Rodney Campbell's Blog

Smokey Sunset at Bradleys Head…

by on Oct.30, 2013, under Life, Photography

We had smoke filled skies in Sydney yet again so I headed to Bradleys Head this time expecting a very red sunset. Bradleys Head is right next to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo on the northern side of Sydney Harbour. One of the things that makes Bradleys Head so special is that it has an old stone jetty which reaches out into the water with what looks to be some old tram tracks embedded in the stones. It also has a large Amphitheatre and picnic area with breathtaking views of the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Fort Denison and the Sydney CBD.

Unfortunately by the time I’d arrived a number people taking photographs had set themselves up at the end of the stone jetty right out on the edge of the water with tripods and cameras pointed at the blood red sun hanging in smoke filled skies.

Personally I’d wanted to include the stone jetty itself as my foreground interest but since it was filled with people, that kind of killed that idea for me. I took a quick telephoto panorama whilst I was setup (which I may process and post later) and yet more people arrived and setup their tripods out at the end even whilst I was doing this. I then headed off onto the rocks with some other photographers to find something interesting I could use in my compositions.

I found these rocks
– near the waters edge so I’d have a bit of misty water movement at the edge – tick
– lots of bright green moss around – tick
– small pools of still water in the rock surface with interesting sea creature stuff below the water – double tick

I tried a couple framings with two lenses (the 16-35/4 and the 24-70/2.8) at various focal lengths from very wide to medium long but these two ultra wide shots ended up being my favourites

Note: These images (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

The first is right on sunset with the sun just above the horizon and going down in the small gap between the city buildings and the Opera House

Fire and Water

Fire and Water

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 2 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Backing away and shooting from a little lower and more level this shot is five minutes later and just moments after sunset – I stacked a 3 stop ND with the 2 stop grad to lengthen the exposure time to smooth out the water and skies

Lavender and Lime

Lavender and Lime

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 18 mm, 30 sec at f/11, ISO 100

The moment the sun itself had set pretty much all the others packed up and left; only the “real” photographers 🙂 stayed around

Since the stone jetty was now clear I moved over and framed this shot looking straight down the jetty to the city on the other side of the harbour with a “normal” focal length; 15 minutes after sunset – this would be pretty close to the perspective you’d see with the naked eye at this spot

End of the Road

End of the Road

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 40 mm, 15 sec at f/13, ISO 100

Finally I moved up into the amphitheatre for a higher perspective and went more tele for this long exposure closer view of the city with the jetty cutting diagonally in the frame (only wish it went the other way :)). It’s half an hour after sunset now so we’ve got great city lights going on, but we still had a really bright reddy pink band of light like a flame coming out of the west rim lighting the buildings nicely with dark smokey purple above the city

Rim City

Rim City

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 62 mm, 72.00 sec at f/11, ISO 100

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