Rodney Campbell's Blog

Bilgola Colour…

by on Apr.14, 2015, under Life, Photography

Sneaky Sunday time again… After a somewhat hastily arranged plan with Gerry the night before we decided to head to the northern beaches and specifically Bilgola Beach for sunrise.

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.

The conditions were looking promising – sunrise was scheduled for 6:15AM and low tide would be at 8:20AM (so the tide would be lowish and falling whilst we were there). It was also looking like we’d have a bit of cloud around and with a lowish tide the rocks would be exposed.

Venting Steam

Venting Steam

NIKON D750 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 110 sec at f/11, ISO 100

I’d invited Deb to join us again and the three of us arrived at Bilgola at around 5:15AM. It was a location none of us had shot at before which is always good – it’s nice to try something new.

For me it was also an opportunity to break in a new camera body. I’d recently purchased the Nikon D750 so I’d have a backup camera body when I went away on a long trip to remote parts of Australia in the middle of this year. The camera had literally just arrived so I hadn’t even taken one single frame before the first shot on location this morning.

After a bit of a survey of the location Gerry headed off down the coast a little to try his luck out on the rock shelf whilst Deb and I setup one the small cliff above the Bilgola Tidal Pool. The clouds were looking good and the pre dawn colour was already starting to form.

The shot above was taken 30 minutes before sunrise with the Heliopan CPL and a Lee 0.9 grad ND for a natural early twilight long exposure.

I’d taken two vertical compositions before this which I quite liked the framing of but on closer inspection the focus was out and the images soft. I’ll blame it on being a new camera body and getting used to it :).

After adjusting my focus properly I took the shot above… For this frame I was looking to setup the pool edges as leading lines from the corners coming into the centre of the frame where the action was and then down that sweet long exposure water channel out towards the bright part of the sky where the sun would rise in half an hour. The balance wasn’t quite there but the morning was looking promising.

It was time to move down towards the rocks and close to the action (I do love my foreground interest… and vertical framing). This one a quick take on the way down towards the waters edge.

Bilgola on the Edge

Bilgola on the Edge

NIKON D750 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 46 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Then it was onwards to where you can get your feet (and if you’re not careful – everything else :() wet. This large channel of water right next to the Bilgola tidal pool was ideal for some surging and shifting water which would work well during a long (but not too long) exposure with some nice static foreground elements (the rocks).

The colour on the horizon was really starting to intensify. Still with the CPL and 3 stop grad I took four frames of this composition slowly shortening the exposure time between frames (42, 30, 21 & 13 seconds). NB: I’m shooting in full manual mode with the ISO locked at 100 and my focus and aperture set (f/11) so I’m just using the remote trigger to simply start and stop frames manually looking at the timer counter on the remote.

I took three of these four frames into photoshop and manually blended portions of each of the three images on layers to create the final result. Since I was already in Photoshop this one has also had a little Google Nik Software love (Color Efex Pro) just to add some light Tonal Contrast and Detail Extraction for pop.



NIKON D750 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 13 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Then ten minutes before sunrise the reverse god rays started beaming up into the clouds and the sky went awesome :). I’d already moved to another location and was setting up a new composition to isolate these rocks in the relatively still water. Adjusting the angles so the real and implied diagonal lines took presence in the frame.



NIKON D750 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 6 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Shooting in spots like this you need to be quite careful how you adjust your polariser (if you’re using one). Rotating the polariser to adjust the level of polarisation across the frame can make significant differences to the shot. In these shots I was making changes for different shots to adjust the level of reflection off the surface of the water and if and where I’d be able to see through the water surface to what lies below. You don’t get absolute control over exactly where this might occur (e.g. see through at this spot and be reflective elsewhere) but you do get some broad control.

The sky was changing rapidly. It was only a few minutes later and the god rays had vanished quickly.

I’d moved to a new spot and rotated my positioning so the sun would be further to the left of frame. Mimicking the diagonal structure of the clouds in the sky I’ve setup some foreground and midground elements to leave me with a diagonal composition from the bottom right up and back across the frame.

It was hard to find something suitable to put in the bottom right of my frame. I usually like something a bit bolder to include right up front but the colour was shifting rapidly and I didn’t have time. The best I had was this little clump of sea plant. It was getting submerged by each wave so I had to time a shot to coincide with when the water was receding and the plant was exposed above water.

Burning Ripples

Burning Ripples

NIKON D750 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 2.5 sec at f/13, ISO 100

Comments are closed.

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Copyright © 2015 Rodney Campbell

Images contained on this web site may not be used or reproduced in any way without prior permission.