there as I, but it is darn hard to capture the mood and beauty of this strange place with other people all around and often, behaving inappropriately.


Lying prostrate on top of an eroding dune, this tree clings on for life.

Windblown Survivor – Nambung National Park, Western Australia

This spectacular and strange little desert within the Nambung National Park is a must visit location for nature landscape photographers. The other humans in every corner of the viewfinder can be a pain for those of us fine art nature photographers and landscape photography artists who come to photograph this beautiful place, however there is room for everyone. Those of us with digital cameras can at least remove most of the intrusions with a little work in our photo editing software programs.


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