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Towers of Gloom

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 9 September 2018 in Landscape & Rural.


These two sea stacks are located at Gibson's Steps area on the Great Ocean Road in Australia. Their local names are Gog and Magog. The morning when we visited earlier this year was a blustery, gloomy and misty one. A storm passed by overnight and the seas were still quite angry when I arrived early in the morning. Luckily I was in a spot sheltered from the open sea and while still windy, I was safe from any ocean spray and the rain stayed away as well.

This is a well known location for tourists and photographers alike. It is very hard to come up with a different composition and the angles and options are limited. The best I could hope for were some different conditions to try and work into the image to create either a moody scene such as this, or to photograph a colourful sunrise if one was to happen. I actually got both. Today I am posting the moody scene and I will post the sunrise image a bit later on.

You can see how rough the sea was because even though I used a long exposure of four minutes, it still did not manage to smooth the water out completely in the foreground. On the other hand, you can also see how the sea spray and mist were building up past the stacks and into the distance, to the point where the cliffs reaching out into the water became invisible.

I used to dread bad weather when travelling and photographing. That was when photography was still not a priority for me. These days I have learned to embrace the bad weather and to make the most of it by photographing moody and different scenes. In fact I think that bad weather is great for photography (unless it obviously becomes so bad that photography is impossible). The atmosphere and light can change very rapidly and that can presents many different opportunities in quick succession. Sometimes sunlight can break through the clouds to give a very dramatic effect and if a storm passes by quickly, the light just after it has gone is often fantastic.

When conditions remain gloomy for a longer period of time, my go to technique is using long exposure to extract as much ethereal mood of the moment as possible. Back when I started to think a bit more seriously about photography, it was long exposures that stirred the most emotional responses from me. That includes some artists here on Am3 that helped me to discover this kind of approach. It quickly became one of the techniques that I wanted to master as quickly as possible and it still remains as one of my favourites.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 240 seconds F/11.0 ISO 100 105 mm

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