Rodney Campbell's Blog

Navigating Bradleys…

by on Jan.30, 2016, under Life, Photography

Six months ago…. :)… after a bit of a last minute discussion about potential locations for a Sunday sunrise shoot we opted for a quick trip to Bradley’s Head to shoot the Navigating Lighthouse there.

Our deliberations for a shooting location roamed far and wide from jetty’s and piers way down south to way up north, to seascape locations along the coast.

In the end we (Gerry, Deb and I) opted for convenience (somewhere very close by :)) and hoped for the best :).

Navigating Bradleys

Navigating Bradleys

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 32 mm, 41 sec at f/16, ISO 100

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.

Bradley’s Head is a headland protruding from the north shore of Sydney Harbour in the suburb of Mosman and is quite close to Taronga Zoo.

I’ve shot here on a number of occasions at sunset and it’s a quite popular spot for that because the sun sets behind the city and Harbour bridge to the south west and you have a great view across the water of the harbour.

There are a number of very interesting things at Bradley’s Head. There’s a large amphitheatre area leading down to the waterfront and in front of that leading out into the water is a very old stone pier with old train rails in it.

The foremast of the cruiser HMAS Sydney, renowned for taking part in the Royal Australian Navy’s first ship against ship engagement in World War I, is also mounted on the headland

Finally also on the headland is an active lighthouse to aid in navigating ships, Bradleys Head Light, constructed in 1905.

I’d never shot at this location at sunrise and it was this navigating lighthouse that I wanted to include in my shots here this time.

There’s actually a good reason why this location isn’t a popular sunrise location… The area has a reasonably long promitory of land sticking out into the harbour and theres a single road which leads out and down to the end. There are gates up at the top of that road which are usually locked at at night and reopened in the morning.

This means that you don’t want to be shooting a late sunset at certain times of the year lest you get locked in and likewise we didn’t expect to be able to get in in the morning and planned to park outside and walk in (about 20-30mins).

The location gods smiled on us today – the gates were open and we could drive right down. However this mean we were on location much earlier than we were expecting so it was very very dark 🙂

Still after a recce of the area and messing about with the parking machine which gratefully accepted our credit card donations but didn’t actually print us any tickets! 🙂 we all headed off and looked for our first compositions.

The three of us actually headed off in different directions this morning which is pretty unusual. As the clouds decided not to appear making us almost wish we were back in bed instead :), Gerry looked to shoot towards the city from the stone pier, Deb went in search of the details and I headed around the point to the lighthouse I wanted to shoot.

Bradleys Light

Bradleys Light

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 32 mm, 134 sec at f/14, ISO 100

This shot is actually the first frame of the morning taken at 6:27AM and still 30 minutes till sunrise. No test exposures here I winged the 134 second exposure on the fly and either skillfully interpreted the ambient light and the rough exposure required OR got lucky and the exposure was just about spot on – you pick 🙂

The shot up the top of the post was taken just six minutes later and the light had increased significantly – even stopping down a little further the exposure time is reduced to 41 seconds.

As you can see there really wasn’t much cloud about but what there was was sitting right on the horizon – which is at least a small saving grace since that generally means nice smooth toned pastel skies like these…

Having now bagged one of the compositions I was looking for this morning I headed over to the stone pier where Gerry was shooting a sweet panorama of the city.

I quickly took my own (including him out on the pier) and then headed up top to setup for the other composition I wanted to try with the Bradleys Lighthouse of navigating goodness :).

What I really wanted here was a decent amount of cloud and windy conditions so that the clouds were either moving towards or away from me. Alas the skies were clear but I figured I’d still try the Lee Little Stopper long exposure to mystify the water. This one taken just a little after sunrise but it was still hidden behind the cloud to the left.



NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 36 mm, 123 sec at f/13, ISO 100

Then the sun came up and breached the clouds and it was time to head down onto the rocks here which were being lit up nicely by the warm glow of the morning sun.

This is the last shot of the morning before packing up. I’ve stacked my new Format Hitech 1.2 (4 stop) ND grad with the Lee Little Stopper for some early daytime long exposure loveliness. It was hard to get the composition working how I wanted in this cramped spot (I’ve got the tripod down at the lowest position and I’m jammed up against the rock face along the coast). Still I liked the end result at a pretty wide 18mm.

Up and Down

Up and Down

NIKON D750 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 18 mm, 62 sec at f/13, ISO 100

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