The 12 apostle’s, no wait the 8 apostles now! Some of us might remember the dramatic collapse of the 9th apostle back in 2005 when in a matter of seconds the 9th apostle was a pile of rubble.
This was taken from the viewing platform and was just a few minutes before sunset when the light was at its most golden. The clouds were racing across from right to left of frame and kind of mushroomed in all the colour and light. At this point the sun was nearing the horizon and shot its light underneath the clouds across the ocean surface towards the land giving it the beautiful warm tone you see in the image. What I didn’t know about this location is that there are heap of green shrubs and grasses down on the beach. I wasn’t aware of this because most photographers create a 3:1 crop of the scene, a panorama print size, and it cuts out the beach all together. I wanted to highlight this in my image and I think thats why it’s a little a different to most you will have seen of this scene before. When I was exploring the local bushland’s I found the shrubs are very tough and hardy, not unlike broccoli or cauliflower.
I was one of maybe 50-60 people along the viewing platform and maybe the only with a tripod, who kids 5 years and younger seemed to love to touch and play with haha. My camera setup attracted a lovely couple from Melbourne who were curious as to the giant (165x165mm) black piece of glass, Neutral Density Filter, in front of my lens. I explained how it decreased the amount of light reaching the sensor and allowed me to increase shutter speeds to much longer times, for example 15 seconds in this frame. They were very curious to learn and it made me realise how much information I have garnered on photography over the years and I gave it out freely. In return for my knowledge on photography they offered up poetry and stories, which went down perfectly with such an amazing location and sunset. A glass of red would have made it even better 😉
TOPIC FOR DISCUSSION: Do you prefer to have the sun in front of you or on behind your back during sunset and sunrise shots?
I was recently shooting at the pinnacles on Phillip Island, Victoria, and for the most part I had the place to myself. This in it self was incredible and mind blowing that something so unique and remarkable was deserted. Anyways, it was when I traversed down into the pinnacles that I discovered another photographer was also there, just the one though. We went about our photo taking whilst the light was peaking and then after we chatted about the location, the huge storm that had just gone through and the travel time from Melbourne to the great ocean road. The light had not been great for us that day and we conveyed how we had both been disappointed with our results. Sometimes you can be in the most amazing place, but if the light and colour doesn’t appear the image won’t have any spark or energy. It was at this stage we exchanged instagram accounts, my insta is @LukeZeme if you want to follow me and his was @Fei_photography. I had a look at Fei’s account and boy is this guy good!? What I like about his work is that it doesn’t try to be too much, but instead it takes a scene and conveys what makes it interesting. He does this through the use of movement in the water and clouds very much like how I do.
Anyways he brought up the topic that the pinnacles was both a sunrise and sunset location to shoot. This to me seemed unlikely because it was down a cliff facing west meaning that you wouldn’t even be able to see the sun during sunrise. At sunset you could face your camera directly at the sun. Fei said that he prefers to have the sun behind his back and camera when shooting sunsets and sunrises. This one idea, this one concept has had me thinking a lot about it ever since and I know for myself that I 100% like shooting into the sun during golden hour. This is because I like dramatic ranges of colour and tone for HDR, High Dynamic Range, and this can create the most striking images. I’ve started to look at the light more in the opposite direction to the sun a lot more lately and the subtle colours and light it creates. For now I love the sun in my images but I could see my work transition to a subtle phase at some stage in the future. I think it would be fun to be creative with this light and create completely different moods for me.
With an image like this, where the sun is neither in front or behind the lens but to the side, it creates a much different affect. We can see the shadows in the mounds of sand on the beach and the apostles themselves create. We can see bright yellow areas of sand and stone that help to create depth in the image for our eyes, especially in front of the rich green vegetation in the bottom right of frame.
How about you, the reader, which way do you prefer to shoot and why?
How to get there?
The 12 apostles are on the great ocean road about a 3 hour drive. You can take the gorgeous seaside road through lorne and Apollo Bay or through the country side. There are plenty of hotels nearby and the town of Port Campbell has shops and restaurants to refuel.