Behind the Lens: Outback Dust Storm

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A freak dust storm in outback Australia led to a remarkable photo for pro photographer Pete Dobré.

There are some shots that you can never plan for, they just happen. This was one of those moments. It’s a stunning location and part of a photo tour I run in Outback Australia.

With landscape photography, it’s always about the skies and waiting for them to get into position. I had been waiting for 45 minutes for this sky to drift across and I had my composition set up and ready.

What I hadn’t seen was the dust storm coming from behind me. It was so strong that standing up was a real effort and all of a sudden I couldn’t see anything in front at all.

Once the sand engulfed me, it was as if I was blind. I tried opening my eyes and all that achieved was filling them with sand. I stood there, crouched over, hugging the camera.

The sandstorm lasted only about 90 seconds and although that’s not long, when you can’t see and your body is getting smashed around by sand and extremely strong winds, it feels like an eternity.

The sand storm was a massive bonus for the shot. You definitely can’t plan for these events, but when they do happen, the key is not to panic, but to shoot. Once you’ve got the shot there will be plenty of time for panicking!

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 16-35mm f/2.8L lens, 1/200s @ f/11, ISO 125.

Pete Dobré is a freelance photographer who blazes the trail for six months each year capturing awe-inspiring images. Pete’s work expresses his creative flair, emotions and love for the natural landscapes of Australia. See more of his work and check out his upcoming photo tours at

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