Photographing Lake Tyrrell

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Photographing Lake Tyrrell

 Lake Tyrrell, in north west Victoria, is an awesome place. It has so much to offer the photographer no matter what the conditions.

Last week was my third visit to Lake Tyrrell and each time it has been a surprise.

On this last visit it was blowing a gale and freezing cold. And by freezing cold…. I mean… freezing cold! At night it was 4 degrees but with the wind chill factor it ‘felt like’ 1 degree. So, it is always important to be prepared.

We went to Lake Tyrrell from Mildura. So we decided to drop in to the lake on the northern tip. One of the interesting things about this lake is the water moves around the lake according to the wind. As it had been a strong southerly wind for several days, I knew the water would be in the north.

The road into the northern part of the lake is very sandy and at times boggy. You need an AWD or 4WD to access it. As we drew close to the lake the wind was blowing the tumble weed across the dry sandy road. It looked like something out of a western movie.

I walked down to the lake edge. You need gumboots. It is very muddy and at time slippery. The fierce wind was blowing the water straight towards me and whipping up the sand on the far side of the lake. Even during the day, it was cold. A jacket was required and I wish I had put on my woolly hat. 

After leaving the northern part, we drove down to the south of the lake and entered via Saltworks Road. This is a better entrance to the lake than the viewing platform road. The latter tends to get very boggy very quickly.

We turned right and went to the first gate. We could see the fence posts. This was what I was looking for.

I scouted around during the day to see what scenes there were to offer so I knew what I wanted to capture later that night. There was no lake water for reflections as it had all moved to the north but there was a large ‘puddle’ that I would be able to use. There were also these awesome fence posts surrounded by crusty salt and some dead trees that would look great against the sky.

This scouting is vital as it is very easy to become disorientated at night as it all looks very similar. There are stories of other people who have walked several kms in the middle of the night after being lost. In some parts of the lake it becomes very muddy.

If you don’t get the chance to scout during the day, I suggest you book a tour guide who knows the lake like the back of their hand.

We then went to Sea Lake to book into our accommodation and have tea. The setting sun that evening didn’t produce any startling sky so we waited until nightfall until we went back out.

Thermals, coat, scarf, hat, gloves, heat pack for the camera, thick woollen socks and waterproof boots….. and yes we were still a little cold. But being dressed appropriately meant it was bearable and we were able to stay out there nearly a couple of hours.

Clear skies were forecast. And Oh My God….it was so clear!!! The milkyway core looked absolutely amazing!!! So bright and simply popping out of the sky!! I was a happy little clicker J

The next morning, we dropped into the SkyMirror Gallery. I have some of my photos of Lake Tyrrell displayed there from previous times. So, it was good to see them up on the wall. Make sure you stop by there to see all the other photographers art work too. There are some stunning shots there for inspiration.

So, three visits to Lake Tyrrell and three different experiences. From calm water reflections (both day and night) to blowing a gale and no water. But each time it has given me some amazing and unique opportunities.

If you are planning to go there for the reflections, then make sure the wind has been blowing from the north for a couple of days. A weather forecast with some cloud on sunset and a clear night are the ideal conditions. These were the conditions I planned for with the first visit and was subsequently rewarded.

But as any photographer knows – you rarely get the ideal conditions when you want them, and you just need to plan your shoot accordingly.

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