Port Macquarie Australia - A Photographers Focus

 

Well, hello everyone and welcome to another Blog post.

Today's subject is Port Macquarie NSW Australia, this place is my hometown & I'm probably a little biased in what I say about it, however, it truly is a stunningly beautiful part of the world & has SO MUCH to offer a keen photographer.

In the past couple of years, I've been very fortunate to travel the world with my photography business & see & shoot some truly jaw-dropping scenery.  I must also say however, it has also given me a new appreciation for my hometown. Everytime the plane flies back into Port Macquarie I look out the window & think WOW this place really is beautiful & has a coastline that rivals anywhere in the world ! 

I wanted to talk you through my hometown from my eyes & how I see it from a photography point of view, so here goes.

 Pelican Island - Port Macquarie

Pelican Island - Port Macquarie

Port Macquarie -

Port Macquarie is located at the mouth of the Hastings River 390km north of Sydney on the Mid North Coast of NSW, a beautiful coastal city of around 50'000 people and a very comfortable year-round subtropical climate with mild winters & warm summers. Port Macquarie has EIGHT beautiful beaches, a rainforest national park & a wild population of Koala bears. (A must see local attraction to support the beautiful Koalas is the volunteer-run Koala Hospital.)   

The Photography -

As mentioned above, Port Macquarie has EIGHT beaches, so the photography really is for me focused on these beaches and the "seascape" aspect of photography. All beaches face east over the Pacific Ocean so it does certainly lend itself to shooting sunrises over sunsets, however, the "reverse sunsets" (meaning- facing your camera away from the sun) can also be very good in the right weather conditions.

There are a two very popular iconic local photos that tourists seek out and they are the Tacking Point Lighthouse & the Port Macquarie Breakwall. The Lighthouse really is a great photo & because of its position can be shot nicely at either sunrise or sunset, I would lean towards sunrise a little more merely because I think the light is slightly better & there is likely to be fewer people in your shot, however, the Lighthouse produces so many great photos at all times of the day and the best images I've seen of it are taken during the summer thunderstorms, the storms often add another element with cranky dark clouds & lightning. The local photographers often congregate at the lighthouse when summer storms are approaching. Another photo of the Lighthouse that is becoming popular amongst keen photographers is an "Astro" shot or taken at night time trying to incorporate the Milky Way & stars, the best time of the year for night photography is definitely the winter months (May-August).

 Tacking Point Lighthouse 

Tacking Point Lighthouse 

 Tacking Point Lighthouse 

Tacking Point Lighthouse 

The next of the two iconic locations is the Port Macquarie Breakwall, the breakwall is famous for its painted rocks, it makes for many great photos both at sunrise & sunset, the breakwall runs east - west so it faces the sunrise & sunset, my preference again is probably sunrise based only on the fact that there will be fewer people around likely to get in your shot. The breakwall can also make for great aerial photos to add a different perspective on things.  

 Port Macquarie Breakwall

Port Macquarie Breakwall

There is also several other standout locations for photography, & here is a list of my local favourites.

Pinnacle Rock - This is a large rock named by the locals, it offers a great landscape shot in many conditions but is best suited to a highish tide & sunrise, Pinnacle Rock is accessed by parking at the Tacking Point Lighthouse carpark & taking the stairs down to Lighthouse Beach, at the bottom of the stairs turn sharp left & follow the rocks along until you see the rock.

Watonga Rocks - Watonga Rocks are a formation of several very large rocks located on Lighthouse Beach, they are best suited to a sunrise & high tide & even work well after heavy seas & rain as it can form a small lagoon & give great sand textures & sometimes reflections. Watonga Rocks are accessed by the beach access point across the road from Watonga Street.   

Flynns Beach - Flynns Beach has some really unique rock formations right in front of the south end of the surf club, you can't miss these rocks & they're very easily accessed. The best time to shoot here is sunrise & on a highish tide for some waterflow around the rocks.

Oxley Beach - On the northern end of Oxley Beach there is a rock shelf that can also involve a waterfall in the right conditons, it is easily accessed on foot from the beach, this rock shelf can deliver some classic seascape waterflow shots. The best conditions are definitely a high tide & a reasonable sea swell (be careful here as it can be dangerous at times with bigger swells & waves etc.) this location is also best at sunrise.

The Connie Maria - The Connie Maria is an old wooden boat that is usually tied to a very rustic old broken wood jetty on the Hastings River, it faces North so can be suited to sunrise or sunset photography. The key here is to get the tide right & it is best suited to a mid tide. The Connie Maria is easily accessed from Boundary Street off Hastings River drive near the boarding point for the Hibbard Ferry.

There are so many other excellent photographic locations around the Greater Port Macquarie region, if you take the time to walk or drive around you'll easily find some.

 Oxley Beach

Oxley Beach

 Connie Maria 

Connie Maria 

Local tips -

As for local tips on Port Macquarie here are a few of my words of advice- 

  • The best time for photography in Port Macquarie is the cooler months from May-September, I think the light is better, there is a much better chance of a colourful sky, & the air is cleaner & less haze.
  • The best cafe's in town if like me you love good coffee & food are LV's On Clarence & The Rivermark Cafe on Hastings River Drive.
  • A great place to stay is The Macquarie Waters Hotel, often my photography workshop clients stay here & the guys offer a discount for my clients, its a first class hotel right in the middle of town (tell them I sent you).

Well, that's about it on my brief photography overview of Port Macquarie, I hope the above info helps you out with your Photography adventure to Port Macquarie & I'm sure you won't be disappointed with whats on offer, it's an incredible part of the world with SO MANY Landscape Photography opportunities. 

If you'd like to join one of my Port Macquarie Photography Tours or any of my various season Tours around the world or even do a One on One photography tuition with me take this link to my website for more info -  www.brettwoodphotos.com

All the best & happy shooting Brett.

 Tacking Point Lighthouse

Tacking Point Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

 

I WON SOMETHING ! Australian Photography Magazine - Peoples Choice

Hi guys, well its not very often i enter photography competitions , so recently just for fun i submitted a couple of entries into a Monthly Competition run by the very well reputed Australian Photography Magazine , the theme was "BLUE" . As soon as i seen the theme one of my photos in particular came to mind , an old favourite that i shot at Cape Tourville in Tasmania a while ago , it is a zoomed in image of "The Nuggets" a couple of lone rock formations out off the Cape Tourville Lighthouse.  To be honest i never rate my chances in photography competitions as there are far better photographers out there than me, hence the reason i don't enter many, so to be told i made the final cut was a big surprise to me.

So the series of "Finals Images" went to social media for a People's Choice vote and much to my surprise my image managed to win the People's Choice Award . I really want to sincerely thank the people that took the time to vote for my image, your ongoing support of my photography career is genuinely appreciated.

The winning prize is a yearly subscription to Australian Photography Magazine , a nice prize & a great little aussie mag , who knows i might even enter another photography competition someday , thanks for reading :-) Brett

 click above for more info 

click above for more info 

PRODUCT REVIEW - NiSi Filters ND32000 100mm x 100mm 15 Stop Super Stopper

So i was very intrigued when i heard about Nisi's new 15 stop super stopper , 15 stop's is a lot ! 

Being a fan of long exposure photography i decided to ask my friends at Nisi to send me one of these new "Super Stoppers" and i'd put it to the test and take it out in the field for a trial run.

The first thing i noticed when i received the 15 stop filter and unpacked it was the impressive packaging and overall build quality from Nisi, as with all Nisi products it instantly screams quality. The cherry coloured Nano coating from Nisi is an ingenious design being both water and oil repellant, as with all Nisi filters i find the Nano coated glass filters easy to keep clean from sea spray and dust. 

 impressive packaging & quality from Nisi

impressive packaging & quality from Nisi

So i fitted the filter to my Canon 16-35mm f4L lens and my Canon 6D camera and headed out to a local beach late afternoon for a trial run, i was shooting on a tripod with a remote shutter. I have the Nisi V5 Filter Holder and the "super stopper" easily slotted into the first slot on the filter holder as i also was using a Nisi 4 stop Soft Grad ND16 1.2 on the second slot of the filter holder.

RESULTS - I shot several test frames first off just using the grad filter to get my exposure correct and then calculated the 15 stops exposure time to be a 10 minute exposure at f4 , i was using ISO50 - f4 - 16mm focal length - with Auto white balance and i manually focused on a rock in the foreground. Due to time constraints i only shot 1 long exposure frame on this test day.

 frame 1 - with Nisi 1.2 4 stop Soft Grad - Canon 6D - Canon 16-35mm f4L - 16mm - ISO50 - 1/30th sec. , manual focus , image was a RAW file then minor adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw and converted to a JPEG file , no sharpening 

frame 1 - with Nisi 1.2 4 stop Soft Grad - Canon 6D - Canon 16-35mm f4L - 16mm - ISO50 - 1/30th sec. , manual focus , image was a RAW file then minor adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw and converted to a JPEG file , no sharpening 

 frame 2 - with Nisi 1.2 4 stop Soft Grad and Nisi 15 stop Super Stopper - Canon 6D - Canon 16-35mm f4L - 16mm - ISO50 - 601.00sec. ( 10 minute ), manual focus , image was a RAW file then minor adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw and converted to a JPEG file , no sharpening

frame 2 - with Nisi 1.2 4 stop Soft Grad and Nisi 15 stop Super Stopper - Canon 6D - Canon 16-35mm f4L - 16mm - ISO50 - 601.00sec. ( 10 minute ), manual focus , image was a RAW file then minor adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw and converted to a JPEG file , no sharpening

SUMMARY - I have to be honest and say that with a filter as dark as 15 stops and at a focal length as wide as 16mm i was expecting an element of colour cast and quite possibly some vignetting and softening around the corners and edges of the frame, as soon as the long exposure image popped up on my view finder i was suitably impressed with the trueness to the natural colour and no visible vignetting or softness.

I had a mate with me who is a very experienced landscape photographer and it's fair to say that we were both very impressed with the performance of the Nisi 15 stop Super Stopper, i can't really fault this product in any way and i'd have to say that it has genuinely exceeded my expectations.

WHERE DOES THIS FILTER FIT INTO YOUR KIT ? - I would say that if you are a sunrise / sunset photographer only, than the 15 stop probably doesn't fit your brief, a 6 or 10 stop Nisi Filter would more suit that application as the exposure times will just be to long in low light applications. I will however say that if you are a photography addict like me and is happy to broaden your horizons by shooting varied scenarios at all times of the day then the Nisi 15 Stop definitely has a place in your kit, i can see a place for it definitely suiting long exposures in the middle of the day and even be a great tool for cityscape or architectural photography. I'd also say that value for money this filter represents excellent bang for your buck with Nisi's recommended retail price in Australia being $259.00  

To purchase NiSi Filters, SIRUI Tripods or various other quality photography products visit my product partners webstore-  fotosharp.com.au