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Morden O'Hare Photography Blog.  Blog posts discussing travel, photography, wildlife photography, landscape photography, camera gear reviews.

Locations: Sugarloaf Rock

Landscape photography can be a challenging pastime.  Poor light, unsocial hours, weather and distance all conspire to discourage the photographer.  In my experience there are three main ingredients to getting amazing images of great locations. They are (in order of importance) a. be there  b. be there at the right time c. use a tripod. Notably absent in this list is anything to do with cameras or lenses as they are much less important albeit still essential. No matter how expensive your gear is, if you don't get the first three ingredients right you are wasting your time.

Reminding myself of all this I recently decided to tackle a landscape location that had been on my short-list for some time. I had never been there previously to scout it out but I was able to check out what other photographers had done by looking though images on 500px.com and this gave me an idea of the sort of options I might have.  The weather was looking like rain for the morning I had chosen but I took the gamble anyway and left home at 3.30am for the two hour drive to Dunsborough. I was on site well before sunrise gingerly picking my way over the rocks with a torch to pick my initial location.

Well, the photography gods were smiling on me as the rain stayed away, the light was amazing, the skies were textural with plenty of movement and the seas not too rough.  I shot from well before sunrise to about half an hour after then all of a sudden the magic hour finished and it was all over. I felt like every shot I was taking was a 'keeper', the early start and tiring drive was oh so worth it and all was right with the world.  

All of the following photos were taken at 24mm focal length (using my tilt-shift lens which you can read about on a previous blog post).  The square/vertical format versions are 'stitched' images combining two photos taken by shifting the lens up then down.  I find this less problematic with stitching as the sky movement and the sea movement are captured in separate frames which makes for a problem free stitch in Photoshop (stitching images with movement can very difficult if the movement is different from one frame to another).

This photo was taken before sunrise which resulted in the long shutter speed (88 seconds) and blurred, misty water and sky.

This photo was taken before sunrise which resulted in the long shutter speed (88 seconds) and blurred, misty water and sky.

Taken a short time later with the light rapidly brightening, I intentionally chose settings to keep my shutter speed at 0.5 of a second.  This shows the movement and energy of the water without it turning into mist.

Taken a short time later with the light rapidly brightening, I intentionally chose settings to keep my shutter speed at 0.5 of a second.  This shows the movement and energy of the water without it turning into mist.

A monochrome version of the first image, converted using Silver Efex pro 2.

A monochrome version of the first image, converted using Silver Efex pro 2.

A two image stitch getting plenty of foreground detail.

A two image stitch getting plenty of foreground detail.

A two image stitch capturing a brief splash of colour in the clouds. The light quality deteriorated very quickly after this.

A two image stitch capturing a brief splash of colour in the clouds. The light quality deteriorated very quickly after this.

I would highly recommend anyone visiting the Dunsborough area make this spot the top of their list if you love landscape photography.  It is an oft photographed location for a reason. I will certainly be going back there myself one day.