Australia Part 2

Skyline MelbourneDay 7: The flight with Tiger Airlines takes off early afternoon and arrives in Melbourne in a little over an hour. I pick up my rental car and drive into the inner city to my hotel, the traffic is not bad, it’s Saturday. Parking the car is a bit of hassle and I decide to return it as soon as possible. Again, similar to Sydney, public transportation is good, good enough for me. I only got the car to drive The Great Ocean Road, all my other points of interest are all close by in the metropolitan area.

I am loosing track of the days now…

At the hotel I was checking the internet again for information on the Great Ocean Road, the distance and time it would take me to get there. I wanted to leave early afternoon and get there well in advance of sunset. I also wanted to find out the best vantage point/ points for shooting at golden hour and so forth…
For some reason I got delayed and left Melbourne an hour later, than planed, but leaving the city proved to be pretty smooth, it was Sunday afternoon. I passed the town of Geelong and I was well on the way to reach the south-coast near Torquay, to pick up the windy but very pretty drive along the southern ocean. The sea to my left, I kept heading south and west now, passing small towns, nestled in coves and bays, like Bells Beach and Lorne. At Apollo Bay the road heads inland again, for a stretch, traversing lush forests and occasionally a farm in a valley, the terrain is in general undulating hill country.
It felt like forever until the road met up with the coast again, but finely it did, and now it could not be far. I pressed on, the the sun was descending more and more to the far horizon. Wile driving trough forests I often only got glimpses of the sun rays , imagining more, than seeing the suns position. So as I reached the coast, the sun was really low, it would only take minutes for it to dip over the horizon. Camera bag and tripod in tow I hustled out of the parking lot to the view point closest by. High up the sky was bright blue, only near the horizon, where the sun was about to set, it lit up a small cloud bank, dipping it and the horizon in bright red and orange hues.Night Sky Victoria

I took my first shot, but it was difficult to find a front row spot, there where so many visitors. So the first few photos where handheld. Later I got to set up my tripod and do some timed exposure images. The sun was gone quickly and so was the interest of the onlookers and they faded away. It was a pretty sunset, but also a bit boring, no dramatic clouds waiting to be lit up from underneath, so I did not mind that I got there late and only a few shots so far. My long exposure shots where taken first facing west and than east, as a pink ribbon of color stayed above a cool blue horizon. The light to me was actually better now, than at sunset. As the night descended further I noticed how bright the sky was, stars could be seen almost immediately. I decided to stick around for a bit and shoot the night sky. The cliffs and the pinnacles sticking out of the ocean provided a great and interesting foreground.

Soon it was 10pm and I was getting cold and hungry, so I headed for the nearest town Port Campbell. once I got there the town seemed almost asleep. I found a restaurant, that was still open, but they would not serve food at this time any more. So I had a couple of beers in the local pub and 2 bags of peanuts to appease my hunger. Not great, but better than nothing. There is a lot of nourishment in nuts!

I knew from consulting a weather map, that clouds where supposed to roll in at night and I hoped for more dramatic skies in the morning. I also wanted to be there bright and early well ahead of the crowd. My plan was to sleep in the car, to ensure I would wake up early and get to the view point, I now had a handle on the location.

It was a cold night for summer and I woke up shivering, happy to start the car and get the heater going…

I was the first one in the parking lot. There was just a hint of light in the eastern sky. I walked to one particular spot near the end of the trail, where you can aim the camera east and only a few steps away to the west. This is where I set up my tripod, aiming east towards the light of dawn. As it got brighter we could make out quite the display of nature unfolding. There was coastal fog on the higher ground atop of the cliffs, that flowed down to the ocean, shrouding the two visible pinnacles, the cliff itself and the ocean beneath in a white and bluish shroud. The display was surreal and magical at the same time. Time to start that camera remote release: 2 second delay, a 1 second exposure at ISO 200 and F/11. The scenery was changing constantly, sometimes the fog would lift a bit revealing more, wile high in the sky some cirro-cumulus clouds where light up in a soft pink…

This went on and on as more spectators showed up, all in awe of the show we where provided with. But there where nowhere near as many people present, unlike the evening before. So the mood was relaxed and allowed one to immerse oneself in this almost spiritual experience.12 Apostles 12 Apostles, fog rolling down the cliff 12 Apostles, west view

By about 10am I was in need of breakfast, having skipped dinner the day before left me now low on fuel and hungry. I had a nice breakfast in Port Campbell and decided to drive inland until the local road would meet up with the A1 in the town of Camperdown. This turned out to be a much faster highway back to Melbourne. I retuned my rental car and explored the city for the next 2 days on foot and using the trams. I had a pleasant time in Melbourne, got to do two impromptu photoshoots with 2 ladies I met on st. Kilda Pier and explored the waterfront by the Yarra River at night, shooting the skyline.

So my time in Melbourne went by in a flash and I was back on a flight to Sydney. There I had tow days before my departure back to Bali. I stayed at my friends house and went back to Bondi Beach, to soak up some rays. A wonderful sunny day! Odd’s and ends had to be organized, a backup had to be done and so leaving Australia was looming large and at the same time making me feel nostalgic. I had such a great time, I promised myself to be back…Downtown Melbourne by Night

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