Welcome to my new series of blog posts called ‘Anatomy of a Photo’. Going forward with this new Australian landscape photography series, I am looking to give insights into what goes in to the making of my images, from inception through to the final output, with a little creative writing (me talking shit) thrown in for good measure. Please keep in mind that I am a landscape photographer, not a writer, so be gentle!
The first cab off the rank is an oldie but a goodie. ‘Eternal Lovers’ was captured at one of my favourite places for landscape photography and just in general on the Sunshine Coast, the picturesque Pt Arkwright. This place is a real jewel of the coast, and the start of the bays of Coolum. You could spend a lifetime in this little zone shooting the different compositions that the tide, swell and lighting conditions allow, and I dare say I will.
If you spend enough time around the same part of the world you notice the cyclical ebb and flow of the guiding hand of mother nature in its many observable aspects. One such example of the ebb and flow of nature is the sand. The flow of sands and their coming and going are more observable, obvious, at headlands and back beaches where the structures of the headland serves as a point of reference to the changing sands.
The two rocks in ‘Eternal Lovers’ are actually part of the same structure connected to the bed rock, and at the time of writing this they are both fully exposed with no sand around them so this photo could not be recreated at the moment. I captured this image towards the end of winter, when the southerly winds that typify winter on the coast had blown the sand up the beach where it collected on the southern side of the headland.
When composing this image the most important thing, apart from being there with the full moon and the setting sun lighting up those fairy floss high-level clouds, was capturing the symmetry and form of the rocks in a way that makes them look like they are two pieces of a puzzle that could be connected.
The other important element of this photo is obviously the moon. It is such a treat for a landscape photographer to capture a photo of the moon with those beautiful golden hour hues. Those opportunities don’t come along every day and as such you can feel a little pressure to not blow the shot – I have blown my fair share of amazing moments, it hurts. I chose to slow the shutter down a little with this one to further separate the elements of the scene and give an ethereal feel. Shooting away from the sun is always more forgiving in terms of the dynamic range of an image. So with the sun setting to the west and me pointing my camera to the east, this allowed me to capture the fully dynamic range of the scene in a single exposure, something that is not achievable when shooting towards the sun, even with today’s high end large format digital sensors.
So in short, right place right time, I lined up the rising moon between two photogenic rocks, filled the memory card and this was the best of what I ended up with, one of my favourite images of the Sunshine Coast – ‘Eternal Lovers’.