March has been a month of rediscovery for me. These days I usually head for the bush whenever I can – a lot of my photos reflect that – but over the years I’ve also spent plenty of time wandering along open beaches or peering into coastal rockpools in eastern Victoria and Tasmania, southern New South Wales, and north and south Queensland. For the last few weeks I’ve been revisiting some favourite spots around Bribie Island where I lived for a short while some years ago, and where my parents spent many years.
Bribie can be a busy place at any time of year but it has also managed to keep a good dose of the seaside-village charm that has disappeared from a lot of coastal communities in south-east Queensland. The open beaches on the eastern surf-side of the island and the calm waters of Pumicestone Passage on the mainland side are popular with walkers, anglers and swimmers, but if you can set the alarm clock a little earlier than normal you'll find you have these spots to yourself – no people, no dogs, no footprints.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve spent quite a few mornings wandering along the beaches from Woorim to Skirmish Point and around the corner to Red Beach. Photographically, dawn is the best time of day to visit these spots – even when the sunrise doesn’t produce its amazing displays of colour, the soft morning light on tide-swept sands and gently breaking waves can produce some beautiful shots. One theme I kept coming back to was to try and use the patterns in the sand as a feature of my compositions – as leading lines converging into the distance, or as bold foreground and midground patterns to contrast with clear skies or to reflect interesting cloud patterns. Sandy beaches can appear a little bland and featureless as photographic subjects at first glance but they can also reveal some lovely textures and patterns on closer inspection.
Another source of photographic subjects is the seashells and other marine debris that has been deposited by the last high tide. Bribie’s beaches aren’t the ‘shelliest’ I’ve come across, but there are still treasures to be found. The shot of the little checkerboard bonnet shell (see Latest Images, Skirmish Point 4) is one of my favourites from the last month – simple, clean and colourful. You don’t need to travel to some exotic location to make a pretty beach picture – they are waiting right there on your local beach. It’s just a matter of visiting at the right time of day and spending the time to look for them....and a little bit of luck never goes astray.