The Moon In My Eyes.

Latest image from Great Ocean Road.

I was lucky enough to wake early and have a sneak peek of the Moon over the 12 Apostles. What a beautiful sight it was, the moonlight from behind the Apostles and the first of the morning light illuminating the rock stacks in the foreground. The image was taken at 5.30am, with clouds moving in quickly from the South – I managed to shoot 3 images at 30-second exposures before the clouds completely covered the Moon and the moment was gone.

Image will be available for purchase as a Limited Edition from my Website.

Darren J.

moon in my eyes, 12 apostles, great ocean rd, port campbell, victoria, australia

Victorian Landscape Photographer.

Hi Friends,
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.
darrenjbennettphotography.com
Darren J.

migg

Moeraki Boulders (Kaihinaki).

The Moeraki Boulders are situated at Koekohe Beach which is on the Otago Coast in the South Island of New Zealand. 1 hour drive up the eastern coast from Dunedin, the enigmatic Boulders are a ‘must see’ attraction.

The huge Boulders lay scattered along the beach, which is a protected scientific reserve. The Boulders are striking to look at with their unusually large size and bimodel shape, their sizes ranging from 1.0 to 3.0 metres and weighing up to several tons.

Up to 50 Boulders can be seen on the beach, with the largest Boulder weighing up to 7 tonnes. Taking around 4 million years to form their current size. Over the years many of the smaller Boulders have been taken for souvenirs.

Unfortunately due to my schedule, 1 night was all the time l was able to spend there, an evening shoot and morning shoot, which produced great results. I will be heading back to the South Island next year in Autumn and planning to spend a few more nights at the Moeraki Boulders.

Darren J.

Lake Tasman, Mount Cook.

Mount Cook. After having a successful time there on my last visit, l am so keen to get back.

Prior to my last visit, l had never seen such amazing scenery. Being from Melbourne, Australia, it’s a different kind of landscape out here. We just don’t have these kind of lakes anywhere in Australia.

After viewing images from Lake Tasman on the internet, l had made up my mind to see it for myself. Due to a heavily booked schedule l could only manage to stay 3 nights at Mount Cook, when l say only 3 nights, what l mean is l could have spent another week there and still require more time.

My first visit to Lake Tasman was early morning, making my way to the car park, grabbing my gear from the car, l made my way along the walking track in the dark, l was a little concerned when 40 minutes later l hadn’t seen Lake Tasman and the sign in the carpark read 20min walk.

So back to the carpark l went, the sun had started to rise by then and the sunrise was looking good indeed, just my luck, alone on a walking track and witnessing some beautiful light indeed. The only problem, where was Lake Tasman? Upon my arrival back to the car, l decided to have another look at the directional sign and found that l had taken the wrong track. Bugger.

l spent the next couple of hours scouting around Lake Tasman, getting familiar with the correct walking tracks and areas that l will be shooting from. As one such path leads out to the head of the Tasman River, Flowing out from Lake Tasman, which produces the best viewpoint. The small floating icebergs make for excellent foreground composition, whilst using the mountains as backdrops.

 

Darren J.

the fire inside, mount cook, lake tasman, new zealand

animals on ice, ice figures, tasman lake, new zealand, mount cook

 

 

 

Get to know your seascapes

These examples show what can be achieved through getting to know your subject matter, which means getting to your location early, scouting around the area you intent to photograph and pre-visualizing what type of effect the water will have when conditions and tide flow change.

I arrived at this location a few hours before sunset, knowing that high tide will start coming in around sunset, l killed some time scouting around and looking for subject matter that had potential to create strong visual elements once hide tide was in.

Bearing in mind that this particular location was very flat in appearance (no huge rock stacks to play with) it was important to create dynamic foreground interest through water motion.

The example below attracted my eye with it’s strong lines and shapes,  l had already pre-visualized the type of image and look l was after, than waited for the tide to come in.

Darren J.

tut1

Once you have the water motion, than start playing around with your shutter speeds to help emphasise subtle variations in motion. For this particular scene l wanted to achieve more of a streaky kind of motion, using speeds of around 1 to 2 seconds, whilst keeping the cascading water effect over the central rock.

tut4If my shutter speed had been longer it would have created a more ‘milky look’. Move around the scene trying all sorts of different compositions, until you find the strongest dynamics and best visual impact within the frame. With hide tide coming in it’s important to step back and assess the dangers.

Quite often rogue waves can catch you of guard, causing lots of damage to your gear and making it a very dangerous situation for the photographer. In most cases the surface of the rocks will be slimy and very, very slippery, so if you have to back track in a hurry, always take care.

tut2With the water cascading in and out of the giant pot holes, your bound to end up with sea spray continuously hitting you and your camera, be sure to carry a cotton t-shirt to wipe down your camera and filters, make your way to and from the area capturing images then going back to wipe your gear.

To capture this kind of seascape requires lots of water action and that means getting in close. l am often asked how l deal with looking after my gear shooting in these trying conditions, to which l answer ‘l don’t’. If you plan to be serious with your seascapes, your camera gear will suffer considerably, no matter how well you maintain it, if your gear is in good condition than your not getting the shots and your not close enough.

Darren J

tut3

 

The Razor Back.

‘The Razors Edge’.

Here is a recent capture from the Great Ocean Road. A slightly different perspective of the Razor Back, which is situated at Port Campbell, taken from an observation area that requires one to jump a fence. Participants on our Port Campbell Workshops are able to take in these stunning vistas, away from the regular tourist platforms.

Darren J.

Great Ocean Road, Port Campbell, Victoria, Australia, loch ard gorge,

Missing The Great Ocean Road.

Really missing the ocean at the moment. Need to get some saltwater into my system. The restrictions due to Covid19 seem to be going on forever, Someone tell me there is light at the end of the tunnel. This image of me in action was captured by Rob Featonby, whilst we were running a Photography Workshop at Aireys Inlet and Point Roadknight along the Great Ocean Road.
Darren J.
Point Roadknight. Great Ocean Road.

Point Roadknight, Great Ocean Road.

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.

Darren J.

Point Roadnight, Great Ocean Road.
Incoming Tide Point Roadnight.
Point Roadnight.
Point Roadnight.

The Great Ocean Road.

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.

 

Red Johanna Beach, Great Ocean Road.

 

 

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.

 

Artillery Rocks, Great Ocean Road.

 

The Bakers Oven, Great Ocean Road, Port Campbell.

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.

Darren J.

baker