Rodney Campbell's Blog

Sunrise in TheRealShire…

by on Mar.11, 2015, under Life, Photography

Received an invite to meetup with some friends for an impromptu sunrise shoot the day before. It was decided to head off to Cronulla (or TheRealShire as it’s colloquially known).

So it was a 4:30AM wakeup for another Sneaky Sunday expedition to a location I’d never shot before (truth be told I don’t think I’d ever even been to Cronulla beach before in my life – a pretty sad state of affairs when I’ve lived in Sydney for 30 years).

Still you need a passport to visit #therealshire 🙂 but Michael Sutton had it all arranged for us this morning 🙂



NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 72 sec at f/13, ISO 200

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.
I wasn’t familiar with the area, and I knew it would be close to low tide but Google Maps shows that the two tidal pools surrounded by rocks shelves just at the southern end of the main beach looked promising enough.

I planned to arrive an hour before sunrise (5:45AM) as I normally try to and the others were going to arrive around 6AM.

When I arrived I was a little disappointed that the whole area was lit by strong flood lights casting a strong yellow glow over the rocks and pools and the sky looked like it was heavy with cloud… not another crappy sunrise I thought…

It must have been our time however – in what probably best explains how good the morning was… I took 31 shots the whole morning (which is actually a reasonably low number for a sunrise session) however I’ve selected and processed 11 of those images to what I rate my publishable level. It’s very unusual to have such a high hitrate – I’m usually happy to come home with just one or two good images from a session.

I started with this composition with this curved leading line of one of the rock pools heading out to sea. It was still very dark and after a couple stupidly long exposure attempts (250 seconds each) but ending up with black skies I ended up putting on a Lee 0.6 (2 stop) grad ND filter – upside down – so that the grad covered the ground which was being lit by the flood lights. The colour was just starting to come out in the sky and my friends had just arrived. I bumped the ISO to 200 so I didn’t have to wait for a stupidly long time for the exposure to run and got some nice touches of colour in this 126 second exposure.



NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 22 mm, 126 sec at f/13, ISO 200

Things were looking promising…

Most of the others moved over to the larger well maintained pool where the morning swimmers were already gathering to swim. They were aiming to do some reflections off the more still water surface in the pool which was well above the tide so the waves wouldn’t disturb the water.

I decided to head out onto the rocks to these pools of still water I could see while the colour continued to build. You’ve probably noticed but I like to have definite things in my foreground in my images so the rocky pools were more my thing.

So I worked this little area as best I could – the rock shelf itself wasn’t all that interesting a location to shoot, but this large still pool of water with little rocky points of interest in and around the edges was working well enough for me.

Above and Below

Above and Below

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 124 sec at f/13, ISO 100

and with the colour of the sky turning gradually from blues to purples to pinks and hopefully eventually oranges and reds, the interesting sky continued to provide a great counterbalance to the reflections.

The Pink State

The Pink State

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 65 sec at f/13, ISO 100

#therealshire was certainly putting on a decent show for us and it only got better…

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