It was a fine day with fluffy white clouds scooting along on the breeze. It didn’t take long for me to convince myself to go down along the coast and play with some dark ND filters.
In mid July I tried something new. I arranged a photography excursion to the Pinnacles at Phillip Island and posted the idea on Facebook as a public event. By August 4th, the day of the excursion, there were 16 people confirmed as going and a few more “maybes”.
I had a realistic expectation that perhaps half of those who had confirmed would actually show up on the day. Imagine my surprise when all who had confirmed actually DID show up at the meeting place.
It was the start of a wonderful excursion with like-minded people, most of whom I had never actually met before and I only knew via Facebook.
We couldn’t have asked for a better day in the middle of a Melbourne winter. Both the weather and tides worked in our favour and all of the participants seemed to come away from the day pleased with the experience.
Following are snapshots of some of the participants enjoying the day at the Pinnacles beach. If you have a Facebook account you can view more images from the event here.
I’d been to this part of Phillip Island on previous occasions but I loved it so much I thought I’d revisit.
That’s one of the joys of photography, you can visit the same location on several occasions and come away with completely different images each time.
Pictured below – Old wooden remnants at Cat Bay, Phillip Island.
Pictured below – The beach at Right Point, Phillip Island, located between Cat Bay and the Nobbies. The violence of the ocean waves smoothed by the use of long exposure.
18 months after releasing my first book I’m pleased to announce that I’ve finally finished my second book and published it through Blurb.
The 40 page collection explores Australian land and seascapes using long exposure photographic techniques to capture textures and patterns hidden in fluid motion.
The book is printed on Blurb’s premium lustre finish paper.
If you’d like to thumb through the book with a virtual preview of all it’s pages go here.
Following on from previous posts I thought I’d share with you just a few more images from the Phillip Island coastline. I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface down there, …….there’s just so much beauty to explore and discover.
Pictured below – The Roost – old jetty remnants that serve as a safe roost for the local birds at Cat Bay.
Pictured below – Evidence of Life – a soft misty view of some wonderful wave action off Cowrie beach.
Pictured below – The Long Swim Home – another view from Cowrie beach looking towards the Nobbies in the background.
I’m dedicating this image to the recent passing of Rapture Day, May 2011.
Never has such a silly idea generated so much noise in the media and on social networks.
Pictured below – In Lieu of Rapture.
The image was captured at Cat Bay on Phillip Island.
Over the weekend I did a quick reconnaissance trip down to the pointy end of Phillip Island.
The images below were taken on a stretch of unsealed road named “The Boulevard” which runs along the south coast of Summerlands and ends at the Nobbies. The Boulevard is a grand name indeed for what amounts to a narrow dirt track, however the coastal views can be quite impressive from here.
Unfortunately for those of us who like to immerse ourselves in these kinds of coastal environments there is no beach access permitted. We’re reminded of this fact by strategically placed signs warning of penalties for such breaches.
When finished with the south coast I made the short trip over to the north coast to visit Cowrie beach. I’ve been here once before but I had some unresolved images in my head that I wanted to try to capture here. Most of the northern coast is photographer friendly, allowing one to get as close to the water as one dares.
Pictured below – Bull in a China Shop, one of the less sedate Phillip Island waves attacking from left of frame.
Pictured below – A long exposure image using an ND400 filter, The Course of the Penguin, one of the many corridors used by the penguins of Phillip Island.
After finishing at Cowrie beach I left the island and crossed the bridge over to San Remo on the mainland. As I was crossing the bridge I noticed some amusing looking stairs below, surrounded entirely by the water of a high tide. It appeared to be a stairway going from nowhere to nowhere.
Pictured below – From Nowhere to Nowhere, San Remo.
The day concluded with a delicious meal of fish n’ chips from the Fisherman’s Cooperative, …..what bliss!
Cowrie Beach is located just a few hundred meters north-east of the popular tourist destination “The Nobbies” on Phillip Island, Australia. The beach sits just inside the entrance to Westernport Bay and is subjected to rough surf originating from Bass Strait.
The thinly vegetated sandy portions of the beach are home to Fairy penguins and some other more endangered species so there are signs present advising which areas to avoid.
The main attraction here from my perspective is at the water’s edge. The beach is blessed by the presence of dark basalt rock formations continuously pounded by waves.
Below – The Nobbies – an image from Cowrie beach with The Nobbies in the background.
Below – Down the Winding Path – a long exposure looking out to sea from Cowrie Beach.
Below – Awaiting the Devil – a frightening part of the beach where unexpected waves suddenly inundate the dark basalt platforms. There’s a warning sign on the beach reminding fishermen and other visitors how easy it is to be swept off these rocks.
Below – The Ordeal – How the Phillip Island penguins manage to survive the violent Bass Strait surf combined with rocky beaches escapes me.
Below – Through the Vapour
Saturday’s excursion to Phillip Island turned out to be very rewarding from a photographer’s perspective.
In the late afternoon I stopped at a place called Right Point, which seems to be a very popular destination for surfers. As I peered over the edge of the cliff towards the beach I instantly fell in love with this spot.
Below me were the remains of an old jetty being pounded by the violent surf.
With the sun starting to drop towards the horizon what more could a photographer ask for?
I grabbed my tripod and camera bag and dashed down to the beach like an excited child. The images were already forming in my mind before I had even reached the sand, ……..oh what a feeling !!
Below – Drawn to the Ocean
Below – The Penguin Pool
As the sun dropped even closer to the horizon a good situation became even better when suddenly Crepuscular rays broke through a gap in the clouds.
Crepuscular rays, also known as “God rays” or “God beams” are explained here.
Below – Running to the Light
Below – Sky Burst
Below – Agaze
On excursions where I’m near a bridge or pier, my inner troll has a tendency to take control and drag me under.
Sometimes the results are quite pleasing. Strangely enough I often find the underside to be more photographically pleasing than the top side.
Below – “Gateway” the underside of the San Remo bridge.
Below – “San Remo Bridge” the gateway to Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia.
Below – “Dromana Downunder” the underside of Dromana pier. No trolls under here!
Following are some images from The Pinnacles rock formation at Cape Woolamai on Phillip Island. We were hoping for some nice big waves but unfortunately the conditions conspired against us that day.
The images were created using HDR techniques to capture the full dynamic range of this very contrasty environment, i.e. 3 bracketed exposures at 0,-2 and +2 EV. I had an ND400 neutral density filter on the front of the lens to allow longer exposure times and give some sense of movement to the water and clouds.
Below – “Chasing Dinosaurs”
Below – “Waiting for the Swirl of White”
Below – “Sea Level”
Below – “Lost in the Moment”
Below – “The Risky Swim”
The following images were experiments using HDR tone mapping techniques combined with the effects of long exposure times.
Each image was constructed from at least 3 separate exposures using in-camera auto exposure bracketing. In my case, being a Canon shooter, I used 3 exposures of -2,0 and +2 simply for convenience. I believe Nikon shooters have a bit more flexibility in this area.
The images were all taken during daylight hours so it was necessary to use some heavy ND filtering in order to increase the exposure times and achieve a nice misty look to the water. In my case I used an ND400 and an ND8 filter stacked together to achieve this.
With the camera set to aperture priority mode I adjusted the aperture and filter combination (sometimes removing the ND8) to achieve an exposure of 8 seconds. When the shutter button is depressed the camera would then give me 3 exposures at 8 seconds, 2 seconds and 30 seconds (which is close enough to 0,-2 and +2). My particular camera doesn’t let me expose for longer than 30 seconds unless I go to bulb mode and use a remote timer, so out of laziness I tend to limit many of my exposures to 30 seconds.
The exposures were then combined and tonemapped using HDR software and tweaked in Photoshop to achieve the end result.
Despite all of this sounding a bit technical it’s really quite simple and I encourage you to try it. The results are often very rewarding.
BELOW – Jurassic Afternoon – Sunlight and waves break through a slit in the prehistoric Pinnacles rock formation on Phillip Island.
BELOW – The Mist of St.Pauls – A long exposure at St. Pauls beach, Sorrento, Victoria, Australia.
BELOW – Prehistoria – An image from The Pinnacles, at Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia.
BELOW – Swimming with Dinosaurs – Down amongst the prehistoric Pinnacles rock formations at Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia.
After a long pre-dawn walk along tracks through the tops of the coastal cliffs I arrived at The Pinnacles in time to see the sunrise. Access to the Pinnacles beach area here is via a steep (slippery when wet) track running down the face of the cliff area.
Unfortunately it turned out to be a dud sunrise so there wasn’t much colour in the sky but after getting down to the beach the view of the rock formations was wonderful. An interesting feature of this beach is the large round rocks covering the ground, great for photos but a challenge to navigate at times.