The Australia you’ve never seen (part two)

In this final instalment, Andrew Bertuleit shares more of his stunning photography from around the country and the commitment it takes to get the perfect shot.

Luckily he’s a patient man and the result is this second series of epic photography, including his tips on how to successfully capture quality photos.

BIG4 would like to thank Andrew for his wonderful photographic contribution. You can find more of Andrew’s work in his previous article titled The Australia you’ve never seen (part one), or by visiting his website.

Enjoy! 

Melbourne City

Melbourne. Aerial shot of the Melbourne CBD, St Kilda Rd running into Flinders St and becomes Swanston St. Shot out the window of a Cessna in May 2015.

Walhalla, Victoria

I think this used to be the old fire station in Walhalla (a gold mining town in Victoria) and is now a museum. Interesting place to have a wander around.

Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

I always thought Wineglass Bay in Tasmania got its name purely because of its shape but a customer once told me it’s because a long time ago whaling ships used to anchor there to do all their butchering and the whole bay turned red - like a glass of red wine. I think I was better off not knowing.

Perth

The old boat shed off Mounts Bay Rd in Perth. Every photographer that comes to Perth has a go at this shot and whether it works or not depends largely on the weather. It's an early morning shot so you just have to bite the bullet, get up before dawn and hope for the best. That rickety walkway was slippery and had the odd slat missing so it was hard to keep the camera steady for a long exposure. I had to set the timer and carefully walk far enough away that I didn’t send out any vibrations. I had $6000 worth of gear sitting precariously over water on slimy, rotten timber. That woke me up. 

Byron Bay, New South Wales

Sunset in Byron Bay. It's a nice place but I can't help wishing I could turn back the clock and visit it 40 or 50 years ago, before the crowds and commercialisation. 

The Tip, Cape York, Queensland

Nine days. That’s how long I had to wait to get this shot. I’d ridden the motorbike from Melbourne all the way up through the Flinders Ranges, Marree, Alice, across the Plenty Highway, up to the Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Cape Trib, Cooktown, Weipa and finally up to the tip of Cape York where I looked around and decided the best shot would be an aerial of the tip, looking back.

So now I need a plane. First sunny morning and I’m in business - and that’s what took nine days. Every morning (it had to be a morning shot) was either overcast, raining, or just too cloudy. Normally I’d head off to the next destination and come back another time but it’s a long, hard ride to get there so I had to stick around. There are definitely worse places to be stuck for nine days but I was keen to get back on the road so it was pretty frustrating. Finally, on the ninth morning, some sun.

Uluru National Park

This is where you’d stay if you were visiting the rock and wanted to spend a few days. It’s a long drive if you want to go back and forth from Alice Springs. 

Cape York, Queensland

Fruit Bat Falls - I love the name. This little spot is on the way to the tip of Cape York in Far North Queensland. It’s a quick detour off the main road and a great place for a swim to get the dust off. And just to the right, out of frame, are some pitcher plants - weird looking things that trap and eat insects. 

Middleton, Queensland

This old shed is across the road from the Middleton Hotel in outback Queensland. I was up early one morning, a rare occurrence, especially after spending the night at a pub, and saw the sun shining through from window to window. It’s a simple shot but I like it because it’s also a bit different and you kind of have to look at it twice to get what it is. 

Cape Tribulation, Far North Queensland

I love the visual of this rampant rainforest being held at bay by the beach and ocean. I could have waited for those people to move out of frame (or just Photoshopped them out) but I like how they give scale to the size and shear abundance of the vegetation. Also I think it makes it easier for the viewer to imagine themselves sitting there.

Nature’s Window, Kalbarri, WA

It’s a long walk but it’s worth every step. 

Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges

You’ve really got to see this place from the air. And if you can, spend a few extra days in the area because it's a beautiful part of the country. 

Karijini National Park

You could probably tell it’s out west just by the colours. It's a long drive from anywhere but Karijini National Park is famous for so many reasons, not just the vibrancy of colour. 

The Nut, Stanley, Tasmania

I mostly remember being cold when I look at this one. Tassie in May and I was sleeping in the van, as usual. There was still snow on the ground in parts of the state and I’m not a big fan of the cold or getting up early - two good reasons not to be shooting dawn shots in Tassie in May, but there you go. Had to come back a few times to get this shot without the cloud cover. 

South of Hay, New South Wales

One of my oldest images and I still like it. I’d like it even more if the wedge tailed eagle who lives there had decided to fly home right then so I could get a shot of him just as he lands, wings spread majestically, silhouetted against the setting sun … who am I kidding? Those birds are way too smart to come anywhere near me. I can dream, though. 

Andrew’s Tips on nailing better photography

  1. Get off auto. Turn your camera's setting to manual or aperture or shutter speed and play around with it. You may get terrible results at first but it will teach you how aperture size ties in with shutter speed which ties in with ISO which ties in with ... you get the picture (hopefully). 
  2. Get closer. Many people shoot from so far away, or with such a wide-angle lens, that the main subject gets lost in the background. Think about what you're trying to convey then ask yourself what does and doesn't need to be in the frame. 
  3. Software. It may be expensive and it may be a pain to learn, but processing your images in Photoshop or Lightroom (or whatever) makes a huge difference. Just don't over-do it. Remember it takes two people to use Photoshop - one to do the processing and one to say STOP!
  4. Put your money into lenses. Bodies will come and go but good lenses will last forever. No matter how good your camera's sensor is, the light still has to come through the lens first so having a $500 lens on a $5000 body makes no sense. 
  5. Don't overspend. Yes it's nice to have all the best gear and there are shots you can get with $10,000 worth of equipment that you can't with $1000, but spending big bucks is no guarantee of getting a good image. Any image that evokes an emotional response in the viewer beats one that's technically perfect but doesn't say anything and you can get the former with your phone. 
  6. Spend time online. All the free tutorials, blogs by top photographers, info and inspiration you could possibly need is out there. 
  7. Show only your best. You will be judged as a photographer on the images you present so it's much better to only show people your 10 very best images than all of your images.
  8. Be brave, but ask permission. For most people, asking a complete stranger if you can take their photo is difficult. You don't want to ask and be rejected but you also don't want to miss out on a potential award winning image (hey, you never know). As most people will say yes it’s always better to ask first. 
  9. If you have the money and it’s an important aerial shot you’re after, use a helicopter. Yes, it will cost you three times more than a fixed wing plane, but it is much, much easier. 
  10. Be careful where you park. Try not to park in residential area (cops will move you on), under a tree (you'll have stuff bouncing off your roof all night), or in the CBD of a big city (rocks thrown through the window). 
  11. Don't think you'll shoot it on the way back. If you're driving around and you see something interesting you should stop and shoot it then and there. You can tell yourself you'll come back another time but chances are you won't and it will stick in your head as a lost opportunity. 
  12. Experiment. Try a different angle, a different lens, a different anything. Shoot fast action with a slow shutter speed (to get motion blur) or try a double exposure for the first time - experimentation will make you think about what's possible when you're lining up your shot and it's good to have those options in the back of your mind before you press the button. 
  13. Never take a fully loaded, big motorbike out to Fraser Island. The sand is so deep you'll crash it 20 times in 3km, you won’t be able to pick it up because it's too heavy, you'll swear your head off, curse the day you decided to come here and leave the island on the first ferry out the next morning, crashing another 20 times on the way out. Trust me.
  14. Shoot the stuff you like, not what you think others will like. The flip-side of this is that if you’re shooting for a living and not everyone likes the same stuff you do, then you’re going to have to compromise to a certain degree just to sell your work. It’s a fine line.

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