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.


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