Rodney Campbell's Blog

Fire at the Cathedral…

by on Jan.26, 2014, under Life, Photography

Having a short holiday on the NSW South Coast staying at my parents home in the Shoalhaven. It was a good opportunity to shoot somewhere I’d never been before so it was a very early 4AM rise to head to Cathedral Rocks at Kiama Downs.

I’d seen a few images online of the fantastic rock formations right on the coast at this seaside beach location and was looking forward to shooting there. I’d contacted a local photographer (William Patino) who shoots there often to confirm a few things (like where to park, where to walk, how long it took, etc) and as he was shooting there anyway he offered to meet me there.

I’d arrived quite early because I had an idea for a shot I wanted (with some long exposure light painting) to do in a seaside cave which looks out onto Cathedral Rocks. This natural cave was just like a tunnel inbetween the fingers of land which reached out towards the rock formations.

Viewing the Cathedral

Viewing the Cathedral

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 18 mm, 261 sec at f/11, ISO 400

The shot required it be well before sunrise so I could do a very long exposure without too much light in the sky and light paint the inside of the cave at the same time so that it wasn’t a complete silhouette. Once it got too light the ambient outside would get too bright and it would be impossible for me to light the inside of the cave in time.

So it was I was deep inside the cave with the mass of crabs scurrying about me at 5:15AM – it’s almost an hour before sunrise for this 261 second exposure @ f/11 and ISO 400 with some light painting of the walls of the cave and the rocks outside using a zoomable LED torch. There were a couple of other photographers about at the location just after I’d arrived – this person setup on the rocks right outside my cave so I decided to incorporate them into the frame and luckily they stood essentially still for the two exposures I took. Nature played it’s part by putting on a very nice show of colour with the sky filling with pastel mauves, pinks and oranges

Note: These photographs (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.

We had some unexpected fantastic show of colour this morning – frankly I was expecting heavy overcast skies and perhaps even rain. We did end up with a heavy band of cloud right on the horizon which killed sunrise itself, but before sunrise we had some fabulous shows of colour.

Early twilight was filled with purples and pastel pinks and then from about 20 minutes to sunrise we had a period of about 10 minutes where the skies were ablaze with super saturated reds (William commented to me – people aren’t going to believe it was this red and they’ll think we faked it in post :)). Getting closer to sunrise we were back to some pastel pinks and lavenders

Just over half an hour to sunrise and we’ve got a natural long exposure with a lot of water movement turning to mist

Cathedral in the Lavender Mist

Cathedral in the Lavender Mist

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 123 sec at f/8, ISO 400

and then with some thin fluffy high cloud the skies went insanely red with the sun still to come up to the horizon behind – these almost straight out of camera – I love it when that happens

Castle on Fire

Castle on Fire

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 24 mm, 3 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Sky Fire

Sky Fire

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 3 sec at f/11, ISO 100

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