Images from a pre-dawn trip to Seaford pier with friends from the ND400 Long Exposure group on Facebook. We arrived in the pitch black of early morning, ….a VERY unusual time for me, ….and waited for the sun to rise.
A long exposure image taken at Mentone beach just after sunset.
A couple of long exposure images from the groyne on the beach at Mentone near the pub.
A marker on the outermost edge of the rock shelf at Ricketts Point beach in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia.
Jetty remnants at The Dell at Clifton Springs in Victoria, Australia.
The photography community seems to be polarized over the use of phone cameras and associated filter programs such as Instagram.
I must admit to being slow to travel down the “phone and filter” path and have only recently decided to give it a go to see what all the noise is about.
Since giving it a trial run I must admit that the use of Instagram and other similar programs has reintroduced a fresh and fun aspect to my photography.
I find it refreshingly simple to just pull out my phone, click, process and even publish the image so quickly.
I also enjoy being forced to rethink my compositions into a square format after being conditioned by years of using a 3×2 SLR format.
Admittedly I’ve had to resist the urge to “pixel peep” at the noise and visual anomalies created by some of the clunky filters.
This will never replace my SLR photography but I reckon it will complement it nicely. Phone photography has definitely introduced a fresh fun aspect to my photo life.
A couple of images from a recent stroll on Shelley beach, Porstsea, Victoria.
It was one of those great days for photography. The clouds were very heavy causing a nice subdued light.
The threat of impending rain also meant I had the beach to myself, ……nice.
The day started out well with brunch in Sorrento at the Buckley’s Chance restaurant with friends Christine and Caroline.
After being suitably fueled by brunch we strolled to the other end of town and boarded the Sorrento-Queenscliff Ferry for the short trip across the mouth of Port Phillip Bay to Queenscliff.
On arrival we departed the ferry to see what photographic treasures we could find along the beach.
Pictured below – Queenscliff Pier, shot in the early afternoon using an ND400 filter to extend the exposure time and soften the waves.
Pictured below – Evidence of Dredge, a pipeline from the offshore dredger snakes it way past heavy posts buried in the sand at the shoreline. The waves softened to a mist by the use of long exposure time.
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.
The Mentone groyne is located on Mentone beach just south of the Mentone pub. In the past this groyne has been incorrectly referred to as the “Old Mentone jetty” by myself and others. There’s off road parking close to the groyne but unfortunately the local council here tries to screw you over with a three dollar per hour parking fee.
All of the following images were taken using an ND400 filter to extend the exposure time and smooth out the waves on the water.
Below – Running West – Mentone Groyne
On the afternoon I visited the groyne it was almost high tide so these photos are only showing the very top bits of the structure above the water. Next time I visit I’ll be making sure I arrive during a low tide when the structure appears more like a series of small arches. I think that would be worth getting wet feet for.
Below – Charging into the Night.
On the walk back to the carpark, some kind of territorial dispute erupted amongst these seagulls on a small rocky island just offshore. The image below doesn’t properly convey the ensuing ruckus but it was quite impressive to watch a little bit of nature’s drama playing out in front of me.
Below – Lord of the Gulls – ruckus on the rock.
Saturday’s excursion was down towards the pointy end of the Mornington Peninsula.
After a hearty lunch of fish ‘n chips on Dromana beach, it was off to Sorrento for a cappuccino and also check out the surf conditions on the ocean side.
On arrival at the back-beach the surf was violent and unruly, fueled by a ferocious onshore wind.
I’ve tried to capture long exposure images under these conditions a couple of times before and come away from the experience with disappointing results. A howling wind always manages to soften my long exposure images regardless of tripod technique.
With this in mind I resigned myself to exploring the calmer more docile side of Sorrento, the bay side. The view from the beach here was quite nice with small boats bobbing and wobbling around in the water. I took a few shots of the little boats but couldn’t find anything particularly satisfying so I moved my attention to the huge bollards near the pier.
Pictured below – Bollard.
Above – In this image the huge concrete bollard remains motionless whilst surrounded by the blurred movement of waves on the water. It’s nearby neighbors, the boat and the buoy wobble and rock in compliance with the waves. I used a high key effect to eliminate some distracting elements from the background. Both ND400 and ND8 neutral density filters were attached to the lens to achieve the desired long exposure under fairly bright conditions.
Pictured below – The Sorrento Bollards.
Above – The massive bollards are used to assist with holding the Queenscliff-Sorrento ferry in place at the pier during the exchange of passengers and cars.
After shooting the bollards, mother nature tried to grow me a rainbow. The left and right ends of the rainbow were developing nicely and gradually growing skywards then suddenly fizzled into nothingness.
After a delicious lunch at the Ricketts Point teahouse, Chris from Ambientcapture and I drove to Half Moon Bay where the wreck of the HMVS Cerberus rests semi-submerged some distance offshore.
The HMVS Cerberus was launched in 1868 and is the only remaining breastwork monitor class warship left in the world. You can find more details about the ship’s rich history at it’s Wikipedia page here, or it’s dedicated website here.
My idea from a photographic perspective was to capture the Cerberus using long exposure techniques to blur the motion of the water and clouds, and yet keep the wreck in sharp focus.
I had to wrestle with this one in post processing due to the extreme brightness of the background but I think I finally found a unique vision of the wreck.
Pictured below – a long exposure view from the Half Moon Bay pier looking north along the coastline. The little blurry bit at the lower center of the image is a buoy bobbing around in the waves.
Following is a series of images taken at the Sorrento back beach, Victoria, Australia, using an ND400 filter during bright afternoon light conditions.
Pictured below – Dorsal.
Below – The Vagabond Tide.
Below – The Rinse Cycle.
Point Nepean is located at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay and contains old military fortifications dating back to the 1880s.
Amongst the many features at Point Nepean are the old gun emplacements which are serviced by a series of interesting tunnels and purpose built rooms buried into the hill.
The underground atmosphere is enhanced by audio loops continuously playing the eerie sounds of a military yesteryear.
Following is a series of bracketed and tone-mapped long exposure images from Safety Beach, Victoria, Australia.
All were shot in the late afternoon using ND400 and ND8 filters combined to achieve the desired long exposure times.
Below – “Safety Beach Jetty“
Here’s how I do my bracketed images – Many of my waterscapes are long exposure tonemapped images generated from 3 exposures at 0,-2 and +2 EV. In order to achieve these 3 exposures I set my camera to aperture priority mode, enable auto bracketing and set the ISO as low as it will go. I then tinker with the aperture value, iso value and either add or remove ND filters in order to force the camera to achieve a shutter speed of 8 seconds for the first exposure (0 EV). Now when the shutter button is activated the camera gives me 3 exposures at 8 seconds, 2 seconds and 30 seconds (which corresponds to approximately 0,-2 and +2 EV)
When these 3 exposures are blended together (tonemapped) in an HDR program the resulting image contains the misty silky effects from the 8 and 30 second exposures and also contains some details from the slower 2 second exposure. When shooting REALLY fast moving water I usually aim for a faster initial exposure time of say 4 seconds. The camera then gives me 3 bracketed exposures at 4 seconds, 1 second and 16 seconds (0,-2 and +2 EV)
The aim is to catch some detail in the fastest exposure but also benefit from the misty effect of the longer exposures.
UPDATE – Oct 2012 – If you’re looking for an introductory guide on how to use the ND400 have a look at my other blog post here.
Below – “Seep” a stormwater drain at Safety Beach.
Yes, a drain can look beautiful.
Below – “Jettison” another stormwater drain at Safety Beach.
Here’s a selection of colourful bathing boxes at Safety Beach, a bayside suburb on Port Phillip Bay, Victoria. The bathing boxes are privately owned beach sheds generally owned by Melbourne’s more wealthy people.
If you visit the windows of local real estate agents you can find some of these bathing boxes for sale at ridiculously high prices.
Lolly Boxes 1 – Safety Beach, Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia.
Lolly Boxes 2 – Safety Beach, Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia.
Lolly Boxes 3 – Safety Beach, Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia.
Ricketts Point is a marine sanctuary located south east of Melbourne in Port Phillip Bay. When viewed from the land it’s an unremarkable looking series of sandstone rock platforms. Apparently under the waterline the platforms support a great diversity of flora and fauna.
When viewed from a land-based photographer’s perspective the area looks pretty ordinary during bright daylight hours.
Towards the evening the area becomes more attractive as it provides an unobstructed view of the setting sun and also provides some foreground interest in the form of waves swirling around rocks at the edge of the platforms.
This provides a good opportunity to catch some nice long exposure images.
Prior to the sun setting, the rocky platforms serve as a meeting place for several species of birds. Amongst them are a very tolerant group of pelicans. They don’t seem to mind people getting relatively close to them here which provides a nice opportunity for bird watchers and photographers.
This excursion to Seaford pier was a second visit. My goal was to capture an image that I’d had in my mind for some time but wasn’t able to quite capture on the first visit.
The subject of the image was a wonderful old wooden bench seat located at the end of the Seaford pier.
Pictured above – “The Silent Partner” is available as a print here.
I chose to use a long exposure here to smooth out the waves on the water and soften the clouds in the sky. This has the desirable effect of making the image less busy and draws the viewers attention to the wonderful grain and smooth worn texture of the wood.
Conveniently the lines of the bench also draw the viewers eyes into the image and towards a swirling cloud in the background providing a second point of interest.
Pictured below – “Observer” is available as a print here.
This is the image I took on the first visit. I like this image but it wasn’t the vision I initially had in mind. A local resident paid me the ultimate compliment by purchasing a framed print of this one.
Portsea and Sorrento are coastal villages located at the tip of the Mornington Peninsula, south east of Melbourne. They both share a wild and woolly ocean beach to the south and the much calmer waters of Port Phillip Bay to the north. As a photography enthusiast I enjoy the contrast between the ocean and bay sides of the peninsula.
In winter and early spring you can stand on the ocean beach and not see another soul, a prospect I find very attractive. The only problem is that the wild and woolly conditions that keep the crowds away also make photography difficult. A photographer here has to contend with the difficulties of high winds and sea spray, not impossible I know but very annoying when combined with the low temperatures of winter.
For this reason I’ve found myself gravitating towards the calmer bayside beaches on my last couple of trips down that way.
Below – “34 Steps” which is available to purchase as a print here.
I’ve recently been trying to consciously simplify my images by attempting to exclude as many distracting elements as possible. Whilst shooting on the bayside beaches this has been fairly easy to achieve by using long exposures to reduce the detail in the water and sky. Another benefit of the long exposures is that birds and boats can move through the frame without even appearing in the finished exposure. I used a combination of an ND400 and an ND8 filter giving me about 12 stops of darkness to make the exposures up to 30 seconds long for these images.
Below – “The Danger of Diving”, Portsea beach, which is available to purchase as a print here.
Portsea and Sorrento bayside beaches feature a wonderful collection of public and private jetties.
Below – “Outbound”, Sorrento beach, which is available to purchase as a print here.
Despite being technically over exposed I like the drama this high key image presents.
I like the way the sea and the sky are almost one. A personal favorite.
Below – “Nature versus Nurture”, Portsea beach, which is available to purchase as a print here.
Below – “Boomerang”, Portsea beach, which is available to purchase as a print here.
Below – “Civilization meets the Sea”, Portsea beach, is available to purchase as a print here.
Below – “The Trappings of Wealth”, Sorrento beach, is available to purchase as a print here.
This morning I dropped my car off for a service.
With the knowledge that I’d have a couple of hours to kill I took along the Panasonic LX3 to see what I could find. After a leisurely breakfast at the local cafe I strolled down to the beach at Seaford and gave the LX3 a bit of a run in “Dynamic B&W” mode.
This little camera never fails to amaze me. Of course the image quality is not as good as a DSLR but to me the quality is certainly quite acceptable. I just love the LX3 for portability when I don’t want to lug around the DSLR and lenses.
Following are 3 images taken yesterday at Ricketts Point, Beaumaris, as a storm rolled across the bay.
The apparent power and turbulence of the clouds in the sky is mirrored by the motion and ferocity of the water. It was an invigorating place to be.
Sunset at Black Rock beach, Australia.
The Cerberus is the semi submerged rusting hull of a ship pictured just below the setting sun.
This image is available to purchase as a print here.