When people hear the words “Sydney beaches” they think of Bondi and Manly beaches, but the true natural beauty lies in Sydney’s Northern beaches. This particular image was shot at Bilgolga beach which is sheltered by two headlands on each side, as many of the northern beaches are. To get here you can’t take the train as there aren’t any and I think this gives them a certain isolation from Sydney. It’s great if you are after some isolation from the busy city life and want to take in and explore mother nature in solitary. It’s part of what attracts me to the northern beaches as a photographer and artist. I find I am able to get lost in my art making without the distraction of people breaking my ideas and my way of seeing the landscape.

I shot this image in the late afternoon and was able to get a good balance between the warm fading sunlight with the cooler shadows of the fading day. In my mind I saw this image being structured around this tessellation within the rock shelf, acting like a path leading out to the water for the viewing. I wanted the viewer to literally walk their eyes into the frame using this path and then explore the beauty within this landscape. I think this technique has work really well in this composition and its one I like to use to help create a narrative within my work. Personally I find myself wanting to skip out on to the platform trying not to step on a crack like in a game of hopscotch. I also took a vertical composition of this amazing natural formation which looks great, but I really love this horizontal composition giving a much borader view of the surroundings of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It’s these small elements within these beaches which will keep me coming back again and again for more…

Creating this image:

To shoot an image like this you need very long exposure times and you won’t be able to achieve this in daylight hours without filters on your lens. It’s worth investing in a decent quality Neutral Density filter set or individual screw on ND filter for your lens. Often the lower quality filters come with a colour cast that can be difficult to remove in post-processing and its much nicer to work with images like this where I used a high quality NiSi ND 1000 filter. I shot this as a single RAW exposure and by shooting in RAW it means your camera will capture the most data it can. So in post-processing I am able to grab all those juicy details in the shadows and brighten them significantly, as well as the highlights in the clouds and water. This exposure is 30 seconds at f/19. So you need a really sturdy tripod as to not get any movement in the image. 

Software Used:

I used Lightroom and Photoshop CC but much of the stylising was done in the brand new

OnOne Photosuite  the complete collection of photo editing software from OnOne.

I layer about 7 or 8 filters within OnOne Perfect Effects  and can go into more detail if people are interested leave a comment below.

I also reseize the image for printing using perfect resize 9 found in the suite.

Image Location:

This image is availble for comercial, please use the contact form on this site. You can also purchase prints and canvas for your home or office using the “purchase prints” button.

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Sony A7R


Sony FE 28-70mm + NiSi ND 1000 (10 stop filter)

Focal Length




Shutter Speed

30.0 sec



HDR info

N/A- Single exposre.


17th November, 2014


5:00 pm


Bilgolga, Sydney’s northern Beaches

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Please use this contact form for any enquiries and we will get back to you asap. Thanks :-) Thanks, Luke