This was the first time I’d been to Pincushion Island. It’s a little outcrop of rock on the north shore of the Maroochy River mouth and is reached by taking a 10 minute walk along the beach from the car park near Twin Waters resort. Pincushion Island isn’t really an island at the moment – it was high tide when I visited and I reached the rocks without getting my feet wet. But a quick image search on the net shows that this hasn’t always been the case. The sandy mouth of the Maroochy River has continually changed position over the years and Pincushion has at various times been completely cut off from land and even attached by a sand spit to the southern shore of the rivermouth.
I arrived at 5.30am on a breezy, grey morning, expecting to be soaked by rain at any moment. Instead I was treated to a short but spectacular display of sunrise colours that had me scrambling to find worthwhile vantage points for my camera. Between the wind and the solid swell pounding the rocks, it was hard to get down close the action without drenching myself and my camera in salt spray. The first two images below were taken at 5.49am and 5.51am from the southern tip of Pincushion – that’s Point Cartwright in the distance on the right – and yes, I did wear a little spray but managed to keep my camera mostly out of harm’s way.
The intense colour lasted no more than five minutes, but the cloud cover produced lasting soft light so I spent some time looking around for other compositions. In a lot of ways, I prefer the more subtle look – it’s easier to capture all the nuances of the light in a single frame and simpler to process, but also has a soft appeal that creeps up on you rather than smacking you between the eyes! But the impact of strong colour can’t be overlooked – the two top images easily scored the highest number of responses when I posted them on my Facebook page.
The other interesting thing about the morning was the large flocks of terns roosting on the sand near the Island. I presumed this was a common thing and spent some time trying to capture them on camera against the Maroochydore skyline across the river. The first morning walker to turn up at Pincushion Island after sunrise came over to say hello – he told me he walked here most mornings but had never seen so many terns in his ten years of visiting.
Mount Coonowrin, the ‘Crookneck’ is one of the most recognisable shapes in the Glass House Mountains. I’d only taken distant shots of it before so decided to try and find some closer vantage points. These images were taken over a couple of days from several spots along the Mount Beerwah Road. Coonowrin looms large as you drive along the narrow road, but there are only a few places where you can get a clear view to the peak, free from trees and tall grass, without venturing onto private property. Being only 15 minutes drive from home, this is a spot I’ll head back to whenever there looks to be a good chance of scoring some colourful sunset images.
Red Beach on the southern tip of Bribie Island is a favourite spot of mine for sunrise photographs. The beach runs approximately east-west and there is lots of fallen timber that makes for interesting subject matter. I shared this particular sunrise with Bribie Island photographer, Barbara Burkhardt. There wasn’t much colour in the morning sky and there was a stiff breeze blowing, but we still managed to find plenty to photograph. Barbara snuck me into a few of her images – something I usually try and avoid!! – but she did a good job despite the questionable subject matter.
Ewen Maddock Dam
Back away from the coast, I spent several mornings on the shores of Ewen Maddock dam near Landsborough. Past experience told me that access to the shore is limited by the dense growth of paperbarks and rushes, and with the high water levels after a wet summer, this was even more of a problem than usual. A lot of my images were taken peering through the vegetation to the lake in the background, but bright morning sunlight produced some appealing effects that I managed to capture with a 70-200mm zoom lens.
On my second morning I headed to a small causeway near Mooloolah Valley that has been built for walkers and horse riders – it provides a nice dry, flat area for taking photos, but the variety of views is limited. My best image from the morning (below) relied on the lily pads around the lake fringe to provide an interesting and colourful foreground, with clumps of reeds in the midground and a subtle but pretty glow in the sky in the distance.