Its that time of year again, for the past 5 years between the end of February and the beginning of April I have been lucky enough to travel West for the Australian Rally Championship and for the QUIT Forest Rally, this year was no different.
Its no secret its my favourite event on the calendar and no secret that the southern coastline of WA is one of my favourite on earth, last year I spent a few days prior to the rally seeing as much of the coast line as possible, so when I booked my flights for this year I planned to do the same.
This year would be a little different, I recently had surgery and come the rally it had only been 3 weeks so I was still on strict orders to take it easy and not lift anything heavier than a few kilograms, um how is that possible? have you seen how much stuff I take with me :).
I decided to bring along a sherpa, sorry I mean Ned Kelly, ok ok sorry, Matt Mead, Matt and I work together on KKR, he also comes to Rally Australia with me each year, and well we are kind of mates 😉 it was good to have him with me.
The plan was to head to the Pinnacles, I visited them last year but I didnt get the chance to stay till sunset so decided it was a must this year.
We drove the 200 odd kilometers north and arrived about 2 hours before sunset, we decided to drove around the park a few times looking for a suitable spot, eventually we found one that was on a slight incline, it shielded any distracting elements in the background, had foreground interest and was in the right spot for the setting sun, not to mention the clouds were behaving nicely.
The Pinnacles, a must visit for anyone.
Matt doing his thing, not sure what that is exactly.
The next day we headed south to the Margaret River region, however before we left Perth we decided to visit arguably Australia’s most photographed boathouse, ‘The Blue Boat House’ on the Swan River, unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to shoot it with the right light so had to make do, I would love to go back to Perth and spend a couple of days shooting it again.
For the time of day, I don’t mind the image, I think the harsh midday sun is evident with the overall tone, sure a beautiful orange sky with wispy clouds would have been perfect, but sometimes you just have to make do, better to have the image than not.
Off we go. The Rally is held around the coastal tourist city of Busselton, 230km south of Perth, I usually base myself here for the entire week, this time I planned to stay at Smiths Beach near Yallingup for a few days before the rally, I chose the location as it was close to my favourite shooting spot, Canal Rocks, I absolutely love this place, there is so much to shoot here, you could literally spend a week here.
I really like this shot, I was a little worried as the cloud cover on the horizon had all but shielded the golden sunset, it was but for a fleeting moment that the sun popped through creating just enough yellow light to make the image somewhat appealing.
How do we get here? Canal Rocks is about 30km south west of Busselton, you literally drive to the Canal Rocks car park, climb some rocks, pick a spot and that’s it. Matt decided to shoot in a different location, unfortunately for him he had a bit of an accident, he was fine, bruised ego perhaps, just a little bit of gear damage, luckily for me I wasn’t my clumsy self and came out unscathed.
A panorama of my scene, such an amazing landscape.
We had one more day free before anything rally related started, we headed south to Hamelin Bay which I visited last year, we didnt stay for sunset this time, and decided to make our way back to Yallingup and head to Sugar Loaf, I have been meaning to shoot this spot for a few years but always get stuck at Canal Rocks.
Sugar Loaf Rock is north of Canal Rocks and closer to Busselton, its not as easy as Canal Rocks to get to a great shooting spot, you need to climb over a lot more rocks, climb down a rocky hill and walk over slippery rocks, not my specialty :), I didn’t stack it, phew 🙂 nevertheless we do what we have to to get to shooting locations.
As with the day before the cloud on the horizon managed to mess with the sunset, not much anyone can do, nonetheless was still worth the effort, I am not sure I picked the right location, but it is what it is.
Once I was done and the sun had finally and I began packing up, I got an awful fright, out of knowhere a fisherman popped out of the water right in front of me, I had noticed something in the water earlier but brushed it off, he had been rock fishing for the past 2 hours, caught quite a few crabs and a salmon, hmm dinner tomorrow? ;).
Later that night we noticed the stars in the sky, I had never seen so many and the Milky Way was as clear as day, I had never shot the Milky way so we headed to Canal Rocks and tried our luck, its definitely not the easiest thing to do, finding a foreground element in the dark, climbing over rocks in the dark, well ok I had a torch but still, anyway we found a spot and I managed to capture the below image, its definitely something I want to try again and again especially with my trip to Iceland coming up at the end of the year.
The next day the rally work began, official testing, followed by recce on the Thursday, luckily for me I know the area quite well so our recce was over just after lunch, we headed back to our accommodation, just before sunset we headed over to the famous Busselton Jetty, unfortunately, or fortunately, the Jetty foreshore is undergoing a HUGE makeover, a 6* Resort is being built and the builders are laying both foundations and pipework on the beach, this means they have ripped up quite a bit of the shoreline and not to mention fenced it off, from the general public anyway, not photographers :), I manged to use the huge rocks which had been dug up as part of my foreground for the image, its without doubt one of my favourites, finally I have my Busselton Jetty sunset shot, amazing colours, some wispy clouds and silky smooth water.
That wrapped up the fun part of the trip, the Rally began the next day for the next 3 days, check back next week for a post rally entry.
Yet again Western Australia delivered, WA is now on my list along with Scotland, Iceland, Peru and the Andes where I want to come back for an extended period to explore.
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