Category Archives: Landscape

Penrose Yacht Has Sailed Away

Recently there was a comment posted byLeonie to ask if I knew where the yacht had gone, as she recognised the locale from my photos. Today I thought I had better go and have a look. Although it has been nearly exactly one year since I photographed the mysterious yacht I found my way to the site with ease, as I had previously created a trail and way-point on my bushwalking GPS.

Yes the yacht was gone!

I got out of my car & had a quick look around, thinking that it is not the sort of thing you just pick up – especially this end of the forest with narrow tracks. I notice some drag marks & relatively fresh tracks, like some sort of excavator had recently been down one track. I head off slowly down the track, the gouge is pretty easy to follow.

You hardly have to be Hercule Poirot to deduct that something heavy has been skull-dragged along the edge of the track.

About 500m along there is a recently cleared area and from the tire-tracks I reckon this is where the yacht was put onto a low-loader.

I am disappointed I did not make the effort to re-shoot the yacht, as it is just so unusual. I guess that is a lesson – never put off til tomorrow, what you can do today…

If you have any further details I would love to hear from you.


Gouge marks on the side of the track

Gouge marks on the side of the track

Definitely something heavy has been skull-dragged along

Definitely something heavy has been skull-dragged along

Looks like low-loader tire tracks

Looks like low-loader tire tracks

Possible loading site?

Possible loading site?

All that remains is part of the handrail

All that remains is part of the handrail

#southernhighlands #Penrose #yacht

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Is It Better to be Stubborn or Determined?

Just as I got the shot, I realised I was going to get wet! No time to put on the wet weather gear, I just grabbed my trusty fold-up umbrella & held it low over my camera. The wind was blowing the rain pretty much side-ways and perched high on Malabar Hill on Lord Howe Island there was no-where to shelter.

Earlier I was sitting among the Banyan trees and Kentia palms trying to figure out how to best capture this amazing forest. The trouble is for the most part it is very messy and chaotic. With our eyes we are able to filter out the clutter, but our camera does not. This is the challenge. I could see all these wonderful forms and textures, but when I looked on the back of my camera it did just look as good. So feeling a bit frustrated I just found a nice clear spot and sat down.

Maybe I had dozed off, I certainly was tired after all the 4:30am starts, but I became aware of subtle sounds in an otherwise almost silent environment. Wood hens seemed oblivious to my presence and happily scratched around the forest floor within arms reach. I looked up and immediately saw the shot of the Banyan tree I had in mind. The location I had chosen favoured the morning light, so I locked that spot away for the shoot for the next day.

The day before our group had climbed to the summit of Malabar and it seemed I was 20 seconds too late with all my shots. If I went one way the light was not as good by the time I relocated. Yes, in hind-sight I maybe just should have been more patient and waited – however, it is impossible to sit still when you see amazing light, you just have to try to capture it. Also, those places that were beautifully lit up were actually one-off occurrences, so waiting int the one spot would (on this occasion) not have worked.

So sitting in the forest on a fairly sunny, but windy day I was wondering if I should bother lugging all my camera gear to the top of Malabar again? A sensible person would have probably thought, just walk back to the resort if you hurry you might just make it back for afternoon tea. Determined to try to get some shots that I missed the day before, I headed off to the Malabar Hill trail head.

It is a steady climb up the well-defined track. The walking guide suggests it is a class 4 walk, but carrying too much camera gear and a tripod for the second trip feels otherwise.

When I reach the summit the light is just bright sunshine, and fairly uninspiring. I can see the thick band of cloud hanging on the horizon as it has for the past few days. This band of cloud has been problematic. No sunsets or wonderful late glows but the light just shuts off, like someone flicking a switch. Feeling totally uninspired and maybe thinking that the afternoon tea might have been a better option I look around to see what are my shooting options. I am actually a bit early, so I decide I will push on and head off to Kim’s lookout. When I arrive there the wind is blowing so hard, it almost knocks over my tripod. I am sure glad I a good grip of the camera strap. The light still is horrible, so I get a quick shot looking down the western edge of the island and head back to Malabar.

I sit down and have a bit of a rest for 10 minutes since the sun has gone behind the cloud bank and decide that the light is not going to co-operate so I will get a couple more “record” shots and call it a day. As I finish and pack up my camera I suddenly notice a large rain cloud sweeping in. Not sure where it has materialised from! Just as I clamp my camera onto my tripod the sun breaks through the clouds and illuminates the rain cloud. WOW!! I flick off a few frames and check all is good. However I soon realise I am about to get wet. I quickly get out my fold up umbrella and after wiping raindrops off my lens shoot two more frames before the rain hits. The light shuts down as quickly as it appeared. Turning to shield my camera, the wind catches the umbrella and flips it inside out. Out of the corner of my eye I see a rainbow behind me. Actually it is a double-rainbow! No time to fiddle about I put the umbrella on the ground and stand on it to stop it blowing away. A quick wipe of the lens and fire off 3 or 4 frames. Already the rainbows are starting to fade.

Whew – I reckon this all occurred in under a minute! I have another quick check on the back of the camera and smile to myself that I am glad that made the effort.

I remember reading somewhere “Bad weather = Good photos” I am sorry I cannot credit the author, but how true is this?

How often after a huge storm has light broken through the clouds or as in my case sun shining through rain. This creates magic and dramatic light.

If  I was not determined to try to get that shot, I could have easily just had a rest and not have worried. Sure, the weather could have just been nice and sunny and boring but it wasn’t. One thing for sure if I wasn’t out shooting I definitely would NOT have got anything!

So is it better to be stubborn or determined? I would like to think I am just determined, but I know many (including most of my family and friends) know that I do have a certain “stubbornness” when I set my mind on something, so I guess its ok to be both!

I know I got wet, but I also know I got a couple of great images.

Raincloud passes over Lord Howe Island

Rain cloud

Rain sweeping in

Rain Cloud II

double rainbow Lord Howe Island

Double Rainbow over Soldiers Gap

Lord Howe Island - Ned's Beach

Ned’s Beach Passing Storm

Lord Howe Island

Ned’s Beach

A log exposure of a passing storm from the wharf at Lord Howe Island

Passing Storm


#lordhoweisland #Malabar #rainbow #storm #landscape

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Joadja Club Trip

Last weekend the Southern Highlands Photographic Society (SHPS) held a club field trip to Joadja. This historic village is nestled in the Joadja valley some 28 km from Mittagong in the Southern Highlands.

This site is of cultural significance due to kerosene shale being discovered there in the mid 1800’s. At its peak some 1200 people lived and worked in the valley. It is hard now to imagine a huge industrial complex of mines, a bank of retorts and a refinery. The shale was “cooked” in banks of retorts to release kerosene oil. This oil was then refined into paraffin was, kerosene, grease and oils.

Life was tough and the community was by necessity mostly self-sufficient.

I have visited Joadja now 4 or 5 times and I still see images everywhere! It is not an easy place to capture successful images. There is so much photographic material there, but there are mostly remnants and overgrown ruins of the original operations. The challenge is I think to try to un-clutter the mess. Instead of shooting wide, try going in close and concentrate on details. That being said I have also shot a number of very wide panoramas that I am happy with!

The bright sun just adds to the challenging conditions, especially if the scene has a couple of “hotspots” that spoil the composition.

Joadja is privately run operation more information can be found from their website Joadja Town.


Family Tree

Family Tree

Hiku Rust

Haiku Rust

Retort Pastels

Retort Pastels

Indoor Garden

Indoor Garden

Whomping Willow

Whomping Willow

Blue Danube

Blue Danube

Global Warming

Global Warming

Grab the bull

Grab the bull



#joadja #southernhighlands #historic #landscape #abstract

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SlideShow 0.1 Photomedia – A Success!

I was invited to present at the inaugural Australian Institute of Photography’s SlideShow night. It was organised by Hamish Ta-mé. His idea is to connect artists from different disciplines whilst giving artists the opportunity to showcase their work. This is especially important in regional areas such as the Southern Highlands.

12 photographers presented a vast range of works. The presentation style was based on a slideshow series called Pecha Kucha. Basically it is a style that the presenter gets 10 minutes to present 20 images.

Rather than just discuss particular photographs as they appeared on-screen, my presentation was a technical discussion about panoramic images including various techniques and solutions to potential problems.

I think later I realised that every one of my images had received awards.

It was also an interesting history lesson as I presented my images in chronological order, so it was interesting to see changes in both my technique and style.

The night was great fun and it was a privilege to co-present with such a range of wonderful photographers.

Hamish has also compiled a 7 minute video of the presentations by clicking on this link


Philosophers Falls pano

Philosophers Falls – TAS

Icelandic Glacier Pano

Icelandic Glacier

Sunshine Camp Pano

Sunshine Camp – WA

Joadja Tree Pano

Joadja Tree – NSW

#panorama #southernhighlands #landscape

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Penrose Yacht Club

When I first moved to the Southern Highlands I had heard stories about a steel-hulled yacht in Penrose State Forest. Until recently, I had long forgotten about it. I wanted to check the hashtag for SouthernHighlands and one of the images that popped up was a yacht in Penrose State Forest! I then commenced searching on-line for clues as to its possible location. Despite it being a geocache destination I could not find specific co-ordinates. However armed with a topographic map and cross-referencing various mentions on the web I thought I had narrowed down its location.

Inserting a way-point and a possible route into my GPS I set off with my daughter armed with our cameras to see if we could find it. Despite being reasonably confident that I was on the right track we arrived to an empty intersection. From published photos, this surely was the right place! We persevered up one trail and found two old wrecks. After a quick look we decided to continue our search. After back-tracking we continued down another track and how exciting it was to catch a glimpse of the yacht through the trees!

I am not sure the story behind why they yacht is in the forest in the first place. On the web there are various theories. Whatever the case, this is a large steel-hulled vessel that would require a significant amount of effort to get it there.

What is weird is that periodically it gets relocated!

If you can shed more light on this mystery I would love to hear from you.

Yacht Bow

Yacht Bow

Yacht Stern

Yacht Stern

Yacht Hull

Yacht Hull

Handrail Detail

Handrail Detail

Deck Detail

Deck Detail

Hull Graffiti One

Hull Graffiti One

Hull Graffiti Two

Hull Graffiti Two

Hull Graffiti Three

Hull Graffiti Three

#SouthernHighlands #Penrose  #Yacht

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Beautiful Waiheke – Part 1

Waiheke Island is a beautiful part of the world. In April I was fortunate to be the photographer for Mark & Manon’s wedding. Apart from attending and capturing the event, I was able to spend extra time exploring and photographing this wonderful place. It included a fishing trip with Cliff Fishing for Snapper with soft plastics.

This series of images are the more “colourful” ones, I am working on a more subtle series 🙂


Alien Cloudscape



Brilliant Sunrise


A brilliant sunrise – panorama



Sunrise towards Coromandels


Auckland on Fire

Auckland on Fire



Full Moon Setting 


#Landscape #Waiheke #NewZealand

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Beautiful Hobart Harbour

An earlier post (Spectra Light Tower) showed images of Ryoji Ikeda’s amazing installation as part of the Dark MoFo Festival. Whilst in Hobart I shot several images from my hotel room which overlooked the harbour. Most of the week it was dull rained-out grey, which was not that interesting. I would imaging that the harbour does get wild weather from the south.

However on a couple of occasions the light was right to show off the harbours beauty.

The last rays of light

The last rays of light

Evening Glow

Evening Glow

Winter Morning

Winter Morning

#hobart #harbour #landscape

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Wet Wet Wet

Feeling inspired by my images from my Photographic Scales post, I thought that I would photograph some local waterfalls today. I assumed they would be spectacular given the tremendous amount of rain we have had over the last week. However the mist and steady rain rolling up the valley instead of creating a nice ethereal scene completely obscured the view. A complete white-out. Here are a couple of my consolation images.

A misty Southern Highlands

Belmore Falls Lookout


Southern Highlands Mist

The view of the escarpment is disappearing fast


A misty Southern Highlands

Low visibility in the Southern Highlands

#southernhighlands #belmorefalls #landscapes #mist

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Spectra Light Tower

I have been in Hobart attending the annual Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) Nikon Event. I was lucky to photograph the amazing Ryoji Ikeda’s “Spectra Light Tower”. It comprises some 49 lights that point skyward as a huge beacon. Depending on the weather the beam can reach as far as 15km. The installation included ethereal music that had a very low bass note that really penetrated your body and did not feel that comfortable. Luckily the many speakers surrounding the light installation faced in, so you were only affected if you were up close. I believe it was only displayed during the Dark MOFO festival and now has been dismantled.


Spectral Light Tower 01- (love the Southern Cross)

Spectral Light Tower 02 – (contrasts with Cenotaph Monument)

Spectral Light Tower 03 – (a definite “beam me up Scotty” moment)

Spectral Light Tower 04 – (onlookers in quiet reflection)

Spectral Light Tower 05 – (soap bubbles waft in the light stream)

Spectral Light Tower 06 – (like moths to the flame)

Spectral Light Tower 07 – (ghostly figures)

#hobart #spectra #dark_mofo

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Cloud Portfolio Three

Anyone that follows my work, knows that I love clouds (eg my Cloud Abstracts post). Here is a simple portfolio of black and white cloud images. All were taken in Mittagong in the Southern Highlands NSW.  All shot hand-held on the Phase. Very limited editing in Capture One. I cropped, added contrast/detail and dialed in the cyan and blue to stop clogging up the blacks too much.

Mitto April Cloud #2

Mitto April Cloud #13

Mitto April Cloud #16

Mitto April Cloud #17

Mitto April Cloud #41

Mitto April Cloud #60

Mitto April Cloud #62

Mitto April Cloud #74

#clouds #fineart #squareformat #blackandwhite

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