The Great Ocean Road and Otway Ranges areas in southern Victoria are iconic in their status as a tourist destination. The area is like a honeypot for landscape photographers like myself. I've made a couple of previous trips there and I got a chance earlier this year to make my third visit for a few days.
This trip for me was a case-study in why landscape photography is so difficult and why planning a trip in advance without being able to take into account the weather (and by that I mean the day-today weather not the climate or season) is so fraught with risk. When I am shooting at locations within driving distance of my home I can pick and choose the locations and the weather for the most productive results, but for a pre-planned trip you are at the mercy of the photography gods.
One the way to Great Ocean Road in my hire car I had to watch with some disappointment as a spectacular sunset faded away, knowing I would not be able to reach any of my planned locations in time to take advantage of it. On the first full day there was a massive storm with winds so strong it was impossible to shoot at all due to the camera vibration, rain and copious amounts of salt spray being blown in from the on-shore winds. On the second day the weather was a bit better and I was able to get some shooting done, though the sunsets and sunrises I had been hoping for were absent. On the last morning I did have a reasonably successful shoot at Wreck Beach but again I didn't get the sunrise colours I had hoped for at that location when I was pre-visualizing my shoot. Even when I moved onto my next location in Phillip Island (something I will talk about on another post) the weather played its usual games and didn't give me any spectacular skies.
These conditions really test us as landscape photographers and sometimes it leads to interesting and unexpected results. Just as often its leads to disappointing images (if any) and wasted time and money. The silver lining in this clouds is that when the start do align and everything comes together for the perfect shot it is all the more satisfying!
While the overcast and rainy weather was not so great for coastal photography it is perfect weather for forests and waterfalls. I decided to pay a quick visit with my family to Hopetoun falls. This is a lovely, picturesque location that I have visited previously. There is really only one decent place to photograph the falls from (the small boardwalk) so there is nothing unique about the compositions I got. It is possible to climb over the railing and walk to another spot along the river for a different view but the results aren't as pleasing. Waterfalls are kind of cliche as far as landscape photos go but they are fun to shoot and make attractive images.
When I'm having a difficult time with weather or complaining about the unsocial hours needed for landscape photography success, I remind myself that it is still great to be outdoors in a beautiful location. Getting a nice image is just a bonus.