Story By Emma Mulholland

The chill of the Gibson Desert at dawn ensures good lift and a responsive aircraft, essential flying conditions for pilot Colin Lauritsen and photographer Hugh Brown as they skim the earth in search of wild horses. “I’d seen many brumbies during my time of flying, but I’d never been fortunate enough to get them in the right terrain,” Hugh says. “This trip was different.”
They spot a mob of 13 – a mix of Persian and Arab bloodlines – and work them east towards Lake Carnegie, a salt lake 25 kilometres away. Images of these beautiful, strong horses against the ashen whites of the iconic salt lake would be worth any number of early mornings. “But as we approached, the lead mare decided not to play ball and the herd broke up. Photography was not their gig,” Hugh says. By now morning had broken and a golden light filtered onto the plains. Disappointed, the men turned around and headed back to Prenti Downs where there would be breakfast and an open fire.
Then, to Hugh’s surprise, they passed another mob and the chase was on. With the plane flying at low speed, Hugh snapped away as the brumbies galloped at 60 kilometres per hour, a trail of gold dust in their wake. He got the salt lake photographs he was after, but the shot of those wild horses galloping towards the morning sun is the standout that has been selected for the cover of OUTBACK’s 2011 Calendar and Diary.
The most interesting images featured in OUTBACK are those that capture life and work in the bush. Like the photographs on the following pages, they record quiet, peaceful moments such as watching dusty light creep into an old woolshed, as well as those crackers that burst from the page such as Lara Jensen’s image of the dusty mustering action on Queensland’s Canobie Station. The following photographs appear in OUTBACK’s 2011 Calendar and Diary.

This story excerpt is from Issue #73

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2010