Kilcunda Ocean Beach

A visit to Kilcunda on a field trip with our local photography group initially posed a few challenges weather wise. Overcast conditions and a few light showers passing through the region made one have to think at first as to how to approach the venture. Kilcunda is a seaside town located 117 kilometres south east of Melbourne between Phillip Island and Wonthaggi on the Bass Highway, in the Bass Coast Shire of Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. On previous visits I have only ever seen the area bathed in clear blue skies with white capped waves rolling off the gorgeous blue ocean. Today was a little different – dull and cloudy with a chilly wind. So what to do. I wandered around for quite a while looking at familiar subjects and trying to become inspired. It wasn’t until I actually picked up the camera and held it in my hand that ideas started to come together. It must be the magical powers of the SLR. Starting with the old trestle bridge that spans the Bourne Creek the problem was the wind whipping up ripples on the water that spoilt the reflections. Ok so some long exposures were needed to flatten out the water. Surprisingly the results were rather pleasing.

Trestle Bridge at Bourne Creek

Trestle Bridge at Bourne Creek

_GNE6065 _GNE6053 V3 BLOG With the low tide many of the rocks were more exposed than I had seen them before. This gave the opportunity to venture out a litter further than normal and once again some long exposures were the theme. _GNE6070 _GNE6092 DPI Blu _GNE6086 DPI Blu Well that took care of a couple of hours of the day, provided some exercise and fresh air in the lungs so all in all it turned out a rather successful venture. A quick visit to nearby Shelley Beach and a hearty lunch topped off the day. _GNE6096


The amazing rock formations here are very different from the ones near the creek and would easily warrant another visit just for them alone. Yes there’s always another day and another reason to come back.

Having a Ball With Your Camera

Following on from my recent article on sunstars here’s another way of adding something different to your portfolio.

Firstly I might add that its a little quirky and may not win favour with the competition judges, but hey, who are you trying to please when you put your camera to your eye.

For me this is a little project that I’ve commenced and the end product will be in the form of a book when I have sufficient material. Ok so what’s he on about I hear you saying !

What I’m on about is Crystal Ball Photography

Using a pure clear crystal ball to capture the whole image as a miniature world has a fascination for me and I wish I had started earlier. I can now imagine how some of the iconic views of places like Monument Valley would have looked had I discovered my passion a couple of years ago rather than a couple of months ago. Anyway the project has begun and the ideas are as clear as crystal in my mind as to what I want to achieve.


Here’s a shot of the set up that I use. Having the ball sitting on a tripod gives me flexibility to move around freely with the camera in order to compose the image just the way I want it.

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As you can see the distance you set yourself up from the ball will be determined by the focal length of your lens and the minimum focus distance it is capable of going down to. A lens with a macro focussing  feature will give you the ability to get much closer to the ball of course.


What I do is to set the focus manually to the minimum distance and then move myself closer until the image in the ball is perfectly sharp.

I have found shooting in aperture priority gives me ultimate control of depth of field. The aperture that you use will determine just how much detail you will have in the background according to the dof. I am still experimenting with that and trying to decide whether I want  sufficient detail to place the ball image into context with the background detail or whether a totally blurry background drives the viewer’s eye to the sharp image in the ball. I am thinking that it really depends on the image as some seem to work better either way.

Here’s what I mean about context.

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The view of the background while very blurred still resembles the scene to the extent that you can recognise the shapes of the bridge and city buildings. This gives the ball a floating effect, especially if you eliminate the stand in post capture editing.

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Here in this shot of the Polly Woodside I have purposly blurred out the busy background so the ship is the only really recognisable feature.

One piece of optical physics that you will quickly discover is that your image in the ball appears upside down. That’s when you need good friends with photoshop skills that can teach you how to rotate the ball in relation to the background. It looks much better than having buildings hanging upside down from the sky.

Another thing I have discovered is that for it to be an interesting image within the ball it must be an interesting scene to start with so look around for interesting subjects.


This image taken at Queenscliff was worthy of being photographed either way so a couple of “before the ball” shots are justified. Its all too easy to become so engrossed in what you are doing that you forget to lift your eyes and get the bigger picture as well.

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Going under the jetty was fascinating as the fish-eye effect really came into play in this shot in the confinement of the pylons.

Finally I discovered that sunsets work really well, with this shot taken on a warm summer evening at Half Moon Bay, Black Rock


That about wraps up this session on having fun with your camera. If you have any questions I’ll be happy to answer them of course.

Oh and one last tip. Don’t hold the ball in your hand on a sunny day unless you are good at juggling. I learnt very quickly that the concentrated sun’s rays will burn just like a magnifying glass.