Tag: lithgow oberon

A Landscape Photographers Guide to Australia’s Blue Mountains


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


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.

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……

Corridor of Red Maple, Hartley – Grade 1

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ABOUT: A beautiful corridor of Oak and Maple directly off the main Great Western Highway towards Lithgow. Can be taken from various angles and a different times of the day, particularly good at Autumn with mist in the distance but sunset with the sun to the left brings out the wonderful rich tones.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Tripod for low light with a graduate filter for the sky. A moderate wide angle can give good coverage and a medium telephoto for detail of the colourful foliage or compressing the perspective of the image.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Follow the Google map below and the road reveals itself as you pass from each direction on the Great Western Highway.

Bracey’s Lookout – Grade 1

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ABOUT: Bracey’s Lookout is really a city lookout as it faces the eastern end of Lithgow and the State Mine Hills behind. It is shrouded by trees so hard to get a totally clear view, but it is fantastic in the late afternoon light and early evening when the shapes are more defined and the city lights come on.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A sturdy tripod and consider doing a full panorama vs anything squarer. A 100mm would be good for spotting part city and part distant hills. Graduate filters to keep the sky under control.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: You can access the lookout either a short drive out of Lithgow or halfway up the dirt track between Browns Gap Rd and Hassan’s Walls make a right onto the signposted track and it is about a 10 min drive.

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 under that and move onto the old, stone walkways that take you to much better vantage points beyond the end of the walkway.

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.


Hartley Vale – Grade 1

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ABOUT: Hartley Vale is a wonderful hamlet of farms and monolith rocks just below and left of the Darling Causeway. Sundown is a magical time to capture the area with the sun behind you warming up the scene, but sunrise is also valid from the small Harley Vale Rd looking East on various sections. The road down from Darling Causeway also provides some interesting rocky stream shots but be careful parking along here.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Bring a full kit as a good 2-3 hours could be spent in this area.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Pick up the Hartley Vale road from Darling Causeway & follow it to the bottom into the main village and double back picking images on the way.