Every now and then I like to post a little insight into my photography world and take you for a trip along with me on a shoot. This time we're heading north of Adelaide.
Given I hope to shoot nearly all of South Australia's coastal jetties by the end of the year, I have really had to manage my time better than I normally do. Already this year I have completed more shoots than last year and it's been good getting into a routine and escaping the office more regularly. After doing much of the Fleurieu Peninsula already it was time to head north! With my Walk on Water series I really want to capture jetties in pretty much every conceivable way. I already have sunrise, sunset, lightning, moonrise, long exposure, golden light and sunny afternoon - but I have recently been thinking about adding a Milky Way shot to the series. Given all jetties I have seen in SA have lights down them, I didn't know how achievable this would be but I did some research and found that the very, very long Port Germein Jetty only had a couple of lights and they were so far down that they wouldn't affect the exposure. I checked my astro app and a nice Milky Way was appearing about 2am although I wasn't sure how the moon light would affect it.
Only one way to find out, so I packed my hear and told Lisa I would be heading on an overnighter Thursday night. For the first time since I've known her she told me she had a really bad feeling about it and that she felt I should go another day. I initially questioned her feeling and felt frustrated as I was really itching to go - but the look on her face said everything and I decided to trust her judgement! The next morning I received a message from someone asking if I was ok because they had a very real dream that I had a bad car accident. Later in the weekend I head of a car accident on the road I was going to take that sadly killed 4 people. A bit freaky... I reckon I'm going with Lisa's gut from now on!
After waiting an extra day I finally headed off on Friday night with Lisa's blessing. I decided to do Port Broughton jetty for sunset then head up to Port Germein to sleep in my car and do milky way and sunrise.
Arriving at Port Broughton as the sun was already getting very close to the horizon I was really cutting it fine. Normally I like to get to a location much earlier in the day, scout for compositions and just a get a feel of the place - especially if its somewhere I haven't been before. With a headache starting to thump my skull I jumped out of the car and ran down to the beach. 5 minutes later I had my NiSi filters on and I was ready to go. Although 20 minutes earlier it looked like sunset would be a boring affair, things got beautiful very fast and some fantastic light poured across the scene followed by some really stunning colours as the sun dropped. By this time my head was absolutely pounding and I just wanted to go back to the car, take a couple of tablets and lie down. There were some old sticks further down the beach that needed to be shot however so I wandered over and took a few long exposure frames before finally giving in to the pain and retreating. It was definitely a rushed shoot with not the usual thought and process involved, but thats going to happen from time to time when you're shooting 30+ jetties in one year.
After taking some Panadol and chilling for a bit I felt better and drove out of lovely little Port Broughton towards Port Germein. All I really knew about the place is that at one stage it was the longest jetty in the Southern Hemisphere before storm damage some time ago. After arriving in what seemed like a ghost town, I parked my car on the foreshore and started walking down the jetty. It was around midnight, not a soul was in sight and I had the entire jetty to myself... or at least I thought! After setting up about 100m down the jetty for an on jetty shot I turned around looking at the stars and was face to face with a guy with a fishing rod. I hadn't heard a thing and nearly fell of the jetty in shock. I think my startled cry surprised him even more than me and it was all bit awkward.
The moon was out and I wasn't really getting the depth in the sky that I wanted. With the tide in I couldn't shoot from the side of the jetty either and I was having doubts about my milky way idea. I spent an hour doing some test shots with my 14mm Rokinon lens which I haven't used much when it happened again... Given the jetty was without lights I didn't notice two people walking towards me on the jetty even though I was shooting in their direction. They popped up out of the blue right in front of my face and once again I visibly jumped! By that time I was over it and with the milky way just not happening for me I headed back to the car for some sleep.
I was parked out the front of an old abandoned building and kept hearing strange noises from inside but I was very tired and nodded off in no time. My alarm went off in the morning and I got up to fairly clear skies. Definitely still worth getting up for though - there's something about a sunrise which invigorates and captivates me... the way the sun rises out of the darkness and slowly fills the sky with light is such a metaphor for my life. While getting my gear ready I noticed the same weird noises coming from the building. A moaning sound and something that sounded like a rowing machine being used. (Hey, I guess ghosts need to keep fit too!) No time for investigating the paranormal though - so I headed back down to the jetty. This time the tide was further out and I decided to walk down on the sand. For my initial setup of the morning I gave the NiSi Reverse Grad filter its first spin. It definitely added a different effect than the standard ND grads and when used in the right situation I think it could make for some great shots. As the scene got lighter I noticed there were some nice pools of water and small rocks around and I set up waiting for the sun to burst through on the other side of the jetty.
And burst through it did! It started lighting up the jetty legs all the way at the end over 1.5kms away and crept towards me bit by bit. See the graphic below to view the scene I witnessed.
After sunrise I went back to the car ready to head off for a quick visit to Telowie Gorge in the Southern Flinders Ranges before heading home. As I was driving off I noticed this written on the window of the old building. I tend to agree with the sentiments!
I ended up with a couple of nice astro shots but Port Germein hadn't delivered the epic milky way jetty shot I wanted and they will most likely gather dust on the hard drive. Still, its always good to see new places, and sunrise made up for it. Telowie Gorge is the third location on this shoot that I hadn't been to before. Its a lovely little gorge that would be pretty epic when water is flowing, so I will have to revisit. All in all a successful mini trip with a couple of new additions to the Walk on Water series.
Experienced bushwalkers wear thongs yeh??