Anatomy Of A Landscape Photo: Jersey Girl

australian landscape photography print

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.

Edan Raw,

Photography Location Spotlight: Noosa River

noosa panoramic landscape photography

Noosa !

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.

noosa landscape photography

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.

noosa river fine art photography

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.

noosa river drone photo
noosa drone landscape photography

Photography Location Spotlight: Sunshine Coast Hinterland

sunshine coast land scape photography glass house mountains

Sunshine Coast Hinterland

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.

kondalilla falls panoramic landscape photographysunshine coast hinterland photographytourist locations sunshine coast

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.

glass house mountains photography

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.

sunshine coast hidden waterfall

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 !

Anatomy Of A Landscape Photo: “Heaven On The Hill”

‘Heaven On The Hill’

Australian landscape photography

‘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.

Edan Raw,

Anatomy Of A Landscape Photo: ‘Eternal Lovers’

sunshine coast scenery

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’.

Edan Raw,