Travel Photography Guide to Australia – Hobart: Where History and Nature Meet

Tasmania is Australia’s smallest state and is a great travel destination featuring many outstanding photography locations. Nowhere else in Australia offers such a rewarding variety of scenic landscapes in such a compact and convenient to visit area as the island state of Tasmania. From the beautiful blue seas and calm, inviting beaches on the east coast; rugged mountains and dark, mesmerizing rainforest of the west; and the historic buildings and towns which dot the countryside, there are many rich rewards awaiting the traveling photographer.

The island is compact enough that you need not drive more than around two hours before encountering a new and rewarding destination to explore, meaning that your time in Tasmania does not need to be taken up with hours and hours in your car. You will no doubt start your trip at one of the major cities – Hobart or Launceston (accessed by air), or Devonport (most commonly accessed by sea, onboard the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne). Below I’ll introduce you to some locations to include in your visit to the capital city, Hobart.

Hobart is the largest city of Tasmania, and home to many historic buildings dating from Tasmania’s colonial history. Most of the buildings you see are made from sandstone, and the softness of this stone has allowed intricate detail to be carved into the building blocks. Take a walk around the city centre, the waterfront (including Hunter St — great coffee, galleries and restaurants) and Salamanca (where Australia’s largest outdoor market is held every Saturday from 8:00am to 3:00pm). The beautiful streetscapes of Battery Point feature quaint coffee shops and bakeries which also worthy of some time set aside in your travel photography itinerary. Photographing these old buildings when they are lit up at night gives great atmospheric shots of a well preserved historic city centre. And best of all, all these areas are within a comfortable walking distance from the Waterfront hotels.

Arriving in Hobart you are greeted by Mt Wellington rising on the western horizon, with the River Derwent in front. The Tasman bridge links the eastern shore (where the Airport is located) to the western shore (where the CBD is). A drive up the mountain is a must, and takes approx 30 minutes from the city centre. Basically you follow Davey St up, up and up; and you will see the turn off to the top just before you reach the shop and tavern at Fern Tree.

On a clear day the views are magnificent, and the rugged mountain peaks of south west Tasmania spread out on one side, while the panoramic views over Hobart and the River Derwent are unforgettable. Be aware that the peak is 1270m above sea level, and it is safe to assume that the summit will be approx 10 degrees cooler than central Hobart. The winds can be fierce too, so if you are spending a few days in Hobart, then check the forecast before heading up. Being located a long way south, the temperature is quite cool compared to the Australian mainland.

For some interesting photographic rewards, try any of the following (and remember — even though you might be on holiday, sunrises and sunsets over Hobart can be incredibly rewarding, owing to the hilly landscape, waterways and rocky foreshores).

Bellerieve foreshore — great Hobart skyline and sunset/sunrise colour over Mt Wellington are best viewed from here. Stop in Bellerieve Village for dinner or a drink, then follow the road through town to the foreshore.

Mt Wellington — the views from the top are an obvious attraction on a clear day, but don’t despair if the mountain is covered in cloud on your only day in town. The alpine snow gums and dolerite boulder fields make excellent subjects for nature photos with their own beauty which is highlighted when the long distance views are impossible.

Great views of the Tasman Bridge can be found in Lindisfarne, if you turn left at your first opportunity after crossing the bridge, head down to the water, and turn left again. The bridge looms close here and is a great photo opportunity particularly when lit up at night.

Clifton Beach — slightly out of town, past Lauderdale, is this great surf beach covered in colourful shells and book-ended by dramatic sandstone sea cliffs. Faces east so is very suitable for photographing sunrises. Clifton Beach is approximately 30 minutes drive from central Hobart.

This is obviously just a taste of what to look for during your stay in Hobart, but it should be a good start towards you achieving some unique images of the well known scenic and historical photographic locations of Tasmania.

Fine Art Nature Photography – Experiment With Nature

Are you looking for some fresh ideas on fine art nature photography? It is rare to just point and shoot at nature without thought and a good photograph will come from it. Fine art nature photography requires some time and thought – only then can you get the results you had hoped for. The purpose of this article is to shed some light on the subject so that your portfolio can grow both in quantity and quality!

Some Technical Information

I am just going to touch briefly on the technical side – as fine art nature photography does need some special considerations. The first point that should be made is relevant to light exposure. You may have already realized that being outdoors taking photos of nature is quite the opposite to shooting something in a studio – you simply can’t control the light. When choosing a viewpoint, you should look at more than one option and mentally note the light exposure and the role of shadows.

If you have just purchased a brand spanking new camera then it is well worth your time to explore its functionality. Get to know your camera like it would be your best friend – and then it can never let you down (hopefully!) Practice so much that you can with manual focus and don’t be too quick to rely on the auto focus. The next lesson you need to take is in macro photography, learning the tricks of this function can take your nature photos to a whole new level! Imagine producing a fine image of a close-up flower in bloom or portraying any texture in more detail – it can be so captivating!

The Subject of Birds and Wildlife

In terms of shooting birds with the camera – the most important skill you can have is patience! Speak with any professional in the field of fine art nature photography and they will tell you that you have to research your subjects – especially if they like to move around a lot! We have all witnessed how birds can react quickly to their surroundings and are very likely to fly off should you disturb them (perhaps the only exception are pigeons!) Listen to those in the know and read up about the birds or other animals that you wish to take photos of. Discover their habits which will reveal the secrets as to how you can develop the perfect shot.

Take this knowledge and practice close to home – perhaps taking photos of your neighbor’s pet rabbit as it darts around its enclosure, or go to the local park and see what you can find for your practice sake. This will give you an idea as to how to follow animals and use your camera at the right moment – when you feel confident you can move on to your main interest. Another great place where you can practice is a zoo or animal refuge center.

The Subject of Trees and Flowers

Have you ever asked how you can get a more than average shot of a flower or tree? With fine art nature photography – the rules can be bent and you should learn to be open to experimentation. Through experimenting with nature you can capture your subjects so that the end result draws in an audience – prodding you for tips and advice (whether you reveal your secret is up to you!)

Try to play around with lighting and going out at different times in the day. Bokeh effects are another area that you can play around with, as is macro photography. Trees are an incredible subject and you can create various moods and atmospheres with simply photographing trees – eerie, majestic, luminescent etc. Trees can be a good start for the amateur photographer as their subject stays still.

I hope that the tips and advice have spurred something within you to get out and start experimenting with fine art nature photography today!

Learn Digital Photography – 6 Keys to Great Candid Photos

All of us like natural photos that capture the person without being posed. There is a time and place for portraits but we tend to favour candids because they are more natural. But, candids are more difficult to shoot because you don’t have any control over the situation. With a little effort and a few simple keys, you can achieve great candid photos.

It is a great idea to carry your camera with you more regularly. If you have a compact it helps. This will allow you to get the shot quick and easily with minimal interruption. We all remember the TV series called Candid Camera and the fun it generated. So, here’s how to enjoy your own candid camera.

1. Be prepared

The best way to take candid shots is to be prepared for anything. Have your camera set to automatic and make sure that you memory card isn’t full and you have a full battery.

2. Set the camera up

Always know what settings are pre-set on your camera. If you’re shooting on automatic it makes it easier and if you need to change to aperture or priority modes do so before your plan to shoot.

3. Blend in

Key to great candid shots is the ability to stay unobtrusive and blend in with your surroundings. If people don’t see you they won’t pose and give you those strange smiles and looks. If you have a telephoto zoom or a zoom on your compact use it to get some distance from your subjects.

4. Choose a vantage point

Find a good, out of the way position from which to shoot and get yourself comfortable. Wait for the opportunities to come to you. Pre-focus on certain areas so that when the person arrives there, you are ready and waiting to press the shutter button. People move around and eventually get into the position that you need. Group dynamics changes so bide your time and the photo opportunity will come to you.

5. Expect the unexpected

If you are prepared for any eventuality and are looking for shots that aren’t that frequent then when the opportunity arises, you are ready and waiting to press the shutter button. The photographer who is thinking outside the box will get the better shot. Candids happen but then are over in a moment so be quick and ready to take the photo even if the composition may not be perfect. Photoshop does wonderful things and is the perfect aide to the candid photographer.

6. Evaluate

Always evaluate the images you have taken and look to improving them. A simple adjustment to a setting may give you the one in a million shot.

By thinking ahead and anticipating your candid possibilities you will always be prepared for that fleeting moment in time. Candids are very rewarding as you never know what will result. I always look for moments in time that will make a memory worth saving. Candids are more real to life than posed portraits so experiment and try to get that one in a million shot. Happy Shooting!

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