My month kicked off with a visit to Mapleton National Park in the hills behind the Sunshine Coast. The area was gazetted as a National Park in June 2011 - prior to this, and on all my previous trips to the area, it was part of Mapleton State Forest. The best way to explore this area is by putting on your walking boots and hitting the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. The hiking trail passes by Gheerulla Creek falls then follows along Gheerulla Creek for several kilometres before climbing steeply to Gheerulla Bluff and the ridgeline known as Thilba Thalba.
I set up camp at the Thilba Thalba walker's camp and spent a couple of days exploring the surrounding bushland of scribbly gums, bloodwoods and grass trees. It gets pretty hot and dry up there at this time of year so winter is my favourite time to visit, but minor discomforts aside, it really is a beautiful area with some great views down onto the Mary River valley and back up the Gheerulla Creek valley.
I've posted a short article about my stay at Thilba Thalba with some of my favourite images from the trip, here. But below are a few extra images that will help give you a feel for the place, and maybe entice you to test out your leg muscles and visit for yourself.
A scribbly gum on top of the ridge catching the last sun of the day.
...and if you wondered why they are called scribbly gums...
Sunrise over Gheerulla Creek valley from Thilba Thalba viewpoint.
Shelly Beach / Moffat Head
These images are from the rocks at the northern end of Shelly Beach at Caloundra. The foreshore rocks all along this stretch of coastline are full of interesting textures and character and make great photographic subjects, and of course the beaches and scenery are what makes the Sunshine Coast such a popular tourist destination. I've visited this spot and others nearby many times and always find something new to catch my attention. My morning began with some nice sunrise reflections on the sheets of water lying on the flat rock platforms.
A lack of clouds in the morning sky can sometimes make for fairly uninteresting lighting, photographically speaking, but by timing your visit to make the most of the rising sun and watching how the low-angled light plays over the rocky foreshore, there are always opportunities to create interesting images.
This is another favourite spot a little further up the coast that always seems to deliver new and interesting images. And it's a real bonus when the clouds and sun align to create rays of light over the landscape....or in this case, seascape.
This is another example of how clouds in the morning sky can create some great photographic options at an often-visited spot. The colours in this first image lasted only a few minutes, but those few minutes were enough to make my morning worthwhile. I captured several different versions of this image, but this one was taken as the intensity of the colours reached a peak - the vivid pinks are just starting to turn more yellow/orange, and a few minutes later most of the colour faded. But that still left some great cloud patterns and a nice golden glow on the horizon to work with.
I've had several tries at capturing this view of Mount Tibrogargan from Mount Beerburrum. For all the photos that have been taken of Tibrogargan, I don't recall seeing any from this angle, and there's something about this perspective I like. But I haven't yet nailed it in really nice lighting conditions - in the morning this view to the north can often be a little hazy and flat, and in the evening the light is coming from the wrong direction to balance the image as I see it. I think this one is okay, but I'm sure there is a better one waiting for me if I persevere.
International Loupe Awards 2012
I've never been big on photo competitions, but this year I entered 5 recent images of mine into the International Loupe Awards 2012. The scores have just come in and I was awarded 2 silvers and 3 bronzes for my entries. I'm not sure what that means in the whole scheme of things, but it's a nice little pat on the back...and any recognition is appreciated! I've posted nice big versions of my entries here.