Sydney, Sydney, what more can I say…
Truth be told, I was supposed to have a 3 day stopover in Sydney. Three short tourist-attraction filled days. These three days turned into a week, and that week turned into a month. But how can you blame me for wanting to see one more sunrise like this one?
The land down under is certainly filled with breathtaking picturesque landscapes and Sydney’s beaches fall straight in that category. It’s so enigmatic how one of the busiest places in the world (such as the world famous Bondi Beach, for example) could also be the serenest, as long as you’re prepared to compromise a bit, sometimes getting up as early as 3.30am to catch the sunrise and avoid the crowds.
There’s something special about places like this that just captivates me. Every day, I get my coffee from the same 7/11 store, get the same bus at the same time as the day before and go to the same destination. Once there, the sense of place is the same as the previous days however, the backdrop is completely different: The sky, waves, people, sunlight and just everything around you is dissimilar. No two days are alike. It’s simply magical.
However, after a week or so of fully admiring the incredible beach sceneries (and a good couple of days of solid sunburn) I realized that I needed to do something on the productive side of things to keep me going and entertained. After all, I had been on a plane for over two days to get here, so why not make the most out of it, right!?
As I was in unknown territory and it was the first time that I had gotten a chance to photograph that idyllic beach lifestyle, I spent a good deal of time analyzing my surrounding area which greatly helped my photography: From seeing where the best sunrise spot was, to how the waves crashed on nearby cliffs or where and when was the best time of day to catch surfers in their element.. I personally didn’t want to carry all my heavy gear on my back therefore my beach photos were mainly taken with a wide angle (11-24mm) or prime lens (50mm). The only time that I had to use a zoom lens was to shoot surfing action shots, where the subjects were quite far away.
In addition, after a couple of days of complete unsuccessful attempts to photograph a sunrise by steadily holding the camera I decided to invest in a tripod. I cannot underline how important this peace of item is if you really want to get a good sunrise/sunset shot. It prevents the obvious blur while at the same time allowing you to shoot for longer exposure times. So if you’re planning to doing any beach photos (or any photos where different light and movement are involved) do yourself a favor and bring along that tripod :-).
The good thing about all of this is that there’s no right or wrong; you simply have to experiment and see what works best for you. I personally found that increasing the contrast and purposely overexposing some of my shots worked really well with getting the whole beach vibe and overall atmosphere.
Donna Tzaneva is a twenty-something year old globetrotter that was born in Bulgaria, grew up in Australia and now resides in Iceland. After finishing her BSc in Equine Studies, a severe horse-back riding injury made her take a step back from that career and take up photography. She hasn’t stopped ever since..