What's New in May 2021
LARGE Panoramas - Suitable for enormous prints metres wide.
MEDIUM Format - Latest technology. Easily suitable for prints 60 inches and beyond.
For me there is no greater pleasure than heading off on a landscape photography trip with plenty of time on our hands. The world seems full of possibilities, as we drive into the night, the road curving into the distance and our headlights leading us away towards a new adventure. Our boy and I talk animatedly of locations, listing the places we'd like to explore, our imaginations describing ever more fantastical lighting and weather conditions. Dark brooding storms, fiery red sunrises, dazzlingly rainbows. The long hours slip by and before we know it we've left Victoria behind and ascended into the mountains at the southern end of New South Wales. Finally pulling up to rest beside a high country hut we hunker down, the car, as ever, providing the perfect sleeping quarters.
The morning is cool, with a thin frost covering the ground. We spend a good couple of hours shooting the hut, but the light is a little too unenticing. Not to worry, just being out and breathing in the freedom is enough to thrill. For me, this trip also brings with it another chance to work with my new medium format camera, with its astounding image quality suitable for wall filling prints. I know the coast will suit it well, lots of opportunities for strong foreground interest for a wide angle lens, so we hop back in and drive on, heading to the lovely seaside town of Bermagui, with its rugged coastal rock formations.
The next couple of weeks are a bit of blur, but suffice it say we shot every sunrise and sunset, scouted every day and hiked into any number of locations up and down a few hundred kilometres of New South Wales coastline including nearby inland regions. Sometimes we found gold, when the tides and weather gifted us with magic moments, but to be fair, those moments were few. Their scarcity, however, made them all the more exhilarating to capture and the net result is that from dozens of different scenes and attempts to shoot them, I have this small collection of favourites to present.
Bermagui, as mentioned, yielded one such occasion, with the intriguing Horse Head rock putting on an amazing display. I revelled in the ever changing wave formations, shooting over and over so I could cherry pick the best shape and texture. Generally high tide should be avoided at this scene because one can become cut off from escape, but without risk there is no reward, so we challenged ourselves to few dawns here. By the end we hadn't so much as a wet sock to worry over, but I can imagine if the weather had in fact been dreadful that it could become concerning.
We also found success at Kiama, where their little sea cave finally granted us access and a spectacular sky. In years passed I'd found the cave either submerged or lacking in colour, but this time it was glorious. A popular spot for photography it pays to get here early if you want the dawn to yourself. As it was there was just enough room for us both to shoot side by side.
Kiama and sometimes Wollongong became our base for most of the trip. We'd duck into town for supplies, and then car camp close to our next dawn location. On one occasion our boy's hiking boots tore both soles. He'd inherited them, near new, and presumably the glue had degraded over time. He flapped around in them for a day or so, struggling along, before we nipped back into town and had them repaired.
Before leaving the area we invested a couple of our sunsets and dawns into Bombo Quarry. Familiar with the spot from past trips, I was once again struck with the presence of the place. It is at once foreboding and even scary at times, and yet also utterly compelling particularly when the tide is up and relentless waves hurl themselves against the tall basalt cliffs with a thunderous force. Standing there in the predawn, it almost seems other worldly and the experience of watching the incoming ocean is something quite exciting indeed.
The image I selected, that of the crashing wave striking the dark cliffs, stood out as being the best among many, though it cost me a dousing of salty water on my precious new camera. Fortunately I had the foresight to use a rain cover and was able to protect the lens at the last moment, but for a little while I thought I'd pushed the envelope too far. Hopefully this photograph is a worthy reward.
Whilst the coast held great appeal we made a point of heading inland as well exploring both the Macquarie Pass and Budderoo National Parks. The former has a good number of waterfalls to investigate and even potentially in which to swim. Certainly there were a good number of takers prepared to brave any leeches on the day we explored Cascade Falls. I loved the scene and image I created from it, but it was an exercise in patience to capture it. We spent most of a day just on this one scene waiting for parties to leave so we could shoot it from every angle.
Budderoo has its popular Minnamurra Rainforest walk, which has the some good photographic potential but exiting the path is not permitted and the sheer volume of people started to irk me, so we explored further afield. I was very glad we did because the park has a lot more to offer. We settled on a view across Kangaroo Valley, and put the work into getting some good light over it.
All too quickly the freedom of time became less and less and along with it the glorious feeling that anything is possible. Eventually we had to head towards home and once again chose to drive into the mountains, seeking out a high country hut for my project. We picked out Davies Plain Hut because the access is so reasonable, but whilst the time spent there was enjoyable the light didn't give us much. So it was with heavy hearts we said goodbye to New South Wales and drove south.
Just before the border our boy discovered that empty bottles could be recycled for actual money. Living in Victoria, were no such generosities exist, this concept struck him as wonderful. Ever the little entrepreneur, he gathered a considerable number from the car and then set about finding us a depot, happily pocketing a dollar or two. I'm not quite sure of the economics of an out of state trip purely for such a purpose, but he's been collecting them ever since, building quite a pile in the laundry at home. Given that travel is pretty much a requirement of being a landscape photographer I'm sure I'll be over the border again soon.
Right, so that about wraps it up. Hopefully you've enjoyed the images. As ever, I hope you find time in your own lives to step outside and feel the air beneath your wings so to speak. The outdoors, even locally, provides an undeniable mental boost that can only serve to restore our overworked minds.
All the best until next time.