- 5 Top Locations to Photograph in Western Australia
Western Australia is a photographer's dream. With landscapes and scenery so diverse you'll never run out of different scenes to capture, not to mention the Western Coast is a prime location for perfect sunset shots over the water. Here, Canon Photographer Steve Huddy shares his top local picks of where to shoot in WA.
Gracing the Swan River just outside the CBD, this beautiful boatshed has been in many a photograph and has has become an iconic location best captured at sunrise. Built in the 1930s it served as the base for an air squadron in World War II and later as the base for the Royal Perth Yacht Club. Since then it's been renovated and painted this striking blue colour and sits just south of Perth’s Kings Park and Botanic Garden – another highly recommended place for stunning early morning photo set-ups.
• Bring a sturdy tripod and watch for traffic on the cycle path as it can get busy, especially in the early morning. Shoot in manual with an aperture set between f/11-f/16, ISO set to 100, and your exposure times as long as 10-20 seconds.
Another amazing spot for sunrises within close walking distance from the Crawley Edge Boatshed is the foreshore at Matilda Bay. The usually calm and glassy waters are bristling with yachts and boats, perfectly backlit by the sun’s first rays in the morning. Fingers crossed you’ll get a beautiful pink and purple hued sunrise to photograph.
• The sturdy tripod you had for the Crawley Edge Boatshed will also come in handy here; any landscape exposure should be weighted for the brightest point. Choose your composition wisely and explore the foreshore to find strong subjects to be the hero of the image. There are many boats, little pontoons, and large gum trees that will help anchor your ideas (no pun intended).
This is the perfect location for photographers who want to capture arguably one of Australia’s prettiest skylines. Head down to the South Perth Esplanade, just south of the Perth CBD over the Swan River, and you’ll get an uninterrupted view of the city's exceptionally pretty nightscape.
• Bring a tripod with a remote release (if you don’t have one of these, your two second self-timer is the go), and set your camera’s white balance for daylight.
• From this location you get uninterrupted views so you may want to consider bringing a medium length telephoto lens and creating a panorama stitch.
About an hour south of Perth and only 20 minutes from Mandurah on the Peel Lakes is a very unique landscape called the Thrombolites. These amazing living structures are a microbialite (rock-like structure built by micro-organisms). They're over 2000 years old and this is the biggest concentration of them in the Southern Hemisphere. The Thrombolites give photographers an amazing foreground interest, especially at sunset. Please be considerate of the area and do not stray from the concrete and wooden jetty as these ancient structures are very delicate.
• Getting here at the right time of day is key, so check your sunset times and hopefully a few lazy clouds hover around for you too.
• Treat this like any sunset / landscape shoot and have your aperture set between f/11-f/16. Use your camera's light meter to gain a reading for the brightest point for best results.
• You might want to consider bringing a set of Neutral Density filters to slow your shutter-speeds down to smooth out that water and gain some movement out of the clouds. A soft graduated Neutral Density filter is a big advantage for sunset/sunrise images as well as general landscapes. This will balance your exposure by blocking the bright sky and allowing you to gain more detail in the darker foreground.
• If you get your timings right, a 5 minute drive away is a perfect astrophotography location called Island Point Reserve. If you're there on a clear night with no moon, it's the perfect place to capture the Milky Way.
Not too far a drive south of Perth and on the outer northern edge of Margaret River is a landscape photographers paradise with many locations that will reward the savvy shooter. Among the most iconic are:
Best captured at sunset with the sun peaking around and flaring off the side of the rock from the elevated viewing platform.
• When shooting Sugarloaf at sunset you may want to consider packing a high powered torch to help bring out that shadowy foreground detail so that it's not just a dark silhouette.
Slightly further south from Sugarloaf Rock are the Canal Rocks. You don't have to stray off the well marked boardwalk to get amazing shots, and I recommend you not too as the Indian Ocean can be pretty rough at times.
• Long exposures work very well here as you'll be able to smooth out the sometimes wild waters around the rocks, so a sturdy tripod is a must.
• If you have some Neutral Density Filters in your kit, this is the place to use them. A Neutral Density filter will block out light and will allow you to gain longer exposures (10-20 seconds) as seen in these images.
Bunker Bay at Shelly Beach
Tucked around the corner from Sugarloaf Rock is a secluded little bay called Shelly Beach. Many interesting rock formations and towering cliffs framed by the coarse shelly sand makes this a beautiful spot for sunrise.
• You'll have some amazing warm light here at sunrise which reflects off the red cliffs to the left of the beach. To get your sun to 'star-up', have your aperture set to its largest F number.
Photos by Canon Photographer, Steve Huddy
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