The 12 Best of 2012

Well, actually its 14, I just couldn't cut it down any further. Had a fantastic year, with 2 more trips to the USA to bring our National Park count up to 47 (11 to go!), and also the start of the year trip up to northern NSW, and the late November visit to Flinders Island, and of course the daily trips around the Ballarat district all added up to an amazing array of images to choose from. To get the best experience from this selection make sure you click on the first image, that will bring them all up into a larger size that you can scroll through.
And my favourite for the year is...........?

1. About 6.30am on New Years Day, I had Ebor Falls in northern NSW all to myself. Very cold (its about 4000 feet high) but beautiful conditions got me off to a great start to the year, and actually had me wondering if I'd get anything better all year.

2. In February I made a trip down to Point Lonsdale, primarily to try out my new underwater camera for the upcoming Florida and Carribean trip. I caught a sunset and a sunrise that produced some great images...this is my favourite from the morning.

3. A local image out west of Ballarat at Mt Emu. I remember all these sheep charging across the field to check me out -  usually they run the other way!

4. I like to keep up to date with whats happening in the sky and plan some of my shoots around it, and this is one that came together really well. A rare line up of the moon, Venus and Jupiter all worked well with this great foregound and post-sunset conditions out at Lake Burrumbeet

5. From our first USA trip in March/April a visit to Big bend National Park in Texas was a real highlight, and early morning at Santa Elena Canyon was a great place to be.

6. Also on the same trip we ventured over to Florida and the Carribean to visit another 4 Parks. One of the most popular sights at Fort Jefferson on Dry Tortugas National Park (about 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico) is this view down the corridors, but looking for my own original way to capture this view a recent downpour had laid out this perfect reflection for me to work with and get a really unique take on this view.

7. I spent a lot of time over Winter looking for flowing water in the Ballarat district, and this view of Granite Falls on the Moorabool River West Branch is one of my favourites

8. Winter was off to a great start with this spectacular sunrise from the side of Mt Buninyong, looking across to Mt Warrenheip. I managed to get out everyday in winter, but not many images were better than this one!

9. The Ballarat district is not well known for its waterfalls, but most know of Lal Lal Falls. I made quite a few visits here throughout the year, always coming home with something special so it was hard to pick a favourite. At 110 feet, Lal Lal is quite a sight when flowing strongly, but the massive clouds this evening added a unusual sense of scale that was hard to go past when choosing my favourite 

10. Our second USA trip for the year had us driving across country from Minnesota to Maine right at the peak of the autumn colours. A fantastic trip that I still have many, many images to go through. Once again hard to pick a favourite, but the 3 hour cruise we did alongside the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore was capped off by this fantastic view of Spray Falls. Scale is quite deceptive here....those Falls drop 70 feet into Lake Superior. And the way the sun came out to light up this scene just as we got within sight of the Falls was a real blessing!

11. Further along on that trip we visited Watkins Glen State Park in New York state. An amazing gorge full of waterfalls and autumn colours, and in one spot you get to walk behind one of the falls. Working fast so as not to cause any delays to others, I grabbed this view of the curtain of water and felt it was something quite special from this often photographed location.

12. As you can probably gather I'm pretty keen on waterfalls - when we got to New Hampshire we had a day checking out some of the amazing scenery in the White Mountains, fitting in a quite a few waterfalls in the one day. One of the first stops that day was at the Crystal Falls and finding the full sun on the falls very hard to photograph (I always prefer dull, overcast days or in shadows) I was just exploring downstream and came across this magical scene. Yes, it was a cold start to what turned into a beautiful day (it had snowed on us the day before!)

13. To cap of a fantastic trip we saved the best until last.....Acadia National Park in Maine. I had teed up to spend some time with a local photographer who was going to show us around for a day, and plans were for a very early pick up at 4.45am so we could get down to Otter Cliffs for the sunrise. Though forecast conditions were not that great, we persevered and were rewarded with one of the most epic sunrises I have ever seen. David agreed, he had been here many, many times and was saying this was the best he had also seen.
14. As I said I've tried to keep this down to 14, though I could have added many, many more, especially as I know I have a lot of USA trip images still to sort through. But to finish off, a trip down to Flinders Island in Bass Strait at the end of November was one of my highlights of the year, and the 3 days I had there gave me a lot of fantastic, varied conditions, and images, to come home with. This is one of my favourites.

Moonrise

....and one more from Sundays session under the stars......the strong red colour comes from the small torch (using the red light setting) I was using to light the red brickwork.
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Reflecting on a Great Year

It seemed quite appropriate that 2012's last images, from Lake Esmond (a small recreation lake that  I haven't been to before in east Ballarat), were a couple of late evening reflections. All up a great year, can't wait to see what 2013 brings - happy new year!

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Out Late Under The Stars

On Sunday, because of the very clear skies, I had a plan to shoot some after dark images so I headed north out of Ballarat to a particular spot near Smeaton. When I got there I realised it wasn't going to work as I thought so I thought I'd try another spot that I have visited many times...the old Berry No. 1 Mine site at Lawrence. I had a great time there trying lots of different things...this is the first one, but have a few more to post later. The technique with this sort of image is to have the camera on a tripod, then set around a 30 second exposure, and to get the detail on the building I'm "painting" the brickwork with a small torch, constantly moving it around so you get a nice overall blend. In fact for some of these I was running about all over the place, I'm sure if anyone had seen me they probably would have thought some sort of weird religious ceremony! (maybe it was!)  And if you are wondering about the 2 streaks of light on the left, they were caused by my small torch I was using being caught by the camera as I ran off to the side at the end of the exposure. 
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Death Valley Sunrise

Going back to May 2011, I remember jumping out of bed with a fright at the campground at Furnace Creek as I thought I'd slept in and was going to miss the sunrise at Zabriskie Point. Luckily, I made it in time!
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Last Light

On Saturday, after looking quite promising a bit earlier, a huge bank of clouds came through from the south just before sunset so I was trying to keep ahead of it out near Learmonth on the way to Waubra. Caught this pair of last sunbursts just before it came in for good.

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An Ansel Adams Tribute

Going through some images from May 2011, this well known view from Tunnel View at Yosemite National Park seemed an ideal candidate for a black and white conversion.... a bit of a tribute to Ansel Adams.
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Glowing

Three more from Friday night...all had there own, unique glow. And you really should click on these for a larger look!


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The Moon is Full - at last!

After chasing the moon all week leading up to Fridays full moon, it was great to get such fantastic conditions to capture the last full moon for 2012. I was up north past Creswick looking for compositions, initially with the idea of getting some of the old mullock heaps to use as a foreground, but whilst driving around I realised that the moon breaking the horizon with sheep silhouetted against the moon would be a nice image. So I was shooting the mullocks at the Loughlin Mine with the moon, then decided to look for another view, drove around the corner and there were the sheep, all lined up just as I'd visualised. With a bit of mad scrambling I managed to get one positioned perfectly, and then when he heard me moving around, he gave me the stare - thank you very much! Drove home very happy with this one....and a few others I'll post later on.
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Return to Flinders Island

I'd love to go back....heres a couple more from the trip at the end of November, on different mornings.

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Almost Full

You'd swear this was the full moon, but still one night to go. This was out at Clarkes Hill on Thursday night....that new 100-400 lens really works well with this sort of image when you want to zoom right in. And if you click on this you can zoom in for a much bigger look!
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More Badlands

A couple more from Wednesday evening.

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Bad Moon Rising

With a full moon coming up on Friday, the moon is actually better to photograph a day or two before it being full, as its high enough on the sky to add impact before the sky itself gets so dark that you can't see anything around it. With this in mind I had an image in mind that took me down to what I have called the Ballarat Badlands, behind the old tip in Sebastopol. I figured that by getting down lower than the  ridge, and using the fantastic eroded landscape there, I should be able to catch the almost full moon breaking the horizon just when the light was at its most golden. Sure enough, it all worked out really well. The only difficult part is deciding which I like more...the colour, or the black and white? I'm leaning towards the black and white...make sure you click on them for a larger look!

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The Christmas Sunset

Popped out to Lake Burrumbeet to catch the sunset, and found a new area that I hadn't been to before (and I thought I knew most of the east side of the Lake). Had to get down low for this one! A lovely end to a great Xmas Day....hoping you all had, or are still having a great day!
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Christmas Eve's Golden Glow

Out at St Georges Lake at Creswick on Xmas Eve...and some lovely, late light reflected at the base of the falls...just enough water still flowing to keep me coming back.
Merry Xmas to all!
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Birds at Lake Burrumbeet

Caught these out at Lake Burrumbeet on Sunday evening.....these trees always make great subjects, and the cormorants are in full force out there at the moment.

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In Black and White in Michigan and Maine

Here's another couple of black and whites from the recent trip....the second one here is the day after that amazing sunrise in Acadia, this time totally different conditions.

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The Ballarat Town Hall

This is a view of the Town Hall at sunset on Saturday evening from a vantage point thats probably very rare....half way down the south side of the Black Hill Lookout. Another life-threatening vantage point to bring to you unique views (actually it wasn't that bad at all, there's a bike path through there and this was just a few steps off that!).
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After the Sunrise

I spent some time after the sun had risen just looking around, grabbing a few images here and there....these are the ones that I thought were worth posting.


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A Long, Long Day

Friday was the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. I had the idea to capture sunrise and then sunset up at Lake Wendouree. No clouds to work with so went in tight, and unless you know these views you can't be too sure which is sunrise and which is sunset. It was an early start just before 6am, and then a late finish just before 9pm, but don't worry, I did manage to grab some catch up rest time (a snooze!) during the day!

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Some Local Magic Out Mollongghip Way

Out around the Mollongghip Hills on Thursday evening gave me quite a few scenic variations - all with their own little slice of magic. First one on the way out on the road up to Clarkes Hill, seemingly out of nowhere a rainbow..then onto the back roads where this sunburst lived up to the increasingly common "God Rays" title...and then just on sunset this broad panorama looking across the top of Boundary Church Road - can you see the sprinkler off to the left? The last one really needs to be seen larger - so go on, click on it for a larger look!


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The Christmas Card 2013

I always look for something a bit different for my yearly Xmas card...and yesterdays post from Acadia offered just the right opportunity. Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to all - thanks for dropping in to view my parts of the world!
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Progression, Patience

On Wednesday evening I was out north of Creswick. I had stopped off earlier out the back of St Georges Lake, but realising the skies were developing into something with potential, I headed up high to Greens Hill, just west of Allendale. THere was some great swirling clouds, plenty of virgas, a bit of colour...the first one here gives an idea. Thinking it was coming to an end I headed back south, but about a kilometre down the road some traces of reds and pinks started to break through, all the while the incoming thunderstorm was really starting to put on a show. After that impressive show I hung in there just a bit longer and finally managed to grab one of the numerous bolts of lightning - quite an exciting show!


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Nine Minutes

On Monday morning I was out east of Ballarat before sunrise and once I got myself to a high vantage point I could see the only spot with a b...