Point Cartwright Dreaming

I had a trip up to the Sunshine Coast last weekend, to shoot the Sunshine Coast Marathon. Since I had to arrive the day before, I figured it would be a great opportunity to get out and shoot some landscapes, which I haven’t done nearly enough of recently.

The weather didn’t really play along, but I did manage to beat the storm at Point Cartwright for these dreamy seascapes before running back to the car just as the thunder and lightning struck.

Weekend Wanderlust – The Great Ocean Road

Those of you who have known me for a while may remember that, back in 2010, I drove from Brisbane, through Western New South Wales and South Australia, to Adelaide. After meeting my wife in Adelaide, we then drove across the southern coast to Melbourne, via the Great Ocean Road.

I’ve been thinking about that trip recently, particularly this snake which I lay down on a boardwalk and got very close to in order to photograph. Mostly, I found myself wondering what kind of snake it was, and how much danger I placed myself in. Turns out it was a White-Lipped Snake. Slightly venomous, but mostly harmless.

While digging these photographs out of the archives, I thought I’d revisit a couple of landscapes from the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. You can click on the second one to download it as a desktop wallpaper.

Click the image to download a desktop wallpaper version Click the image to download a desktop wallpaper version

Crescent Dawn

“What brings you to Crescent Head today?” asked the receptionist when checking me in at the motel.

“Nostalgia, mostly”.

Looking back towards the beach and the surf club Looking back towards the beach and the surf club

Crescent Head was the location of Carney family holidays for most of my teenage years. We would often share a rental house with the Briggs Family (Matt’s now a beauty and editorial photographer) – 4 parents, 5 boys, a girl, and a revolving cast of friends and guests. Surfing, playing cricket, free rounds of golf after the green-keeper had gone home for the day, bingo at the club, what still may be my worst ever hangover. OK, some memories are best forgotten.

Once upon a time, I would have been up this early to go surfing. Now, the camera calls. Although I will admit, when I saw the waves off the point, a part of me did wish I had my old bodyboard in the car.

The Point The Point Pebbly Beach Pebbly Beach

Crash

The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

Blue Serenity

Paragliding strikes me as one of those sports that could either be very exciting and nerve-wracking, or really serene and relaxing. These gliders were over the Carlo Sandblow at Rainbow Beach.

Noosa National Park

The internal alarm clock went off and woke me just before the 4am alarm on my iPad, and I was up and away. Walking a couple of kilometres through the Noosa National Park in the dark towards Granite Bay. This place really shines at high tide, with the smaller boulders creating a colourful polished look when wet. Timing meant that I was there at low tide, so concentrated on the moving water amongst the larger boulders on the shoreline, before backtracking through the National Park and photographing some of the vegetation in the morning light.

Granite Bay Granite Bay Pandanus Pandanus Melaleuca Melaleuca

How I Made That – Sunday Serenity

Here’s another in a very occasional series describing the process I used to create a photograph. Today, we’ll look at the first shot in yesterday’s Sunday Serenity post.

The photo was taken at around 5:00pm, about 15 minutes before the sun set behind my left shoulder. It was a 17sec exposure, using a Lee Big Stopper neutral density filter, with my lens at 18mm, an aperture of f/11 and camera on ISO320. The camera was on a tripod with legs unextended and standing in ankle-deep water. Straight out of the camera, the image looked like this.

Straight out of the camera Straight out of the camera

For mine, the scene was a little too dark overall, so I increased the exposure by about two-thirds of a stop.

Increased exposure Increased exposure

Since my trip to Hokkaido in January, I’ve been enjoying photos with a wider aspect ratio than the standard. So, I opened up the crop tool and selected the 16 x 9 ratio, to give the more panoramic crop of the final image.

Using the 16x9 crop tool Using the 16×9 crop tool

Next, to give the image a little more ‘punch’, I increased the saturation. The smoky horizon was producing a nice pink-orange glow, which the saturation adjustment brought out a little further, and then I darkened the blacks and shadows to add a bit more contrast.

Adjusted blacks and shadows Adjusted blacks and shadows

As you can see from the original histogram, below left, there was a whole heap of unused tonal range in the image, particularly in the dark areas at the left of the histogram. So, in order to increase the tonal range, I adjusted the black and white anchor points in Lightroom’s curves tool. This effectively ‘stretches out’ the histogram, bringing the dark mid-tones of the original into the shadow areas, and to a lesser extent, the lighter mid-tones are brought up into the highlight area. You can see the impact this change has on the image below the Lightroom screenshots, which is now really starting to look closer to the final version.

Original histogram (left) and the curve tool (right) with adjusted black and white anchor points Original histogram (left) and the curve tool (right) with adjusted black and white anchor points

See that rock in the foreground? It was still a bit wet from the receding tide, and had some nice blue reflection on it, which the adjustments so far had removed. So, I added an adjustment brush stroke, and increased the exposure on that rock to bring back those details.

Red shading indicates where I applied the brush tool to adjust the exposure on the rock Red shading indicates where I applied the brush tool to adjust the exposure on the rock

And then finally, I wanted to get rid of the dark vignette that had been created by a combination of a the processing done so far, and the fact that I had a filter holder and filter over the wide-angle lens. To do this, I opened up the Effects panel in Lightroom and dragged the Post Crop Vignette slider across to the right to lighten up the corners a little and bring us to the final image.

Post-Crop Vignette tool to lighten the corners of the image Post-Crop Vignette tool to lighten the corners of the image The final result The final result

Sunday Serenity

I took a trip out to Wellington Point this afternoon, with a plan to shoot a particular tree. A single mangrove, which was once so popular among the Brisbane photography community that it had its own group on flickr.

Of course it wasn’t until I got there, at the end of a 45 minute drive, that I found out that the tree was recently cut down. A shame, but not necessarily a bad thing as it forced me to look for other scenes.