So this is an occasional series where give a full account of a particular image… in this case it’s all about landscape photography almost becoming an almost out-of-body experience …
My original story went something like …
I consider taking this image to be one of my defining photographic moments. One I cannot forget. I was on holiday in Smiths Lake with my family, and the weather had been very ordinary for a few days. I had enough and excused myself before dinner to go and ‘see if there was a sunset’. Grey clouds were all around.
I drove down a dirt road and found Cellito Beach, and walked out onto a rocky point and waited. The grey clouds stayed and I took some long exposures as it darkened. Then slowly it all came together, as the sun set peeking through a small gap in the west and the clouds glowed. They glowed all colours, and not just to the west. Consider – this photo is facing East! It was like I was in a cauldron of fire, bright deep reds to the west, oranges to the east. The best 360 degree sunset I have ever seen, and I was standing there on a rock in the middle of the bay with the waves smashing around me. The rock shapes gave wonderful composition.
If this story doesn’t make you get out and have a try in life, what will?
What you don’t see
It was the most intense experience I had been under since I really got into landscape photography, I have to say. It was a few years ago and taking photos was much more of part-time interest than it is now. In addition, I was not working with the gear that I am lucky enough to have right now, so it was all a little basic. I didn’t have a lens that went wider than 28mm at the time. I did really need the wide angle lens, as the sky was epic, a real 360 degree shimmer. The rock I was standing on was at a steep angle, so I needed to be really carefully to set up my tripod level.
I tried a few panoramas and I was lucky enough that one worked really well. I was running around left and right shooting east, west, all ways. However, the running around didn’t stop me standing there at one point with arms to sky and just letting out a real shout of joy, it was that ethereal a moment.
How I felt and what I saw when I was there
I have to say I was I overload and I was not as measured as I am now in my approach. A novice landscape photographer, really. I basically saw a whole load of colour and tried my best to not panic and take it all in.
What I saw Afterwards
Well…. our featured image was oh-so-close when I stitched it. However it had horizon problems ( a real ‘step’ in the level of the water ) which actually rendered it useless. So I had to learn some fairly advanced Photoshop techniques to get it to look as it does now. That took weeks which flowed into months in the end… This is also the third of fourth attempt, learning as I went, to give the final image ‘balance’.
Am I Happy?
It’s really quite difficult to divorce the image that I see from my memories of that night. This image is one of my favourite images I have ever taken. I believe the term is ‘strong emotional connection’. In addition, the structure and repetition of the rocks on the left hand side makes a wonderful frame, and leads the viewer’s eye to the ‘washing machine’ of the water in the centre and to the right. In short, it’s a great image which brings back great memories.
Thanks for reading this far
The Berowra Photographer