Fighting the elements

May 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Torrential rain, thick fog, raging waters and a maze of back roads. A mate and I had organised to head down the coast to Fingal head for an evening shoot but as it turns out, mother nature was waiting in ambush for us around the QLD/NSW border!

We had left in decent conditions, some high clouds hinting at a chance of ideal sunset conditions, but as we drove south things began to deteriorate rapidly. By the time we reached our destination, we were in the middle of a torrential downpour and with no end in sight we made the call to head back north in an attempt to find some weather that we could actually shoot it.

We decided to head inland at Tweed heads in the hope of finding a westerly aspect, but the first view that struck us was looking east as we crested the hills around Bilambil. After some creative parking we grabbed out the long lenses and watched as a blanket of thick fog rolled up the valley beneath us and white-washed everything into a pale oblivion

IMG_5303“Shrouded in mist”
Canon 5D, 70-200L @ 200mm, f5.6, 1/320th

After shooting for a while we headed off again, still hoping for a good view west, but soon found ourselves stuck in a maze of back streets on the eastern side of the hills. It was at about this point that we thanked recent advancements in technology and slowly extracted ourselves via GPS.

We headed south west and found ourselves on a winding country road that looked to have decent potential. Before long though our hopes were scuppered as we came to a level crossing that was well under water, the creek raging after plenty of recent rain.

We turned around and backtracked, intending to look for another route but at the next crossing we noticed a scene full of potential as a large moss covered tree leaned over the fast flowing waters of a creek. We decided to stop and have a look as the water was still about half a meter below the level of crossing, but in the time it took to grab our gear and head towards the tree, the creek had risen to the point of lapping the crossing! Not wanting to spend the night in the area, we chose the smart option in headed back to higher ground.

By now it was obvious that there would be no sunset; heavy clouds obscured the sky and we were not in a position to shoot it even if things had have panned out differently.  Instead we stopped on the side of the road and shoot a small hidden valley that could be seen from the fence line. It was a great little spot that I’d love to revisit in the hope of actually gaining access for a better look around.

IMG_5331“Hidden valley”
Canon 5D, 70-200L @ 135mm, f11, 2 seconds

From there we headed back east as the gloom of an overcast evening settled in. We did come across another spot that looked to have potential; a long stretch of thick pine trees guarding a narrow road, but by the time we had set up, exposure times were out to 5+ minutes and with absolute dark closing in, things were only going to get worse. We ended up abandoning the scene to return another day and headed north, fully aware that mother nature had bested us once again.  

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