Grampians National Park is a located in Victoria, Australia. My son and I recently visited. During our time there, we hiked to Mackenzie Falls and Silver Band Falls (which was dry). Additionally, my son had another trail he wanted to hike. We were rode around trying to find it. Due to spotty cell phone service, we had to rely on limited GPS. We made a turn and at the end of the road was Lake Bellfield. I decided to park the car in the parking lot to take in the whole scene. It was a beautiful lake. The water was still, aside from a few ripples due to a slight breeze.

“Always shoot it now. It won’t be the same when you go back.”

Jay Maisel

Interesting Trees

I looked at the clear water of the lake, part of the Grampians mountain range was in the background. Even with all of that, what really caught my attention was a group of trees that appeared to be growing out of the lake near the shore. They were all bare. Even though it was the start of autumn, these trees didn’t appear affected by a seasonal change. They looked like they hadn’t had leaves in years. I was intrigued by the trees, and I wanted to take a picture of them. 

Get Out and Shoot

At this point, we were still in the car. I said to my son, “Those look interesting. I think I want to shoot them”. However, I don’t think he agreed with me. As a hiker, he was more interested in locating the hiking trail. Consequently, I almost let his lack of enthusiasm influence my decision to get out and take a closer look. With my eyes on the scene in front of me, I started the car and put it in reverse. As a result, my son questioned my actions, to which I responded, “I don’t know…” Then he said to me, “You might as well get out and shoot it. You’ll be upset with yourself if you don’t”

Head To The Shore

I knew he was right. Even if I didn’t like the photo – I had to get out and shoot it. So, I grabbed just my camera, tripod attached, and headed to the shore. Having checked out the scene, I already had an idea of how I wanted to shoot it. I wanted to really highlight the trees, and I wanted to make the water smoother. So, I had to do a long exposure.

Too Much Light

But, it was late afternoon, and still pretty bright. Shooting long exposures in bright light is difficult. Due to the amount of light, I had to use a neutral density filter. All I had with me was a 6-stop filter. My 10-stop filter was in the car, but we were a little pressed for time (we still hadn’t found the trail). Therefore, I was going to use what I had.

Sandy Focus

As I was screwing the filter onto the lens, my attention was diverted for a second. As a result, the filter didn’t go into the threads on the lens and it fell in the sand. Now, it needed to be cleaned. I picked it up from the sand, and I tried to get my son’s attention to bring me a wipe out of my bag. He was looking at his phone trying to figure out where the trailhead was. Because he didn’t see me, I wiped it off with my shirt.

Back to Melbourne

After that, I took about three shots, and I was pleased with the results. Now it was back to the car and to the hiking trail. We never did find the trail, and we were losing light. If we did find it, we wouldn’t have had time to hike it before it got dark. So, we decided to start our three-hour drive rom Grampians National Park back to Melbourne.

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