Feel free to follow, like and subscribe to my youtube channel, thanks, Darren J
Feel free to follow, like and subscribe to my youtube channel, thanks, Darren J
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.
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.
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.
If 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.
With 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.
‘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.
Aireys Inlet is one of my favourite Photography Workshop locations. Join Master Photographer Darren J Bennett on one of his upcoming photography workshops on the Great Ocean Road.
Aireys Inlet provides photographers with plenty of subject matter to perfect your craft, lots of rock stacks, beautiful cliffs that light up when the morning sun casts its light upon them, great ocean views and there is even a light house to photograph. Join me on one of my upcoming Seascape Photography Workshops at this awesome place.
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.
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.
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.
l have been taking photos along the Great Ocean Road for over twenty years now, from Aireys Inlet all the way through to Warrnambool. l know just about every little nook and cranny along the way, from Crayfish Bay and Blanket Bay, Red Johanna Beach, Artillery Rocks in Lorne some great little spots near Apollo Bay such as Smyth’s Creek and every where else in between.
My Great Ocean Road Photographic Galleries on my website are ‘choc o block’ with some of the finest images captured along this stunning stretch of coastline. One of the largest online collection of images from the Great Ocean Road with nearly 300 images on display and building.
l will endeavour to keep updating the galleries on a weekly basis.