My Sunday Photo for this week is a collection of my favourite photos from our recent visit to Symbio Zoo.
Zoos are strange places and they fill me with conflicting emotions. On the one hand I am able to see some of the most amazing creatures from around the world, up close and live. There’s something really special about that. On the other hand, I feel a huge amount of sadness for these brilliant animals that have been removed from their natural habitat and are living the rest of their lives in captivity.
Symbio Zoo does appear to be very aware of this. They really do appear to have put a lot of effort into creating appropriate enclosures. They are also very strong on conservation and the role that they can play in protecting some species from extinction.
The photos that I have chosen to include in this post today are my top photos from out visit. They are some of the most photogenic animals I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing! Hannah had a wonderful day meeting these amazing animals too.
The Week’s My Sunday Photo is a flashback. It’s called Cronulla Baths Sunrise.
I haven’t had much time to get out and about with the camera this week, so I’m cheating and throwing in a flashback. Those of you familiar with my blog might remember that in April I posted a My Sunday Photo called Staring At The Sun. It was taken on a sunrise trip to Cronulla, in which I attempted to capture a photo for Emma’s birthday. Ultimately I succeeded in that goal and we have the photo hanging on our wall at home.
This photo is one of the ‘contenders’. I managed to shoot several decent panoramas, each capturing a slightly different aspect of the wonderful Cronulla baths and South Cronulla beach (click on picture to see it in all its glory!).
I like the way that this one shows some human activity at the baths. I admire (and am slightly jealous of) those regular visitors who make the sunrise trip to the baths for a swim. If you look carefully, you can see one person making his way over to the baths, while another is already swimming in the otherwise still water.
I also like the cloud formation in the sky. It’s slightly ominous, as if the beautiful start to the morning may quickly be consumed by a wild storm.
One of my favourite things to do is get out of the house before dawn, drive to a beach or river and set up for a sunrise photo shoot.
It was an activity that I used to do semi-regularly, but with work and family commitments it had been a long time since I’d had the opportunity. A couple of days ago, however, the timing was right. I had a late start to work, but I also had to be out of the house before Hannah woke up, so that I didn’t interfere with her usual ‘grandparents day’ routine.
I threw my photography gear into the car and headed for a special spot that I’d had in mind for some time now. It’s a place that I had first noticed over a year ago, when we had gone for a walk with Hannah in the bassinet (how quickly things change).
The Intended Subject
The thing that had caught my eye on that walk was a disused and semi-deconstructed pier. It must have fairly recently fallen into disrepair, as I actually have recollections of visiting the same spot as a kid, and watching small fish from the end of the pier. So it was surreal to see it now, disconnected, abandoned and slowly being swallowed by a sea of sand.
I arrived ten minutes before the advertised sunrise time. The pre-dawn glow told me that sunrise was imminent and so I set about finding the best place to shoot. However, immediately I had a problem. A sign informed me that the beach area was closed for maintenance. Normally such a sign wouldn’t bother me, but this sign was also accompanied by a great big digger in full swing. Also nearby was a worker in fluorescent gear, whose sole job appeared to be making sure people like me didn’t get too close.
I cursed my bad luck. The photo that I had in mind relied on access to the beach. I had hoped to capture the sun rising behind the dilapidated pier. I quickly scouted the area for a new point of view. I didn’t have much time and I sure wasn’t about to waste a rare opportunity to capture a sunrise.
A Different Point of View
From up on the walkway I found a spot that looked directly down the pier. Interesting clouds had formed over Towra Point, on the other side of Botany Bay, and a hint of pink could already be seen. I set up my tripod and set about taking a few long exposure shots in the final moments before sunrise.
Already slightly pessimistic from the limited access to my subject, I was further disheartened by the thickness of the cloud cover. Sunrise came and went, and all I had to show for it was some muted pinks and purples in the otherwise grey sky. I didn’t mind too much as it all worked together to make a grungy, apocalyptic-feeling picture. It wasn’t what I had set out to capture, but that’s the nature of photography sometimes.
A Brilliant Sunrise Through a Telephoto Lens
After taking the photos I switched to my zoom lens. I was sure that I had captured the best of the sunrise and the colours in the sky had begun to fade. I decided to go for a little walk and see what details I could capture. A couple of ibis birds walked past, and I took a couple of snaps of the Bin Chickens.
All of a sudden, a sharp ray of sunshine poked out from behind the clouds over Port Botany. In the blink of an eye, the whole scene changed. Golden light flooded into the bay and across the beach. The sunlight reflecting off the water was blinding, and everything in that direction suddenly became silhouetted against the brilliant sky.
I was stuck with my Telephoto lens. I was unsure of how long the glorious moment would last, plus by now I had thrown caution to the wind and jumped down onto the beach. I didn’t want to risk missing everything or damaging my equipment, so I set to making the most of the situation and shooting the scene in front of me.
On reflection, the 55-300 mm lens that I was using worked quite well. Port Botany is a fair few kilometres away from where I was standing, and this lens enabled me to capture some interesting perspectives. I took a couple of shots to stitch together as well, in order to try and capture some of the wider view.
All things considered, I was pretty happy with my morning. I witnessed a spectacular sunrise and I captured some decent photos. I really should make the effort to see the sunrise more often.