Uluru Travel Tips for Landscape Photographers

20/09/2019 8:15 AM

Uluru is one of the most special and recognisable places in Australia - and also incredibly photogenic. At 3.6 km long and 348 metres high, with a striking red-orange hue that glows in the sun, this incredible natural landform brings travel photographers from around the world to marvel at its iconic beauty.

Travelling to Uluru is a big journey, but certainly worth the trip. So once you get there, how do you take a good photo of Uluru? Is sunrise or sunset better? Read on for our top Uluru travel and photography tips, including the best way to see Uluru, the best time to visit, and any photography restrictions you should know about and respect.


Acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land

While Uluru is a special place to all that come before it, Uluru and the land around it holds great cultural significance to Aboriginal Australians, and this must be understood and respected, even before you begin your journey there.

The Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara, or Anangu, people are the traditional owners of Uluru, Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and the land around them. Before travelling to Anangu land, do your research on the local culture and creation stories so you can fully appreciate and respect the land and its people when you visit.

Important: You are now unable to climb Uluru, out of respect to the Anangu people.

Uluru Travel Tips for Landscape Photography

What you need to know before visiting Uluru

Uluru Travel Tips for Landscape Photography
Photography restrictions

So what do you need to be mindful of before visiting the Red Centre? If you’re planning to take landscape photos, the key thing to note is that Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park has a few photography restrictions.

Generally, photographing from afar is fine if you can find a safe spot - but as you shoot around the base, you will encounter many areas that are unable to be photographed due to their cultural significance. Commercial photography requires a special permit. Commercial photographers will also be unable to share images online without special permission.

The national park closes in the evening, usually at around 7:30 pm in winter and 9 pm in summer months - so it’s best to get there early for extra time photographing the incredible sights!

Uluru travel tips

There are a few good ways to see Uluru and its surrounds, depending on your personal preferences and needs.

You can hire a car, which can be a cheap and easy option for getting around on your own terms. Just remember - you really don’t need a 4WD, so save your money. If you’re driving from Alice Springs or Watarrka (Kings Canyon) to Uluru, give yourself half a day to get there. Uluru is 450km from Alice Springs and 280km from Kings Canyon.

If you’re nervous about travelling solo, an organised tour guarantees you a view of all the highlights without too much worry on your part.

If you don’t have your own transport but still want to explore independently, the Uluru hop on hop off shuttle offers 1,2 or 3 day ticket options with frequent stops.


When and where to take the best photos of Uluru

Photographing Uluru at sunrise

The Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area is the main sunrise viewing area. As the sun begins to rise, you will see the rock change in colour. However, because this is generally regarded as the best spot, especially at dawn, it can get quite crowded. Everyone has the same idea!

To avoid the crowds, head down one of the walking tracks to try and find a quieter spot for you to compose your images in peace, and appreciate the stunning view.

Uluru Travel Tips for Landscape Photography
Uluru Travel Tips for Landscape Photography
Photographing Uluru at sunset

Head to the Kata Tjuta sunset viewing spot, for images of the iconic Kata Tjuta. As sunset is in the name, you can bet this place will be packed with visitors at sunset - so get there a little earlier in the day and relax, in hopes you can achieve a prime position for when the sun begins to set.

Walpa Gorge is an alternative spot to enjoy the brilliant colours of sunset. Much of the crowd will disperse to the sunset viewing area, leaving you to enjoy the serenity and capture some eye-catching shots.


The best landscape photography gear to take

DSLR Cameras

A trusty digital SLR camera will help you capture all of the rich and varied colours of Uluru. A high-end body with weather-sealing, like the Sony A7 Mark 3, is best for combatting the dusty conditions.

Lenses

A wide-angle lens is usually our go-to option for landscape images - but as you’ll need to keep a respectful distance in some areas at Uluru, we recommend using something with a decent amount of zoom. Something like the Nikon Z 14-30mm f4 S Zoom lens will allow you to vary your focal length and composition accordingly for great results.

Tripod

It’s a good idea to bring a tripod to assure sharp, blur-free images. This is essential if you are shooting at dusk and using slower shutter speeds. A tripod like the Benro Slim Travel Tripod provides you with a portable option that won't hinder you for a long day of shooting.

Cleaning kit

The Australian outback is dusty! Bring a kit like the LensPen Cleaning Kit with cloths and a blower brush to protect your gear from dirt, sand and dust while you travel.

Padded bag

A padded bag or backpack that is manageable to carry around. If you are using a tripod, try and pick up a backpack with a holder - the Crumpler The Flying Duck Camera Backpack has a tripod holder and holds a DSLR/Mirrorless camera and up to 2 lenses!

Uluru Travel Tips for Landscape Photography
Memory cards & batteries

You don’t want to run out of battery or memory just as you’re about to capture the stunning sunset shot of Uluru! Carry some spare memory cards and batteries to keep you shooting for longer, and avoid the heartache on missing out on the perfect photograph.


Get the right photography gear

Visiting Uluru is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit a truly unique and significant landmark and capture its beauty on camera. To ensure you make the most of your time there, check out our Top 5 Cameras For Landscape Photography and head to your local Ted’s Cameras store to stock up on the best travel photography gear.


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