Day 103 – Shooting in the Dark   9 comments

Southwest of Melbourne, along the southern coast of Victoria, stretches the Great Ocean Road. The road offers outstanding coastal views along much of its length. Some of the most remarkable views are west of Princetown up to the Bay of Islands and the most popular spot is surely the limestone stacks known as the Twelve Apostles.

In 2005, shortly after our second daughter was born, my wife bravely took the kids back to Canada on her own to show off the new baby for about four weeks. I didn’t have anywhere near that kind of vacation available so I stayed back. One weekend, I headed down for a solo trip to the Twelve Apostles with the goal of shooting them at both sunrise and sunset.

It was late May so the we were well into autumn by that stage. The days were getting short so sunrise wouldn’t need to be too heroic an effort. On the other hand, I was staying in Apollo Bay so I was a little over an hour’s drive away. I got up at 4:30 that morning so it was good that I was on my own. I made it to the Apostles a little before 6:00 only to discover that there are no lights anywhere on the road or at the visitor centre.

I hadn’t planned well enough to bring a flashlight so I made my way down the path in near complete darkness. It’s paved all the way out so I just had to take my time and watch the slightly darker shadows that marked the edge of the path.

I set up my tripod and camera with my remote shutter release. I could hear the water and just barely make out the rocks below so focus was to be a bit of luck as I got started. After some test shots to get exposures and assess focus success I settled in a bit. I was also joined by another shooter though we couldn’t see each other yet since it was still so dark. We could just see the glow from each other’s camera display.

I started with 30 second exposures at ISO 1600 and slowly worked up the ISO until I started getting some well exposed shots. The sun refused to break through the clouds so the light stayed rather flat so black and white seemed the best treatment for many of the shots. This photo is a 60sec exposure at f22 using a first generation Digital EOS Rebel (300D).


9 responses to “Day 103 – Shooting in the Dark

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  1. Excellent shot — very evocative and almost haunting –and great story about getting it.

    I visited the 12 Apostles on my second trip to Australia, and I found them to be wonderful subjects for photos — though I was out and about during daylight hours (though a very brisk wind meant I had wonderfully different backgrounds, lighting, and cloudscapes in almost every image).

    Thanks for sharing the image.

  2. Aren’t these the “11” Apostles now?
    Great shot,

  3. Beautiful,absolutely beautiful Mike.

  4. So dreamy.

  5. What a great write up and even better photo! Sorry I’ve been slacking on commenting, crazy busy here. Sigh…

  6. Thanks for pointing me to your image of the Apostles’ Mike. Wonderful, wonderful shot. The warm B&W treatment works superbly. Its such a shame that the foreground Apostle has gone now. Comparing your shot to mine in 2012, I think we’ve lost that interesting near-field focal point now and your image captures its magnificently. Still, it remains a stunning view despite its absence.

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