Redwoods at the Otways

Whilst down the coast for work last weekend I took the opportunity to squeeze in some photography at a relatively unknown location deep in the Otway forest. The area is simply known as ‘The Redwoods’ and is comprised of a relatively small plantation of the giant Californian Sequoia Redwood trees. These trees grow to be some of the largest in nature. Their girth and height can be truly immense. This small plantation is approximately sixty years  old and as  yet no where near fully grown, however, it already stretches more than a hundred feet into the sky.

The weather was overcast and drizzly for most of the weekend, ideal for forest photography. Direct sunlight creates too much contrast under a forest canopy. In full sunlight under the canopy the camera’s sensor is unable to capture the full dynamic range of light and dark areas. This leads to either blown highlights or complete loss of shadow detail. A cloudy overcast sky greatly reduces the contrast and gives a soft-box effect to the light that is far more suitable and pleasing. The rain and drizzle adds a lovely saturation to the foliage and forest floor. The inclusion of the small forest fern in the foreground, dwarfed by the Sequoias completes the composition and results in a very pleasing photograph to my eye.

Tasmania – Crescent Bay

Sometimes it takes several edits to make sure I have selected all the best frames from a given shoot and today was no exception. While reviewing some of the photographs from my recent Tasmania trip this one jumped out at me. I had initially passed it over, but on reflection feel the combination of composition and light is strong and that there is indeed a story to be told.  The photograph was taken at Crescent Bay near Port Arthur (close to the South Eastern most tip of Tasmania). The foreground rocks that mimic the shape of the bays name greatly appeal to me. As does the thin band of cloud between the horizon and the soft upper clouds.  The confused seas add a storm element that completes the photograph. This was quite a difficult location to get to as it required scrambling down quite a steep cliff to access this rocky ledge. I used a tripod with a three stop graduated neutral density filter to hold back the sky and a slow shutter speed to semi blur the water. I then timed the waves to set up and get the photograph before the next big set rolled over the rocks. Tasmania is one of my favorite locations for photography in Australia and I already can’t wait to go back.

The Fluffy White Stuff

There is no such thing in Australia as a White Christmas. We are in Summer at the moment and just to close to the equator for weather that is even remotely close to cold enough (unfortunately). But, all is not lost for the snow bunnies amongst us. With just a little internet wizardry from my blog host and in the spirit of a good European and North American Christmas we now have a little taste of the fluffy white stuff we know and love – Snow! Happy White Christmas! (and bah! humbug to hot weather!)

ICP International Conservation Photography Awards

The International Conservation Photography Awards (ICP Awards) is a premier worldwide photography event focused on conservation and the environment. The biennial juried photo competition, along with awarding cash and merchandise to selected photographers, includes an online exhibit, a 3-month museum gallery exhibit at the prestigious Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, Washington, publication in a national photography magazine and other printed communications, and a slide show for use in community outreach and global on-line entertainment/education.

The ICP Photography awards are currently accepting entries for 2010 and I have for the first time decided to enter into a photographic contest. I will be submitting four photographs into the landscape category (I have not yet decided on the final four). My primary motivation for entering is the opportunity to assist in raising awareness for both environmental preservation and landscape photography as fine art. I am also a long time supporter and follower of the ICPA’s founder  – Art Wolfe. Art Wolfe’s photography has been inspirational in my own work. His Travels to the Edge series is remarkable and recommended viewing for anyone who has an interest in the wilderness and photography.

ICP Mission

  • To harness the potential of amateur and professional photographers around the world who are not yet involved in environmental and cultural conservation.
  • To recognise and reward excellent on conservation photography
  • To educate, inspire and motivate the public through a photographic exhibition that will create a sense of urgency and move people to take action.

History and Purpose

Known for his passionate advocacy of the environment, nature photographer Art Wolfe created a conservation-themed photo contest in 1997 as “an event for the advancement of photography as a unique medium capable of bringing awareness and preservation to our environment through art.”

The 2010 International Conservation Photography Awards is a continuation of Art Wolfe’s vision and has become a biennial (every two years) international event.  Each year the ICP Awards strives to increase its reach and influence to photographers from around the world as well as to diverse audiences who will be inspired by the work.

More than just a competition, 75+ of the juried photographs will be exhibited in 2010 via a new partnership with The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, a development that continues to raise the bar for this program.

New Zealand – Last Light over Cook and Tasman

Nothing else quite says ‘Alpine’ like the last rays of sunlight reflected on snow capped mountains. With temperatures plummeting to a frigid -19 degrees Celsius as the sun dipped below the horizon this was one of the last frames I reeled off from the small mountain helicopter before we returned to base for the evening (for some serious thawing out!). This photograph includes Mount Cook (on the right) and Mount Tasman (on the left) as well as the Fox Glacier and for me captures the essence of New Zealand’s grand Alps. To be at an altitude of eleven thousand feet over the Alps in a small helicopter with the doors off in the dead of winter with perfect weather and light is remarkable to say the least.