Ocean pools are littered up and down the coastline in Sydney, Australia, and they’re some of the most breathtaking places to be during sunset/sunrise. I was blessed to photograph this sunset at Mahon Pool between Coogee and Maroubra. It was a high tide and the bigger sets of waves were crashing over the tidal pool walls and even rushing up the walkways on the other side of the pool. It was a spectacle that many local onlookers had come out to witness as they watched the sunset.

This particular composition of the Mahon Pool took my fancy, it was something about the line of chained poles heading off out to sea that caught my attention. The tide was at its peak height as the waves were coming over the break-wall into the pool. A swimmer tried to brave the conditions by jumping into swim a few laps and he instantly regretted I think, realising how dangerous it was when he washed 5 metres in the opposite direction from a wave.

With slow exposure times on my camera I am able to cut out all this frantic and chaotic action, leaving us with the objects I want to focus on. To do this I need to use Neutral Density Filters or ND for short. Creating long exposures of sunsets/sunrises has become a passion of mine and I love the excitement that goes with a shoot like this. I’ve started taking a spare set of socks and shoes to these locations as I am always coming away drenched in sea water. On this occassion I underestimated the big wave set coming, which comes through every 5 minutes or so, and it came rushing through up to me knees as I jumped from rock to rock. But the logistics of camera settings can also be a fun activity because you have to adjust the aperture and exposure times to get a perfectly exposed image based on the light. So I am always constantly composing and watching the light, whilst computing the values to get a nice even exposure.

Camera Setup and Filters:

This image was made using the brand new 165mm glass firecrest 10 stop ND filter from Formatt-Hitech. I like these new firecrest ND filters because they cast very little colour cast and the results have excellent clarity. I need such a huge filter because I am shooting with the Nikkor 14-24mm wide angle lense and it has a large bulbous glass front on the lense instead of a nice flat one with screw in grooves. Lucroit specially design a filter holder for the formatt-hitech filters to go on my lense and the combinations is a treat to use. The filter holder I use has 2 slots so I can also double my 6 stop ND filter on top of the 10 stop for those ultra long exposures I like to do.

Thanks, Luke

p.s. you can leave any comments below via email or Google+ account

Technical Mumbo Jumbo

  • Camera: Sony A7R
  • Lens: Nikkor 14-24mm
  • Focal Length: ~20mm
  • Shutter Speed: 4.0 seconds
  • ISO: 100
  • HDR info: Single Exposure
  • Date: 04/06/2015
  • Time: 4:40 pm
  • Location: Mahon Pool, Coogee. Sydney Australia

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