Cradle Mountain Tasmania – The Ballroom

One of the most accessible and easier walks/treks at Cradle Mountain is the 2 hour stroll around Dove Lake at the base of Cradle Mountain. The walk is relatively flat (only a short uphill section – depending on which way you walk it), well sheltered from the weather for most of its length and takes you through an area known as the Ballroom Forest. This very pretty area consisting of mountain streams, old gnarled moss and lichen covered trees and logs is a great location for forest photography – especially when the weather is inclement; as it was for most of my trip. Overcast skies and mist are ideal for this kind of photography. The dark skies help tame the extreme dynamic range of nature. Bright sunlit days just don’t work photographically under a forest canopy. The extremes of light and dark are to great for the cameras sensor to record; and indeed to great for the human eye. Whilst photography in these conditions is still possible through judicious framing and cropping – and even HDR (although I don’t do HDR) I far prefer a thick cloud cover overhead. Overcast days  add an effect I like to refer to as ‘Natures Soft Box’. The extremes of light and dark and gone and the light is softer and more subtle. In overcast conditions the challenge shifts from having to deal with dynamic range to a compositional battle with nature. The photographer is forced to contend with yet another of my favourite photography sayings ‘Nature is inherently Messy’. It takes a good eye, time and patience to make sense of it some times but the results can be very rewarding.

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