Easter with Cathedral Rock

Well, it was really the day before Easter…

There’s nothing better than a long weekend to get the photography juices flowing. Over this past Easter long weekend I made it my mission to get at least one decent photograph and I think I succeeded.

Technically, the weekend started on Friday, but I needed at least one sleep in to get me ready for the 3 early mornings to follow. So come Saturday morning, I made my way down South, as usual, to shoot Cathedral Rock in Kiama. This is a go to place for many photographers and a place I feel quite close with. It was the spot I took my first REAL seascape photograph and since then I have found it to be more and more amazing each and every time I’m there. And this Saturday was no exception.

Upon arriving, there was practically no cloud to be seen. Even minutes before sunrise it was still quite bland. There was no cloud overhead and there was the dreaded thick band of ugly cloud on the horizon – every landscape photographers nightmare! Literally during the few minutes leading to sunrise, the clouds started to disperse, allowing the sun to peak through and filling this epic scene with a golden and etherial glow. It was truly a sight to be seen.

I only took a few shots, probably no more than 5 or 6 as I knew what I wanted before getting in my car that morning. I was quite lucky to get that shot I had in mind in just one trip down. In the past, I’ve had a shot in my head that literally took me weeks to achieve, in this case – that morning WAS the exception.

This first image was taken a few minutes after the last image as I was walking back to my car. I couldn’t resist shooting some shots of the water rushing around the rocks – something I’m quite obsessed with. The last image was my shot of the morning.



Exploring the Macquarie Pass National Park

What better way to spend a day off work than with a mate, getting lost in one of the best National Parks NSW has to offer. Nothing more than a quick “dude, wanna go for a hike?” and before we knew it, we were both deep in the forest that is the Macquarie Pass National Park.

It was our first time exploring the area and I knew where I wanted to go, but getting there wasn’t as easy as following a nice, sign-posted boardwalk. I had seen a photo somewhere online of this tremendous rock overhanging the tiers on one of the waterfalls that runs through this beautifully lush landscape. This was where we were headed. Having done almost no research prior to our hike, we had a few hiccups on the way. There were multiple forks in the road, all of which we managed to take the incorrect spike on our first attempts. After some hours of retracing our steps and trying to find the correct path, we finally ended up at a stream. Presumably, the Macquarie Rivulet. Our next decision was whether or not we headed upstream or downstream to find these elusive falls. Falls of which I still do not know the correct name. Hanging Rock Falls? If anyone knows, please feel free to chime in, in the comments below! We did however, choose the correct direction. Upstream.

From here on the path was very undefined and by undefined I mean non-existent. But within only 10-15 minutes of fighting our way through the dense scrub and pestering leeches we managed to find what we had been searching for!

The first image is actually from a different part of the park that we visited later on in the day on our way home. The second image was taken after our hike to “Hanging Rock Falls”. We decided to make our way up another stream we found earlier, this time there was absolutely no path or any sign of access. There was however, still a butt load of leeches. And the last image is the shot I had been dying to get since we left, the shot that this entire hike was for! Choosing a composition was quite challenging as there really weren’t a lot of places to stand or set up a tripod. And getting to each place actually requires a bit of skill, something that I left at home that day. But that just means that I have those options next time I shoot here!

Hope you are all having an excellent Easter!


Shutter Speed: 1.6 sec – Aperture: f/16 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 17mm


Shutter Speed: 15 sec – Aperture: f/16 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 17mm


Shutter Speed: 2.5 sec – Aperture: f/16 – ISO: 50 – Focal Length: 17mm


Kelly’s Falls, The Sequel

Following on from my last post about persistent rain here in Sydney, actually almost the entire East coast of Australia, I had to take another trip to Kelly’s Falls.

My first visit to Kelly’s Falls was pretty much on a whim. I was shooting sunrise down at Coalcliff and on the way home passed a sign reading Kelly’s Falls! I love me a good waterfall, so I stopped on the way back to check them out.

This time, however, I made the trip out there specifically to shoot these awesome falls. On my first visit to these falls, I really wasn’t dressed appropriately to be wading upstream. I learnt my lesson and packed my reef shoes this time, making it extremely easy to venture further up the creek. The water never really got any deeper than thigh high, so it’s certainly not the most demanding frolic to the top. But boy is it worth it!


Shutter Speed: 3.2 sec – Aperture: f/16 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 24mm


Shutter Speed: 3.2 sec – Aperture: f/16 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 24mm


The Rains are ‘ere

With all the rain Sydney had last week it was only natural that I would be out, in it, shooting some sort of waterfall. One waterfall that is only out during the first day or so of heavy rain, is the waterfall at the Old Helensburgh Station. You can see my last post on it here where there was very little water.

After being at work all day and hearing about how much it was pouring with rain, I knew that that day would be perfect for this shot. I wasn’t wrong. I rushed home from work to pick up my gear and before I knew it I was back out in the pouring rain, umbrella in hand, shooting this ‘Indiana Jones’ looking scene. I gotta say, setting up a tripod, holding an umbrella, all whilst trying to take photos with my camera’s rain sleeve on is much harder than I’d first thought. But I’m so glad I persevered, as this shot has been on my bucket list for months!

Hope you guys like these two shots!


Shutter Speed: 1.3 sec – Aperture: f/16 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 42mm


Shutter Speed: 1 sec – Aperture: f/11 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm

  • Josh Vhaan - Wow thanks so much for sharing this place, it looks seriously awesome.I can’t wait to go there, might wait till the next downpour to make the drive thoughReplyCancel

  • Pip - So sad I missed this, it would have been so cool to see!
    Next time, we get the kayaks and paddle down the glowworm tunnel!ReplyCancel


Visit the Shire – Understand Down Under

Leaving off from my last post – Will, Andrew and I returned back to the top of the mountain to meet up with the rest of the group. We arrived back dripping wet, while everyone else was still bone dry. When we’d had time to gather our thoughts and dry ourselves off a tad, we got straight into business. I should probably first tell you a little bit about Andy and his Understand Down Under, or UDU, Tours. Then back to business…

Andy started Understand Down Under sometime in 2006 in the hope that he could share his love for the Australian outback, and in particular the Royal National Park, with the world. One of the tours that UDU offers is an overnight moonlit walk through the Royal National Park. Once a month, during full moon, Andy takes you on an unforgettable and once in a lifetime hike through the wilderness that is Australia’s oldest National Park. During this overnight hike Andy and his dad “Dad” take you on more than just a physical adventure but also one full of lessons and fun, scientifically and photographically speaking.

As I was saying, we had arrived back at the group’s designated meeting spot ready for our big night ahead. By this stage, the sun had been down for about 30 minutes so it was starting to get quite dark. And what better thing to do in the dark with a bunch of photographers? …Light painting! As this group consisted of experienced photographers, we were pretty much able to get into things straight away. But incase you aren’t too familiar with your camera, Andy is an extremely knowledgable photographer who is second to none with light painting and by the end of the night you will be more than capable of capturing your own awesome images.

Whilst I was mainly concentrating on getting dry, I didn’t get too carried away with the painting. I did however, capture this shot of an illuminated tent. The only two light sources in this image are the light from my head lamp (lighting the tent) and the ambient light from Sydney’s city lights (orange sky). For this shot I lit the tent from behind. Usually in this type of image you would light it from the inside, but these were not our tents…


Shutter Speed: 8 sec – Aperture: f/4 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 17mm

After we finished light painting for the moment, we were treated to an awesome and extremely filling dinner at the top of the falls, Wattamolla that is. I guess they thought we needed the energy, as for the next 4 hours we would be on our feet – traipsing through the bush.

We finally left for our hike through the National Park, after our extremely satisfying meal, stopping occasionally for a little rest and for some educational insight from Andy’s dad. On one of these stops Andy volunteered to sit on this overhanging rock for some of us to shoot him, with our cameras. It was only about a 30 metre drop onto some gnarly rocks and crashing waves in the middle of the night, so it seemed pretty safe… One thing I don’t like about shooting during full moon is that it can look a bit like you’re out in the middle of the day.


Shutter Speed: 30 sec – Aperture: f/6.3 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 17mm

At the end of our walk we reached the beautifully secluded Curracurrang Falls where most of the crew decided to have a late night or early morning swim before our walk back to the campsite. By campsite I mean sand. Not sure if I mentioned it earlier, but part of the UDU Moonwalk Tour is sleeping on the beach at Wattamolla Lagoon. Pretty cool, right? By the time we made it back and set up our sleeping bags we were all pretty exhausted. I can’t possibly describe how cool it was to fall asleep on a beach to the sound of the ocean and the perfectly clear night sky above us. It’s really something that needs to be experienced personally.

The next morning we woke to the sun rising over the ocean, and what a view it was! Unfortunately, I didn’t come away with any spectacular shots, so I won’t be sharing those few images I did happen to capture.

I must say, this weekend was definitely something different for me. From the amazing group of people I spent it with to the awesome experiences we shared, it really was something I will never forget and something I hope I get the honour of being apart of again.

Let me leave you with some words of wisdom from a fellow landscape photographer I was lucky enough to shoot with over this ‘Visit the Shire’ weekend.


  • Josh Vhaan - What an awesome trip!!!!!!!
    I’m not a local, but I might make the trip to Sydney to do one of these tours. Seems like a sick tour, and you got some awesome shots out of it manReplyCancel

    • Matt Donovan - Thanks for the comment, Josh! It was an awesome tour, definitely something I’m glad I’ve experienced!ReplyCancel