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Edge of Mystery

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 17 August 2020 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.


A quick break from photos from our European trip last year to present my latest work from closer to home. Visiting this spot has been on my mind for a few years now and we did end up going there once or twice but the conditions were never quite right for my kind of photography. With a large storm approaching a week ago, I though it may be a good time to head out there again, hoping for either a colourful sunset or if not, then for some moody cloudy weather for some long exposures. The latter is what I got and I finally took a photo or two that I would be happy sharing. The location is called Point Peron and it can be found about 50km south of the centre of Perth.

I knew couple of exact spots that caught my attention previously so I did not need to scout around too much and headed straight there after arriving. This particular rugged spot always reminded me for some reason of photos of some beaches in southern Spain and Portugal. It does not have the same grandeur in real life but the weathered rocks look very similar to places such as the coast of Algrave. I think this is one of the more unique spot along the coast in Perth. Our beaches are more renowned for their pristine white sands and water rather than for cliffs and rocky features but this is one location that has a bit of both.

I had to be extra careful around this area, as the cliffs are fairly eroded could collapse at any time, and walked around the edge of the little canyon to find a good composition before setting on this view. I took this photo right around sunset on my third of fourth attempt. I am glad I persevered despite the fading light because I almost managed to stuff everything up with some basic mistakes earlier on. First I took a really lovely long exposure in brighter light only to realise afterwards that I must not have cleaned my filter beforehand because it had a tonne of spots in the sky part of the scene. Then I took out the filter to clean it and took another long exposure only to realise that I did not put the filter back in so all I got was a white frame. That was about half an hour wasted already. *DOH* Long exposure photos can be unforgiving of mistakes because by the time you take a six minute exposure and then another six minutes for camera to take a dark frame to perform noise reduction, that is already 12-15 minutes later. If conditions change rapidly then the opportunity might have gone already.

After these mishaps I decided to let go of this perspective just to clear my head and reset so I went down to sea level to take some lower perspective photos. Luckily, this time I did everything properly and once I finished I came back up again to retake this shot. Everything also went smoothly this time and I ended up with a good exposure that I was able to work on in post processing. It was a bit of a crazy evening, however, it all turned out well in the end and at least I have a story to tell now ;-)

The hardest aspect of post processing was getting the colour balance right. The original photo came through very warm and the evening I remembered had much cooler colour palate. I did want to retain just a hint of warmth in the rocks and for a little bit of the orange/bronze hue to come through as well. I worked selectively on different parts of the photo, from shadows to highlights to colour ranges, to achieve that result. I also used dodging and burning to give extra feeling of depth of dimension to the scene. Working in flat kind of light can often lead to one dimensional looking landscape and that is something that I definitely did not want for this photo.

The final result is one that I like very much and I am very happy to finally have a photo from this superb location. The next one will have to be a brilliant sunset, may be next Aussie winter, as this is my favourite time for seascapes in Perth. The conditions are still good now and even through summer but the moss is staring to die off now and I just love the extra colour and texture that it brings to seascapes. In any case, I hope you enjoy the photo and that you can learn from my mistakes and not repeat them in your photography endeavours :-)

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 360 seconds F/8.0 ISO 200 16 mm

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