Sydney > Melbourne

I was sitting around at work, bored out of my mind, when I realised I hadn't planned anything exciting for my days off. Tuesday-Friday were almost completely free, and I was feeling particularly inspired to shoot, so I decided to see what trips were available to me. A quick check of the Jucy website revealed that a campervan relocation from Sydney > Melbourne was available, and after a bit of fussing over dates and times for flights, I was booked on a flight out of Melbourne for Wednesday morning!


Mona Vale


The Shoot

I had half of Wednesday, all of Thursday and another half of Friday to drive the 1000 or so kilometers between the two capitals, but due to some foolish late-night eSports viewing and the subsequent struggle to get to sleep, I was completely exhausted by the time I actually picked up my vehicle. Rather than making a trip to Newcastle as originally planned, I pulled up at Mona Vale to shoot a fairly famous rock pool for my first sunset location.

After an initial shoot that yielded garbage results compared to what I eventually got at sunset, I had quick nap and struggled to rise again for the golden hour that had snuck up on me. Thankfully I managed to get back down to the beach, and gather up the courage to fly my drone out over water, which never ceases to terrify me. I got some of my favourite shots of the trip here, and can say with certainty that I've acquired a taste for shooting these unique rock pools - get ready for a lot more aerial shots over the coming spring/summer.

What I learned  

As with any drone shoot, a little courage goes a long way. I'm always pretty terrified of flying out over water, but really there's nothing different about flying over water compared to land. Sure your drone will be unrecoverable, that's what insurance is for, right?

Something I've had to fight against throughout my landscape work is the urge to only shoot at sunrise or sunset. It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that you'll only get good shots during the golden hour or a particularly amazing sunrise/set. I'm probably going to have to learn this lesson all over again since the shots I got early in the afternoon were completely useless compared to those I got during the Golden Hour. 

I also learned you shouldn't stay up until 4am watching an eSports stream the morning before the start of a road trip, even if PUBG is life.



Sea Cliff Bridge

The Shoot

Following the Mona Vale shoot, I drove south to prepare for the upcoming sunrise. Predictably, I wasted more time by stopping at a McDonalds on the outskirts of Sydney to charge my numerous camera batteries, particularly for the drone. I chilled out for far too long before hitting the road again, and subsequently got roughly five hours of sleep before getting up for sunrise.

After hiking up the steep and bushy track to the lookout, imagining a murderer behind every tree, I set to work scouting the best locations that wouldn't result in me tumbling to my death between the titular Sea and Cliff. 

The sunrise itself wasn't much to write home about, but fortunately the golden hour was absolutely spectacular, and a group of backpackers even turned up around daybreak to add some interest to my shots - the serenity of the scene depicted in the above image was slightly undercut by the guy in the foreground spitting into the dirt repeatedly, but hey, reality vs. instagram right?

What I learned

Don't get caught in the trap of shooting the scene the way you imagined in your head. While I began the morning shooting with my tripod and ND filters, as the golden hour began I switched to shooting handheld with a 23mm and 56mm, moving around the scene and shooting a dozen different compositions. These ended up being my favourite shots of the trip, and if I'd just stuck to trying to get the perfect shot of my original composition, I'd have come away with one fairly straightforward shot of an admittedly dull sunrise. 

Take advantage of unexpected changes in the scenery. As soon as the backpackers arrived I did my best to incorporate them into the shots I was taking. While I only ended up with a few shots, the one I've chosen to share here was one of my favourite images from the shoot.

Unfortunately I did not learn why people still feel the need to spit on the ground like grubs.


Jucy Campers

Check it out, here's an accounting of my recent trip to Melbourne.

Check it out, here's an accounting of my recent trip to Melbourne.

Check it out, here's an accounting of my recent trip to Melbourne.

Phil KittComment