The forest has always been a special place for me. Growing up in a place called Forest Glen on the Sunshine Coast. I spent my younger years playing in and exploring the forest that was our backyard, and also the wildlife reservation next door.
These Days i use the forest to recharge my battery, a form of therapy i guess, where i can breath the clean air, and listening to the sounds of the forest. One of my favourite placed to walk is the Buderim Forest park. It is such an amazing place to have nestled right in the heart of the Sunshine Coast.
Being a landscape photographer, i naturally wanted to capture a photo that captures the essence of this special area of the Sunshine Coast. I first found this location with these beautiful crows next ferns a few months ago, not far off the beaten track in the Buderim waterfall park.
I used a circular polarising filter to bring out the rich greens of the forest and cut the glare on the glossy leaves of the ferns. I created the image by taking a series of six overlapping portrait frames, and then stitching them together to create a wider perspective than would normally be possible with any one photo. This is known as a stitched panoramic image and creates a must higher resolution image.
I love the way the light is amplified by the translucent new growth of the crows nest in the scene ! such a beautifully photogenic eye catching subject matter. without a doubt one of my new favourite photos !
One of my favourite subject matter in landscape photography, is a boat or dingy on a calm river or lake. Finding a boat that is photogenic in a location that is photogenic is harder than you might think.
I managed to find this boat on the maroochy river with a clear shot of the sunrise in the background. This little twin mast sailing boat named ‘The Goblin” caught my eye on the way to work one morning. I knew i would be driving along the river around sunrise so i aways have my camera gear in the car just in case something catches my eye.
This was one of those mornings when you stumble upon a photo and nail the photo on the same morning, which is always nice. It was one of those morning when this light had a couple of transitions and i ended up getting a couple i was happy with, but this one is my favourite. I just love vertical panoramas, so easy to create depth and emphasize focal points in the scene and be more artistic.
The idea with this image was to use the vertical panormic format, to work with the vertical lines of the boats twin masts. That coupled with the natural light fall off at the bottom of the frame, helps guide your eye up to the aptly named goblin. I love the way the soft sunrise light dances across the water to create an abstract apparition like image.e
As a landscape photographer, when you think Sunshine Coast, dramatic awe inspiring landscape do not really come to mind, with the exception of the Glass House Mountains.
We are blessed in other ways. beautiful golden sandy beaches, with warm turquoise waters, The sunshine Coast is one of Australia’s most popular holiday destinations for good reason.
I feel it is human nature to want what you do not have, and one thing we do not have on the Sunshine Coast, is a dramatic rugged desert environment. One destination that has ample of the aforementioned is the Flinders Mountain Range of South Australia.
I was working down in South Australia when i captured this photo. Instead of going home for my week rnr i decided to fly my partner down to Adelaide and embark on a dream road trip around south oz for nine days. The Deal was stuck so i could take photos where ever i wanted, as long as we stopped into every vineyard in SA.
On The day this photo was taken we woke up in Burra after one of the worst nights sleeps you could imagine. The wind was blowing so hard i was sure the van was going to roll over. I shot a photo of the Burra homestead and we got on our way all the way up into the Flinders Range.
We drove through the most hectic windy dust storm all the way up into Wilpena, where we were staying. as we arrived a couple of hours out from sunset, we could only see the feint outlines of the towering walls of the part of the Flinders Range known as Wilpena Pound.
As it worked out, we arrived at the Wilpena Pound the same time a massive hail hit, Very rare in the flinders. I knew that the sunset would be on, and i knew where i had to get myself, The RazorBack look out.
When we finally made it to the lookout with an hour up my sleeve before sunset, The elements aligned for what would eventuate into one of the most beautiful scenes i have every witnessed. Luckily the hail storm that passed though settled enough of the dust so i could see down into the Bunyeroo Gorge and the walls of the Wilpena Pound, leaving just enough dust in the air to separate the elements int the scene and create that hazy layered effect.
This Photo “An Ancient Land” is one i am particularly proud of and one of my personal favorites.
Fog is a photographers best friend. I have been searching for a foggy sunrise composition for a long long time, it is not as easy as you think to nail a foggy sunrise landscape photo, as it takes a few more ingredients than the average landscape photo to come together.
Firstly, you need water on the ground from rain the night before, or you need to be close to a body of water like a dam, river or lake. You need a cold night and a dead wind. All that needs to be in play before you even find a photo worth taking.
I had been keeping an eye on the area i captured “Silhouettes” for a long time and knew that it needed a really heavy fog to separate the elements in the scene and block out the messy background, after a couple of false starts, the heavens aligned and i was presented with a foggy morning, no wind with a clear sky to allow direct sunlight to render the scene.
The fog helped hold back the exposure of the sun so i could preserve the detail in the highlights and shadows. This is only possible with fog, smoke or dust. “Silhouette” is the culmination of years of looking for the right scene and waiting for the right conditions to capture the foggy sunrise landscape photo i had been dreaming of.
One of my favorite plants is the native Australian succulent Pig Face. The bright green succulent body of the plant dotted with one of the brightest, boldest pink flowers found anywhere in nature.
As a landscape photographer, i naturally have always wanted to shoot a photo with Pig Face as part of the subject matter. On the day i captured this photo, i had a pretty successful day under the belt, i had already shot a couple of photos i was stoked with,
As i was sitting on the beach taking it all in, i noticed that the tide had dropped out enough for the outside sand bank to break. I had been for a walk around the cliffs earlier and taken note of a couple of patches of Pig Face clinging to the cliff but didn’t bother scaling the cliff to see if it would work as a photo.
The peak that had just started breaking was the element i needed to tie the scene together, and create an artwork. I clambered down the cliff face and set my tripod with camera in portrait so i could shoot wide enough to get the Pig Face in the foreground and the peak the focal point in the background.
In the end i managed to land the one of my favorite landscape photos in “Picturesque Peak” scenes don’t come much more inviting that this photo, especially is you surf. I love looking at this photo, and remembering that beautiful day spend surfing and lazing up at double island.
The humble windmill makes for beautiful subject matter. I was lucky enough to stumble upon this location one afternoon just at the right time of day to reveal a scene of beautiful green rolling hills, dotted with eucalyptus, punctuated by a super photogenic windmill.
I found this photogenic spot in one the coasts many tucked away hinterland nooks. I stumbled across it while i was looking for a waterfall in the area that turned out to be a stones throw from this windmill. You don’t really see many windmills on the eastern side of the hinterland, so to find and photograph this windmill in this lush green setting, was a treat.
I have always thought the horse was one of the most beautiful Animals on planet earth. Such a powerful beast, yet so elegantly beautiful, the perfect photography subject. A subject i have always wanted to incorporate into a landscape photo.
One afternoon i noticed a herd of horses in a field facing Mt Ninderry. I had seen them from time to time, but never so many of them standing roughly where i needed them to make the photo I had in mind work, not to mention it being right on sunset ! all the ingredients to make the dream horse landscape photo come to life !
I set off into the field thinking I was going to have to sneak up on the horses and shoot with a longer lens to get the photo I was looking for, I was wrong ! Most of the herd spotted me and came over and surrounded me and started sussing me and and my camera gear, even chewing my tripod legs.
As such I had to shoot this photograph hand held and try to find a middle ground with the exposure and focal point, not as easy as you might think with half a dozen horses threatening to chew holes in you. I managed to shoot this photo in between the horses of another group that had not noticed my presence yet.
After all of that, and a good hundred or so photos later, this was the first photo that I took that afternoon, I honestly don’t think these horses could have been positioned better if they were statues.
Key takeaways from this landscape photo, you don’t have to go to Camargue in France to take a beautiful landscape photo with horses.
This is the story behind a photo that is guaranteed to make you smile. “Jersey Girl” is a photo of a beautiful pregnant Jersey cow, that was good enough to line herself up between a couple of the Glass house Mountains, and strike a pose for good measure, all while looking straight down the barrel of my camera, giving me my most popular photo. One I’m not sure i will ever surpass in terms of luck and timing.
On the afternoon this photo was taken, this was not the photo I had in mind. I set off for an area of the sunshine coast hinterland that has beautiful rolling hills, with the Glass House Mountains as the backdrop. It was a beautiful sunset, but unfortunately the wind didn’t play the game, so the photo with the tree I had in mind was not possible.
I folded up my tripod, packed up my camera gear and started my walk back down the hill. As I walked past the cows that I had been sharing the hill top with for the last hour, I turned around for one last look at the mountains. What I saw was what you see in the photo, the beautiful pregnant form of a Jersey cow striking a pose between Mt Beerwah and Mt Coonowrin.
She had become so comfortable in my presence, that she was not bothered by me standing no more than five meters away taking her photo, she just went about her business, head down mowing the grass. I took a few photos of her head down and thought to myself, how can I get her to look up at the camera. Excuse me miss cow, can you look over here please was not going to do it. It was not standard protocol as yelled at the cow as loud as I could with the shutter on rapid fire mode, But it was effective enough, as she looked straight down the barrel of the camera, and a photo of character, almost comical was captured.
image stabiliser on, aperture well down in the single digits, shutter speed borderline for handheld shooting with the last light of the day, it was a little touch and go. That is why this image has a shallower depth of field that the average landscape photography image. All in all I feel it has helped this image more than hindered it, bringing emphasis to the jersey cow with sass to burn, the star of the image.
Not a traditional or technically perfect Australian landscape photography image, but one of my favourite never the less.
what can be said about Noosa that hasn’t already been said. The Jewel in the crown of the Sunshine Coast’s seaside, is probably better known than the Sunshine Coast itself. The Glitz, and glamour of Hasting street, just a stones throw from the world renowned Noosa National Park. Noosa is a beautiful blend of the best Mother nature has to offer, right next to the best we have been able to create ourself.
With all the heat on Hastings street, and the Noosa National Park, you could be forgiven for thinking thats all there is to Noosa. You would be wrong, very very wrong ! The Noosa River, the Noosa hinterland, and the Noosa everglades, the later, one of only two everglade systems in the world, are truly every bit as spectacular as the National park its self.
The Noosa river is a landscape photography wonderland. Wether you are walking the river looking for old jetties and fishing boats, launching your drone trying to capture the beautiful curves of the river, or capturing a moment of tranquility with the sunrise reflecting off the calm water, you can immerse yourself in moments like that one any given day, from one end of the river to the other. You don’t need to be a photographer to get lost in the beauty of the Noosa River.
Lets start at the start. The Noosa River mouth is an extremely popular destination, and rightfully so ! the turquoise water and and golden sandy beaches make this spot a must visit for anyone who is partial to sunning their buns. The ever changing sands of the river mouth offer some really interesting landscape photography opportunities when viewed from above, so if you have a drone be sure to pack it.
From the mouth of the Noosa River, you can go one of two ways. you can go south, though Weyba Creek past some of the most Beautiful houses in Australia, up past Keyser Island conservation park, into Lake Weyba itself. There are many beautiful walking tracks around the river and Lake Weyba. Lake Weyba is also a really popular destination for wind surfing and sailing.
Heading north from the mouth of the Noosa River, you will find many nooks and crannies of the river to explore. My favourite way to explore the river is on a stand up paddle board, so do your self a favour and go and hire one from and see the river from a unique perspective. From the mouth, the river snakes past the tourist town of Noosaville. Plenty of opportunities to have a nice lunch or dinner and wet this whistle along this stretch. My picks would have to be the Italian restaurant 250 Grammi, or Whisky Boy.
Heading further up thought the river, you will find yourself in the Picturesque Lake Cooroibah, another beautiful Paper Bark Tree lined lake, that is just far enough out of the way to get a bit of peace and quiet. Moving further north, the Noosa river narrows and meanders through dense Bush and flood plain, and then opens up into the Majestic Lake Cootharaba, another equally beautiful lake with views to the east of the sand dunes of Teewah beach and Cooloola Sand Patch to the north. Take note, it would be a crime, if any trip to this neck of the woods, didn’t end up at the iconic Apollonian hotel at Boreen Point for a cold one.
After you roll out of the Apollonian, and jump back on your water leisure craft of choice, the next stop it is a part of the Noosa river known as, the river of mirrors. It is every bit as beautiful as it sounds, with its heavily tannin stained water giving it an other worldly feel.
I will go further in depth on the river of mirrors section and Lake Cootharaba in another photography location spotlight, as i feel this section of the Noosa River is special enough to warrant its own write up.
In this new blog post series, Location spotlight, I am looking to give the reader an overview of some of my favourite zones, and specific locations on the Sunshine Coast to take landscape photos.
For the first in my location spotlight series, lets take a look at my favourite place to take landscape photos on the Sunshine Coast, and maybe even Australia, the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
When people think of the Sunshine Coast as a location, I feel the first thing that comes to mind is the coast, I mean, its in the name isn’t it, so fair play, but there is so much more to the Sunshine Coast than just the coast. The Sunshine Coast hinterland and its crown jewels of the Glass House Mountains, are as beautiful of a place you will ever lay eyes on. Every bit as breathtaking as the coast, even more so in my opinion.
Rolling green hills dotted with Moreton Bay figs, that were already giants when when europeans first set foot one this continent. The rolling hills and grazing cows, give way to dense subtropical rainforest, full of Bunya Pine, sacred to the local indigenous. It is this dense rugged forest that encases the many secret waterfalls and hidden gorges that funnel the Sunshine Coast hinterlands hefty annual rain fall back down the range to the sea.
Some of the best known towns in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, as far as tourist destinations go, are the cultural hubs of Montville and Maleny. These are beautiful places, and you can eat and drink your self to death on any given day in the brewery, bars and, restaurants, but that is not why I head to the hinterland, at least not every time.
The reason i find myself in the hinterland so often is, my favourite thing to point my camera at is a waterfall, if possible one that hasn’t got another human anywhere near it. The Sunshine Coast offers many such opportunities, you just need to get adventurous, and get off the beaten track. that being said you don’t really need to either, there are many waterfalls scattered along the great walks, such as the spectacular and well known Kondalilla and Mapleton falls, to the lesser known but equally beautiful, Baxter and Gheerulla Falls. There are name more lesser known spots that i will not mention here in the interest of not blowing it for the locals, however they are not hard to track down.
If you have the spirit of adventure, grab your backpack, and head up to the range after a couple of days rain and go for it. A handy tool is google earth, look for the out of the way deep valleys and get as close as you can to it and go bush bashing ! you will be surprised what you find right under your nose. I found one of the most amazing waterfalls on the Sunshine Coast, the top of it right off the side of a sealed road, and I’ve never seen another photo of it, and its less than ten minutes out of Maleny, no small feat with the amount of cameras, iPhones and instagram accounts out there.
On a serious note. One of the first things you might notice when you find your self in some of the more rugged inaccessible waterways, is evidence of flash flooding. Things like tree branches and palm fronds, wrapped around trees well above your head. This is no joke, and is something that should always be on your mind in these areas, you do not want to find yourself in these areas during a heavy localized downpour, best to leave it a day or to for the water to clean up and settle down a little, makes for better photos anyway.
So get out there and get amongst it and recharge your battery. You might find something incredible and experience a moment of true bliss with nature, or you might just get bitten by mosquitos and swept away by a flash flood or get bitten by a brown. get out there and have a sticky beak, just don’t let me catch you at one of my secret spots !
‘Heaven On The Hill’ was the first time I composed an image and thought, why not just go a little wider ? ‘Heaven On The Hill’ was the first of my 4:1 panoramic landscape photography images. In landscape photography, the panoramic format was first brought into vogue by the Linhof 617 panoramic film camera, and the serious landscape photographers of the 90’s. Fuji film and Fotoman produced their own 617 panoramic film cameras not log after.
This large format film camera produced a 3:1 panoramic image. A little further down the track, the camera manufacturer Fotoman created an even wider 4:1 panoramic film camera. It was the panoramic images I saw created with the 4:1 Fotoman camera, that inspired this image.
‘Heaven On The Hill’ as with many of my images, was created on the way to work. As I was driving up the through the hinterland to my first days work in some time, courtesy of cyclone Debbie, The first light of the day revealed a sky covered in a blanket of high-level cloud, the tail end of destructive Cyclone Debbie, a weather system that sadly took fourteen lives.
I didn’t really have a clear shot in mind as I was driving up the range, but as I rounded the bend, the trees gave way to the rolling green hills that typify the beautiful sunshine coast hinterland, and the first signs of what would evolve into one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever witnessed.
The tree in the middle is the clear focal point in the image, but I new I had to squeeze in that old farm shed to the left, the leading lines of the driveway and rising sun to the right. The conditions were an absolute dream, no wind whatsoever. This allowed me to capture the scene in HDR, a blend of three exposures to capture the details in the highlights and shadows, only really possible with no movement in subject matter.
As the sun rose and illuminated the scene before me from right to left, I remember the light just being so incredibly golden and warming, like the doors of heaven were opening in front of me. I love the contrast in this scene, and the way the light is dancing across those beautiful rolling green hills. I love looking back over this photo and reliving that morning, such a beautiful moment in time.
If you would like to learn how to create big beautiful stitched panoramas like the one above, read on !
1- You need to get yourself a Panoramic tripod head – and a sturdy tripod.
If you are shooting any photo at every landscape photographers favourite time of day, the golden hour, you will need a sturdy trip-pod, and for a stitched panorama you will also need a panoramic tripod head. This is a tripod head that allows you to put your camera in a position where it can spin on its nodal point, also known as the no-parallax point. In brief, the nodal point of the camera is roughly around the front of the lens. Its one of the most important things to take into account when stitching a digital panoramic landscape photo because if you don’t get it right, what is called parallax will not allow you to stitch the images as the photos will not cleanly overlap on the same plane of vision. for a detailed description of parallax click here – http://www.brighthub.com/multimedia/photography/articles/66490.aspx
2- Where ever possible, shoot your panoramic images sets as portrait frames for horizontal pano’s and landscape for vertical panoramic images.
This is not major but if you are stitching panoramas, especially landscape photography panoramas you will be doing it for the extra resolution you can achieve, not just for the perspective, so why not do all you can to maximize that. If you shoot landscape frames for a horizontal panorama, you will need 3-4 images to create a 3:1 ratio panoramic image, and with the same image shot in portrait would take 5-6, that’s a pretty significant difference in overall resolution !
3- Always use a slightly wider focal length than you think is needed to achieve the desired composition and shoot an extra frame either side of your panorama.
I have blown more than one panoramic image by trying to be to clever and precise. Its better to be safe than sorry so always zoom out a touch, and shoot a frame either side of your intended composition, and then crop the image in a touch once stitched. Its worth sacrificing a tiny bit of file size so you don’t potentially loose part of something important in the image.
4- If shooting a HDR pano do not use a shutter remote.
Shooting a HDR (high dynamic range) panorama adds another level of difficulty to your shot, and basically more things can go wrong. Golden hour light can change very quickly, so its very important to get from one side of the scene to the other, and shooting three exposures per frame, instead of one, adds a fair bit of time to the equation. This is where the two second remote timer comes in, something that your dslr should have, set your AEB (auto exposure bracketing) in your settings as wide as desired to achieve details in the highlights and shadows. You may need to up the ISO slightly and widen the Aperture to speed up the shutter speed so you don’t get movement between exposures. the two second timer will allow you to get from one side of the scene to the other quickly as the exposures will be captured one after the other with no delay once the first is taken, the two second timer will give you enough time to rotate the pano head to the next frame and let the camera settle. This will take a little practice, but its the best way to do it in my opinion.
When shooting a vertical panorama, the first frame, if shooting from the ground up, will be more or less at the base of your tripod, and the last frame, will be way off in the distance and that’s why i usually shoot my vertical panoramas on auto focus, because there is usually a greater depth of field to cover. Horizontal panoramas on the other hand are usually a more even depth of field (the distance between the nearest and the furthest focused objects in an image) in my experience. So what i do, is find a mid focal point in your scene(this is knows as the hyper-focal point of a scene), auto focus off that point, and then flick it back to manual so the focus doesn’t jump from foreground to background as you are panning across the scene. There are limits to to what you can achieve with focus and depth of field in a scene, this is where focal stacking images comes into play.
A unique subtropical oasis nestled in the heart of Buderim. A cool fact some may not know is that Buderim is actually an extinct volcano and is home to one of the most photogenic waterfalls you are likely to see anywhere.
Serenity falls, as the name would suggest, is a beautiful and relaxing place to get outdoors and recharge. To get down to the falls is about a ten minute walk over some pretty dodgy terrain so be sure to pack a decent pair of shoes. Read more