Mt Buffalo, Cathedral Rock.

Hi Friends,

 

Recently, l’ve had the pleasure of spending a few nights over in the Alpine Region of Victoria. Stayed at Mt Beauty for 5 nights with the family doing some camping, so l thought l would sneak in a little bit of photography, well actually a lot of photography!

Starting with a few sunrise shoots at Mt Buffalo, a couple of sessions over at Falls Creek and some local photography at Mt Beauty. The best conditions overall were at Mt Buffalo, the sunrise shoots were, to say the least, spectacular, with clear skies and great conditions, which made for really nice photography.

For the morning photography shoots at Mt Buffalo, l set the alarm clock for 4am in the morning, that way, l had enough time to drive from Mt Beauty (where we were camping) the 1.5 hours to Cathedral Rock at Mt Buffalo.

Cathedral Rock is a large Granite Tor (pile of huge boulders)which is located in the middle of the Mt Buffalo Plateau. Standing out amongst the smaller granite rock stacks in the area. It’s a very popular location for hikers, rock climbers and photographers alike. The drive up to Cathedral Rock from the entry point of Mt Buffalo takes around 40 minutes or so, due to the never ending tight winding road (all up hill).

Once you reach the car park, it’s a 750m hike up to Cathedral Rock, the path is fairly well laid out and manageable in low light conditions. Upon reaching the top, the views are spectacular with 360degree views, if the air is clear you will see most of the high peaks, such as The Pinnacle, Cresta Valley and the Horn. If you’re feeling fit, you could traverse another 300m up and along the same path for the views at The Horn.

l spent most of my morning photography shoots at The Cathedral. My first visit there, l was lucky enough to have mist rolling in and out for most of the morning, creating a sense of moody and atmospheric conditions. The following morning shoots were full of colour and beautiful high level cloud with barely a breadth of wind.

A truly spectacular place to visit for sunrise or sunset as the surrounding landscape lights up in glorious golden light as the sun kisses the landscape. If the skies are clear for sunrise, the Cathedral Rock lights up and the boulders are emblazened in a beautiful amber glow.

Darren J.

Cathedral Rock
Cathedral Rock
Mt Buffalo.

Great Ocean Road Seascapes, Slideshow Video.

Feel free to follow, like and subscribe to my youtube channel, thanks, 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

 

Aireys Inlet, Great Ocean Road.

l am pleased to say that l have added a new Gallery to my website.

Aireys Inlet, has been added to the Great Ocean Road Gallery section. The images selected within this Gallery have been captured over a number of years, being one of the first destinations l started to practice my craft and learn the art of Seascape photography, Aireys Inlet has an abundance of subject matter to work with, really large rock stacks in many shapes and sizes, lots of interesting algae and seaweed to create interest in the foreground, beautiful cliffs that look as though they are on fire when the morning sunlight strikes them (they glow with intensity).

The tide itself will determine where and when you can shoot this particular region as some of the rock stacks are only accessible at high tide and at low tide you can get around the cliffs and rock outcrop areas with ease, although one must always take care looking out for potholes and craggy sharp edged rocks underfoot. So much to explore and you could spend so much time sourcing out your compositions with ease most of the time.

Generally sunrise would be the preferred time to be at Aireys Inlet as the sunlight can help produce striking colour on the cliff face and surrounding rock stacks and the whole rocky landscape area comes alive with colour. Sunset you will find the sun setting behind the mountainous backdrop leaving the rocky shore area a little drab and lifeless (unless you have awesome sunset colours setting the sky aglow).

Aireys Inlet is a quick drive from Melbourne, taking around 1.5 hours of your time to get there, so a quick sunset shoot after work is always on the cards dependant upon where you live. But once again sunrise would be more rewarding in terms of light on the landscape.

If you are interested in joining my Photography Workshops at Aireys Inlet feel free to message me and we can book you in. Group sessions and solo workshops are available.  Its a great destination to learn your craft or expand on your skills with a huge variation of subject matter, there is even a lighthouse to shoot and practice your nightscapes.

https://www.darrenjbennettphotography.com/gallery/aireys-inlet/

 

Darren J.

Great Ocean Road.



 

Amazing sunset, Gibsons Beach, Great Ocean Road.

Every once in a while you encounter a sunrise/sunset that leaves you breathless and this sunset at Gibsons Beach was one of those occasions, leading up to this moment the sky and clouds were quite dull and not showing to much promise in terms of producing an exquisite light show but in the final moments the clouds opened just enough to let the sunlight through and what happened next was truly magical for a photographer, which goes to show that you should wait until the last moment until packing your camera gear away.

 

Darren J.

Gibson Beach Sunset, 12 Apostles.
Gibsons Beach, Great Ocean Road, Port Campbell.

 

The Razorback along the Great Ocean Road.

Sometimes you may have to do a little bit of ground work to find what your looking for, especially when your in search of new and unusual subject matter. Getting away from the main tourist platforms and finding new ground so to speak, goes along way when coming up with something new.

Push yourself and your boundaries a bit further each time, sometimes a little change makes a big difference.

These images were captured in Port Campbell along the Great Ocean Road, a place called Loch Ard Gorge and the Razorback. Not from the usual viewing areas, to capturing these images required some trekking through heavy shrubs and grasses, which house a few of snakes. so, its best to move quickly.

 

Darren J.

The Razorback, Great Ocean Road, Port Campbell.
The Razorback, Great Ocean Road.

Stormy Skies 12 Apostles.

As the storm passes, clouds open and the sun appears, the light illumninates the landscape, providing mood and atmosphere. The conditions can change very quickly, so never walk away to soon or you may just miss the best light.

Darren J.

12 Apostles, 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 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