This is an image I captured during an excursion through northern Victoria quite some time ago. At the time I didn’t bother to post it in my blog because I didn’t think there would be much interest in it.
Boy was I wrong, …this is currently one of the best selling images on my Zazzle site.
Who would of thunk it?
When visiting Mystery Bay in New South Wales I found this wonderful cove full of dark rocks. The cove is open to the ocean and is constantly hammered by incoming waves.
A long exposure here creates a nice contrast of textures between the rough jagged rocks and the softness of the mist created by the motion of the waves.
I was fortunate to stay in the town of Narooma in New South Wales for a couple of days on a recent trip up the coast.
Narooma is home to some interesting natural rock formations along the ocean beach. When combined with some great surf the photo opportunities are plentiful.
A few images from Walkerville South beach at low tide.
The Dragon’s Head rock at the Number Sixteen beach, Rye, has been a photographic target that I’ve been looking forward to shooting for quite some time. The last time I visited here I’d arrived a bit too late in the tidal cycle to safely explore the rocky plateau that surrounds the Dragon’s Head.
Today’s visit was executed with military precision. I arrived on the beach precisely at low tide, waded out to the Dragon’s Head through ankle deep water and excitedly set up my tripod. The ocean waves were crashing and rolling across the rocky plateau then cascading beautifully over the edge very close to the Dragon’s Head.
Being a big fan of long exposure images you can imagine my disappointment as I fumbled around in my camera bag trying to find my ND filters to fit the wide angle lens. They were no where to be found. I had left the filters behind at home, … they were attached to another lens. It was one of those forehead slapping moments.
In the absence of any suitably sized ND filters I decided to make the unique shape of the rock fill the frame in the image above rather than featuring the flow of water.
The next image below was taken from quite a distance back from the Dragon’s head using a 70-200mm lens. Fortunately I had a suitably sized ND filter for this particular lens so it was possible to soften the look of the flowing water. Unfortunately using the long lens meant that I wasn’t able to get the composition that I was looking for.
Lesson learned – double check the gear before leaving home, never assume!
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.
Pictured below, a long exposure image capturing the remnants of spent waves returning to the relentless ocean at Rye beach, Victoria, Australia.
…….and for those who prefer a black and white version………,
A couple of images from the previous excursion to Number Sixteen beach, reprocessed in black and white, ……and with a little more drama added.
The Shark’s Fin, a long exposure from Rye back beach, Victoria, Australia.
Out to Sea, Rye Back beach.
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.
Below – Plateau – A long exposure image from the Sorrento back beach.
An intriguing place to visit at low tide.
Pictured below, more images from around the historic buildings at the quarantine station.
Parks Victoria has a nice PDF explaining a little about the attractions here.
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
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.
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
A selection of images from the photographically rich area along Sorrento back beach.
Below – “Her Outstretched Arms“
The sun has dropped close to the horizon giving a warm hue to the sky and rocky plateaus. The vigorous surf is tamed by the camera’s long exposure time.
Below – “Sphinx“
In the foreground the violent surf swirls under and around a rocky platform whilst in the background the iconic Sorrento Sphinx rock formation stares out to sea.
Below – “The Call of White Water“
Low tide at St Paul’s beach Sorrento as the surf crashes over the rocky plateaus filling one of the many natural pools.
Images from a recent trip to Flinders with friends Christine Wilson and Caroline Gorka.
The objective for the afternoon was to capture some images of the old wooden pier before it’s replaced by the concrete monster that’s currently being constructed right next to it.
As usual I became distracted.
Below – “IiN” some ghostly remains from further along the beach.
Below – “Flinders Point” just around the corner from the calm harbor area there’s a lot more ocean wave activity.
There were waves crashing all over the place here but the long exposure makes it look deceptively calm.
Below – “Flinders Back-Beach” near the blow hole area. Stop giggling, that’s what it’s called !!
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.
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.
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!
Contrasting views from the beach at Jam Jerrup, Victoria, Australia.
It’s interesting to see how different a location can appear under different light and tidal conditions. This is exactly the reason why I like to return to the same places many times.
Below – “Aspirations” is a minimalistic long exposure image taken at high tide.
Below – “Blunderbuss” is a wider view of the same area taken at low tide with some more drama taking place in the clouds.
Below – “Exploring the Meme” is the boat ramp and single post at Jam Jerrup.
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.
I visited the town of Beachport just prior to the summer “silly season”. This provided me the with the opportunity to explore the area without the usual crowds of holiday makers cluttering up the splendid beaches.
The town sits on the end of a small cape with one side facing towards the open ocean and the other side facing more towards the mainland providing a relatively safe harbour area and calmer beaches.
Below – Thar She Blows – a storm approaches Beachport from the ocean.
Below – Beachport Pier – located on the calmer east side of the cape, is apparently the second longest pier in Australia. You need a cut lunch and a sherpa to trek from one end of the pier to the other.
Below – The Pool of Siloam at Beachport contains water which is claimed to be seven times saltier than seawater which makes floating really easy. The pool is fed by underground springs.
Below – Back on the rougher ocean side Post Office Rock at Beachport provides some nice wave action.
I lost a pair of runners and socks here to an unexpected wave.
Following are a few images from Meningie, on the banks of Lake Albert in South Australia taken in December last year (2010).
I was told by the Bev at the Lake Albert Motel that the lake has only recently recovered from the drought. Apparently for some time there wasn’t water anywhere near the jetty pictured below.
Below – Traces – Meningie, South Australia, Lake Albert.
Below – Rise and Fall – Meningie, South Australia, Lake Albert.
I have no idea what those posts are doing out there in the water.
(Update – 31-01-11 Bev at the Lake Albert Motel has informed me that the posts in the water are there to provide a roost for the local pelicans. That makes sense.)
Below – Aspects of Abundance Meningie, South Australia, Lake Albert.
Pelican roosting posts.
Below – Meningie Some wonderful action going on in the clouds here.
Below – Unbreakable – The second most sturdy piece of outdoor furniture I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting on.
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”