Sunday, July 31, 2016

Farewell to Sydney

It was with mixed feelings that I attended my last Sydney shoot accompanied by a dear kindred spirit. Ruth and I always have such fun together and I was keen to show her a foggy lagoon in the Richmond Lowlands. In spite of this plan being thwarted it was a wonderful way to say farewell photographically speaking to some of my favourite haunts, laughing our way through the day and simply being thankful for the solace provided by the unbeatable combination of easy friendship and Mother Nature.

Travelling along the freeway we were treated to an unexpected magnificent sunrise. We were lucky enough to find somewhere to pull over and take a phone shot.
 Perhaps this was Mother Nature's apology in advance for her failure to provide me with the foggy morning I'd so desired.
The Richmond lowlands are renowned for their wonderful foggy dawns and Yarramundi Lagoon provides a great opportunity to walk on a strip on land right in the middle of the Nepean River with many comps possible. The reality was nothing like the expectation. Flood waters appeared to have washed away the old jetty (photographed on a previous trip)
 and access to the landmass was blocked by swirling waters. In spite of the absence of fog, the lagoon yielded some wonderful reflection shots, so our quest was not completely fruitless.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Escaping The Hordes

It never ceases to amaze me how people can enjoy partaking in the human traffic jams which occur along the beach fronts. Determined to avoid the crush at Oak Park and Cronulla I walked down through Gunnamatta Park and along the shore.

It's always entertaining to watch the antics of the animals who congregate near the water.

I love the golden light that illuminates everything in its path as it warms the world each fine morning. Its intensity over saturates the landscape and the temptation is there to desaturate the images when processing. That however would destroy the memory. The air was crisp and I only encountered one person walking their dog.

The only thing which marred my enjoyment was the discovery of the body of a lilac point Siamese cat trapped by the pool netting. I'd been  watching a kookaburra persistently tugging at something in spite of my approach and it was only as I came closer I discovered what it was. It was quite upsetting and has so far been the only negative aspect of my daily walks.  Unfortunately it has played on my mind ever since.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Picture Within A Picture

The New South Wales Art Gallery was the destination for The Not Only Black And White Meetup group. The " Picture Within A Picture"  Challenge for the day was to use the 1:1 capabilities of our camera to  photograph one of the bronze or marble statues within the Art Gallery of NSW to include a picture in the background from the Galleries painting collection.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable and challenging task. The most difficult aspect was to capture both statue and painting and control the depth of field and exposure for both. It required a lot of experimentation and some careful positioning.

As with any day out, the enjoyment didnt commence at the location. We made quite a few stops on our way to the Gallery. Alighting from the train at Town Hall Station we headed first towards the War Memorial where we experimented with reflections in the aptly named Memorial Pool Of Reflection. 

The stately Moreton Bay fig trees are always a drawcard for me and we had many opportinities to capture some of these beauties in both Hyde Park and the Domain. 

The bonus for the day was a bride and groom who posed for some lighthearted photographs in front of the Archibald Fountain. 
The walk towards the Gallery led us past some of Sydney's historic landmarks and buildings including the grand St. Mary's Cathedral. 

We were on the lookout for some spiderwebs, yet another photographic challenge issued from our local camera club.  

Perhaps the grandest of all the figs we saw is situated in the Domain and unfortunately its welcoming arms which reach towards the ground seem to attract youths keen to stretch its bounty to the utmost. 
 Last but not least we entered the Gallery and the fun began.      
My favourite image of the day.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

On The Track Of Snow

Unusual weather conditions have generated some heavy snowfalls in the Blue Mountains so I went on a snow search with a friend. We did see some snow clouds in the distance but were unsuccessful in locating any of the white gold ourselves. We witnessed some beautiful sights along the way as the area was enveloped by shifting fog.Our first stop was Wentworth Lake where we simply sat and luxuriated in the fog surrounding us.
Unfortunately the opportunity to explore was hampered by drizzling rain and the only other sign of life was some moorhens and ducks who dotted the surface of the lake. 
 I took advantage of occasional lulls in the rain to dart out and take some shots of the jetty right next to our parking position.

 Next stop was Govett's Leap Lookout at Blackheath. 
 The fog teased us by acting like a slow reveal slide transition, revealing small details of the Mountain vista piece by piece.
 We were not inclined to bushbash due to the rain so had to satisfy ourselves with glimpses of the contrasting rock formations...............

 the seemingly never ending waterfall ............

............ and the light attempting to break through the cloud cover.
After a day following the highway further West towards Lithgow we resigned ourselves to the fact that we were not going to locate snow on this trip so decided to head home via Mt. Wilson. Firstly we pulled over to Du Faurs Rocks Lookout where we the Garden of Stones glistened on the mountain ridges like tiny specks in the distance. 

To our left the aptly named Chinaman's Hat formation was visible from our vantage position.

Mt.Wilson was almost unrecognisable since our initial visit in Autumn when bright reds golds and amber dotted the streets and gardens. It was as though somebody had either painted the streets with a desaturation slider or denuded the trees of foliage altogether.
 Moving down towards Cathedral Reserve we noticed that the ferns were far more luxuriant than on our previous visits so it appears that Mt. Wilson provides opportunities for each of her attractions to have their moment to shine.

Fond memories of childhood holidays were never far from my mind and I intend to return to the Mountains as soon as possible to take a walk or two down memory lane. It's too long since I've visited this glorious region. If nothing else, our fruitless snowsearch reinvigorated my love of the Mountains of my childhood.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Stormy Day At The Rocks

What a difference a day makes (or two). My return trip to Bombo with some of the S.A.P.S group produced a much more exciting sky than the previous Sunday even though the swell was still less than exciting.
 The destination was Cathedral Rocks and then on to Bombo. Stopping off for a quick detour to Minnamurra I was rewarded with some pristine reflections on the lake generated by an early morning canoeist and paddle boarder.

There was only time for a couple of quick shots as the rest of the group were already at our location.
Walking towards Cathedral Rocks along Jones Beach the reflections mirrored the pastel coloured highlights in the sky.
Intermittently peeking from behind the clouds, the hiding sun produced those glorious silver shards which illuminate the surface of the ocean, one of my favourite early morning sights.
I was expecting a lower tide so was a little disappointed I couldnt access the cave without some mountain goat climbing or get the exact composition I was after.

Electing to  conserve my energy I consoled myself with some aforementioned beach reflection shots.
Before heading towards Bombo I decided to investigate the alternate view of Cathedral Rocks from the Southern approach. One of the better views is from the hillside above the rocks which also looks towards the Boneyard in the other direction.
Access to the coastal face of the basalt pillars at Bombo is now a lot more difficult with the secret pathway partially obscured by lantana undergrowth which is particularly spiky. However this leads to some natural basalt steps which not only provide an easy climb to one of the better vantage points for watching the turbulence of the incoming waves, but at the same time afford some protection from any rogue waves which may appear. 
 Bombo cries out for angry overcast skies in my opinion.

On the drive back up towards Sydney I took a slight detour to investigate two spots I'd not heard of before, courtesy of Graham. Referred to as The Farm and Mystics Beach, they are accessed via the detour through the Killalea State Park.  Interestingly enough Mystics Beach turned out to be the beach the Meetup Group acessed on Sunday in order to take a shot of the island at Minamurra.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Along The Forest Path

The "Forest Path" walk in the Royal National Park was a complete surprise. I love the classic Australian bush and was expecting to have an enjoyable outing in the fresh air away from crowds. The gurgling creek, sound of water cascading down some small falls and the moss covered tree trunks were Nature's gift for the day. 

With the cold Winter's air biting at our finger tips we made our way along the leafy carpeted trail luxuriating in the unexpected rainforest surroundings. 

The only factor to mar the occasion ever so slightly was the fact that I mistakenly packed my wide angle lens instead of my trusty zoom. As a result, I was unable to capture some of the magical scenes my eyes encountered in the manner I wanted but hopefully this unfinished business will be addressed on another occasion during a return trip.

It was great to share it with a photo buddy who didn't find it necessary to sprint along the paths and make it impossible to absorb all those tiny details encountered along the way. There was time to marvel at the massive size of the gigantic cedar trees and tall palms, 

the lichen covered stumps, 

the tiny little fungi peeping shyly from the cracks in the tree bark,

 the vines wrapped seductively around the gloriously patterned trunks of many of the trees 

and the carpet of moss adorning the gigantic boulders lying motionless in the stream. 

I can't wait to get back there with my zoom lens and do some more exploring.