2018 was the first full year I dedicated myself to landscape photography, with a few portrait projects on the side. Although there’s still so much to be learned, I have accomplished a lot and definitely taken a big step forward in term of producing high quality photos I am proud of. I’m happy to say that 2018 has produced my best images yet, and here are a few of my favourites.
Hopetoun Falls has been on my photography bucket list forever. Along with my good mate Tim, I took a week to explore some Victorian landmarks in September. My rule for the trip was if I got a portfolio-worthy shot of Hopetoun I would be happy no matter what else happened. We couldn’t have asked for better conditions for falls hunting the day we went, and she turned out to be just as powerful and epic as I hoped she would be.
Much like Hopetoun Falls, the Twelve Apostles was a dream shot I was chasing on my Victoria trip. Being the most iconic rock formation in Australia, I wanted to do the shot justice while trying to come home with something unique. I’m not the first to do a black and white shot here, but it’s definitely my favourite black and white image I’ve taken. I had planned this shot in black and white from the start, and originally intended to do a 2-minute exposure (I event bought a remote shutter for it), but after a 25-second shutter I knew I had my winning snap.
MORUYA BOAT HOUSE
With a noticeable improvement in my skills, there were a handful of favourite images of 2017 that I wanted to reshoot. This sunset over the old Moruya boat shed happened almost by accident – the skies were looking very promising and this was a frantic last-minute composition. I was skeptical at first, given that I had no intention of reshooting this photo, but when the sky lit up with one of the best sunsets of the year this quickly became an all-round favourite.
BINGIE ROCK POOL
Bingie Bingie Point became a favourite photography spot very early on last year. I’d been coming here as my go-to spot when the sky looked promising, but I never really left with anything that wowed me. After shooting the same few compositions for a few months, I stumbled across this rock pool on the south-end beach. After a few attempts, I got the sky I wanted and it was one of the first shots I remember that made me realise how far my skills had come.
OVER THE RAINBOW
Portrait work has always seemed more like a job than a creative outlet for me, so rarely does any portraiture make its way into my all time favourites. Weddings especially stress me out, making it hard for me to bond with any of the shots once I’m finished editing them. When I shot one of my best friend’s wedding mid-year however, I came home with some of my favourite work ever. It’s hard to pinpoint why these shots make me so happy without rifling off the cliche points: the emotion, the nostalgia, the genuine love. There’s just something about photographing a close friend’s special day that gives photography its greatest purpose.
CAPE ST GEORGE LIGHTHOUSE
One of the goals I set for 2018 was to take more astro photography – well, that didn’t happen. I only went out for one astro shoot, which was with the wonderful Daniel Gum, who basically had to hold my hand through the entire shoot (I mean come on, I didn’t even have a headlamp). This image is far from perfect, and I definitely want to hone my astro claws in 2019, but I got out and tried new things and this shot perfectly represents that.
A location I promised myself in 2018 was Glasshouse Rocks in Narooma. Being only a 40-minute drive away made it very possible to snag a great sunrise shot here, so I had no excuses. One big concern was, in order to access this location, you have to walk through a cemetery – and let me tell you, as a nyctophonic, a cemetery in the darkness almost isn’t worth it. Thankfully, just before the sky ignited, I had enough light to get down to the beach safely and ghost-free. Plus, with two very friendly Maremma dogs joining me, how could this not be a favourite of the year?
My first trip down to Belmore Falls was an awful experience. After going the wrong way about three times only to be drenched by rain down the bottom made for a very underwhelming shoot. I even went as far to convince myself that it wasn’t worth returning. After some powerful rain and a touch of inspiration, I made the trek again, this time to be blown away by the view. The comp isn’t anything new, but I guess it’s a lesson learned about being persistent and giving second chances.
MOSSY POINT JETTY
My first ever sunrise photo was taken here at the Mossy Point jetty last year. It was a bland sunrise, so I ended up cheaply blending in some stars to make it seem a bit more worthwhile. This was the kind of sky I was hoping for that first time around, and while this particular moment was minutes before the clouds exploded into blues and reds, I enjoy the soft mood of this shot more. Almost as if it’s a reminder that when good things happen, wait for the great things to follow.
HORSE HEAD ROCK
While the jury is still out on this image – feeling too recent to be considered one of my best – this particular shoot with @lem3n taught me something valuable. I have wanted colour at Horse Head Rock since the start of my photography career. Every time I’ve visited I’ve come back with bland sunrises and cloudy weather. A week before this shot, out of weather I passed off as useless, one of the best sunrises of the year happened – and of course I was sleeping in. The forecast looked incredibly promising on this morning, and I was excited to finally get my shot, only to be bitterly disappointed. Liam did say one thing that’s stuck with me since, “It’s all about the light.” After eating around in thick clouds, we were treated to a soft golden light and a very misty atmosphere. Still not my “perfect shot” of Horse Head, but I will definitely take it along with those very wise words.