Beach Hopping Photoshoot
16th Beach © Neil Anderson
Landscape/Seascape photography on a sunny day with no wind and no prospect of clouds to add interest to the sky is often not on the radar for quite a lot of photographers. However, these were the weather conditions presented for our photoshoot to The Blowhole/Elephant Rock (Flinders) and 16th Beach (near Rye ocean beach). The tide was out (it looks like the organiser misread the tides), and there was minimal, if any, action by The Blowhole.
Twenty five members arrived at The Blowhole carpark around 2 pm. Neil showed photos from the previous visit to The Blowhole showing quite an impressive spray and a comment that a mist of seawater even reached the carpark due a strong southerly wind. After asking members to check their lens front element for cleanliness, a comment that there are plenty of photo opportunities on the beach with black rocks contrasting with seaweed and some rocks with algae, and then discussion with some members on slow shutter speed photography using a ND (Neutral Density) filter, members took photos from the carpark, along the boardwalk down to the beach, and then on the beach. A wedding photographer was taking photos of a bride and groom on the top of elephants head; a photo of the couple and the rock giving a good perspective of the size of Elephant Rock. Members clambered over and onto rocks to capture closed landscape (i.e. no sky) or closeup images of rocks, seaweed, water, and algae. Later on the tide came in for waves to add a great degree of interest to spray or wave motion interaction with the numerous rock formations. It was impressive to see so many tripods get a workout for slow shutter speed photos (a number of members had purchased ND filters for the day).
Around 4pm the last group of members left The Blowhole for the drive to 16th Beach. Plan A was to take photos of the Dragon's Head formation but the tide was too high to get around the point as photos needed to be taken from the righthand side of the formation to be lit by the sunlight. Plan B became taking photos of Lizard Head rock formation and other beach scenes, some from the cliff top. Once again there were opportunities for slow shutter speed images with the surf coming up to Lizard Head, and surf interaction with some other small rocks. Children, often back lit, provided a range of photo opportunities.
Around 7pm three stayers remained: Gayle Tout, Brian Young and Neil. Conditions looked super for Astro Photography, and key points from Alex Cherney’s Astro Photography presentation were ingrained in our collective minds. We decided to drive to Rye to have food. The brilliant weather plus the long weekend made for a huge crowd at Rye. A pizza restaurant Brian recommended did not have a table for the whole night and it would take one hour for a takeaway pizza. A BBQ chicken and bread rolls from Woolworths and some cold drinks from BWS was a pleasant dinner sitting on Rye beach. It was pitch black when the stayers arrived back at 16th Beach. The Milky Way looked superb and the only decision was “what foreground feature to use”. Two separate cliff sections together with some foreground rocks were used for many shots. Then, the decision was made to use Lizard Head as foreground interest for some more great astro photography shots. Trudging over more dry sand and the walk (actually it becomes a climb) back to the carpark is challenging but the adrenaline level and sense of achievement was so high that nothing else mattered. We got back to the carpark at 11:38 pm for the traffic-free drive back home. I had a very memorable day and my astro images are the best I’ve ever taken.