Tag Archives: Mountains

Brisbane and South-East Queensland Visit – 2017

Late in 2017, we headed to Brisbane and south-east Queensland for the first time since 2013.

It was high time to visit Dave and Lea, and engage in some photography, tomfoolery and shiraz consumption.

On our first full day, we decided to head south-west to Queen Mary Falls, as there had been some recent rain in the Gold Coast area, and there was predicted cloud cover, which made waterfall photography ideal.

Our first stop was at Daggs Falls, where an observation platform provided a great view.  Unfortunately, the platform was very prone to vibrations, which made shooting long exposures with a 200mm lens and ten-stop ND filter somewhat impossible.

We drove up the road for a few minutes and got to Queen Mary Falls, which had a much more stable observation platform.  This time, I used my 14mm lens to capture the vast expanse of the scenery and the high view.

Long Way Down

Long Way Down

After we had finished shooting, we decided it was time for a late lunch.  Heading north-east for around five minutes, we happened across the Spring Creek Mountain Café, which offers a very pleasant view of the Scenic Rim.

While waiting for our lunch at an outside table, I took advantage of the light and cloud conditions over the valley, and captured this view.

Spring Creek Mountain

Spring Creek Mountain

The plan for the same day was to visit Brisbane‘s iconic Story Bridge for a twilight shoot.  The last time I photographed the Story Bridge was in 2008, and it was time for a new look at it, applying the experience and gear I have acquired since I last shot it.

The bridge is often photographed from Wilson Outlook Reserve, high up on the cliffs to the east.

This time, we decided to venture down onto the Brisbane River Walk below and try a different vantage point, which gave us a lower angle, allowing the reflections of the lights in the water to appear much more prominently.

During the session, the bridge put on an ever-changing show of multi-coloured lights, which created a nice contrast to the blue and cloudy night sky.

Story of Colour

Story of Colour

On the topic of the sky, the clouds were somewhat annoying and detracted from the image I had pictured, but it was what it was, and I had to make the best of the conditions at the time we were there.

After our shoot concluded, we walked to New Farm and stopped in an Italian restaurant for a late dinner before making the drive north-west to Cedar Creek.

The next day, the plan was to head out for an afternoon landscape shoot during golden hour.  This time, Dave and I headed out on our own.

We decided, given all the driving the day before, to remain in the local vicinity, and we threw around a few ideas.  We figured we would look for a view of the mountains in the area such that the sun would be behind us.

Driving around, we ended up at Mount Pleasant, but the scenes we visited just were not right, so we continued on, and this time headed up Mount Mee.

While driving north along Mount Mee Road, Dave spotted an interesting tree on the right at the junction with Sellin Road.

We stopped and headed over to the eastern side of the road to photograph the tree, which also had some grazing cows lingering nearby.

The light was warm, as it was quite late in the afternoon, but not quite warm enough for what we had in mind.  However, the light was still decent enough, so we snapped away as the cows grazed.

Here is what I captured:

High Steaks

High Steaks

For this image, and the image I was to shoot later in the day, I used my Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM lens.  Now, this lens was not one I bought to shoot landscapes, and I rarely ever use a telephoto lens for landscapes, much preferring the wide vista provided by an ultra-wide lens; however, from where we were standing, the 200mm focal length was just right, and provided a nice amount of compression.

After we had finished shooting at this spot, we headed west along Sellin Road, and spotted a lone tree we had photographed at dawn back in 2010.  To our surprise, there was now a large house now on the property, close to Sellin Road.  We could still see the tree further up the paddock in the distance.

Here are the stand-out images I captured of the ‘ Mount Mee Tree‘ in 2010:

Dawn on Mount Mee

Dawn on Mount Mee

Tree on Mee

Tree on Mee

We continued westward, and found some lovely side-lighting htting the lush green grasses down the ravine, but compositionally, there was not much on offer; so, we turned around and headed east.

I was beginning to think that we may not find much at all, and I pointed out that one really needs to scout and plan a location, which, we clearly had not done.

However, heading further east to where we had photographed the cows, I spotted a lovely, large tree down a valley to our left.  After driving past it, we swung back around and pulled up, with this location to be our final location for the day, in which we would photograph this beautiful tree in the rich and warm golden hour light which would greet us a little later.

I quickly found my composition, again using my Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM lens.  The view I found from the spot where I perched myself also contained some lush, long green grasses in the foreground, which I purposefully kept in the frame.  I liked the extra interest, as well as the framing device, it provided.

From then, it was a waiting game.

Once the light became even warmer, we snapped away.  Dave was capturing all sorts of images of different subjects in the area, from varying positions.  I remain focused on the tree.  That was my image, and I was not interested in anything else.

After waiting for the right light, here is the image I shot:

Glowing Tree

Glowing Tree

After the lovely light had disappeared, we headed back to Samford to collect some cows (of the non-grazing variety) and fermented grape juice for dinner at the house.

Thus, my photography for this trip was completed.

During our stay, Dave and I decided to compare our 200mm lenses.  He owns a Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM (a legendary and relatively rare lens, with only 8,000 having been built), and I own a Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM, which effectively replaced the 200/1.8L some 20 years after it was introduced.

We lined them up for a ‘family portrait’, and Dave captured an image of the two lenses side-by-side.  Later during the visit, we also staged a semi-scientific shoot, with a foam rubber dinosaur as the subject.  We photographed the dinosaur with both lenses, using the widest apertures available on both, as well as the widest aperture common to both.

Upon inspecting the resulting images, there is not a great deal of difference in sharpness between the two lenses.  Both deliver outstanding results.

All in all, it was a fun trip, and while photographically the conditions were not super exciting, I did manage to capture a few pleasing images along the way.


Spencers Creek: The Recce Shot

This image was captured during a recce trip to Spencers Creek during our weekend in the Snowy Mountains in the first few days of 2013.

Spencers Creek

Spencers Creek

Our intention was to return to this location at night for some starfield photography, which we did; but while there during the day for recce, I shot this image of a composition which was pleasing to me.

Normally I don’t shoot at all during such harsh daylight hours, but some time later when looking at this reference image, I thought it had potential, so I processed the image, and what you see is the result.

The Mountains of Ein Gedi

During our two-day adventure around the Dead Sea in Israel, this is one of the few moments during which we had relatively clear skies.

The Mountains of Ein Gedi

The Mountains of Ein Gedi

Route 90 heading south from Ein Gedi to Eilat was flooded due to very unusual torrential rainstorms that have been plaguing Israel for the past five days.

At this location not far from Ein Gedi, we could go no further, so I decided to capture the stunning mountains of the Israeli desert when the morning sun got its rare chance to illuminate the rich rocks.

Later that morning, I captured some images of the Dead Sea, and got to climb down the same type of craggy, sharp rock formations that adorn these mountains to the west of the Dead Sea.

Snowy Mountains by Night

Dave, Lea, Xenedette and myself headed away to the Snowy Mountains of NSW for a two-day sojourn and photography expedition.

Having visited Charlotte Pass and nearby Spencers Creek on the first day, we decided to return later in the evening for some starfield photography by the creek.

It was exceedingly dark, and very difficult to compose, both due to lack of visibility, and soft, grassy ground on which our tripods were resting.

This image is the result of the best of what I shot on the night.

Snowy Mountains by Night

Snowy Mountains by Night

Unusual for my style, it is shot at a relatively high ISO setting, hence the lack of ‘clean’ presentation.

I hope viewers like the image.

While the trip wasn’t terribly fruitful in photographic sense, it was nice to get away for a few days and see a place we hadn’t seen before.

The orange glow in those distant clouds is not the rising or setting sun, but the soon-to-rise moon, which peeked over the ridge not long after this image was shot.

Blue Mountains Winter Weekend

This past Queen’s Birthday Weekend, we headed into the Blue Mountains for a restful few days in the wintery, country air, away from the crazy, lop-sided work hours, lack of sleep and constant illness I had been battling in the weeks leading up to it.

Arriving on Saturday afternoon, we stayed in Leura, and decided mostly to visit the tourist attractions in Leura and Katoomba, even though we’d both been to some or all of what we’d seen.

Part of the trip was to encompass photography, so I made hay while the sun shone, as for most of the trip, the weather was bleak, misty and wet.

A little after arriving and checking in, we headed to the tourist-saturated Echo Point, where I shot a number of images of the Three Sisters in different lighting.  I was naturally waiting for golden hour and twilight light.

Here’s the result:

The Golden Girls

The Golden Girls

An image of the famous Three Sisters at sunset is somewhat of a photographic cliché, but one I hadn’t personally repeated until this trip.

After the sun had set, I shot more images in the twilight light.

Later that evening we headed to the Heritage Hotel for a fantastic meal and bottle of Penfolds Bin 389 at the Jamison Views Restaurant.

After dinner, I decided to head to Sublime Point in Leura so that I could photograph the Milky Way in the mountainous darkness.  Late at night, we trudged through the darkness of the bush to land at Sublime Point, where I captured a number of exposures.

While the Milky Way was visible even with one’s own eyes, it wasn’t as spectacular in the resulting images as what I had captured weeks earlier at Kiama Downs, where there is more surrounding light pollution.

The plan for Sunday was to head to Leura Cascades for some waterfall photography, and then to Scenic World via Echo Point.

On the Sunday morning, the weather was quite misty and grey — fantastic for forest and waterfall photography, but useless for our intended visit to Scenic World!

We spent quite a while at Leura Cascades, and met up with another photographer while we were there.

Here’s one of the images I shot of the upper part of Leura Cacades:

Upper Leura Cascades

Upper Leura Cascades

On the way back up the trail to the carpark, I stopped to photograph this nice view of the Chelmsford Bridge:

Chelmsford Bridge at Leura Cascades

Chelmsford Bridge at Leura Cascades

After our visit to the cascades, we headed back to Echo Point to take the Three Sisters Walk and walk onto the first rock in that formation.

When we arrived, the Jamison Valley was enshrouded in cloud and mist, and the Three Sisters could not even be seen in the white void.  With mountain weather being as volatile and dynamic as it is, there was a lot of atmospheric change taking place, and the Three Sisters came into view and became partially obscured a number of times.

The weather sure didn’t keep the tourists away, with many of them taking photos of each other with the completely obscured Three Sisters invisible behind them!

We headed over to the first Sister and sat on the bench there for a few minutes, taking in the views and resting, before heading back up the steep stairs, along the path and back to the car.

By this point we’d decided that Scenic World was a pointless visit, as it would be difficult to see any of the valley’s views in those conditions, so we headed to Leura Mall for lunch and stopped in Leura Cellars, where we headed downstairs into the fine wine cellar and bought a few special bottles to save for a rainy day in ten or twenty years’ time.

From there, we headed back to the hotel for an afternoon nap before heading out for dinner at Silk’s Brasserie in Leura.  The dining experience there was very pleasant, and the restaurant manager went out of his way to return the unusually large tip we’d accidentally left!

The plan for Monday morning was to head home after breakfast, which was a wise idea, as we had a very quick, smooth run, encountered no dramas despite the constant rain, and avoided the utter chaos we later saw on the news that night as the majority of the holidaying population all decided to simultaneously descend upon Sydney in unequivocally deplorable conditions!

All in all, it was a much-needed trip which provided a variety of weather, a few pleasing images, and a desire to return for more photography over day-trips, as well as the desire to explore more waterfall photography, as there are many waterfalls in the area we didn’t have time to visit, which in the right conditions would make for pleasing images.