Day 2 was a longer day than the first, travelling across the top of the escarpment. This day ended at Crystal Falls as the campground, although we actually didn't see any "falls" until the walk the following morning….
I’ve just returned from a hike in the Katherine region known as the Jatbula trail - a combined photo-trip/remote camping getaway! This walk is the first multi-day bush walk I’ve done in years and the first one my partner had ever done. The first thing I have to say about the Jatbula is that it was AWESOME! We loved it! The walk was really interesting and travelled through a variety of Top End habitats. Maybe we appreciated the varying landscape a little more than an interstate or overseas visitor, as we could really notice the smaller differences in the vegetation and the types of habitat as we were a little more familiar with the area.
We travelled through open woodlands on top of the escarpment, where we saw some amazing open views across hills, cliffs and buttes. There were monsoon pockets, bushfire-burnt regions, 2-metre high grasses, mushy marshy floodplains, amazing rock formations and colours, creek crossings and some of the best waterfalls I’ve seen in the Top End. We saw so many birds too (but thankfully only one snake and no face-to-face encounters with buffalo)!
For anyone considering walking the trail…
Last weekend was a public holiday here in the Northern Territory, and due to our light rain levels this year the Kakadu rangers and road-workers managed to get the awesome Gunlom pools open to visitors…
A branch-i-licious bolt from tonight's storm….
And then, it passed.... And threw a few small CG's out as it went by:
The country surrounding Darwin has more than its fair share of waterfalls. Our landscape is patterned with rivers and rapids, gorges and escarpment. Our landscape goes through extreme seasonal changes: whilst our waterfalls are perfect for a refreshing dip in the dry season (as long as they are crocodile free, of course), they become a deathly torrent of raging flood waters in the wet season. Our waterfalls are some of our most loved attractions - loved by tourists and locals alike. So how do you go about photographing these natural wonders….
Over the last few weeks, I have lost count the amount of people that have asked me "how do you take photos of lightning?".... It is a hard question to answer! I think my questioners expect a quick one or two sentence answer.... but it's not that easy (as anyone who has tried, will know).
Sure there is "luck" - a lot of the time you have to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it just so happens that you have a camera with you when out and about, a storm hits, and you get that "lightning shot" - you've got that one shot, and people think it's easy to get lightning bolts in photos. The challenge is getting another one.....
I have been meaning to announce this for a while - but time kept getting away from me, and all of a sudden it's nearly time.... after ten months in the making!
My first Coffee Table Book is due to be released next week!!
June and July were pretty quiet months for me in terms of getting out and taking photos: not only am I very busy with the tourist season and making stock for markets, but we are also nearing the "biggest" part of our house renovations - the kitchen! We've been working hard to get ourselves a working kitchen, and we are still going..... the end is now in sight, so another few weeks and the house should be complete.
Because of that, it's been impossible to find time to get further afield for photo exploring (boo hoo). I've been staying fairly local. And unfortunately the sunsets in my opinion are a little more "uninspiring" at this time of year. The sun goes down, and that's that. Wet season is a million times better for sunset photography - every Darwin sunset in the wet season is different! Rain, cloud, red cloud, passing showers, blue clouds - fast clouds, slow clouds, fluffy clouds, smooth clouds....! I like clouds :)
But now.... Now things are improving! Even a couple of showers. Already!!
Anyway, because of my slow photo-taking around Darwin this last couple of months, I have grouped the July and August unseen photographs together. Trust me, as the storms build up and the skies get crazy, the tourists slow down and the lightning comes out.... I will be out at least once a day and there will be a lot of photos!!
Black and white, or colour? For the below:
One of my new favourite spots, I think! The following three photos are from Berry Springs, NT.
These shots have not been published online anywhere else, so if you have any comments on any of the photos, please feel free to reply to my post below!
To see the other photos I upload regularly, find me on Facebook - "Louise Denton Photography"
If you make it to Darwin, NT, Australia, be sure to say g'day in my market stall at Mindil Beach Markets or Parap markets!
Have a great weekend. :)
Every month I want to start doing a blog post for the "unseen" photos I took that month. I take photos at least five days a week. In wet season, I usually go out everyday, sometimes twice a day! Although I am not as "trigger happy" as I used to be, I still end up with a LOT of photos. Each sunset shoot I probably come back with between 15 and 30 shots. On a longer trip I can take hundreds of shots.
I only usually post one photo a day to social media - Facebook, Flickr and G+ - I pick my favourite shot from the day to process and then share online. A lot of photos become archived, and forgotten about, all because there was one I liked slightly better. So I have a lot of photos that never see the light of day!
Each month, I want to make the effort to post the "runners up" of my photo outings. Other shots that I liked, but weren't the favourite of the day. These are shots not shared elsewhere, so if you have any thoughts/critiques/comments on any of the photos, please do leave a comment!
This month has been very hectic with markets and making photos, but I am hoping to get out and around the area a little more over the next month or so!
Let me know what you think!
I recently traveled out to the park because Jim Jim Falls had just opened for the dry season. Despite seeing the "falls" three times, I've never seen it flowing due to visiting too late in the dry season. So this trip was all about the "stone country" region, the region of Kakadu characterised by red, sandstone escarpment and gorges.
Jim Jim is the tallest falls accessible in Kakadu - a 200 metre high escarpment - which in the wet season is a spectacular, fast-flowing flood of water. As this falls is not spring-fed and only rain-fed, it dries up late in the dry season. Unfortunately in the wet season, when the falls are at their most impressive, road and walking access become impossible due to the amount of rain that floods the region. I'm hoping to do a scenic helicopter flight next season, but for now I was very happy with the amount of water still flowing from the escarpment.
We arrived at Garnamarr campground around 4pm, set up camp and headed straight down the 4WD track to check out the falls and escarpment in the sunset light. I wasn't disappointed! The gorge-like landscape is stunning, and I was surprised to see so much water still flowing. The light got better and better as the sun dipped below the hills behind me.
The light seemed to be most evenly spread after the sun had gone down, and the escarpment country glowed bright red. The below photo is a composition of 3 photos, to even out the exposure in some dark shadows and too-bright-highlights. The main photo was taken at ISO 100, f13 and 4 seconds, with an area of bright sky above the cliffs brushed in, and the area on the left with the darker trees brushed in too.
We also visited the falls the next morning too, to check out the light. The escarpment did not appear to glow as red, but it was still spectacular in a different way: hazy and mystical - well worth the early (cold!) morning.
The next afternoon we headed to Maguk - a waterfall I was convinced we had previously visited, but on arrival we realised we hadn't! The time we visited was not ideal for photography as the light was harsh around midday, but I think the falls itself would be very difficult to photograph at either sunrise or sunset due to it's position.
The walk to Maguk pool was lovely too, following a creek up to the falls. The creek and backdrop of red, rocky hills would make for some great landscape photography at a better time for light (although I would have to revisit to figure out what that time would be!).
We headed to Gunlom waterfall to camp and stay the night. This place is one of my favourite places to swim - the steep walk to the top of the falls is well worth it! Walkers are greeted with a series of natural rock pools, which end in nature's own infinity pool, looking out in to the vast open landscape of Kakadu.
Unfortunately, this time we did not have time to venture to the top of Gunlom waterfall. Instead, I explored the bottom pools, and photographed the very small trickle left over from the wet seasons rain.
The falls were only a trickle, but luckily there were a few other interesting areas to keep me occupied with the camera!
Crystal clear water :)
My partner and I are thinking about revisiting again for another quick visit to Kakadu next week! I love getting out there, just wish I could spend longer. The next trip we will probably take the boat, so I can try my hand at some more bird/wildlife shots on Yellow Waters. I could already do a long photo essay on Yellow Waters - it's probably my favourite place to relax in the Top End.
More to come soon, hope you liked them! Let me know what you think... I think my favourite photo I took this trip is of Jim Jim Falls, with the reflections of the red cliff tops. :-)
What is a long exposure? Basically, a long exposure refers to the length of the shutter speed used to take a photo.
There is no "typical" shutter speed, but in daylight, on automatic settings a small camera might use 1/250th of a second, or maybe even a 1/1000th of a second. As the light starts to fade, or as aperture is narrowed, longer shutter speeds are needed to correctly expose the exposure.
I would consider anything half a second or longer to be a "long exposure". This is definitely too long to hand hold!
The shutter could be open for half a second, or ten seconds, thirty seconds or even four hundred and thirty seconds, if you wanted to!
Why should I use long exposures?
I LOVE long exposures. 95% of my sunset and seascape photos are taken using exposures of half a second or greater. There are lots of benefits to increasing the shutter speed.
Sometimes longer exposures are a necessity, as light gets lower the camera needs a longer shutter speed to create the correct "lightness" (exposure) within the photo.
Depending upon light, and tidal condition, I tend to use between a quarter of a second or one second to create images showing the movement of the water. The water blurs together to create interesting lines and patterns.
As shutter speeds get longer, water tends to smooth out more. In Darwin, I generally use around fifteen seconds or longer to smooth the water - all the water movement blurs together in to one flat surface.
Images using longer exposures tend to get sharper - the camera captures more detail.
Longer shutter speeds can also result in more vibrant colour.
Depending on wind conditions, long exposures show movement in the clouds creating patterns in the sky of the photos.
There are lots of uses for long exposure photography. I use it mainly for landscapes and seascapes, but it can be applied to a variety of subjects.
Below are some examples from Flickr.com:
Traffic travelling at night, from Emmanuel_D Photography, 121 second exposure
Stars and meteor shower in Queensland, by Bill Owens
Light painting, by John White Photos
Waterfall long exposure by ForestWonder.com
There are so many more long exposure examples that I want to share from Flickr! Check out more in my "favourites" folder on Flickr.
What do you need for long exposures?
- A DSLR.
Some compact cameras can be used manually, and you can use long exposures, sometimes up to 30 seconds. Generally speaking, they are capped at a maximum shutter length (and in set increments). DSLRs allow much more flexibility and much longer exposures. A DSLR camera will also allow you to activate the "mirror lock up" setting, improving sharpness in images.
- A tripod.
The camera must not move! A tripod is essential, and it must be sturdy too. On the beach, this can mean burying the legs and feet deeper in to the sand to ensure it doesn't move with the water.
If you don't have a tripod, you can use a fence post or something else stationary and steady!
- A remote shutter release.
This is not essential, but very useful. The remote will enable you to take the photo using the remote, instead of the shutter button on the camera. Why? Long exposures require complete stillness of the camera, and often pressing the shutter will cause the camera to wobble slightly - causing blur in the photo. Using the remote means you don't touch the camera, which means sharp photos!
A remote shutter release is also very useful for exposures taken using "bulb" mode. Holding your finger down on the button for 30 seconds, or 360 seconds can be annoying - the remote I use, operates on "bulb" mode by pressing the remote once to start the photo, and once to end the photo.
If you don't have a remote shutter, you can also use the two-second-timer setting on your camera. The shutter is depressed, and the camera waits for two seconds before taking the photo. This gives the camera chance to steady itself and prevent camera shake and motion blur from touching the shutter.
- ND filter (optional)
To create long exposures in brighter, daylight conditions an ND filter can be used to make the scene darker (therefore requiring a longer exposure to correctly expose the photo). A Neutral Density filter (ND) is a grey filter attached to the front of the lens. They vary in darkness, dependant upon how many stops of light they block. The darkest used is often the 10 stop ND filter, but they also are available in 1 stop, 3 stop, 9 stop, etc. A 10 stop ND filter can capture daylight scenes at thirty seconds.
How do I take long exposures?
I usually use Aperture Priority mode for my landscapes. I generally use between f11 and f16 for my landscape photos. My photos are generally taken between 10 and 20 minutes after the sunset, and using Aperture Priority mode will calculate your shutter time for you (either Av or A on your camera dial). Shooting this long after sunset, with the settings above and ISO 100 will result in longer exposures calculated by your camera.
Using dark ND filters will generally require you to use your camera manually. Sometimes Shutter Priority mode can be used, but personally I prefer to have a control on my aperture instead of shutter speed.
One of the most important set up points with using long exposures is the steadiness of the camera. The tripod must be sturdy, and avoid touching the camera to take the photo.
Sometimes, the environment can get too dark for Aperture mode to calculate your shutter speed for you. Most DSLRs are limited to 30 seconds as a "setting". If you want longer than 30 seconds, you will need to use "bulb" mode.
Bulb mode refers to the manual mode on your camera that enables you to choose the length of your shutter speed. You will also need to set your aperture and ISO manually.
How do you know how long to do your shutter speed? There is an easy way to work it out (other than trial and error!)
Compose the scene, set up your camera and use Aperture mode to take a test shot. Set your Aperture to the desired setting (e.g. f11). Now, if it is too dark increase the ISO to 200 or 400 and remember the shutter speed it set.
Now flick to bulb mode, use the same aperture (e.g. f11) and reduce the ISO back to 100. To calculate the shutter speed required, using the recommended shutter speed from your "test" and multiply that by the factor of the ISO.
For example, if in Aperture Priority your settings read f11, ISO 200 and 30 seconds, your bulb settings would be f11, ISO 100 and 60 seconds (shutter speed multiplied by 2 - of ISO 200).
For example, if in Aperture Priority your settings were f14, ISO 800, 15 seconds, your bulb exposure would be f14, ISO 100 and 120 seconds (15 sec shutter speed multiplied by 8 - of ISO800)
I think that's the basics to get started on long exposures! Feel free to ask any questions below, or via my Facebook page.
I often run promotions at my market stall, but up until now have not had an online platform to promote the same. With the advent of my new blog, I can provide more information to my Facebook, Flickr and other online followers!
Mindil Beach markets, where I am based, sees thousands of visitors a night - a lot of them visitors to the area.
A lot of the visitors to my stall comment that getting the photo home, in a suitcase, could be tricky. I do offer a bubble wrap and packaging for those people who want to take their photos with them.
For the next month (until the 30th June), I will be offering discounted shipping for my larger framed prints!
My current special is my 16x20" framed photos (100% ready to hang), packaged and delivered via courier to your door, for $150!
For the first time ever, I will be offering my "market specials" online to my interstate followers!
How do you order?
- Browse my portfolio ---> select "add to cart" when you see an image you like
- A pop up box with lots of frame sizes and colours pops up (you can see about the frames here)
- Select the 16x20" size (or 20" size for the panoramic option), with your choice of frame and either white or black matboard surround.
- Check out --> in the DISCOUNT code, enter TRAVEL
- Select the 16x20" postage option ($35.00 usually, but the TRAVEL discount code will reduce your final total to $150!)
- If you have any questions, or problems, get in touch here. I can organise for an invoice to be sent, or payments over the phone with a credit card, if you prefer.
I keep a wide range of my Darwin landscape photography prints in this size; including the much-loved Darwin sunsets, seascapes, beaches, wildlife and popular locations around Darwin and the Top End, like images from Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks. If an image you like is not currently in stock or on my website, that's fine - just send me a message either on my Facebook page or via my Louise Denton photography website.
- An introduction (darwinlandscapephotography.com)
For those who have been following me on Facebook or Flickr over the last couple of years, I do generally post my EXIF and camera data with the photos. Here it is a little more detail (and up to date!):
Camera body: Canon 5D Mark iii - which I love! I upgraded from a Canon 450D last year (2012), and the jump to full frame is definitely worth it. The colour, sharpness and quality were differences I noticed straight away - especially when viewing images on the LCD screen.
Landscape lens: Canon 17-40mm F4 L lens. This lens is great, it's perfect for my needs. I was debating between this lens and the 16-35mm F2.8 L lens, but decided to go for the cheaper option. I could not justify spending an extra $1,000 for that extra 1 stop of light, when I rarely shoot below f9 or f10 anyway. I do notice a little Chromatic Aberration with the 17-40mm, and there is definitely barrel distortion too, but it is easily correctable with Adobe Camera RAW.
General Purpose lens: Canon 70-200 F2.8 L IS lens. I LOVE this lens. It fills the gap between landscape and telephoto, with gorgeous sharpness, clarity and colour. It's great for landscapes too. Awesome bokeh, excellent with the IS, love it!
Telephoto lens: Canon 300mm F4 L lens. This is great for me, as it's not too heavy to carry. It's small enough to handhold for a long time, and as a prime lens gives great sharpness and bokeh too. I do all of my bird shots and wildlife shots with this lens.
I also have a Canon 50mm F1.8 lens, which for the price is an awesome lens! It was the first non-kit lens I bought and I don't really use it that much anymore, but it is still an excellent lens and I use it when I'm trying to challenge myself a little! It's a good lens for stitching panoramics together with too.
I always use a tripod for landscape photos. It can be a pain lugging one around, but as I generally like to use around f11-f14 and ISO 100, the shutter speeds tend to get a little too slow to hand hold, as the light is fading. A lot of my sunset photos are actually taken when it's quite dark - between 15 and 30 minutes after sunset. No matter how bright that sky can get, a tripod is a MUST, without severely sacrificing image quality (for example, by increasing ISO therefore increasing grain, or by having blurred images due to camera shake).
I always use a remote shutter release with my landscape and sunset photos. This eliminates any risk of camera shake. When taking photographs with shutter speeds of one second or longer (a lot of mine are 20 and 30 seconds), touching to camera to release the shutter can cause it to wobble and cause blurred photos. A remote shutter means you take the photo using a remote, so you don't have to touch the camera!
Filters are a big part of landscape photography, and eliminate a lot of the need to use editing software - the exposure can be captured right "in camera". For sunsets, I use Graduated Neutral Density Filters, which are half clear and half grey. The sky is bright - the grey section in the filter darkens the sky and the clear part on the bottom means the foreground remains bright. I use Lee filters, I have a 0.3 soft grad, a 0.6 and a 0.9 hard grad. I usually use the 0.9 hard grad, with the 0.3 soft, to soften the transition caused by using these filters.
I also have a new 10 stop ND filter by Lee - these are very sought after, but I haven't had too much chance to play with this yet! It is a very dark filter, and you cannot see the scene through the viewfinder with it on. I have found that I have to compose the scene normally, without the filter - take a few test shots and then turn the camera to manual focus and put the filter in place to take the shot.
A circular polariser is useful for brighter days, and for controlling reflections (whether optimising or reducing). I use a Lee Circular Polariser too.
I also use an AEO lightning trigger for capturing lightning shots.
Basically, I want a platform to share photography and ideas with on a regular basis.
When I store my photos on my computer, I file them by date and I have a file for every single day of the year. There are a LOT of photos that I do not post or even look at, because another one or two photos from that day are "better". I want a platform to share the "unseen" photography, or to share photography from a trip, and to share photography from others, share other blogs.
I think this blog will fulfill that.
My passion is the ocean, and the sunsets that go with it, here. So what better way to start than to share my favourite sunset photos from Darwin, over the last twelve months or so? These are all photographs that I have taken myself, found at Louise Denton Photography.
Some of my images are custom, panoramic sizes too.
As you can probably see, I like trees! I love just getting outdoors: the Territory is a perfect place for it.
What colours are your favourite? I love the reds and purples, but have found most people really like the blues and calmer colours. Darwin wet season sunsets can be unpredictable - sometimes bright and sometimes very calm.
I think these photos summarise what my work is about!
If you simply like landscape photography, sunsets and beaches to look at, you can subscribe to this blog.
If you live in Darwin and want to see great photos from our area, you can subscribe.
If you are interested in photography, or learning to take photos - subscribe, as I can share tips, ideas and discuss ways to do things. At the moment, I am researching in to types of torches best for light painting.
I want to visit so many places in the Top End - you can follow this blog to follow my journey. And this can be a place to share ideas - you can comment on my blogs. Before the year is out, I am planning another trip to Kakadu, a trip to Uluru and the Red Centre, via the Devil's Marbles. If I get time, I would LOVE to go through Arnhem land to the Cobourg Peninsular. If anyone has been to these places, share ideas and locations and I can share them back with you!
If you are visiting Darwin, I will be talking about great places to see and go, and events upcoming in the area.