Another Spectacular Weather Event

Weather and photography, what a great combination of interests to have on a day when you can bring the two together. Today was just one of those days. Ok, so I am totally aware of all things Meteorological, with a lifetime interest in the weather and having spent several years employed by the BOM, initially trained as a weather observer. Then add to the mix a passion for photography and hey, I’m in my element on a day like this. This is how I enjoyed the afternoon and the event that unfolded.

With strong northerly winds for most of the day, the temperature reaches a pleasant 20 degrees, one of the warmest days for many weeks. Blue skies start to be invaded from the west early in the afternoon as a strong cold front approaches Melbourne. A check on the weather radar shows that it has passed through the western coastal parts of the state and temperatures there have fallen to around 9 degrees.

A sharp line of rain associated with the squall line appears to be rapidly heading towards the city and the advancing front is likely to create a spectacular view across Port Phillip Bay. So that means just one thing, time to grab the camera and head for the beach at Black Rock (where I grew up) for the best vantage point.


Blue skies start to turn grey

Blue skies start to turn grey in the north-west

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The front progressively advances towards Melbourne

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The sky darkens and the temperature begins to fall


The light starts to fail as the cloud advances. Still the strong northerly winds continue to buffet the coast and holding the camera steady becomes even more difficult in the conditions. Fortunately the direction of the wind is such that the local promenade and bluestone retaining wall escape damage on this occasion. The storm that struck the area more recently heralded damaging winds from the west and some of the temporary orange fencing closing off the area to the public can be seen in the image below.

and from the south-west

The view from the south-west

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One local resident takes a stroll oblivious to the weather event

Roll cloud associated with storm front

Roll cloud associated with storm front gets darker and darker

As the front passes through the chill of the fresh south-westerly wind can be felt and the temperature rapidly drops by about 10 degrees, heavy rain begins to fall so its time to put the camera away and head for home. Another spectacular performance by Mother Nature. Other than one or two curious onlookers most people missed the show that was there for all to see. But of course they will be turning on the TV to see the evening news unaware that they could have watched it in person and the tickets were free.

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A distinct flat base forms as the dark line of the wind squall begins to appear on the horizon

Panorama view of the storm front

180 degree panoramic view of the storm front









The Lights of Melbourne

As a part of the photography course I am running for our local camera club, I along with my team of helpers, took the group on a night shoot along the Yarra River. After a month of unusually cold and wet weather we were fortunate to have one of the mildest nights for a while. The temperature was around 13 degrees but best of all, there was no wind chill.

Arriving at Southbank and meeting up at 6.00 pm, we were early enough to catch the last of the lovely blue light that lingers for a while after sunset. With the city buildings still fully illuminated as the office workers headed home at the end of the day, the group were keen to capture the spectacle that lay before them.

Many arrived early and prepared themselves with the instructions issued the week prior and were already capturing the views from the Princes Bridge when I arrived. It was most rewarding to see how they were all getting spectacular results with little assistance. What does one do when toting a new camera purchased less than a week prior – join them of course.

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The first chance to put the Nikon D810 to the test and grab a couple of quick images while the twilight lasted was well rewarded. The lovely light gave the city buildings nice relief against the darkening sky with just the hint of light cloud to add to the interest. The new camera performed even better than I anticipated.

Once the best of the light was gone and everyone had their shots, we arranged the large group of twenty into smaller groups, each with an experienced leader from our training team. From the bridge, we worked our way along the river at various levels capturing the spectacle along the way. Everyone was getting great images with the groups putting into practice what we had taught in the class room over the previous month. Focussing, exposure compensation and managing to master a tripod for the first time raised some small challenges for various individuals at first but by the end of the night everyone had mastered the tasks and learnt a lot from the exercise.

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For me, it was a most rewarding experience. To see the group so totally consumed and enjoying what they were doing was wonderful. My assistants, Bob, Peter, John and my wife Val had an equally enjoyable time helping their group members and explaining various aspects of how to shoot the locations. They were also equally rewarded with the satisfaction of seeing the students capturing night-time images, in many cases, for the first time ever.

The night wrapped up with a hot coffee and a chat in one of the local Southbank establishments before we made our way home. The question was put to me “When can we do this again” which I think tells a story in itself.