Pink Salt Lake

This lake has to be seen to be believed!

Just a short stop on the way to Kalbarri, Hutt Lagoon as it’s named is more pink than any other pink lake I’ve seen (don’t even get me started on the “pink lake” near Esperance, which has been brown every time I’ve driven to see it!)

The drone was the best way to capture it in all its glory so we timed our trip home from Kalbarri so I could roll Simon over the lake and grab some shots. Not disappointed!

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Cottesloe

Winter sunrises in Perth can be spectacular – this particular morning there was too much cloud and the colour couldn’t get through. Cottesloe was wet, wild and ridiculously windy. Didn’t take a lot to slow the shutter down to get some water movement due to things moving around so quickly.

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Things you learn about dating a Landscape Photographer

1. Holidays are planned with ulterior motives… around possible photographic locations and beautiful scenery. If it’s not an especially picturesque place, expect it to be met with limited enthusiasm.

2. Your days start early. You’ve been woken up by an alarm in the still dark hours of the morning more times than you’d care to count.

3. Don’t even think about planning a romantic dinner or in fact any activity if it coincides with sunset. Or the hour before sunset….or the hour after it. Just don’t plan things in the late afternoon/early evening OK?

4. Exploring a new area together could find you suddenly alone as you realise your partner has stopped somewhere without telling you. Not just stopped, either… possibly turned down another path and pursued a completely different direction altogether.

5. Just by being in a relationship with this person, if you are around while the camera is in use, you become a photographer’s assistant (by proxy). You’ll also BE in a lot of photos. Get used to it.

6. Your loved one will probably express their love by saying things like, “You’re blocking the light…” and “Honey, you’re still in the shot… nope, still in it.”

7. If you insist on tagging along, expect to see the same places again and again… landscapes change and every day is different.

8. “Watching a movie together” may consist of you watching the movie while they edit photos on their laptop beside you. Quality time!

9. Most photographers hate their own photos. Don’t get frustrated when you think the finished product is good and they don’t. Just let it happen. Let them hate their own work…it can only make them better!

10. Big stoppers are not your friend. When this bad boy comes out, it’s time to settle in and get comfortable. You’re not going anywhere. If you ask how much longer they’ll be and they say “Just one more shot…” this usually means 4 photos of bracketed exposure spanning about 12 minutes (they plan to blend it into one shot, later!).

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Colour Casts – the digital age

After recently purchasing an old film camera I can seriously appreciate the ease of digital photography. Being able to ‘fix’ errors in photoshop later and adjust colours and exposure encourages a whole new approach to how you take photos. I have found over the years as my photoshop skills and exposure increases I will compose my photos and adjust settings with the photoshop actions in my mind – i.e. I will assess a scene and think “Yes, this isn’t going to look so great on the camera, but with some contrast and saturation and a couple of dodge/burn layers this could be great” and it’s this that I’m talking about.

The other great thing about photoshop is knowing that you can alter a picture so that it looked exactly as you saw it yourself with the naked eye. Photographs (in my mind) should be natural and a reminder of what you saw when you were in that spot – I don’t like over saturating and “creating” new skies and all of that just to make a pretty picture.

The below photos are shots taken at Trigg Beach in Perth and were taking using a Lee Big Stopper Filter to reduce the light and allow a soft water/cloud movement. The negative effect of this filter is that it adds a colour cast to the shot – you can see by comparing the photos that the overall effect is rather green, especially noticeable on the otherwise cream sand and limestone rocks. It detracts from the colour of the sky and is unnatural to what a human eye would have picked up at the scene.

Enter Photoshop.

I used Image>edit>match colour>neutralise mask to change the tones in this image (cs5) and then played with the exposures in certain sections of the rockwork and the sky. The second image shows more natural colour and is truer to how the ocean and sky looked that day.

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Exmouth & Karijini National Park

Over Easter, we took an extended break to dip our souls into the red dust of the north west of Western Australia. We drove from Perth to Exmouth in a day and left at the exciting hour of 2am to reach Exmouth early so we weren’t driving Suicide Drive at dusk. What’s “Suicide Drive” you ask? It is the treacherous stretch of road that goes into Exmouth and during the last few hours of light is inhabited by all manner of suicidal animals including and not limited to: goats, sheep, cows, kangaroos, emus, goannas, snakes, birds, rabbits and foxes. It is a dangerous stretch of road and I’ve heard it is difficult not to hit something on the way in during an afternoon. Luckily we got through with no worries and got to Exmouth at about 3pm.

A cracker sunrise put good light (haha) on the trip:

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On the way through to Exmouth we stopped to re-fuel and get some lunch at the Overlander Roadhouse. We parked down the back under the shade provided by two big trees that were completely covered in Butterflies.

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I had a checklist of “things to see in Exmouth” and one of my top priorities was a Perentie. This giant goanna is the largest native to Australia and the fourth largest in the world making it a pretty impressive creature. They are referred to as the “Lizard King”, are an apex predator and therefore afraid of practically nothing. This makes them fairly approachable for photos as long as you don’t get too close (Perentie toe nails would be a nail technician’s nightmare). We were lucky enough to catch one crossing the road; it was young and very clean, showing off its great markings and trademark white throat. It tolerated us for a few minutes before shifting into 4WD mode and running into the bush.

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The fishing was not so great in Exmouth unfortunately; limited to the land we threw hard bodied lures, soft plastics and stick baits around with very little luck. But what a paradise! The water there was crystal clear and a beautiful aqua blue. We didn’t make it to Turquoise Bay (got to leave something for next time!) but I found Sandy Bay pretty impressive:

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As a photographer and not having much experience in this part of the country I was especially excited to watch the sun rise out of the water. In Perth it rises over the hills and sets in the water but I have never seen a sun rise from the ocean. It didn’t hurt that the sunrises in Exmouth were beautiful either.

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And then it was time for the trip to Karijini. I have been wanting to get to Karijini for years, even before photography became a focus for me. What a place! We timed our trip to Karijini a little earlier than the prescribed “on” season in the hopes that going close to the end of the wet season would mean plenty of reptiles and lots of great clouds. Being there only a few days meant we didn’t get to experience much change in the weather and the first few days were cloudless and an easy 32 degrees during the day and 16 at night. On the last day the clouds were fantastic and we heard that they were expecting heavy rain to arrive soon.

Arriving on Easter Monday it seemed a lot of campers had left by that stage and each day more people filtered out and no one new seemed to arrive. There were a few big groups of European touritsts but the most likely visitors were young couples and young families. We camped in the eco retreat in Grevillea Loop, site 95- a great spot as we were completely secluded from other people and right at the front of the loop- closest to the showers and the BBQ block.

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We had 3 full days inside the park but the last day was taken up with West Oz Active’s “Red Gorge Tour” so we tried to make the most of what we could see and do in 2 days.

First stop was Hamersley Gorge. About an hour’s drive out of the park and well worth the visit! I think it was the most beautiful gorge with its purple hews and beautiful green water.

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Then we used the afternoon to visit Hancock Gorge – the gorge I fell in love with when looking at other people’s photos. I couldn’t wait to get through it and it didn’t disappoint!

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We got up for a sunrise at Joffrey falls but the light didn’t come across and stayed a very muted colour unfortunately:

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So we popped around to Kalamina Gorge which whilst simple, was still very pretty. I think I liked the view of the water from up top the best:

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And to finish the day off we stayed and watched the sunset at Oxer’s Lookout.

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Day 2 had us down to Fortescue Falls, Fern Pool and then we circled back across Fortescue and into Dales Gorge then continued on to Circular Pool. Unfortunately we didn’t get to Fortescue Falls or Fern Pool early enough and half of each waterfall was cast in deep shadow making it impossible for good photos. When I go back to Karijini, I will ensure I am there at sunrise for well exposed photos.

Took an above view of the falls on our way back to the carpark at around 2pm.

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Circular Pool:

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And a last sunset at Knox Gorge. This was a better choice than Oxer’s only because we had it to ourselves and Oxers had been full of people and it was difficult to take long exposures on the platform.

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Trigg Beach

Another stop past Trigg Beach on saturday night (8th March). Arrived just on sunset and was flustered due to the sheer amount of other photographers there! It was one of those rushed evenings where you just have to pick a spot and hunker down rather than having the freedom to change your position and point of view. I was a bit sneaky and got in right behind someone to take a few quick ones, but I gave up and decided to shoot abstract instead. This is my second time shooting with the Lee Big Stopper 10-stop filter and I love,love, loooooooooove it! Also didn’t have time to calculate my exposure so did it in my head and hoped for the best- came out a little underexposed and needing fixing in photoshop.

I love this place!

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My favourite pictures of 2013… a year in review

2013 is well and truly behind us now and 2014 brings with it a whole new list of adventures! 2013 was not a huge photographic year but did see many new fluffy and scaly additions to the family which shortened the opportunities for photographic excursions. If anyone has raised a puppy like a child…they’ll know what I’m talking about. So this year my top photos are less landscape based than I would like but beggars can’t be choosers. The highlight of 2013 (both personal and photographical) was definitely the family trip to Kununurra – what an absolutely stunning place…book a trip immediately.

Hopefully 2014 brings more landscapes into the equation. 2013’s gear was a Canon 6D (love, love, love!) my 100mm 2.8 Macro, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8 and I was finally able to ditch my horrendous 24-105 f/4 for the 17-40mm f/4 which I am enjoying immensely on the full frame.

These are 2013’s best shots: (to visit 2012’s year in review please click here)

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The last stop

This was the last stop for our last sunset on our last night in Kununurra. The sunset was underwhelming and it’s difficult to get a good landscape shot with so much australian bushland in the way!

We pulled over on the drive back home to catch a couple of snaps of the road…. I miss this place! I’d go back there in a heartbeat… so much land untouched, photos not captured and fish not hooked!

These two were taken around 5 minutes apart.

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Zebedee Springs

A beautiful natural hot springs located inside El Questro Wilderness Park that is most certainly a spot to visit. We were told getting there early is the best idea as it is open to the public from 7am – 12 noon and gets quite busy. We left our campsite as early as we could and got there bang on 7am to see just two other cars in the carpark – awesome!

Cait, Dad and I wandered around looking for photo opportunities but I think Dad was probably the best off armed with the Sigma (I really want to say 10-20mm…but can’t remember what it was!) and Cait was certainly the worst off with her 7D armed only with my 50mm f/1.4. I was forced into yet another situation where the 24-105mm was my only weapon and I missed my Canon 10-22mm more than ever. Think being stuck in Africa facing a hoard of angry lions and the only weapon you can find to defend yourself is a fork. A plastic one. That pretty much sums up my irritation at being able to get a decent photo with this lens – it’s just not wide enough on the 6D. I’m going to have to invest in a 16-35mm, I know!

So enough talking… here are the photos: (the first two are on the road to Zebedee, with Dad’s 4WD kicking up a lot of dust in front of us)..

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The night sky…Kununurra

When we left the confines of Perth’s inner suburbs and reached the dusty wilderness of Kununurra, we were amazed to see the difference in the night sky. It was alight with stars and colour and this sight was something I had never experienced before. With the milky way so prominent above us, we all had a go at capturing it. As my first try at taking photos of the heavens, it’s a little grainy and a little over exposed in terms of the stars showing a little bit of movement. But I can still look at these and remember how fantastical it actually looked – that’s right…not fantastic…fantastical, like it wasn’t real.

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Ivanhoe Crossing – Kununurra

A very beautiful spot that is a popular place for fishing and getting attacked by crocodiles amongst the locals. We stayed here for a fish in the afternoon and then to watch the sunset, which was quite a nice one. Can you spot the crocodile in the second picture? Probably not! If you google “Ivanhoe crossing croc” there are much closer pictures of it and then you will know what I mean!

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Kununurra on High

On high you say? I mean a high lookout! Saddleback Ridge in Kununurra is a beautiful lookout and this is the first of a very long, long (prepare yourselves!) series of photos from my trip to Kununurra.

This is a dawn photo taken on the 6D using the 24-105mm. I’ve recently fallen out of love with the 24-105mm due to its performance on this trip as it doesn’t stay sharp in the middle at f/4 while zoomed… ridiculous! Anyway…more griping to come later.

Enjoy the first of the series!

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Perth Sunsets

Perth has some amazing sunsets… and it always seems to happen when I’m at home! Why is that!?

Anyway… the 3 of us (my sister and my boyfriend) decided to go out the front and watch the amazing sunset from our driveway as it was too late to go anywhere by that stage. The colours were appearing quickly and soon exploded.

My sister gave me the great idea of using the roof of my car as a reflection and it came out awesome looking like a large body of water. This is also the first time I’ve appreciated the many large palm trees on our street!! haha

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This is an old photo from Kalbarri, WA. We had decided to go out fishing in the morning and woke up to the town drenched in fog. I really like this image because at a first glance it looks like it could be the moon… but it’s the sun :). It also brings back very very vivid memories of seasickness and petrol fumes…as you can see it was extremely choppy and due to the low visibility on the water, we were going excruciatingly slowly!

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My 10 favourite pictures of 2012… a year in review

2012 is now over. I had a great year photographically… took a trip to New Zealand’s South island in November and also saw some beautiful sunsets and sunrises in Perth, Western Australia, my beautiful home town. I’m so lucky to live in such a naturally beautiful place.

2012’s gear comprised of my Canon 550D, my wideangle Canon 10-22mm, Canon 50 f/1.4, Canon 85 f/1.8 and the Canon macro 100mm f/2.8.

There are big changes ahead photographically in 2013 as January saw the purchase of my new full frame camera, the Canon 6D. I’m sure that 2013 will also see some new lenses join the fray, and perhaps even say goodbye to some old ones too.

With a few more weddings in the mix and lots of happy occasions ahead such as photographing a beautiful Albany wedding in February and my little cousin Maddie getting married in June, it’s going to be a fun year. Hopefully there will be some holidays somewhere in there, too!

These are my favourite shots from 2012:

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Cottesloe Beach Sunset

This location has been top of the list for quite some time; you know how it is when you see fellow photographer’s blogs pop up with the one location, and they’re all stunning photos? I would say at least 4 blogs that I follow in Perth featured a sunrise or sunset photo of Cottesloe beach within about 10 days of eachother – and it was a done deal, I had to go.

I kept an eye on the sky, waiting for a good opportunity to catch a sunset and with the weather we’ve been having lately, there’s been a lot of cloud around for 40 degree heat! The fateful afternoon arrived and my sister and I headed to Cottesloe and watched an absolutely beautiful colour formation appear. We shot with the sun behind us and you can see from the two photos below how much the colour changed as the sun went down.

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The Church of the Good Shepherd

Ahhh….the Church. How many times I subjected people to hear about this site before I went to NZ I’m not sure (I’m so sorry!!). I have seen this iconic Church in so many photography blogs and portfolios of photographers world wide, that I just couldn’t wait to go, and Tekapo was an absolute must stop. I even made sure that we had 3 nights there so that I could make sure I captured it in the right light. Crazy, I know. The lengths we go to….

Anyway, didn’t get any ‘magical’ light on sunsets or sunrises, but I was happy with a couple of them. Also, how cool is the tussock grass?

#1. Sunset shot (see the moon?) #2. Another sunset photo, minimal sky colour. #3 – sunrise photo, little sky colour and quite flat light.

Also- this was another crazy destination like the Tree at Wanaka where one had to fight for a position and not leave one’s post in order to get the photo required!

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Lupins!!!!!!

I’m not sure if anyone else is as obsessed with these so-called weeds as I am, but when I realised the NZ Lupins flower from late October through to December depending on the weather, and our trip was planned for November, a stop in Tekapo was seeming more and more exciting! I have seen many photos of the Church of the Good Shepherd with the lupins in full display, and it is truly breathtaking- I couldn’t wait to see them.

Luckily, they were in flower when we got there- so, so beautiful. The photos don’t quite capture the rolling colour with the blue hues of the mountains and Lake Tekapo in the background there, but this is one scene I won’t forget.

This was taken after a sunrise stop at the Church.

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A battle at the Wanaka Tree

The “Wanaka Tree” was one of the reasons I so desperately wanted to go to Wanaka in New Zealand’s South Island. I just need to say… I was surprised by how tiny it was! I guess when you’ve been looking at photos of a certain place, your mind builds a picture of what you think it should look like… weird. When we got to the bay, there were 2 very ‘pro’ looking photographers set up with their tripods and had even brought down laptops! (I have never done this, though I suppose if I was in the business of photography, this may be quite common? I don’t know)… I labelled them as ‘snooty photography types’ immediately. They had the best spots on the bay too! Imagine having to fight for a spot to shoot the Wanaka Tree!

The sunset was not promising, and although providing a pleasant pink above the mountains, was very underwhelming. I packed up my tripod and headed for the car and get this – the pros snickered to each other and said (loudly I might add!) “Isn’t it funny how amateurs always pack up when the sun is gone? Who would be dumb enough to go home and miss the afterglow?” It seemed my label was correct. With dinner plans looming, I wasn’t really keen to hang around in the cold for the afterglow which looked to be as underwhelming as the sky! I watched it from the restaurant instead and am happy to say that I was right…

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The next morning, I set my alarm a little earlier than usual to make sure I would be guaranteed a good vantage point for the tree- but when I got down there at 5.45am, I was the only one there! I must admit I felt rather smug whilst remembering the pros of the night before (“Isn’t it funny how people say they’re professionals, but won’t get up at 5am to shoot the sunrise!? ha,ha.”) when the most beautiful pink hit the snow on the mountains. The sunrise, compared with the sunset of the night before, was magic.

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A Tekapo Sunrise

This is a panorama (7 image stitch) of the sunrise over Lake Tekapo in New Zealand. Easily one of my favourite places, and probably the most abundant colours for sunrise/sunset that I was given by NZ during the trip. Lake Tekapo is the most amazing blue (in daylight hours) and is also the home to the Church of the Good Shepherd – if you have a chance to go, I would definitely recommend it! I believe these shots were not long exposures, it was a very very still morning.

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The Rocks of the Swan River

No sunset to speak of, or even see due to the extreme dense cloud cover.

These rocks showed up quite nicely though with a long exposure of 1 minute and 22 seconds, with the lights as a backdrop. I’d like to go back here another night and see what else this spot has to offer. And then maybe then I’ll get the photos of Canning Bridge I’ve always wanted…