Australian seascape and landscape photography

Posts tagged “neutral density filters

A Trip to the Pointy End – Phillip Island

Over the weekend I did a quick reconnaissance trip down to the pointy end of Phillip Island.
The images below were taken on a stretch of unsealed road named “The Boulevard” which runs along the south coast of Summerlands and ends at the Nobbies. The Boulevard is a grand name indeed for what amounts to a narrow dirt track, however the coastal views can be quite impressive from here.

Pictured below – The view from The Boulevard looking west towards the Nobbies.
Looking west along The Boulevard towards the Nobbies - Jim Worrall - Phillip Island - Australia

Unfortunately for those of us who like to immerse ourselves in these kinds of coastal environments there is no beach access permitted. We’re reminded of this fact by strategically placed signs warning of penalties for such breaches.

Pictured below – The view from The Boulevard looking east.
The view from The Boulevard looking east - Jim Worrall - Phillip Island - Australia

Pictured below – a zoomed in view of the coastline. It looks like a fine place for a photographer to play.
Summerlands south coast - Jim Worrall - Phillip Island

When finished with the south coast I made the short trip over to the north coast to visit Cowrie beach. I’ve been here once before but I had some unresolved images in my head that I wanted to try to capture here. Most of the northern coast is photographer friendly, allowing one to get as close to the water as one dares.

Pictured below – Bull in a China Shop, one of the less sedate Phillip Island waves attacking from left of frame.
Bull in a China Shop - Cowrie beach - Jim Worrall - Phillip Island - Australia

Pictured below – A long exposure image using an ND400 filter, The Course of the Penguin, one of the many corridors used by the penguins of Phillip Island.
The Course of the Penguin - Cowrie beach - Jim Worrall - Phillip Island - Australia

After finishing at Cowrie beach I left the island and crossed the bridge over to San Remo on the mainland. As I was crossing the bridge I noticed some amusing looking stairs below, surrounded entirely by the water of a high tide. It appeared to be a stairway going from nowhere to nowhere.

Pictured below – From Nowhere to Nowhere, San Remo.
From Nowhere to Nowhere - San Remo - Jim Worrall - Australia

The day concluded with a delicious meal of fish n’ chips from the Fisherman’s Cooperative, …..what bliss!


The bollard, the boat, the buoy and the beginning of a rainbow.

Saturday’s excursion was down towards the pointy end of the Mornington Peninsula.
After a hearty lunch of fish ‘n chips on Dromana beach, it was off to Sorrento for a cappuccino and also check out the surf conditions on the ocean side.
On arrival at the back-beach the surf was violent and unruly, fueled by a ferocious onshore wind.
I’ve tried to capture long exposure images under these conditions a couple of times before and come away from the experience with disappointing results. A howling wind always manages to soften my long exposure images regardless of tripod technique.

With this in mind I resigned myself to exploring the calmer more docile side of Sorrento, the bay side. The view from the beach here was quite nice with small boats bobbing and wobbling around in the water. I took a few shots of the little boats but couldn’t find anything particularly satisfying so I moved my attention to the huge bollards near the pier.

Pictured below – Bollard.
Bollard - Sorrento - Jim Worrall - seascape - Australia - black and white
Above – In this image the huge concrete bollard remains motionless whilst surrounded by the blurred movement of waves on the water. It’s nearby neighbors, the boat and the buoy wobble and rock in compliance with the waves. I used a high key effect to eliminate some distracting elements from the background. Both ND400 and ND8 neutral density filters were attached to the lens to achieve the desired long exposure under fairly bright conditions.

Pictured below – The Sorrento Bollards.
The Sorrento Bollards - Jim Worrall - Australia - seascape - black and white
Above – The massive bollards are used to assist with holding the Queenscliff-Sorrento ferry in place at the pier during the exchange of passengers and cars.

After shooting the bollards, mother nature tried to grow me a rainbow. The left and right ends of the rainbow were developing nicely and gradually growing skywards then suddenly fizzled into nothingness.

Pictured below – the left end of the incomplete rainbow.
Left end of the Rainbow - Jim Worrall - Sorrento - Australia

Pictured below – the right end of the incomplete rainbow.
The Right End of the Rainbow - Jim Worrall - Sorrento - Australia


ND400 Long Exposures at Safety Beach (Bracketing and tonemapping long exposures)

Following is a series of bracketed and tone-mapped long exposure images from Safety Beach, Victoria, Australia.
All were shot in the late afternoon using ND400 and ND8 filters combined to achieve the desired long exposure times.

Below – “Safety Beach Jetty
Safety Beach Jetty - Jim Worrall - Port Phillip Bay - Australia - beach

Here’s how I do my bracketed images – Many of my waterscapes are long exposure tonemapped images generated from 3 exposures at 0,-2 and +2 EV. In order to achieve these 3 exposures I set my camera to aperture priority mode, enable auto bracketing and set the ISO as low as it will go. I then tinker with the aperture value, iso value and either add or remove ND filters in order to force the camera to achieve a shutter speed of 8 seconds for the first exposure (0 EV). Now when the shutter button is activated the camera gives me 3 exposures at 8 seconds, 2 seconds and 30 seconds (which corresponds to approximately 0,-2 and +2 EV)

When these 3 exposures are blended together (tonemapped) in an HDR program the resulting image contains the misty silky effects from the 8 and 30 second exposures and also contains some details from the slower 2 second exposure. When shooting REALLY fast moving water I usually aim for a faster initial exposure time of say 4 seconds. The camera then gives me 3 bracketed exposures at 4 seconds, 1 second and 16 seconds (0,-2 and +2 EV)

The aim is to catch some detail in the fastest exposure but also benefit from the misty effect of the longer exposures.

UPDATE – Oct 2012 – If you’re looking for an introductory guide on how to use the ND400 have a look at my other blog post here.

Below – “Seep” a stormwater drain at Safety Beach.
Yes, a drain can look beautiful. 🙂
Seep - Jim Worrall - Safety Beach - Port Phillip Bay - Australia - drain

Below – “Jettison” another stormwater drain at Safety Beach.
Jettison - Jim Worrall - Safety Beach - Port Phillip Bay - Australia - drain