Tag: sunset

Malaita Point

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ABOUT: A varied lookout off cliff drive with a view across the Jamision Valley with the Three Sisters on the left, Mount Solitary in centre and Narrow Neck to the right, one of the few lookouts with this triptych. A few spots to explore. A nice rocky area with a bench at the top with nice foreground tree views, further down a railed area with good valley views, but my favourite is to skirt around the rail on the left out to a more exposed rock with clearer views. Great for all day views but comes alive at sunset more than sunrise as the three cliff features light up red.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A very high top part to these falls which means some distortion with ultra wide angle lenses. You could consider doing a vertical panorama stitch, meaning take landscape format images going up in stages and stitching them later, and adjusting the keystone effect. But a 16mm portrait format will capture them from head to toe, so to speak. It can get splashy here so a cloth before every shot worthwhile and of course a tripod for smoothe 1/5s to 3s shutters.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Simply follow Cliff Drive after you pass the Scenic World main entrance – after 100m you will pass Eagle Hawk lookout and on the next bend park on the big clearing on the right and walk through the gap in the barrier on the left out to the viewpoint – only 60m or so. The marker below takes you to Eagle Hawk LO first.


Centennial Glen – Grade 3

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ABOUT: Centennial Glen is a deep gorge just on the western side of Blackheath. Above the actual gorge area is great for sunset shots out into the Megalong & Kanimbla Valley with a fantastic vertical cliffs each side. Descending into the gorge area is quite quick and there are some great cascades over orange rocks to the left (as you get to the main path) or if you don’t mind a bit of scrambling a lovely vertical drop waterfall (to the right) which is quite unique (you do need to take some waterproofs and suggest going with another person particularly in wet weather here. For sunsets up top there is a 10ft boulder on the path (just before it descends to the right) which I always climb up, on the left side, to get a good vantage into the open valley below.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: An ultra wide lens is recommended down in the gorge to capture the tight structures but on top at sunset a 24-35mm is OK, particularly to do panoramas across the scene. Of course a tripod for waterfalls and dark sunset blends, and a polarizer for the cascades to reduce reflections.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at the end of Centennial Glen Rd as marked below and follow the trail downhill (it is marked with a map and times), not the route through the steel gate. It only takes about 20 mins to get to the lower part of the gorge where it gets quite tricky to continue down to Porters Pass areas, and only about 10 mins to the sunset spots at the top (best ones are after going around……


Sunset Rock – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: One of the most visited lookouts on the western escarpment of Mount Victoria. A variety of rocky outcrops give a lot of variation looking down onto a cul de sac of the Kanimbla Valley and Victoria Pass on the right. It provides a great foreground when the sky is interesting throughout the day, but best in Golden hours. There are a few spots apart from the first rock platforms, a couple lower down and below the main rocks is a nice ledge and overhang.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A tripod and ultra to wide angle lenses area ideal plus a moderate graduated neutral density for the sky.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park on the open ground where Beaufort Av meets Grand View (there are no easy spots to park at the end of Beaufort). Walk down to end of Beaufort and take the obvious walking path to the left when you meet a private house gate. The rocks are only 2 minutes further on down a dirt trail followed by a short rocky bend.


A Landscape Photographers Guide to Australia’s Blue Mountains

Introduction

Inspired by other guides for photographers in well known areas of the world (eg: Colby Brown’s Yosemite) I thought I would put together a page / few screens that (a) demystifies the Blue Mountains for visiting photographers and (b) acts as a nice upfront, illustrated walkthrough to my more detailed location-by-location guide on this site. This ‘hotspot’ photo location list also details best gear to bring and best times etc:). The general tourist or hiking sites tend to not consider the ‘photogenic’ aspects of the mountains, even though many come for that, so this site is also a response to that.

For now though a broad sweep introduction to photographing Australia’s Blue Mountains – All text and images © Gary P Hayes 2017.

Print or Tablet friendly downloadable PDF version 1.8MB A Landscape Photographers Guide to Visiting the Blue Mountains, Australia

 


Rigby Hill – Sunset Grade 3

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ABOUT: A great high spot on the northern edge of, and above the Grose Valley. Almost directly across from Perry’s Lookdown, and a few hundred meters from Walls Lookout. This offers views east and west and you can walk (be careful) down each side of the hill vs staying just at the top. Several sheer drop offs offer their own vistas too and it is best at sunset when the sky lights up on the right/centre depending on the time of year.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: For sunsets a grad ND and tripod essential along with a mix of ultra and medium wide angle lenses. The view left into the Evans/Govetts part of the Grose is good with a medium telephoto, perhaps 85mm or so.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: After you turn off Bells Line of Road at the Walls/Pierces pass car park, keep on the dirt road track until the lower car park, 2 minutes further. Park and take the left walk marked to Rigby Hill, approx: 25 minutes up and 15 back.


Lithgow Blast Furnace Ruins – Grade 1

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ABOUT: A series of buildings very close to Lithgow town centre which are very popular with local photographers. There are quite a few emotive compositions available and as it is an exposed site the light changes dramatically. Sunset is best as the sky and back lighting is particularly good, but night and sunrise also possibles. The challenge is to try to take it from an original perspective, but worth 30-40 minutes if you are passing Lithgow.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Works best with lots of sky in shot, so consider an ultra wide with a tripod to blur the moving clouds. A 24mm is best for good upward looking shots and think about straigtening the verticals in post processing. A good grad for the sky and at night think about torches to light up long exposures.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: An easy access large car park, as per google location Blast Furnace Park, below.


Mount Hay – Sunset Grade 3

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ABOUT: Although a good 35 minutes drive down a 4WD track and then a 30 min walk Mount Hay offers a lot of photographic opportunities. The views east into the Grose Valley and river during late afternoon and sunset are second to none and the views north and south over some amazing crags are well worth exploring. If you are confident wait until last light as the path is reasonable to follow in dim light.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A neutral density graduated filter is critical as the skies are bright and the land often in mixed shadows, and an ultra wide at least 20mm to capture some amazing vistas. Panoramas are also well worth considering using 35-50mm and bring a headlamp torch if you are staying late.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Drive down to the very end of Mount Hay road, and park in the left upper car park. Follow the trail and take the right fork which you can easily see goes over to Mount Hay on the right of the car park. Follow the track up into the top crags for great views back down over the valleys. Not worth going to the top as it is forested.


Protected: Butterbox Point Above Canyon – Sunset Grade 3

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.


Capturing the Timelessness of Mungo Lake

Firstly excuses for not posting more often, I suppose the ‘doing’ often takes precedent over the talking or teaching about. For this post I thought I would cover more about the pre-planning or visualisation and then at the other end of the spectrum, thinking on your feet when on a ‘time limited’ shoot. Firstly though to set the scene, one of my shots from Mungo National Park a few weeks ago using my trusty Canon 5D3 and even trustier 17mm TSE lens.


Kanangra Walls & NP – Grade 3

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ABOUT: Kanangra Boyd National Park is a surprising area of wilderness not far from the main valleys of the Blue Mountains but only accessible by a long loop drive via Jenolan Caves, or a few days walk across the valleys. It contains the deepest gorges, most unique geology and is much less frequented by photographers, for examples my images from 1st trip already top of Flickr in terms of interest. There are a few designated trails around the Kanangra Walls which can be explored in a couple of hours or you can spend a full day on the plateau or deep in the gorges with endless photo ops. The rest of Kanangra Boyd park within easy access around the 30km dirt track (Kanangra Rd) contains a lot of wildlife, forested sunlight and in wet periods some river photo opps, but most photo interest is around the gorges at the lookout.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Bring a full range of kit and moderate wides through to medium telephoto with tripods and graduate neutral density filters for the golden hours, very important. Because of the likelihood of extended walking suggest a medium sized camera bag and lightweight but solid tripod. The main lookout has a limited angle of view and appears on many photos, consider trying a different viewpoint, perhaps fisheye or a more vertical stitch, after you have your generic shots!

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: To get onto Kanangra Rd dirt track, drive towards and past Jenolan Caves or pick up the Edith Rd from Oberon and follow the signs. The google map ref is the actual lookout, and the last 30km dirt track drive is doable by most good suspension cars,……


Glen Davis Road, Capertee – Sunset Grade 1

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ABOUT: Glen Davis road is one of the hidden delights of the Greater Blue Mountains. It is a 35km stretch between Capertee on the main highway and Glen Davis at the entrance to the Wollemi National Park. There are a variety of types of shots along it’s length from monolithic peaks, green glens, rolling farms and big open ‘wild west’ style valleys. The right turn (Glen Alice Rd) before you get to the village is even more picturesque too.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Bring a full range of kit and moderate wides through to medium telephoto with tripods for the golden hours very important.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Start at Capertee and the road gets very interesting after about 15km when it opens up into the widest part of the world’s widest canyon.


Glen Davis, Capertee – Sunset Grade 1

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ABOUT: Glen Davis is a tiny hamlet at the end of the Capertee Valley and at one of the main entrances to the Wollemi National Park. Although it is residential primarily it has a few quirky old buildings and side roads with abandoned buildings for foreground with the imposing cliffs in the background.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Best at sunset when the cliffs are warm and juxtaposed against the green foregrounds. Bring a tripod and ultra wides to capture the scale of the village and backgrounds. A grad filter to balance dark parts of the village with bright sunlit vistas

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Turn right at Capertee (if coming from Lithgow) and follow Glen Davis road for 35km and Glen Davis is at the end of the road. Some unsealed roads but OK for 2WD cars.


Boar’s Head LO 3 – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: Another less trodden view from these rocks, LO 3 has a fantastic framing foreground overlooking the Megalong Valley. This lookout is between Lookout 2 and Cahill’s on the map, and you have to walk past lookout 2 area first.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Tripod essential as the sun goes down directly opposite, so grads or bracket blends critical. A 16-35mm will give good coverage, but panorama stitching is tempting. A 100mm good for spotting Narrowneck or interesting shapes up and down the ridge.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at Cahill’s and walk north on Cliff Drive about 30m, look for the trail hidden (you need to look into the bush) in the hedge on the right. It’s a rather overgrown 1-2 walk out to the rocky edges. Lookout 3 is around further to the right, it requires you to push through a couple of small trees.


Panorama Drive LO – Grade 0

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ABOUT: For the ultimate in lazy, antithesis of landscape photography try this view from Panorama Drive, just around the corner from Echo Point. You can literally take this from your car window if you park at the right spot. Seriously though on very bad weather days it offers some comfort if you are looking for panoramic lightning storm or heavy winter mist type shots.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: You can bring your whole kit as you will be seconds from your car or shelter. But consider a stitched panorama using a normal lens and/or zoom into the distant ruined castle and background hills using a 100-400mm range. Tripod position on the pavement so bring one.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park on Panorama Drive which has meters between 9-5pm so consider outside these hours for unlimited lazy location photography!


Pearsons Lookout, Capertee Valley – Sunset Grade 0

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ABOUT: Capertee Valley is hailed as the world’s widest canyon and it is certainly full of photogenic potential. The Gardens of Stone National Park is nearby and overlaps and Wolgan Valley is just around the corner. Pearsons lookout is one of the highest overlooks of the whole ‘Canyon’ and offers good views of Pantoney’s Crown mid right of shot.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: As the world’s widest canyon, panoramics are best from here and late afternoon and sunset ideal, but sunrise will provide great sculptured lighting across the peaks. A super wide and medium lens for panoramic stitching.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: The lookout is as marked and a 30 second drive off the main highway up a short hill – only 2km from Capertee Village.

 


Hassan’s Walls – Grade 2

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ABOUT: Hassan’s Walls are the highest & one of the most flexible lookouts in the Blue Mountains. With amazing views East, West and South this really is all day photogenic (apart from completely blue sky and blazing sun!). The Golden Hours are recommended when the ‘walls’ turn a deep orange with the undulating green valleys complimenting them. Recently a rather ugly (photographically) walkway has been built on the near section of the walls, but photographers are encouraged to walk around that and move onto the old, stone walkways that take you to much better vantage points.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Ultra wides as the vistas are big and open. Moderate telephotos capture the distant hills back to Mount Victoria, the upper Blue Mountains escarpment and on to Lithgow. Grad filters and tripods again for the Golden hours and also consider some big stitched panoramas.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: The lookout is google marked below and you can get up to the top from the Lithgow side or from the Browns Gap Road which comes from Hartley. It takes only 8-10 minutes drive once you are on the uphill dirt track section and the car park at the top is next to the walls if bringing heavy tripods.

 


Du Faurs LO Mt Wilson – Sunset Grade 1

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ABOUT: Mount Wilson is a fascinating place for photography, particularly of the tree lined roads in the town – this lookout is just next to the village fire station. It provides wonderful views over the high wilderness back towards Bells Line of Rd and rocky outcrops to the left and right down into the Wollamgambe Canyon. The various foreground rocks are impressive and great for foreground as the sun sets directly opposite the lookout.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Moderate wide angles 24-35mm range and tripods with a good neutral density graduation filter kit most useful.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Drive towards Mount Wilson and at the fire station as you enter the village make a left turn, you can drive down to the actual lookout park or park at the top and walk down.

 

 


Pulpit Rock – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: This is an interesting outcrop overlooking the Mount Piddington & Mt Blackheath ridge on the left and out to Mitchells Ridge on the right with the Kanimbla Valley below. It provides a great foreground when the sky is interesting throughout the day, but best in Golden hours.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A tripod and ultra to wide angle lenses area ideal plus a moderate graduated neutral density for the sky. Mossy spray after rain!

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at the end of Kanimbla Valley Rd & the rock is about a 2 minute walk down a gentle slope. Plenty of viewpoints once up on the rock itself.

 


Mount Blackheath LO – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: Mount Blackheath is a climbers dream and offers good valley and foreground sunset possibilities for photographers. The lookouts are best on the left of the official railed platforms as you can get the mount’s ridge in shot with a distant view of Mount Piddington and the Blackheath plateau in the distance. The gentle slopes of the Kanimbla below work great at first or last light.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Sturdy tripod, a ultra 14-17mm wide lens to get the widest vista recommended but also a medium telephoto for trees and other detailed shallow focus foreground. A grad kit essential

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Follow Mount Blackheath Road to the end, it feels like a long 30 min drive from Blackheath as it doubles back on itself. The car parking is obvious at the end. Walk to lookout/s about 2-4 mins.


Shipley Kanimbla View – Sunset Grade 1

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ABOUT: Sometimes it is nice to get off the edges and down into the valleys. There are a lot of small roads that wind around the Kanimbla & Megalong with fantastic views up onto the cliff walls at sunrise and sunset. The Shipley road takes you down into farmland and there are a few lakes to use as reflective foreground but access to some may require permission.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: For stitching or dynamic shots a tripod of course but a wide 24mm range lens should cover most situations. A 4WD and small kit as the roads can be tricky in places.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: The photo here is at the Google map spot but the valley roads are there to be explored, but again beware of private land and ask permission in some areas.


Hat Hill LO – Sunset Grade 3

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ABOUT: Hat Hill is a small mound on the Blackheath to Perrys Lookdown fire road and provides unique views across the bushland into the Grose on the left and right. It is only a short walk to the top from the trail park and great at sunset which sets behind lighting up the undulating valleys below.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Good tripod and moderately wide lenses. Great stitched panoramas can be had from the top.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Drive down the Perrys Lockdown road, after it turns into a dirt track Hat Hill is about another 5-8 min drive.


Hargraves Lookout – Sunset Grade 1

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ABOUT: Hargraves Lookout is at the end of a long ridge that sits in the middle of the Kanimbla/Megalong Valleys. On the left are views to Medlow Bath and you can see the Hydro Majestic perched on the ridge, ahead you look towards Katoomba and on the right into the rural farms of the Kanimbla. A trail leads you right onto the tip of the ridge for some great foreground opps.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A mix of lenses but moderate wide best to capture some of the ridge your own and distance cliffs. A long lens for isolating interesting rocks and buildings to the left. The sun sets on your right and with clouds and a tripod you can capture some stunning big sky sets.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: It is a good 20-25 min drive from Blackheath (you turn off GWH across the train tracks) and well signposted after that.


Evans Lookout – Grade 1

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ABOUT: Evan’s Lookout is the second big lookout spot in the Blackheath area offering tremendous wide open views of the larger Grose Valley area. The upper viewpoint allows views down into the Grand Canyon entrance on the right while the lower left viewpoint allows you to get a better framing on the Grose River running out into the distance. Great sky shots can be had but tricky to find good foreground unless you jump over the steel railings on the left side of the area.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Super wides around 18-24mm are good plus some long telephotos 100-400mm range to isolated distant ridges. The sun rises right and sets behind so limited ‘sun’ ray options, but tripod essential anyhow.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Clearly signposted off the Great Western Highway and a big parking area with facilities. Walk to the edge only about 4 mins.


Landslide LO – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: Landslide Lookout itself does not give a great view of the vertical cliff face but on a small easy trail the left of the railed lookout there are some great natural viewpoints back to Narrow Neck,  around to the Three Sisters and Tableland and Mount Solitary in the distance – which are fantastic at sunset mists and sunrise. The railed small lookout is only 5 mins from the road but you can spend an hour or so on the outcrops off to the left if you are fit and careful.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A good selection of lenses on the ridges to the left of the lookout and tripod for dynamic light of course. Ultra wide shots on some of the gullies provides great foreground options but also a medium telephoto for valley shots is useful.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Landslide is a marked lookout on Cliff Drive with parking on the opposite side of the road. Walk down to the railed spot and then go through the gap on the left past the tree and walk out to the natural viewpoints, maximum you can go is 120 meters but lots of spots in between


Narrow Neck Plateau LO 1 – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: A majestic series of lookouts on the western side of Narrow Neck plateau that are ideal for a variety of amazing sunset shots. A steep view down into the more ‘farmed’ Megalong Valley and Kanimbla in the distance with Narrow Neck stretching to your left and Boars Head rocks area framing the right side. You can walk up to the right and along this unfenced ridge for even closer views of the Cliff Drive rock faces, but two or three lower lookouts at the bend in the fire track after the gate are fantastic for sunsets in themselves.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A good tripod and moderate wide plus some good telephotos for spotting distant mountains or interesting rock shapes on the right side – ideal is around 18mm for a good scene coverage.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park in the first obvious car park on the right as you come down Glenraphael Drive onto Narrow Neck – this is the one with a steel gate just past it on flat ground. Walk through the gate and downhill for about 3-4 minutes and two lookouts are visible through a slight tree canopy straight ahead before the trail bends sharp left.

Glen Raphael View, Blue Mountains


Flat Top LO Mount Hay – Grade 3

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ABOUT: Flat Top viewpoint is a great spot for high wilderness style shots. It looks towards Mount Hay, the ridges of the Grose and even down into the Hawkesbury in the far distance. It would be a great spot for night photography or wide open vista style shots showing expansive skies and wide open bush. There is a trig marker at the top too.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: An ultra wide for those big sky shots even semi fisheye 8-12 mm but a good long telephoto to compress long views of Mount Hay and also Mount Banks in the distance. Tripod for night or low light of course.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Keep following Mount Hay Rd until you pass the Pinnacles car park and continue around a ridge and you will see, as the road bends around to the right and on an open ridge, a small car spot on the left. The walk to the viewpoint is about 10 mins, marked on the opposite side to the car park. About 200m further down Mount Hay Rd is an interesting rock feature and ledge that the road precariously continues on, worth stopping and exploring here.


Mount Hay – Sunset Grade 4

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ABOUT: Can be combined with Butterbox Point walk but add an extra hour or so and make the decision where you want to be at sunset (can’t be in both places at once!). Provides great views into the Grose Valley and back to Butterbox Point area on the way up but views are not so good from the top where you enter the woods, so look for shots en route from the crags to the left on the way up. Best shots are of these crags at sunset when they glow orange.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Tripod essential for sunset and you really need to bring your whole kit as the valley views need ultra wide lenses but more than anywhere else good medium and long telephoto shots abound, so bring a 70-200 or 100-400 to spot those distant views.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Keep following Mount Hay Rd until the end, about 15km from the start of the unsealed section. Park in the so called picnic area, the road is quite rough in places, a low clearance car not recommended, 4WD only. Take into account walk back if doing sundown, torches are possible for the latter part coming back – but you can get down from Mt Hay crags in 20 mins back to the car park.

Not from Mount Hay but from above Butterbox Canyon – it is possible to do this pre sunrise and then get back up to Mt Hay crags.


Wentworth Falls Lake – Sunset Grade 1

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ABOUT: One of the few accessible lakes in the Blue Mountains which is actually a small dam’d reservoir. It is very popular with the locals, including me, for picnics or family walks and it is really a park atmosphere with very little of the rugged mountain feel elsewhere. There are a range of vantage points on the walk that goes about 60% around for sunrises or sunsets, but best as the sun sets on the road side of the lake taken from the more rugged side, but limited a little for foreground interest at sunrise.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: 16 – 35mm range is best to cover a wide expanse of lake and foreground. The far side of the lake has good foreground opps so make sure you walk across the dam and onto the boardwalk area. Tripod for sunset and lookout for duck foregrounds too. The left side of the lake is the only option for sunrise. Tripod for long exposure sunrises but lookout for ducks that can become blury elements!

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Lots of parking space opposite the lake on Sinclair Crescent.


Butterbox Cliffs, Mount Hay – Sunset Grade 3

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ABOUT: A wonderful walk out to a point overlooking the Grose Valley opposite Govett’s Leap on the other side. It also offers great views of valley walls and Mount Hay which you pass on the way down. There are some steep views and walks along 300m tall cliffs so be careful. Walk out to the far point for stunning views in all directions.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A longish walk and tricky terrain in places so travel light. A good wide angle, medium telephoto and gradual ND filters if there is no sky cover. Tripod essential for evening and sunrise shots.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Follow Mount Hay Road for the full 15km after it turns into a dirt track. This should take about 20-30 mins depending on 4WD capability. Near the end of the road it will fork into two, take the left one up a short hill to a large car park area. Follow the trail to the left and bear left vs right to Mount Hay at the junction. The butterbox area is behind and round the large mound, for great views take the right trail around this mound vs the left one.


Hornes Point – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: Hornes point is a photographers and climbers dream area. A high viewpoint over the Kanimbla Valley with the steep cliffs of Blackheath and Medlow on the left and views out to Victoria Pass on the right. The rocky unfenced platforms provide endless foreground options and there are also several sub lookouts below which have vegetation (as in above image). Sunset and sunrises here are highly worthwhile as the distant ridges of Mount Blackheath and beyond provide great backdrops.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A good solid 35mm landscape lens is most useful here as to try to cover everything with an ultra wide will produce bland ‘too much’ going on shots. Obviously the usual golden hour kit of tripod, grads & thinking about blending shots. Also as it is worth spending a lot of time here consider bringing a seat option, cushion or small chair, there really is a lot to shoot up here.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at the top of Mt Piddinton near the toilets or on the small loop road around it and pick up the signs to Hornes Point (see the park map below the Google one) – which is about a 20 min walk down a nice gradual fire trail. Hop onto the rocks at the end and consider going to the lower platforms where climbers don’t fear to tred!

 


Sublime Point – Grade 2

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ABOUT: A very easy to get to lookout which extends far into the Jamison Valley which means sunrise and sunsets are possibilities. The rising sun from the left lights up distant Mount Solitary and any mist in the valley, while the sun sets over narrowneck ridge and works great with fragmented cloud around. The lookout is fenced but quite large and some foreground exists including a couple of nice trees, but the walkway leading up to the main lookout offers much better sunset foreground. Also there are unfenced sections en-route too which have one of two great vantage points.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: As usual tripods are needed for the golden hour shots but on cloudy days you can handhold and take telephoto shots without issue. I can get very windy on this lookout so wear a few layers in winter months. Best lenses are wides naturally and 14mm to 24mm most useful range. Bring a telephoto for good cliff edge shots and mist in valley close-ups

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Very simply drive to the end of Sublime Point Road and park. The lookout is approx. 8 min walk down a gradual gradient and the last part is on fenced rocks.


Pantoney’s Crown, Capertee – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: Pantoney’s Crown is a remarkable mesa rising from the Capertee Valley (the worlds widest canyon). It is hard to get close to but can be viewed from various lookouts. My favourite is from Glen Davis road but Pearsons Lookout has a distant view. Sunset is best from various locations between  17-21km from Capertee on Glen Davis road and as the sun lights up the top section of this stunning rock. But there are a few farm tracks (mostly private) which will get you closer.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: For distant shots of Pantoney’s Crown from Glen Davis, a 200mm+ but a 85mm to keep some of the environment in shot. Tripod essential to keep image sharp here.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park along Glen Davis road on this map or a few km or so either side for personal taste. There are a few tracks which will get you closer but private land can be an issue.


Therabulat LO – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: Therabulat lookout is a small fenced ledge just to the south of North’s Lookout but provides a much clearer view down Nellie’s Glen with fantastic cliffs each side to frame the shot down toward the Megalong Valley.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A good tripod as the glen below will mostly be in shade at sunset and the sky a brilliant red/orange (if you are lucky). A 24mm can capture a good view but 16mm or 14mm is better, and consider vertical pan stitches too. A grad for the sky or do 2 or more shot blends is critical here.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at the small T-junction at the end of Stuarts Rd (without blocking the road). Walk to the left and you will see a sandy track going off into the bush on the right after 10m. Follow this for approx 10 minutes and as the trail starts to go downhill and at a bend to the right with a fallen tree, you will see an obvious trail going off to the left (the only one). Follow this for about 3 mins to the lookout.

 


Queen Victoria LO – Grade 2

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ABOUT: This lookout is much visited as it is near the start/end of the Valley of Waters and National Pass routes, but it is also one of the best enclosed valley views too, taking in Tableland on the left and part of Mount Solitary ahead. A small Govett’s Leap feel & with mist at sunrise & clouds at sunset can produce good shots.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A nice platform for tripods, and a small rail free area to the right. A 16mm gets full left to right coverage, but a 50mm panorama stitch works well. Also medium telephoto to shoot down the valley.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at the conservation hut and walk about 15 mins downhill, marked and easy to find.

Queen Victoria Lookout 2, Blue Mountains


Cahills Lookout – Grade 1

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ABOUT: A very accessible concrete lookout with the Megalong ahead and Narrowneck Ridge to the left. It has 3 levels and the lower left one is best for images with Narrowneck and the lower right one for images of the cliffs overlooking the valley. Great at sunset but good on overcast days too and even sunrises if good broken cloud about.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Ultra wide lenses or wide and be prepared to stitch images for big panoramas. A long lens to spot interesting features or distant sunrise effects. Graduated ND filters very important

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: A sizeable car park and a 3-4 minute walk down the path. Avoid the centre lookout for photos as it has no obvious foreground. See custom map below for relative location.

 


Anvil Rock – Grade 2

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ABOUT: Anvil Rock is a fantastic viewpoint to see along the deepest section of the Grose Valley and directly opposite the face of Mount Banks and it’s 300+m drop. The valley runs below on a left to right bend and the railed platform below the actual small ‘anvil’ rock, has good step views (without much foreground sadly). Good at both sunset and sunrise due to the sun setting left and right of its NE orientation but better photogenic (with foreground) views can be had on the escarpment just off the short 5 minute walk from the car park area.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Moderate wide angles and some medium telephotos 105mm ish for distant views to Walls Lookout and Mount Banks cliffs of 500m height, across the valley. Consider a panorama of the northern walls of the Grose too.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Follow the dirt road which starts as Hat Hill Rd from Blackheath almost all the way to Perrys Lookdown, but take the obvious left turn about 500m before Perrys Lookdown – Anvil Rock and Wind Caves are about 1km further and both features are only 5mins from car park.


Mitchell’s Ridge – Sunset Grade 1

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ABOUT: A great high view of the Kanimbla Valley on the left and the famous Victoria Pass cliffs on the right. There are a few vantage points & definitely sunset is the ideal time.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A 24mm is the ideal lens to cover the main vista but because of some very distant hills a 100mm+ telephoto will capture some great layered mountains

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Start to come down the Victoria Pass Hill and go into the large dirt turning on the left leads to a few car parks in the reserve.

http://garyphayes.photography/photos/mitchell-ridge-sunset-blue-mountains-c2104/


Boars Head LO 2 – Sunset Grade 2

 

ABOUT: To the south of Narrowneck and very close to Cahill’s Lookout are several hidden, but easy access walks out to the rocks around Boar’s Head Rock, with a fantastic foreground overlooking the Megalong Valley. This one is on the south side of Boars Head rock (looks like a horses or dragons head from this side), but better downward views into the valley and great with mist around.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Tripod essential as the sun goes down directly opposite, so grads or bracket blends critical. A 16-35mm will give good coverage, but panorama stitching is tempting. A 100mm good for spotting Narrowneck on the left or interesting shapes up and down the ridge.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at Cahill’s and walk north on Cliff Drive about 30m, look for the trail hidden (you need to look beyond the hedge edging) in the hedge on the right. It’s an easy 3 minute walk out to the rocky edge – be careful though on cliff edges. See lookout map below.

Megalong Valley, Blue Mountains, c2770


Tableland Rocks Transmitter Tower – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: A view into the Jamison Valley from Tableland plateau, further along from Lincoln’s Rock and more rugged. It has some amazing foreground rocks, great with water in, to compliment & reflect distant valley views, especially at sunset.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A mix of telephoto and moderate wide angle. If you want some foreground rocks bring a good ultra wide lens. Stay after sunset and use your tripod for very moody atmosphere.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at the bottom of the transmitter, which will be gated. Then walk down the track and up the other side for about 10 minutes, the rocks and view will be obvious as you curve to the right at the top of the track

http://garyphayes.photography/photos/tablelands-rock-pools-blue-mountains-c2053/


Walls LO – Sunset Grade 3

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ABOUT: A long stretch of cliff looking down, west to east into the Grose Valley. Majestic views and 300-400m drops look great at sunset particularly as the sun goes down over the south cliffs in front of you.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Ultra wide angles if you want cliff edge, valley and cloudscapes in one shot, but a 50mm is good for the obvious stitched panoramas. Tripod & graduated neutral density filters essential for balancing sun and dark land.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park on the car park just off Bells Line of Road and follow the marked track for about 25-30 mins. Be careful to take torch for late return journey on the same trail.

http://garyphayes.photography/photos/walls-lookout-bells-line-of-road-blue-mountains/