Landscape Photographer from the South West of Western Australia

Archive for March, 2011

Up close to a square tailed kite

We often get the square tailed kites flying over our property, looking for food. We lose 1-2 chooks a year to them. Once we had been to Perth, and when we returned we found this one in the chookyard. He had partly eaten a chook, but couldn’t get out of the yard because the fences were too high. Apparently they are like a jumbo jet, and need a long runway to take off. I wasn’t sure how to get him out off the yard – they have very powerful beaks and claws and could do a lot of damage. With no particular plan in mind I threw a towel over him (or her?) and he promptly went to sleep – out cold. I was able to pick him up, put him under my arm and carry him out of the yard. He didn’t stir at all. Once outside I took the towel off. He woke up, blinked his eyes, and took off.

It was an incredible experience handling a bird like that, one I will never forget.

Square tailed kite

Square tailed kite

Kite surfing at Cowaramup Bay

I am in awe of these guys when they are out in conditions like this. The wind was well over 30 knots, and it was a freezing cold day with occasional squalls coming through.

Kite surfing in Cowaramup Bay

Kite surfing in Cowaramup Bay

Quindalup Beach

Quindalup Beach

Quindalup Beach

This beautiful beach is very popular over summer.

More Wills Domain activity

I have had an idea to do a series of  long exposures in a vineyard whilst the harvester was operating, and this morning I got the chance to try it. The concept was to have the harvester lights trace a series of lines.

However the harvester started at 6:00am and it quickly got too light for me to continue. At least I got enough to show the idea would work. There was a nice sunrise as well, and I probably would have been better off concentrating on that, but I couldn’t move the camera!

This morning was more in the way of an experiment, and to try out different techniques. Here is the result from this morning. The continuous lines are the harvester. The dashes come from the tractor and trailer accompanying the harvester. Being lower it is partially obscured by the canopy of the vines, and the light only shows in the gaps between the branches.

UPDATE: I managed to extract the light trails from most of my shots, and this is the updated result.

UPDATE 2. Conclusions. The technique is workable, but probably not worth the effort. The time spent would be better spent concentrating on producing a good image, and in the dark that is probably difficult.  It wont turn a poor photo into a good one, but probably offers something a bit out of the ordinary.

Wills Domain light trails

Wills Domain light trails

Super Moon at Wills Domain

Although there were no clouds I wanted to catch the vineyard at dawn with the super moon low in the sky. The next opportunity is probably a long way off – tomorrow the moon will be higher in the sky at dawn. The predawn glow added color to this picturesque setting.

Super Moon at Wills Domain

Super Moon at Wills Domain

Quindalup sunrise

This is the jetty at the Quindalup boat ramp earlier this year. The tide was unusually low, creating the expanse of wet sand you see reflecting the predawn colors in the sky.

Quindalup jetty

Quindalup jetty

Saracen’s winery

This was taken this morning after the best of the sunrise was gone. This was my second choice for location  at the time, but I liked it the best when I saw them on the computer.

Saracen's winery/Duckstein Brewery

Saracen's winery/Duckstein Brewe

International Space Station from Yallingup beach


International Space Station from Yallingup Beach

International Space Station from Yallingup Beach

I was out shooting some moonlight shots this morning when I heard on the radio the ISS was about to pass over. I quickly set up, and got this. 78 secs exposure at f2.8 and 14mm. The moon had set 30 minutes earlier so it was very dark. I cut the shot after 78 seconds because that was about as long as I could go without getting star “streaks”.


Light Mushroom

There was a fireworks display on the foreshore at Busselton as part of the Festival of Busselton. At Signal Park, next to the foreshore there was some entertainment, including a band, bouncy castles for the kids, and what we used to call a “chair-o-plane”. I photographed the chair-o-plane with a long exposure. This is the result. If I get the chance again I will try to use a flash to capture the people riding it.



Chair-o-plane turned into a mushroom.



Boranup Forest

This area was logged around 1920, and this is all regrowth Karri forest. As the trees are roughly the same age they competed with each other for light and as a result are all very tall and straight. When driving south along Caves Road, south of Margaret River you come around a bend and are confronted with the sight of these trees. I am surprised there are not more accidents here as cars tend to pull up anywhere to look at the trees.

I found this difficult to photograph, largely because every time I left Dunsborough in sunny weather to photograph the forest, it was raining by the time I arrived! However the good news for photographers is that you don’t need to be here at sunrise to get the best photos. At that time the sun is still below the canopy. The best time is an hour or so before sunset or after sunrise, so you get the sidelight.

Boranup Forest

Boranup forest.

STS Leeuwin in Bunker Bay

I saw the Leeuwin going towards Bunker Bay and dashed out to capture some images of her. Fortunately the sun was setting and bathed the Leeuwin in a golden glow. These were captured May 2010.

STS Leeuwin in Bunker Bay

STS Leeuwin in Bunker Bay

STS Leeuwin in Bunker Bay

STS Leeuwin in Bunker Bay

STS Leeuwin in Bunker Bay

South of Contos Beach

These were taken mid February. This beach is rarely visited, as there is no vehicle access. The Cape to Cape Trail swings inland at this point to go through the Boranup Forest, so you don’t even meet the usual hikers on the beach. To get to the beach you can either walk from Hamelin Bay (a long way), or park a car in the Boranup Forest and follow a track several kilometres to the beach, or walk south from Contos beach. We parked one car in the forest, and one at Contos so that we didn’t have to back track.  The surf that day created some great waves that broke just before they hit the beach.

South of Contos

Rocks South of Contos

A long wave

Sand, surf, blue skies

Winter at Willyabrup

I am enjoying looking back through my older images. I am discovering images I had forgotten about. This was captured August 2009. The Cape to Cape track seems to be at its best in winter – at least for a photographer. The streams are flowing, and there are usually clouds in the sky.

Update – I reprocessed this image from the raw file as Mark suggested (see comments). This is the updated version.

Winter at Willyabrup

Winter at Willyabrup

Blue wrens

We are fortunate to have a lot of blue wrens (the Splendid Fairy Wren) on our property, and they often come on our balcony. I used a flash to photograph this one who was foraging on the deck. The Nikon flashes fire a preflash to measure the light. When photographing people you have to watch they are not “fast blinkers” ie the preflash causes them to blink, and you get a picture of the person with their eyes shut. The blue wren must have very fast reflexes, because the preflash startled him, and I caught him in this very inelegant position.

Blue Wren

Blue wren startled by flash



Hay Shed Hill vineyard in fog

During autumn there is often fog over the Margaret River vineyards in the early morning. At this time of the year the leaves are turning yellow. The combination of autumn leaves, fog, and sunrise colors offer good opportunities for photographers. This image  was taken April 20 last year. The Cape Clairault image from an earlier post is another example of the early morning fog.

Hayshed Hill vineyard

Autumn fog in the Hayshed Hill vineyard.

. This was taken towards the end of April last year at the Hayshed Hill vineyard.

Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my photography blog. I am a photographer living in the South West of Western Australia at the northern end of the Margaret River Wine Region. This area has magnificent beaches, wineries, forest, caves, breweries, galleries etc, and living in the area provides me with opportunities to create images through photography that showcase the area. But there is not much point in creating these images, and printing copies which only close friends see. Hence the blog.

I would like to thank Ian Wiese for making this possible. This may seem strange, but when I tried to register the username ianwiese I found it was already in use!. Some detective work revealed that a photographer in Pt Elizabeth, South Africa named Ian Wiese had already registered the username, but hadn’t made use of it. I phoned him, and guess what – he is a nice guy, but with a name like that what would you expect. The conversation went like this. ”

Hello – is that Ian Wiese”

“Yes who is speaking?”

“This is Ian Wiese.”

I expect you can see the difficulty especially when there are different accents, and pronunciations of the surname involved.  However Ian Wiese quickly agreed to let me use my (and his) name.

You can see his photography here

Smiths Beach

Smiths Beach

Smiths Beach

In winter the stream at Smiths Beach winds its way into the ocean, creating an excellent photo opportunity. This is a multiple image stitch of blended exposures.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock is just outside Dunsborough. The carpark is the site of an old whaling station that dates back to the 1840s. I have heard rumors that part of the old station is buried beneath the car park!

This shot was difficult to get. There was a band of cloud on the horizon when I arrived, and it looked like the sunrise was not going to happen. I tried various positions and nothing was working until I saw that this cloud and rainstorm had moved to a position where I could line up the rock and the cloud. As I got in position the sun rose above the line of cloud on the horizon and the early rays lit the back of this cloud.

This is a four image stitch of blended exposures. This technique does not work well with waves (or other moving objects such as trees in wind), so I selected the best of the individual exposures and masked the water back in from a single image.

The mouth of the Willyabrup River

This image was taken at the mouth of the Willyabrup river. As we approached this spot I calculated it had been over 45 years since I had been there before! The river is running but the water is so clear it cant be seen in the photo. The black patterns are made by meneral sands (ilmenite) in the bed of the river. This photo can only be taken in winter months when the river is flowing. It is around 5k from the nearest place a 2WD car can be parked, and even the 4WD tracks are tough.

In the winter the mouths of the numerous small rivers and streams that reach the coast are some of the best places to take photos. In summer the streams are either dry or blocked and stagnant.

Bay OK

This is known as the “Little Planet” format. There are a number of ways to achieve this, some complicated, others not quite so. The first step is to take a 360 degree panorama. I recall this image as having 2 rows of 13 images. Each image was a blend of around 5 exposures. The resultant panorama is resized to a square format and turned upside down. Then you use the Photoshop rectangulat to polar coordinate conversion and this is the result.  (If you dont turn it upside down, then the sky will wind up in the centre).

This image won GeoCatch’s Bay OK competition probably because it captures many of the features of Geographe Bay – the jetty, the Busselton Foreshore, the swimming platform, the water, and on the right you can see the coast to Cape Naturaliste (probably not on the screen, but the full size image shows it). I was playing around with this technique when GeoCatch announced their competion. There were some very, very good entries but they generally showed one feature of the bay.

Pt Picquet

This image won a trip for two to Broome in a West Australian Newspaper travel photo competition. It was taken at Pt Picquet, near Dunsborough. The red on the rocks is a lichen.

Picquet was a lieutenant on one of explorer Baudin’s ships. At the time Baudin visited here (around 1800), Picquet was regarded by Baudin as “a likeable fellow”. By the time the journey ended Picquet was in disgrace, probably more by irration caused by people being in confined spaces on the ship for long periods. Picquet drew his sword on Baudin, and faced courtmartial, but was saved by the fact that Baudin died before he reached France and the other officers wouldn’t testify against Picquet.

This is  the best fishing spot for herring between Dunsborough and Cape Naturaliste.


The “header” image is taken at the same spot, but at the end of summer when the sand has built up.

Abbey Vale vineyard

This image won a bronze award in the 2010 Landscape 500 competition. It is taken at the Abbey Vale vineyard in Wildwood Road, Yallingup. (The cellar door outlook is leased by “The Growers”, hence the title).

I would have liked to have had more clouds in the sky, but when I revisited the spot, the leaves were falling and the sun moved further north, spoiling the shot. Maybe next year.

Cullens Vineyard

Cullens vineyards

Cullens vineyard at sunrise

Cullens were one of the pioneers of the Margaret River wine region, and their wines are superb. This image is a panorama stitched from about 4 or five images in two rows (it is a while since I did it!). This was taken from besides Caves Rd at dawn

Kilcarnup magic

The afternoon I first saw Kilcarnup beach was unforgettable. This is one of the prettiest beaches along the Cape to Cape trail. The day we came here the wind was dead calm, the tide was out and people were standing out on the reef 100m from shore. Around the headland are a series of small bays surrounded by limestone cliffs. One of the bays has several small limestone outcrops and on one their is an Osprey nest. Apparently they nest each year, and the young hatch around October. They seem to build up the nest each year and it is now a massive size.

Access to the beach is by 4WD only, or by walking from the mouth of the Margaret River (not possible in winter), or by walking in from the north.