Presenting a Wildlife Photography Talk

We recently had some good friends over for dinner and a good catchup.

They’re both passionate and very capable photographers, and I met them when I was involved with the camera club scene some years back.

Last year they started their own club, and during the course of the night I mentioned that I’d be happy to appear some time as a guest speaker to deliver a presentation and talk about wildlife photography and our trips to South Africa and Kenya.

Sure enough, today an invitation arrived via email, inviting me to deliver a talk and audio-visual presentation at the club next week.

I was delighted to be asked, and I’m very much looking foward to this.  I gave a couple of talks when I was still a member of my old club, and while I loved presenting, I also found a lot of enjoyment in listening to the guest speakers we had there.

With two major African wildlife photography trips and the experience, knowledge, images and video footage I’ve gained, I have a wealth of material to cover.

My plan is to present a slideshow of my stand-out images (including videos), discuss our adventures and experiences, relate what it was like to experience Africa and its wildlife not only as a photographer, but as a person; tell some of the stories behind the images, discuss techniques, tips and equipment (including some show-and-tell); and also reveal some behind-the-scenes material.  I may even delve into post-processing if there is sufficient time.

Hopefully the other photographers at the club will gain something from my presentation, and be inspired to travel to Africa where a world of amazing and potentially life-changing experiences awaits them.

The One

A few photography friends of mine, who have shot Little Austinmer before, told me that it can take quite a few attempts to land a cracking good image.

I first ventured to Little Austi just a little over a week before I shot this image, and while I found it a stunning location, the sky was craptacular.

Today, things were different.

The One

The One

Little Austi really needs a moody sky, as well as the right kind of ocean conditions — specifically, an incoming tide and a moderate swell.

Today, all three essential elements were present. Not only that, but an intense red sun peeked over the horizon to add a splash of colour.

On only my second visit, I landed “the one” — the image I had been seeking.

This is it.

I landed quite a few pleasing images this morning, so I am spoilt for choice.

There will be more images to come.

Little Austi Overflow

Little Austinmer, known colloquially as Little Austi, is a location I have had on my list of photoshoot locations for quite a long time.

With my renewed enthusiasm for seascape photography, I headed to Little Austi this morning to capture its pictureseque rock shelf, over which seawater constantly cascades when the conditions of the tide and swell are right.

This is one of the images I captured:

Little Austi Overflow

Little Austi Overflow

I was very impressed with Little Austi.  There are many great spots and compositions to be found along the north end of Little Austinmer Beach.

Today, the conditions in the sky were rather unfavourable, but I came away with a small number of images, including this; and I am very keen to head back there at the next opportunity and land some very pleasing images under a much better sky.

Sunrise at Blackwoods Beach

During the middle of last week, I headed to a spot just south of Blackwoods Beach in Cronulla, and shot this image under a rich yet moody sky, as the sun rose to signal the start of a very hot summer day:

Sunrise at Blackwoods Beach

Sunrise at Blackwoods Beach

I’ve shot along this stretch of Cronulla‘s coastline a few times, but not in this particular spot.

I am pleased to say that the ‘bug’ I once had for seascape photography has returned after being dormant for too long, and I am very keen to get out again.

Very early tomorrow, I am heading to a location I have never photographed before, and one with some interesting and visually appealing features.  The conditions in both the sky and sea look quite favourable, and this particular location has been on my list for quite a long time.

Hopefully the conditions are indeed spectacular.

 

I’m Back, Shooting Seascapes

I’m back, shooting seascapes again.

This image was captured early in my second seascape session of 2016, and my third dawn outing in less than a week.

The predicted cloud cover for this morning looked quite favourable, so I headed to south Cronulla, and found this appealing rock shelf just south of Blackwoods Beach.

Blackwoods Point

Blackwoods Point

While there was not a huge amount of colour in the sky, the cloud cover was very good, and quite moody, which made shooting very easy due to the lack of dynamic range in the scene.

During a low but rising tide, I waited for larger sets of waves to crash into the rocks and over onto the shelf on which I was standing.

Pleasant Dawn on Sydney Harbour

Since my return to seascaping last week, I have been keen to head back out at dawn to shoot more seascapes.

On the one hand, I failed; but on the other hand, I succeeded — at capturing a different kind of image at dawn.

Having checked the weather and cloud situation the night before, I knew the sky would be largely plain, which is terrible for seascapes, but great for twilight cityscapes.

So, in the pre-dawn darkness, I headed to the city and ventured further away from Circular Quay, where I had been the previous day, and where, I decided, I would be keen to capture a cityscape, depicting both the older and newer buildings of Sydney at dawn.

Here is one of the earlier images I captured:

Before Sydney Awakens

Before Sydney Awakens

It was great to be at Dawes Point on the harbour early in the morning before anyone else was out and about.

At the time, the sun had not risen, but there was a pink and orange glow in the eastern sky, which was due to rise 35 minutes later.

I also turned the camera around and pointed to the west, where the sky was darker, but where the increasing warmth and softness of the early morning light cast a pleasing glow on the wooden walkway and buildings along Campbell’s Cove.

Along the Walkway

Along the Walkway

This is a view along the walkway at the northern end of Campbell’s Cove.

On the left is Campbell’s Cove and the old woolsheds in Sydney’s historic The Rocks, which these days contain restaurants.

In the distance is the southern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

On the right and in the distance central to the frame is the expensive and very nicely positioned Park Hyatt hotel.

One of the challenges presented when photographing a city like Sydney is to capture a less common view.  It’s all too easy to shoot the ‘postcard material’, but the city’s famous landmarks have been captured many times, and it’s difficult to depict a different or more interesting view of these, or of the city in general.

There are different views of the Sydney skyline, and this particular spot in Campbell’s Cove offers a view of the old and the new, and makes a change from the regular views we often see.

Later in the morning, I was treated to an unexpected and serendipitous sight of two large cruise ships making their way through the harbour.  The leading ship, Diamond Princess, docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal depicted in my earlier image; while the seconsd ship — a P&O oceanliner — sailed under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and docked at White Bay.

All in all, it was a nice, productive morning.

My Return to the Ocean

This morning was the first occasion on which I have shot a seascape since June of 2013 — quite a long time.

In the past few weeks I have felt a desire to head back out in the pre-dawn darkness and photograph the ocean and coastline again, a desire which has not been in me for over two years.

I met up with old photography mate Glenn at the break of dawn at Little Bay in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, and we headed up onto the cliffs to capture the ocean and the morning light.

Here is the one of the images I captured:

Big Waves in Little Bay

Big Waves in Little Bay

This under-rated location is not prominently featured in the galleries of Sydney-based seascapers, but it has some great cliffs and coves where powerful sets of waves collide with the rocks and produce brilliant splashes and water flows.

This morning’s conditions were not the greatest I’ve experienced, but at least I got out and literally got my feet wet again, in an attempt to re-ignite my passion for seascape photography.

I am looking forward to heading out again next week.