Welcome to the first in my series of blogs from my recent trip to Australia. It’s the farthest I’ve ever traveled so far and my first time in the southern hemisphere, so worth celebrating. As you can imagine, I took hundreds of photos and I’d love to share a few and my thoughts behind them with you. Where do I begin? Well, I’ve split them into themes, so it makes more sense (and so I can indulge myself a little longer!). My first I shall call ‘REFLECTING ON LIGHT AND SHADE‘ Enjoy…
A beautiful spot to start would be Byron Bay, the most easterly point on the Australian mainland and one of numerous stunning beaches. This was winter in Australia, but I was still in t shirt and shorts, but the beach was almost deserted and I liked the sense of openness and of course the reflections in the smooth water. A short way out was the inevitable crashing Pacific surf and inevitable scattering of surfers. I waited for just the right wave to come in to give this glass-like mirror image of the clouds and handsome trees. There was the temptation to strategically place a coconut or shapely pebble in the foreground but I didn’t want to detract from the feel of the image I’d snapped. Ironically I did actually have a coconut with me (as you do), purchased from a nearby shop, but the straw and umbrella sticking out of it would have spoiled the natural look!
My second photo is another I was really pleased with. Normally I avoid people in landscape shots (unless it’s me and friends of course!). This random group looked very relaxed and added to the ‘atmosphere’ of the shot. I underexposed a little to make them silhouettes and give more detail to the bright hazy background. It’s actually looking back down the coast to where my first shot was taken.
And now for a complete change of locations, we move south 600 miles or so to Sydney. There’s everything and anything to photograph in this iconic city, not least the famous bridge and opera house, but I shall start with The Rocks, a charming bustling district full of contrasting architecture and bustling tourists. With my theme of light and shade, this shot required a lot of editing, as the attractive street was largely lost in heavy shade with the sun being quite low. The resulting shot almost looks like two separate locations; modern city and old country town. The low sun (and my Photoshop skills) give the buildings a soft glow which I especially liked.
Still in Sydney and in similarly warm low sunlight, this old boat caught my eye, on the way back to the city from my ferry ride. It made me ask myself what sort of a life it had as well as what was going to happen to it now? The answer thanks to good old Wikipedia is the SS Baragoola, a 1920s Manly-Sydney ferry that is under preservation and being restored. Ah, I felt better knowing that! I love a photo with a story behind it.
I’m a sucker for a nice sunset and I couldn’t be in Sydney without snapping this one, which needs no introduction really. I was rather put out though, having taken my big Nikon DSLR, that this Samsung smartphone snap actually captured better colours. Given that a ‘bad workman always blames his tools’, I shall humbly put it down to my camera exposure settings not being quite right!
Another lovely sunset I snapped, was back up on Australia’s Gold Coast, not far from Brisbane. This is the promenade at Coolangatta, a really nice laid back resort, which was my base for a few days. The trees made a great and striking silhouette, I liked the sun glinting off the wooden buildings and the wisps of cirrus cloud add interest to the sky. The shot ticks several boxes for me. It’s got nice composition and balance with depth too created by the converging line of buildings drawing the eye into the picture (if I’m not blowing my own trumpet too loud here!). Doesn’t it just make you want to be there?
If you were lucky like me, you have a nice view from your apartment. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll have a 300mm lens to hand to pull forwards a distant skyline. This is looking towards Southport (yes I know, very British). It’s some 15 miles away. Timing was everything with this shot. I wanted to wait long enough for the lights to come on but not too long to loose the lovely colour in the sky. Patience is needed here and will be rewarded. Southport and generally further up the coast didn’t really float my boat though: all neon, concrete, traffic and sand. I liken it to being in Lytham looking towards Blackpool if you know what I mean (no offence intended to the latter)?
My final photo in this first batch takes us back to Sydney. Quality isn’t great on this. I was stretching my camera as light was low and the boat I was stood on was bobbing around like a good ‘un! I really needed to be on dry land with a tripod and long exposure, but this was my best effort from a moving boat (needs must). I liked the nice reflections from the illuminated skyline as well as the detail in the clouds. It was Sydney’s ‘Vivid’ light festival so everything was lit up rather more than usual (except for the Opera House that night, which was a bit disappointing).
I hope you have introduced this short visual introduction to my amazing adventure Down Under. I’m just whetting your appetite hopefully. Lots more photos to come as soon as soon as I have the time to focus on my next blog. As always, work first! Duty calls with weddings and events at this time of year!…