Storm Damages Bayside Beaches

On June 24th, much of the Victorian coastline was battered by heavy winds and rain as an intense low pressure system passed our State.

The beaches along the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay particularly bore the brunt of the combination of high winds and the storm surge that saw huge waves crashing along the coast. Where I live in the City of Bayside we have some of the finest beaches and facilities on the bay and these too suffered the wrath of the elements.

At Black Rock we have a popular walking path along the promenade that was built during the depression years of the 1930’s. The retaining sea wall was constructed of bluestone blocks and capped with concrete slabs to prevent erosion to the cliffs by the sea. Shown below is the sea wall prior to the storm.

Sea Wall Built in the 1930's

Sea Wall Built in the 1930’s

Huge seas crashed against the wall for hours on end and as the backwash met the next incoming surge, massive amounts of water smashed over the wall and up as high as the road level. Capping stones and blocks of bluestone were tossed about by the force of the waves as if they were mere paperweights.

 

 

Huge waves break over the sea wall.

Huge waves break over the sea wall just south of the clock tower at Black Rock

The next day the full extent of the damage became apparent.

Rocks and debris litter the path

Rocks and debris litter the path

Opposite Third Street, Black Rock

Opposite Third Street, Black Rock

A little further north at Half Moon Bay more destruction was happening, this time it was the main jetty that was suffering the most damage. A landing at the end of the jetty broke away and launching ramp landings adjacent to the main jetty also broke up and washed up on to the nearby beach.

The landings before the storm

The landings before the storm

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The landing before the storm

After the storm

After the storm

Damaged lower landing

Damaged lower landing

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Jetty landings lay on the beach in large sections

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Not even the recycling bins escaped being washed away

The remains of the jetty landings

The remains of the jetty landings

Half Moon Bay was a sight to be seen during the day with the main car park awash.  Waves were crashing over the rocks and water was flowing across the bitumen and out the other end near the main jetty. Rocks and debris littered the area.

View from the Half Moon Bay Lifesaving Club

View from the Half Moon Bay Lifesaving Club

Looking south from the car park Half Moon Bay, Black Rock

Looking south from the car park Half Moon Bay, Black Rock

Debris litters the car park as more storm clouds gather

Debris litters the car park as more storm clouds gather

The main jetty entrance  and HMVS Cerberus display gets a bath

The main jetty entrance and HMVS Cerberus display gets a bath

Meanwhile further down the line at Rickett’s Point, damage was occurring to the shoreline in the Marine Park. Much of the recently planted vegetation was being destroyed by the pounding waves, much to the despair of the locals involved in the recent restoration project. A massive clean up will be needed to restore the area to its former state once the weather improves.

Rickett's Point Marine Park carpark.

Rickett’s Point Marine Park carpark.

Water inundates the roadway.

Water inundates the roadway.

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The picnic table is now living on the edge

This is not the first big storm to hit the area, I have photographed similar events in 2009 and 2012, but neither were as damaging as this one. There is a history of such events, many dating back to the early 1900’s. Records indicate that 1936 was a bad year and many bayside structures were either destroyed or severely damaged.

We can be sure it won’t be the last either.

Cosmopolitan Chapel Street

Just a few kilometres from the centre of Melbourne lies Chapel Street Prahran, a rather vibrant, cosmopolitan shopping precinct.

Here are some images from a recent visit to the strip to capture some of the colourful life of the area. From old buildings constructed in the mid 1800’s, to fashion boutiques and coffee shops, the area has a bit of everything to offer the visitor, especially one with a camera to their eye.

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Aurorae, Icebergs and Daffodils

From an article written for the Southern Suburbs Photographic Society Newsletter by Greg & Val Earl

Jokulsarlon Icebergs - Greg Earl

Jokulsarlon Icebergs – Greg Earl

In mid February with temperatures nudging 40 degrees in the peak of the Australian summer, we packed our bags with thermals and goose down jackets in what promised to be the trip of a lifetime.

We joined eight other keen photographers led by Ian Rolfe and Ewen Bell on an adventure into the Arctic Circle, embracing the Lofoten Islands in the north of Norway for a Photography Masterclass on the Northern Lights. After ten days in Norway our plan was to fly to Iceland for another ten day Photographic Expedition into the winter wonderland of this volcanic island. The final leg of our journey was to stop over in England to thaw out slowly for a week, before returning home.

On arrival in Oslo we had the following day free to explore this vibrant city before an internal flight north to Svolvaer.  Oslo proved to be fascinating and the day was well spent with cameras in hand. It was school holidays and many children were skating on the pond in the city square – something we found unique. We had plenty of PJ images during the day and a venture into the streets after dark for some night shots of the city as well. We chose to use our smaller Olympus OMD EM1 cameras for the city shots leaving the heavier Nikons for the serious landscape work that was ahead of us. This proved to be a good move both for being less conspicuous as well as comfort.  We did notice that the Olympus is rather heavy on batteries with both of us doing a replacement with the spares within a few minutes of each other. Mind you that was after about five hours of constant use.

A short internal flight took us from Oslo to Harstad airport in the north for the start of the Lofoten workshop.

The two hour drive from the airport to our accommodation in Svolvaer was punctuated with stops along the way to photograph the magnificent snow covered mountains and fjords.

We were amazed at how we hopped from island to island via a system of tunnels and bridges as we moved through the area. Certainly an engineering feat that makes our road tunnels appear rather insignificant.

Lofoten Fjord Sunset - Greg Earl

Lofoten Fjord Sunset – Greg Earl

After dinner on our first night in Lofoten we checked the sky in the hope of seeing some aurora activity and much to our surprise it was happening. Without any further delay and some prior instruction from Ewen, we were into it with great enthusiasm. We learnt that shooting at ISO 3200 was the way to go and 30-second exposures were considered quite normal. I think it was at that time I caught the disease. Ewen and Ian labeled me with an acute case of “Auroratism”. There wasn’t a night after that that I didn’t check the sky on multiple occasions at one, two or three in the morning, knocking on our leaders doors at the slightest hint of colour in the sky.

We were also alerted to the latest predictions from NASA, Space Weather Live and other agencies, as well as receiving updates every few minutes to Ewen’s phone from nearby observation stations in Sweden and further north into the Arctic Circle.

Lofoten Norway Aurora - Greg Earl

Lofoten Norway Aurora – Greg Earl

Aurora Over Henningsvaer  - Val Earl

Aurora Over Henningsvaer – Val Earl

Over the coming nights we managed to capture auorae on five occasions. Two of those nights were stunning performances with skies filled with activity that were almost scary they were so good. It was hard to know where to point the camera next in order to capture it. According to Ewen, out of his twenty-five or so experiences shooting the northern lights, these two nights were the best he’d ever seen. We were just so lucky and will never forget the experience.

Photography during the day was equally as exciting with snow covered fishing villages and majestic mountains leading right down to the sea. Our local Norwegian guide Sandro, led us to many interesting locations that the general tourist wouldn’t otherwise see and his wealth of knowledge was a huge bonus.

Henningsvaer Harbour - Val Earl

Henningsvaer Harbour – Val Earl

 

Fishing Shack, Norway - Val Earl

Fishing Shack, Norway – Val Earl

Our meals were magnificent (if you like fish) and lunch was often fish soup and freshly baked crusty bread. The lunches fitted the theme well as during the day we invariably passed vast arrays of drying racks stacked with cod. More cod than you could poke a stick (or lens) at. I must admit both of us were reluctant to accept the offerings of whale meat or cod tongues when they were on the menu.   Our last few days in Norway after the workshop were spent in the city of Bergen and that too was fascinating and packed with heaps of photography. The entire group opted to do a day tour titled Norway in a Nutshell where we travelled into the mountains by train, bus and sea. This was a great way to see another aspect of this magnificent country.

Bergen Waterfront By Night - Greg Earl

Bergen Waterfront By Night – Greg Earl

 

Bergen By Night - Greg Earl

Bergen By Night – Greg Earl

We left Norway behind and flew to Iceland for part two of our journey.

Crossing The Coast, Iceland - Greg Earl

Crossing The Coast, Iceland – Greg Earl

This part was called a Photographic Expedition and was as much a discovery tour as anything else. Neither Ewen nor Ian had been there before so we really didn’t know a great deal of what to expect other than what they had researched beforehand. Loaded with heaps of anticipation and plenty of memory cards, little did we know that we were going to be in for such a treat.

Once again we had a local guide, Dui, a professional photographer and cinematographer, with loads of experience working for local TV networks. Iceland is very different to Norway and is one huge volcanic island dotted with glaciers and lava flows. The weather here was much more volatile and likely to change three or four times in the day.Our clothing kept us as warm as toast, thermals, snow boots, waterproof pants and coats in various layers. Cramp-ons (spiky attachments for our boots) were a must in order to manage on the slippery ice, which was virtually everywhere. The temperatures most days varied between -4 and +6 degrees and anything above +2 really felt on the warm side.

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Photo by Ian Rolfe

The highlights of Iceland would have to be the glaciers, waterfalls and the black beach littered with glacial icebergs, and the odd aurora thrown in to top it off.

Jokulsarlon Beach Littered With Icebergs - Greg Earl

Jokulsarlon Beach Littered With Icebergs – Greg Earl

Snow and Ice Everywhere - Val Earl

Snow and Ice Everywhere – Val Earl

 

 

Greg Getting The Shot - Photo by Ian Rolfe

Greg Getting The Shot – Photo by Ian Rolfe

A most wonderful trip and workshop, certainly the best we have been on. I’m sure the others in our group would agree. Ian and Ewan are planning to revisit both Norway and Iceland in 2016 and we have already placed our names on the list.

Some of Our Group - by Ian Rolfe

Some of Our Group – by Ian Rolfe

 

Our last leg of our trip was spent in England with a few days in London and the rest of our time in Dorset. We were warned that London would be cold, grey skies and rather dreary. How wrong was that. We were met with blue skies, 16 degree days and hosts of golden daffodils in the parks and gardens.

Daffodils everywhere - Greg Earl

Daffodils everywhere – Greg Earl

London - Greg Earl

London – Greg Earl

 

St. James's Park, London - Greg Earl

St. James’s Park, London – Greg Earl

Having done the obligatory icons and Monopoly board locations in London we bussed down to Dorset and met up with Ian again who was there visiting family. The next few days were simply magnificent with the lovely little coastal villages, thatched roof cottages and more daffodils.

Typical Dorset Village - Greg Earl

Typical Dorset Village – Greg Earl

Locals Walking Their Dog - Val Earl

Locals Walking Their Dog – Val Earl

A highlight was the early sunrise shoot at Corfe castle and the return after breakfast to explore the historic village. What Ian doesn’t know about British history probably hasn’t been written.

Corfe Castle Ruins - Greg Earl

Corfe Castle Ruins – Greg Earl

 

Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast - Greg Earl

Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast – Greg Earl

 

Well this is just a brief summary of our marvellous photographic adventure to the other side of the world. A trip that we will never forget for the truly magnificent scenery and for these little Aussie turkeys an experience of how life is in the lands of snow and ice.

 

 

Welcome to My Blog

I welcome you to my new Blog. I trust that you will enjoy my passion for photography and the interesting stories that will accompany my images from time to time. I am fortunate to share this passion with my dear wife of over 44 years, who is also an accomplished photographer in her own right.

We both love to travel and enjoy the pleasure of the company of the many friends that we have made through our involvement with our  photography and through our association with our local camera club and the U3A photography group to which we also belong.

Sometimes my posts will be of an educational nature but mostly they will be about our fabulous journeys to far off places with our valued friend and colleague Ian Rolfe, to whom we owe so much for the wonderful experiences we have had on his photographic tours.

Please feel free to join me by clicking on the “Follow Me” button to enjoy the journey that this new venture of Blogging will take us.

To view more galleries of images please feel free visit my web site at http://www.gregearlphotography.com.au