Sunrise at the Point

After my last effort trying to capture a sunrise, I decided to stay away from lighthouses and try something a little less difficult.

Deciding to start the day with a walk along the beach with camera ready in hand (How romantic). No tripod and no extra gear. Just keeping it simple to try and enjoy my photography and rembering why I make photographs…… and to enjoy the sunrise.

Happy Shooting

Sunrise (frustrations) at the Lighthouse

It was one of those mornings where it would have been better if I stayed in bed. Nothing I tried to do with my camera to capture an image, any image seemed to work. My frustrations were increased when I realised that my remote shutter release was at home and levelling the tripod became a frustrating feat which then snowballed to even the basics like focus, rule of thirds, getting the ISO right etc.

Point Lonsdale Sunrise

Deciding that the best photo taken this morning was not one taken by me left me with the option of just watching the sunrise as I considered how far I could chuck a tripod off a cliff (and the cost of a replacement tripod). So I cleared my head and decided that I would move the set up and try again. As the saying goes “Perseverance pays off” meant that I couldn’t just give up so I decided that I would bracket three images and then head home for breakfast.

I’m fully aware that we all have days that are simply fustrating and we should go and do something safe, like going back to bed but instead we stick a piece of technical equipment like a camera in our hands to frustrate challenge us a that little bit more so I’m curious what frustations you have had while out shooting…..and has anyone has every thrown their tripod off a cliff?

Happy shooting

A GoPro Time Lapse

Experimenting with a GoPro Hero Black 5 has been loads of fun. Its an impressive little camera and is very easy to set up for time lapse video or as i have done is stuck it to the  roof of my4WD to capture a a track being driven through thick bush.

This footage was taken at Mission Beach, Queensland, Australia nearing the end of winter, I know, winter right! I’ve also attempted a night time lapse whilst camping but all I managed was complete darkness. This is probably down to a couple of errors, such as not enough ISO for the sensor or I failed to set the camera up properly, which is probably the most likely reason.

To achieve 12 seconds of footage, I needed more than the 20 or so minutes that I spent on the beach watching the sunrise and in hindsight, I realised that if I had some patience for another 10 or 20 minutes I would have captured a lot more footage but I was pretty eager to see the end result. It certainly would have provided more footage for editing and wouldn’t leave you with a feeling of an incomplete sunrise.

I found this to be a real fun and easy way to capture a time lapse, however the only downside is the battery doesn’t hold enough charge for any long time lapse videos say for an hour or more (a lot of patience needed). Even though, I have plans to do more in the future and I have a location in mind over looking a light house.

Happy Shooting

A Beach With No Sunrise

Fulfilling the resolutions goals I had set for myself at the start of 2017 were never going to be easy especially when you have to get out of a nice comfy bed at 3.30. The drive itself is an hour and daylight saving had to be taken into consideration. Sun simply comes up early, real early during summer. I hate daylight savings!

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However the sun didn’t arrive as usual but this time sort of slinked into the office behind the clouds. Didn’t even stop by to say hello, just slinked in trying hard not to be noticed. But we, the assembled photographers noticed alright and they, me included had to work hard to get good images that we were going to be happy with. Simply put the Sun let us down.

After some much needed coffee I decided to head over to Bondi to see if I could capture any decent street style shots but by the time I arrived the rain had really set in and it looked as though there would be no let up for the rest of the day.  I’d come this far and I wasn’t staying in the car so I got out with the camera in one hand and an umbrella in the other and walked the length of Bondi seeing if there was anything worthwhile.

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There weren’t to many people about except for a few that had decided to look on in hope from under their umbrellas that the rain would stop and the sun would shine bright.

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A few of the locals did venture out for their morning walks, run, swim or surf. On the way back I found this fella tied up to the railing as he kept watch on his owner out in the surf. The rain didn’t bother him and he wasn’t real interested in me photographing him either. He just watched on and waited patiently for his owner to return.

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Apart from getting out of bed incredibly early and Mother Nature not being kind, shooting the landscapes at Cronulla was really enjoyable and a good learning experience. I’m not ticking this one off as ‘completed a goal for 2017’ but I think that I’m going to do more landscape photography before I can say, Tick !

Feel free to share and leave a comment.

The Sleeping Beast

There is more than a considerable amount of roadworks being undertaken around home at the moment which could only provide that opportunity to photograph some of the plant equipment that is parked around the area. I found this scraper sleeping quietly in the grassy field.

12 Real Landscape Photography Tips

While going through my blog post archives I found this gem. The original blog post (12 Real Landscape Photography Tips) was pretty popular throughout 2013 on my old blog The Official Thief Images Blog, so I decided that it need a bit of freshening up thought that I should post it here because that these tips are still pretty relevant. 

There is a lot of information on the web to help you improve your landscape photography but I am yet to find one that will give you advice that will make your life that little bit easier. So the tips that I have listed below are lessons, mostly hard lessons that I have learnt during the years of trekking out the door before the sunrises to try and get that magical shot of Mother Nature doing her thing.

1. Check out the location (Conducting a Recon).

I call this conducting a recon which means that I always check out the location during daylight hours because it will be more than likely be dark when I arrive or leave the area. I am not there to take photos but to try and answer some questions that I may have about the area that I’m going to be in such as:

  • Where can I park,
  • How long did it take to get here,
  • Which track do I take to get where I want to go,
  • Are there any gates that restrict access after hours (early morning, late afternoon)
  • What time does does the area open or close,
  • Where will the tide be at low/high tide,
  • Which way will the sun rise or set,
  • Are there any obstacles that I will need to navigate like fences or gates, and
  • Is the spot I want to use on private land and if so, who and where are the owners so can I ask permission to use it. 

2. Take a torch/ flash light. 

This one might seem like its fairly obvious and you are probably sitting there saying out loud “of course” but I seem to keep forgetting mine.  There have been countless times where I am fiddling around with something in the dark well before first light only to ask myself  Where’s my torch? even though I usually know the answer ‘right next to the urn of coffee on the kitchen bench!’ followed by a few expletives. Having a torch will enable you to find that something in the bottom of your camera bag like that mysterious cable release or where you put that lens cap (which I always seem to loose) and just as important to find your way in or out of the area safely. The torch also needs to be waterproof and rugged and be able to float in case you drop it.

3. Check the tide and sunrise/ sunset time.

You want to ensure that the tide times match up with Sunset or Sunrise times because I have gotten to my chosen spot, set up and started to shoot as the sun rose only to realise that if I don’t pack up and move now, I’m swimming back to shore ! Not really an option. Also many fisherman have been knocked off the rocks by rogue waves and sadly drowned. So knowing if the tide is coming in or going out will also help you compose your long exposure shot but also save your gear and more importantly your life. So check the tides before you go out.

The tide times are a decision point as well, if the tides don’t marry up with the sunrise or sunset times, I won’t go to that spot unless there is something else there that I want to shoot which may mean a sleep in if the wife lets me.

4. Appropriate footwear and clothing.

I don’t know how many times I have decided to go and do an early morning shoot and throw the old flip flops on my feet, a pair of old shorts and a t-shirt and head on out, only to get there to find that my chosen footwear or clothing is completely inappropriate and inadequate. Flip flops don’t allow you to walk over sharp rocks or get a decent grip on slippery surfaces which could result in you sliding towards an unintended swim. I highly recommend that wearing an old pair of runners and clothes that you don’t mind getting wet or muddy. The shoes will protect your feet, provide you with some much needed grip on slippery surfaces and the clothing will help protect you from the elements such as high winds, sudden drops in temperatures or even a little bit of rain.

5. Know the weather forecast.

This one goes hand in hand with footwear and clothing. The last thing you need is a sudden change in the weather and be out in a sudden temperature change which could result in you suffering from Hypothermia or have that landscape shot covered in fog. A good fisherman checks the weather forecast along with the tides before they head out, just because you are a photographer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing the same.

6. Take a Mobile/ Cell phone

Fortunately nowadays we have many ways of communicating with people including text messages and social media however having a phone that you can make and receive phone calls from is pretty important. Having a cell phone can provide you with the ability to call for help if needed (and you may not be the one in trouble) or let your loved ones know that you are finished and on your way home. Be aware though that in some remote places you may not get any cell phone reception at all. This is something that you can check when you are conducting a recon of your chosen location. If you are unable to get any reception at all, I recommend going with a friend or a group or even setting some timings with loved ones so they know when you will be back in range of the cell phone towers.

7. Tell Someone 

This may not seem to important but please let me reassure you differently. If things do go horribly wrong whilst you are out in the wilderness and you get hurt and no one knows where you are, you may well be in for rough few nights in freezing temps or seriously injured and in desperate need of medical assistance. Telling someone where you will be and when you are expected to return is smart.  If you don’t return they can can call you on your cell phone and if you don’t answer after say 20 or 30 minutes they could then come and look for you to see if you are ok, and if you are hurt they can then contact the local Police department or the paramedics. Things do go wrong from time to time and there is nothing you can do about it but you can put some form of a safety net in place to prevent things from becoming worse.

8. Turn around

The original intention was to shoot some seascapes because I struggle to get them right. I’m not sure why but because its a weakness I like to work on it to see if I can fix it. This morning wasn’t particularly any good so I turned around to see what else there was to shoot and thats when I spotted a tree being silhouetted against the colourful sky. The tip here is to turn around and see what is behind you. I have been on many shoots where the landscape turned out to be rather uninspiring due to foregrounds, the sky, weather, random people etc but by turning around I am now looking at another perspective to it, I then adjust my height by squatting, kneeling or laying down, or even climbing up on a large rock to see what is different about the landscape and on many occasions I have been pleasantly surprised.

9. Local Knowledge

If you don’t live there or live in the surrounding area and you want to know where to go, ask the people who live and work in that area such as Police, Hotel Reception staff, the guy at the petrol station, the pharmacy, taxi drivers. Most of these people have lived there for all of their lives and have an intimate knowledge of the area and they can tell you things about places that you wouldn’t even have thought about. Especially the spots tourist don’t go to because the locals will not always divulge that special place to a tourist. I am always asking about Marina’s, the old parts of town with dingy alley ways where tourists don’t go and abandoned buildings. I still haven’t found any abandoned building but I have Marina’s, rocky outcrops and creepy, scary alleys where I didn’t even think to look. Most of these places will more than likely be an undesirable location to many tourists but they can be great photographic gems. Don’t be afraid to ask.

10. Use a tripod

I know that you have heard this piece of advice before but a tripod is a must, but here’s the other bit of advice that you never get told. Your tripod can get wet and by wet I mean by using it in water, I constantly use my tripod in the water and I have been up to knee deep on many occasions. I didn’t buy my tripod to use in a studio, I bought the tripod to lump around the country with me and for it to provide a steady platform for the my trusty camera. So don’t be scared to get it wet, dirty or even muddy. It all comes off at the end of the day.

11. Insect Repellant

I laugh every time I say this, take insect repellant with you, and a good one, there is nothing worse while you are out photographing the sunrise or sunset and being bitten non-stop by bugs, but you will never guess where mine normally is, its with my torch next to the urn of coffee on the kitchen bench. A good insect repellant will keep those bugs at bay and let you concentrate on what you are there to do. Capture Mother Nature at her finest.

12. Drink Responsibly

You might like to have a few drinks of a night, out with friends or at a Barbeque but be careful on how many drinks you consume as you could very well still be over the legal limit in the wee hours of the morning while driving to your chosen location. The chances of being subjected to a Random Breath Testing (RBT) is pretty high here in Australia even on weekdays, so add some caution when drinking the night before if you intend on driving to your chosen location the following morning, even if you still feel under the weather, simply cut it away for that day and go back to bed. So the message here is really, if you wish to drink, drink, but drink responsibly.

This list is by no means an exhaustive list and I’m sure there are more tips out there.  If you have got some tips I would love to hear them or if you have tried something and it worked or it didn’t work, let us know and hopefully it will make life that little bit easier when out photographing this beautiful place that we call home.