Vera St – Tunnel Madness

ya gotta view this large at 11 vertical frames its a crime not to

This certainly a sweet little tunnel, I have been here 3 times over the years and it never disappoints, each time I have come away with something different – it even has glow worms.. well i hope it still does. I battled the crowds on this day, a lazy Sunday afternoon meant there were plenty of people stopping to take a look inside the tunnel nail a few selfies, I even meet a nice lad doing a photo project for his HSC.

I have previously been here in the dark to do some light painting (with glow worms) and when its pretty well flooded , this time I only had limited time and I really did not want muddy feet, so I opted for the view from right back at the entrance to this part of the tunnel, it also meant I could get the, rather new, Helensburgh sign in the shot as well.

I am sure I will be back in a few years again and I do wonder how it will have changed and what composition will take my fancy :)

11 shot (vertical orientation) panorama, only mildly cropped, I did have two layers (normal exposure and under exposure) in it, but my poor computer complained and refused to save it :(

Exif love:
11 vertical frames taken on a pano head
D750 coupled with Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 24mm Aperture: f10 and Shutter Speed: 1/3s
ISO 100
Out front – Hoya CPL and one cool tunnel


The lesser loved tunnel

The tunnels at Helensburgh are quite the popular tourist spot now, I remember years ago trying get info on them and it was a little more challenging and also not so well known. The other thing I did not realise was how close to the current trainline a few of them are – i have always driven there so never actually saw the current train station..

So, I had to make a somewhat impromptu train ride from the south coast back to Sydney and thought, sure why not, I'll jump off and take a few photos at Helensburgh.

Now, firstly, its been really more than I can remember (sheesh I feel old now) years.. since I have been on the train down this way and I gotta say its actually quite a picturesque trip, i was gonna bury the head in a few serious sessions of Zombie call or crossy but found myself burning away the minutes away staring out the window at all the cool locations.
The train line follows the coast and often you have the escarpment on one side and the sea and rockshelves on the other – from the green dairy style fields near Gerrigong, to the fantastic view of Bombo and Kiama thru the industrial world of wollongong and finally up into the narrow strip of land where Austinmer and the seacliff bridge is, its not boring by any measure. It does not end there either, its then a tranquil run into the Royal National park dotted with various short tunnels.

The other great thing is you could actually just jump off at places like Coalcliff and its a short walk to the Seacliff Bridge and nearby rock shelf and beaches, time it well with the trains and you could just spend a couple of hours and then hop back on for the next spot :) now only if they ran in time for sunrise sessions ;)

Anyways, ya probably gathered I am a bit of a fan of it :) I do recommend it, its so much nicer than driving :)

Anyways, onto the image, everyone goes and looks at the Vera St tunnel, its more picturesque and you can walk into it, hence its poor neighbor (this image), which is covered with bog, blocked off and not as good for selfies gets much less attention – this is one side of it, the other side is pretty cool, but with a large steel pole fence and lots more water. I would have just climb over it but I did not particularly wanna get stinky wet feet for the rest of my train ride home :)

So, here's to you little forgotten tunnel, someone should really open you up and put a cafe or something there :)

This one is about a 10 shot panorama (vertical frames), I really like the cool roots of the trees which are reclaiming back the scar in their land.

Exif love:
D750 coupled with Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 24mm Aperture: f9 and Shutter Speed: 1s
ISO 100
Out front – Hoya CPL and one poor lonely tunnel.

Just a little house with a view

ya gotta view this large.. its a crime not too

Its got this cool patch of grass in the front, which given the right cold conditions and a fresh layer of frost would make one very awesome ride :)

There quite a number of angles on this building in the Canberra National Aboretum, one of which is across the highway which means you need a pretty long lens to get the shot, even down the bottom of the hill in the actual Aboretum you still need at least 200mm i reckon.

This is with the 300mm lens and is a panorama of 6 landscape orientation shots.

Exif love:
D750 coupled with Nikkor 300mm f4 @ 300mm Aperture: f6.3 and Shutter Speed: 1/80s
ISO 100
Out front – bigass hill, some cool building and hill worth sliding down!

The Golden Path

Its always a pleasure to check out this spot (Goanna Head), you are pretty well guaranteed to have the whole headland to yourself, I am talking about humans here, you do have to share with the spiders snakes, wallabies and all the other characters about at the crack of dawn, its also a nice 20 minute walk thru the bush to the beaches which is always a bit more interesting when its pitch black and no moon.
I had done sunrise and was scoping out a few other spots further around on the headland when I stopped to take a shot of the track (I like track shots smile emoticon ), which as you can see is pretty cool with the trail leading the scene. Anyways, I setup the shot only to notice I was standing awfully f'ing close to a rather large fire-ant infestation, I thought, sure I wrap this one up now and move on.. but no, these little clowns had other ideas, within in seconds i got simultaneous nailed (thru teh sock) by three of these little f'ers which then consequently made me squeal like a 6 year old – and I then realised why they are called fire ants…
so here's to you not so little fire ants… you can keep your patch of path..

Exif love
4 shot panorama (vertical)
D750 coupled with Nikkor 16-35mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f18 and Shutter Speed: 1s
ISO 100

Two Worlds


There is a song about that ;)
This was the last shot of the day (well for sunrise anyways :) ) The rain had momentarily stopped and the sun was making another grab for freedom from the clouds.

I stumbled about the rocks looking for that cool foreground as the rays of light shone down like some biblical scene, i suppose i did pray for some something decent but all it threw me was a bunch seaweed and some neptune necklaces :( coulda been worse I suppose…

Here is a cool example of the polariser working, whilst its pretty well straight into the sun (polarisation is strongest at 90 degrees to the direction of the sun) the polariser let me get a clear glimpse into the world that lay at my toes..

Exif love ('cause I know your just hanging for it :) )
2 shots, one for the sky and one for the foreground, really easy blend with the straight horizon.
D750 coupled with Nikkor 16-35mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f18 and Shutter Speed: 1.6s (for the sky) and 3 s for the foreground
ISO 100

Madden Falls – Darkes Forest

Madder version

I have been meaning to return to this lesser known set of falls down south towards Wollongong since way back in 2014 when I first bush-bashed my way in. The falls are located at Darkes Forest near Madden Plains and are actually a quite accessible, there is even a board walk to the falls – however and its a big one, the trek to the base of falls is not so easy – although i reckon third time round I will have the better track sussed out ;)
There are lots of slippery-ass rocks and trees to thwart the passage in so care must be had.

On this particular day I had joined the mad southies from the Focus group for sunrise at Little Austimner which was enjoyable, yet rather wet :) i had a bit of time to burn on the way back so I thought it a very opportune time to check out the falls. It was great to have some company from some keen Focus shooters (Grant and +Mike Hankey ) and I am sure they had doubts about actually getting to the base of the falls ;)

This particular shot is from the first platform of the falls where Mike ended up first – I initially lost Mike in the trees enroute to the base of the falls only to see him perched up there with a prime view of the falls, it is a great view point on the falls and lets you get out of the way of the spray and capture the wide view of the scene with water some down onto the platform and also into the pool below, which by the way was pretty full, to give you a idea, the water flow on the very left into the pool was where I was standing last time i was here (see this

This image is blended panorama using two exposures for each frame (12 vertical sets), its the first time I have properly used a panorama head (thanks Rod and Lorena) and I can really see the benefits when at close range – it makes stitching a absolute breeze.


hello little sunrise, fancy seeing you here

There was a brief moment this morning when it actually felt like sunrise, for a few fast minutes the sun crept out from behind the clouds and said hello.. then disappeared … and then it rained… again.

I sat in this spot trying to get the right composition and avoid getting rained on for quite some time, finally I worked out that I needed to be in the water to get the right perspective, so I battled a river of seaweed and the shifting stands and all in all it was rather fortuitous since all that time stuffing around the sun finally came out.

Note, seaweed around a tripod leg can create some mad vibrations in the tripod when under some strong current ;)

Exif love:
3 shot panorama (landscape orientation)
D750 coupled with Nikkor 16-35mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f14 and Shutter Speed: 10s
ISO 100

Tunnel Spectre

As you pass down into the depths of Tunnel No. 7 and past the fallen wicked mechanical prawn there is ventilation shaft that provides a pinprick of hope, a spot where you can escape the damp musty smell of the tunnel and get a glimmer light…but don't stay too long tho, there be others here :)

‪#‎tunnelNo7‬ ‪#‎lightpainting‬

National Aboretum

Its like somebody stole one of the sails from the Sydney Opera House and dropped it in the middle of this plant nursery

Awesome place, can't wait to see how all the trees develop..

I took a different approach on the processing here, i originally had BW in my head but it did not quite convey the foreground very well, hence why I ended up with burnt de-saturated look

5 shot handheld panorama

D750 coupled with Nikkor 85mm f1.4 @ 85mm Aperture: f10 and Shutter Speed: 1/200s
ISO 100
Out front – bigass hill, some cool buildings and a bunch of baby trees!

On the Edge

the road that is :)

I had this composition in my head before I went to this spot, however with most ideas in my head it looked nothing like it actually ended up.
The more I look at it, more I dislike it, i see all the dust spots, the stitching errors, the inconsistent colour smoothness..the noise..

I will chalk this image down to one of those ones which needed alot of beating over the head to get to the point where it looks like what you wanted it to look like… like the image in my head, but even then its not there. FYI, the image in my head was a large expanse of ocean with the road and cliff teetering on the edge of the frame.

Its a 5 shot panorama image at the height of the colour of the morning, which needed alittle help to really shine through :)

#‎seacliff‬ ‪#‎coalcliff‬

D750 coupled with Nikkor 24-70 mm f2.8 @ 48mm Aperture: f18 and Shutter Speed: 18s
ISO 100
Out front – Hoya CPL and LEE GND (0.9x)

Torrent Hunting

So they said 'ya gotta go there when its just rained or there is nothing' good advice chaps…just one small problem… too much of a good thing is not good :)
In the space of 15 minutes the water level here had risen over a foot in height, stand back i says :)

7 shot panorama image. In this one I varied the exposure of each frame to accommodate the light and dark areas of the scene. Usually I would just bracket the images, but I was trying to save time :)

Exif love:
D750 coupled with Nikkor 16-35mm f4 @ 21mm Aperture: f18 and Shutter Speed: 4s
EV -0.3
ISO 100

Out front – lots of smelly stormwater ;)


I think the dudes (and ladies) who designed this bridge had us poor photographers in mind, its a very pretty bit of coastline, but then you throw in a minimalist sweeping road and its like nature and man actually worked together (yeah i know thats a bit of contradiction but hey..)

I visited this bridge to take photos waaay back in 2009 when I got my first DLSR camera and had no idea – i only have marginally more of an idea now it was also when I thought a sunrise session was getting there at sunrise ;)

Back then you could just walk on down the old road and construction road to get to the base of the bridge, this soon got quite overgrown and when I visited it again in 2012 with Ray ( there was quite some bush bashing to get to the bottom (never heard the end of it either) – I did not realise (at that point) that there was another shorter way down on the right hand side of the bridge :)

Anyways, I did always wonder whether you could get to the top of the cliff and see the bridge from above, and it was not until recent years when images started to emerge from this spot up top that I knew it was possible to get there. It now seems its a bit of popular old spot for the photographers :)

Thanks to Rodney Campbell and Debbie Mooney for the company and also the last minute changes – it really did take 12 hours to decide on a spot to go for sunrise :)

‪#‎seacliff‬ ‪#‎coalcliff‬

D750 coupled with Nikkor 24-70 mm f2.8 @ 48mm Aperture: f10 and Shutter Speed: 30s
ISO 100
Out front – Hoya CPL and LEE GND (0.9x)