It’s been a few weeks since my last post so I thought I’d make this one a double and share a couple of panoramas from a place very near to where I grew up in Southeast Victoria. In early March a friend, American film maker Jack Metier, and I went on one of Victoria’s champagne hikes: the lighthouse circuit at Wilsons Promontory National Park. For all ye not familiar with this incredible place, ‘the Prom’ as we call it, offers up some of Australia’s most amazing natural beauty. It simply can’t be beaten for the amount of phenomenal beaches in what is a relatively small area occupying the southernmost tip of mainland Australia. What makes it even more awesome is that many of those beaches can only be accessed by hiking a minimum of 10km, which generally means the crowds stay away. Those hikes also take you through some stunning mountainous terrain with spectacular views of cliffs, bays, beaches, offshore islands, dense forests and omnipresent gigantic granite boulders. Each time I go there I’m blown away and this visit was no exception.
One of my favourite things about the Prom are the white sand beaches and the sparkling turquoise water that it produces when bathed in full sunshine. I’ve always felt that the place ‘looks’ like a kind of tropical paradise. It’s an illusion that is well sustained in these two panoramas but I can tell you that the water is in fact mighty cold when compared to the waters of say Vanuatu and New Caledonia, where I had been living for three months just previous to returning to Australia. Surprisingly, this aspect of the Prom does not seem to be much taken advantage of by the many photographers who visit. Pretty much invariably the shots I see from the Prom are sunset or sunrise landscapes. These, while often incredible, don’t capture that amazing colour the water can produce at high noon. I understand that there is a real harshness to light at full noon and for many types of photography it just simply doesn’t work. But for making an alluring image of sparkling water I find that there is nothing better.
This post might just go on forever if I go into all the details of the exposures for these shots but I will just throw out a thankyou to Jack Metier (check out his impressive travel blog) who took the final image of me jumping the creek in the top panorama. I blended that shot into the scene after stitching the panorama together. I will also just mention that I used a circular polariser for these shots. The polariser helped produce the amazing colour in the water though I admit it was probably not the best choice for the sky as you may notice the unnatural looking variation in tones in the sky. I may experiment with a graduated neutral density filter in future. I will also mention that I took many panoramas at a 24mm focal length that produced a good bit of barrel distortion, giving me quite a few headaches for stitching them together. In future I’ll probably only go down to about 28mm or maybe even 35mm and be a bit more careful in giving a healthy overlap between the shots. I’ll also just say that these were handheld, no tripod was involved, which makes stitching together in post a bit more tedious. That’s also why I used an ISO as high as 400 in such sunny conditions, so I could get as sharp a hand held image as possible. If anyone wants to know more about these exposures feel free to post a question/comment/suggetion. I will forever be a student of photography and welcome any discussion!
If you’re interested in seeing the route that Jack and I did and where specifically I took these shots you can check out the route map embedded in the bottom of this post. Don’t forget that you can view these panoramas in a fuller glory just by clicking on them and they’ll open up on a separate page. Thanks again for reading, next post coming up will be from a 5 day horseback adventure that I just finished up in the Bogong High Plains in Victoria’s high country. Don’t forget to RSS the blog, If you think it’s worth sharing why not tweet it, facebook post it, stumble upon it, digg it or email it onto your friends (yes it’s true I should have easy one click links for you guys to do those things, don’t worry it’s all in the pipeline). Of course any non-photography related comments are welcome too so don’t hold back.
Finally I might also just mention that the spot in the second panorama on the southern end of Waterloo Bay is a great spot for snorkelling. I was surrounded by a large inquisitive school of black and white stripy fish as I swam around those surreal boulders, it was awesome, thoroughly recommended.