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.
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.
My initial plan was to stop at Grantville, visit the bakery for a mandatory steak pie and cappuccino, then take a long stroll along the beach.
The consumption of the pie and cappuccino went nicely to plan. On arrival at the beach all that had changed.
Where’s the beach gone? ………….
I had apparently arrived at the peak of a king tide. There was no sand to be seen anywhere, much less walk along.
Pictured below – looking out towards the jetty the fishermen appeared to be almost walking on water. It was unusual to see the water lapping across the platform on the lower section of the jetty.
Pictured below – A few images from along the beach, north of the jetty, taken with a Lumix LX3 camera.
It’s amazing how salt tolerant these trees can be.
Where’s my sandy beach gone?
Due to the king tide, navigating the coast required walking through low lying vegetation, and it didn’t feel right.
I should check my tide charts more often.
If you’re interested in buying any of these images as prints then please contact me at – email@example.com
Amongst the photographic gems that Grantville beach makes available to photographers is a set of 3 rows of short pylons.
No doubt these pylons are the remains of an old jetty but they differentiate themselves from other such sites in a couple of interesting ways. Firstly, it’s unusual to see 3 rows of pylons like this. Most old jetties leave behind only two rows of pylons.
Secondly the pylons are extremely short here, with most of them extending from the muddy base by only a few short inches.
The short stature of these pylons provides photographers with an interesting challenge. At high tide the pylons are invisible as they’re completely submerged by water, and at low tide they’re an awful looking series of posts sitting in mud.
The challenge for the photographer is to arrive at the site during a narrow window of opportunity whilst the tidal transition ideally has all of the pylons surrounded by water around their bases and yet not enough water to make them shorten or disappear below the surface.
Below – “Runway to the Afterlife“
On my first visit to the site I was extremely lucky and caught the tide at just the right height. I wasn’t aware of how elusive these pylons could be until subsequent visits, hoping to catch the pylons in a different light, I haven’t been fortunate enough to arrive at the right time.
Below – “Mortality” an image taken near the pylons on a different evening. The dark brooding sky sets the mood of the image. In the foreground lays a dead jellyfish, stranded by the outgoing tide.
Below – “Deep Creek Reflections“, also near the pylons Deep Creek enters the Westernport Bay.
I visited Grantville the day after Victoria had been hammered by unusually high rainfall.
Apparently the extreme rainfall was a side effect of cyclone Yasi’s passage across Queensland and into central Australia.
With the worst of the rain over, the day provided some beautiful photographic conditions with the sun filtered through an interesting arrangement of constantly changing storm clouds.
I love the beach down this way. Each time I visit here I discover something new.
Before I discovered photography I would never have guessed that I would find storm water drains interesting.
Below – “Purge” a storm water drain running into Westernport Bay.
For those who are interested in the technical details, the drain images are constructed using HDR tone mapping techniques. The long exposures were achieved using a combination of ND400 and ND8 filters on the end of the lens to smooth the waves on the water.
Below – “Running from the Idols” – another drain dumping water into Westernport Bay.
Below – “Grantville Jetty” – a view from the jetty looking out towards the boat ramp marker posts.
Below – “After the Rains” – a long exposure image from Grantville beach as rain clouds exit. An old boat trailer sits semi-submerged in the foreground.
Captured below, a long exposure image of the incoming tide starting to submerge the concrete boat ramp at Grantville on Westernport Bay.
Due to the long shallow nature of the ramp the “goal posts” are used as a guide by boat owners to help prevent boat trailers from being driven over the sides or end of the ramp and into the mud/water.
Below – “Moving the Goal Posts”
My excursions are never entirely about the photography. Often they’re about the escape, ….often they’re about self exploration, …….every now and then they might even result in a nice photographic image. Well, nice to me anyhow.
On previous visits to Grantville I’ve tended to concentrate on trying to capture an inspiring image or two from the mangroves dotted along the coast here. The mangroves are a fairly easy target for photography purposes. At high tide it’s possible to visually isolate them between the water and the sky which works to simplify the image by excluding potentially distracting background elements. On calm days the water can also act as a fantastic mirror for capturing reflections, particularly when doing long exposures.
This particular visit to Grantville was all about capturing the pier though, so here it is.
In the black and white image above I’ve deliberately over exposed the image to blow out the sky and increase the contrast between the pier and the background. I personally like the contrasty result here, but I know this style of image is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Pictured below – “The First Days of Sun” which is available to purchase as a print here.
This image from the pier was created from 3 exposures using HDR tone mapping techniques to maintain details in both the bright sky and the dark shadows.
Pictured below – “The Promise of Warm Days” which is available to purchase as a print here.
Another 3 exposure HDR shot converted to black and white and processed with a bit of dodging and burning in Photoshop.
Now for some serious business. I’ve discovered that the cafe on the corner of the Bass Hwy and Grantville Glen Alvie Road in Grantville sells excellent homemade meat pies made with flaky puff pastry. The coffee is pretty good there too.
(Disclaimer – I have no connection with this cafe at all, I just enjoyed the pie so much I felt the need to share it with you.)
You certainly have to admire the hardiness of the Mangrove tree.
It thrives in poor quality soil in tidal areas, and twice a day has it’s roots submerged in salty sea water. Under storm conditions the Mangrove is battered by both wind and waves yet it still manages to hold firmly.
The Mangrove tree is also an interesting subject from a photographer’s perspective. At high tide with the roots submerged it’s fairly easy to photographically isolate the subject from it’s surroundings by using a long exposure time to smooth any waves around it’s base and blur any clouds in the sky.
Below – TimeKeeper
Below – The Risen
Below – Approaching the Forest
At low tide the Mangrove tree has it’s roots exposed creating potentially a new subject of interest for the photographer. The long roots are often intertwined with each other giving the impression of writhing serpents (perhaps that’s just my imagination running wild).
Below – The Serpent Tree
Below – Wild n’ Woolly a long exposure with the roots exposed and the leaves thrashing around in the wind.
Below – On Borrowed Time the same tree as above but at high tide.
Here are some more images taken at various places around Westernport Bay, Victoria, Australia.
It’s always a lot of fun shooting around here at low tide. The beaches feature a fine grain sticky mud that slowly tries to draw you beneath the surface. With each step that you take you risk losing your footwear.
Taking long exposures is certainly interesting as the tripod gradually sinks into the silt.
This is just the sort of place where you should take emergency pants in case you unexpectedly sit down in the mud.
The following image was taken at Crib Point beach.
This image Barnacle Build was shot at Balnarring beach.
The following image The Threat of Punishment was taken at Grantville beach. All of the ground in this shot is mud.
The following two images were taken at Grantville which is located on the eastern side of Westernport Bay, Victoria, Australia.
Low tide at the Grantville beach exposes a huge expanse of fine silty mud dotted with clusters of mangrove trees. On the day I was there the sky was filled with bright swirling clouds so I incorporated them into the photos as an added point of interest. Originally I envisioned capturing the scenes with a featureless blue sky but nature has a way of changing plans.
I’m been told by several people that the first photo below contains a face in the clouds, and ever since it’s been pointed out to me I see it every time I view the image.
There’s a word for this, ….and the word is pareidolia.