Rodney Campbell's Blog

Gibson Steps…

by on Mar.02, 2016, under Life, Photography

The Twelve Apostles visitor facility and the viewing platforms for the Twelve Apostles is just a ten minute drive east of Port Campbell. I had to make a call here – I couldn’t shoot sunset at both the Twelve Apostles and the bottom of Gibson Steps – so I had to choose.

I’d never even been down Gibson Steps before and I expected I’d have more compositional freedom and choices down the bottom on the sand so I drove right past the Apostles car park and headed straight here.

Chasing the Sun

Chasing the Sun

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 27 mm, 123 sec at f/11, ISO 50

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 Gibson Steps are an area of cliffs located just 1km (a 2 minute drive) east of the Twelve Apostles. The name Gibson Steps refers to the staircase leading down the high sheer cliffs to the stretch of beach at the bottom.

This allows you access to the beach level, where if you walk about 500m up the beach you can stand almost toe to toe against a couple of the limestone stacks that make up the Apostles. I’d read about and seen images from this location before so I was really keen to check it out for myself. I’d love to do a star trails session from down here one day – however not today – the very heavy clouds and the rising moon quashed that notion immediately.

I’d done my research beforehand and determined that the tides would remain lowish for a few hours after sunset. You definitely don’t want to end up being trapped by a rising tide. The southern ocean is not forgiving and you’re not likely to find much solace trying to scale the 50+m more than vertical cliffs which come straight down to the sand.

The sun was still quite bright at 8:30PM and was poking through gaps in the low cloud. I figured my only real option was to move along the beach so as to place the sun behind one of the stacks. The image above was taken like this with the Lee BigStopper to extend the exposure out to two minutes. Unfortunately this was pretty much the height of the sunset colour – it just got darker and bluer after this.

I chatted with a lovely German couple who were travelling all over Australia. They’d been sunbaking on the beach a little further along and were now on their way out as it was getting dark. They came over to see what I was doing and to chat. When I explained that I was taking multi minute long exposures they were keen to see the result.

Two of Twelve

Two of Twelve

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 27 mm, 323 sec at f/9, ISO 100

This was the first of two very long exposures. Awesome – basically it looked almost exactly like this straight on the back of camera. Up close with an apostle – so worth it…

We continued to chat till my second seven and a half minute exposure finished at 8:45PM before they headed off.

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