This Adventure starts at Point Roadknight, located just before Anglesea at the very start of the Great Ocean Road. Its only a short drive from Melbourne (116 km) and would usually take me 1 hour and 15 minutes to get there, so its a great location to get to if time is a factor, a quick sunset/sunrise shoot and you’re home in no time at all. Very easy location to access from the car park with a short stroll along the beach, the rock stacks seem to be sandstone, so they are very craggy and the jagged surface can graze you easily.
The area itself stretches out about 200 metres or so and the rock stacks have really unusual shapes and features about them. The water flow in and around this location can be very very dangerous so its probably best to arrive early to do some ground work as there are lots of pots holes in and around the rock shelf and if you have an incoming tide the pot holes will not be obvious with water flowing over them. l always recommened no matter where you are photographing, arriving early to navigate the area and become familiar with the terrain, that way you will be more aware of what you will be dealing with when the light is low and the tide is coming in, also try to time your shoot when the tide is outgoing, that way more of the surface will be exposed as the water recedes. Explore the location at low tide and see what awaits you, imagine what the area looks like with water motion.
With the right tidal conditions you might be able to push out on the rock shelf a little further which in turn opens up more compositional options, and hopefully make the most of some water motion coming in and around the area creating beautiful little waterfalls which you can utilise for foreground interest. Cascading water movement will always help create a more dramatic and visually pleasing image and be sure to use a slower shutter speed to help emphasise to motion. Low tide will generally produce little water movement so you can work more on compositions using rock pools with a calm water surface and reflections, mid tide at Point Roadknight will have water gushing in all around you, creating cascading waterfalls.
When running my Photography Workshops in Anglesea, l take my participants for a shoot at Point Roadknight, either sunrise or sunset depending on tidal conditions. Low tide is always best to start learning about seascape photography.
Fortunately l have avoided any nasty falls or accidents at Point Roadknight, but not so lucky for a participant on one of my workshops, well it was after the workshop had finished that we decided to go for another shoot at Point Roadknight, a participant was scouting around for a good composition when she accidentally stepped into a pot hole, falling over and dropping her camera into the water, it turns out that her camera stopped working, luckily her insurance covered her camera and a new one was provided.
All in all Point Roadknight is a great location for seascape photography, so long as you have your wits about you, once again play it smart and have someone tag along to watch your back. Be prepared to get your feet wet and possibly your camera gear as there will always be a rogue wave or two.
Another thing to mention, when you find yourself knee deep in water (like the participants in the image below) wait until the water recedes back and you can see whats around you, when the water is coming in and around you its nearly impossible to see the pot holes as they are filled with water, once the water recedes make your move back. Invest in a pair of waders to get in closer to the action.
l have been taking photos along the Great Ocean Road for over 20 years now, l learnt my craft there, studying the tides and the ocean mainly by watching and observing. Spending hours and hours sitting on the rocks and watching in no particular hurry, waiting for sunset and whilst waiting l was watching how the incoming or outgoing tide moved the water around with it, wrapping itself around the rocks and creating lovely lines and movement as the waves came into shore and than out again. it was through observing the ebbs and flows that l was able to capture this through the camera.
The swirling water had me hooked so to speak. Days turned into weeks and weeks into years, from Anglesea to crayfish Bay and Lorne to Port Campbell, the possibilities along this beautiful stretch of coastline were immense. Every weekend was spent along the coastline, sunrise and sunset. The drive there did not bother me to much as l actually love to drive long distances, l find it somewhat therapeutic, visiting a location over and over again until l had captured a few good frames than move on.
In doing this l managed to find my favourite spots (my go to locations) such as Artillery Rocks, located 12 kms out from Lorne, its also a popular spot with fisherman. The rock formations are really interesting, volcanic in nature and worn away from the sea, they provide great subject matter for learning the art of seascape photography, although one must always be very wary of the tidal conditions as this is a very dangerous place especially during high tide or stormy weather.
The Bakers Oven.
Great Ocean Road, Port Campbell, located a few hundred metres away from Loch Ard Gorge, towards Port Campbell, turn off onto a dirt track and walk a few hundred metres to the location.
Make the most of your foreground, pot holes and reflections give lots of depth to the foreground and algae sets the colour off.
Get in ‘close’ to your subject matter and use a nice wide angle lens. Foreground, middle Ground and background should all work together.
A very unique perspective.
l am always on the lookout for something a little different from the Great Ocean Road. This location is amazing, off the beaten track and standing on a very narrow cliff face (shaking at the knees) whilst composing. The views are nothing more than awesome, with the wild ocean and strong breeze just about blew me over the edge. You really need to brace yourself whilst out at these locations and many times l ask myself ‘what the heck am l doing out here risking my life’ with so much corrosion and sections of the cliffs falling off, but here l am again living and loving what l do.
Salt Water in my Veins.
Next time you find yourself in Warrnambool, Victoria, make sure you have time to visit a place known to the locals as ‘Magic Rock’. Its tucked away just of the Great Ocean Road. Getting to the location can be very tricky as there are only 2 forms of access, one is by car along a very very bumpy dirt track that stretches on for about 10kms, it is also a very narrow track so if you have a larger type vehicle expect to pick up a few scratches from over hanging branches. The other alternative is to drive around to another entry point and park your car, than walk or ride a bike, the walk would take around 50 minutes, which ever route you decide to take both options are difficult to find without a little guidance from the locals.
The terrain is also very hazardous with a steep descent down to the main rock stack, once down you will than have to navigate the dangerous and unpredictable incoming ocean swell, which can knock you off your feet in an instant. to get up close to the Magic Rock, you will have to clamber over quite a few boulders (if the tide allows) and than hopefully get yourself a good composition to start shooting. Ocean spray and misty conditions can also cause havoc, so make sure you pack a few good cloths to wipe down your camera gear regularly.
Another recommendation is to make sure you don’t do it alone, have a friend or 2 tag along to look out for you as any slip or accident here would be a disaster. Always take care and stay safe whilst photographing.