The Spit

The Spit is a must for any photographer exploring the Gold Coast. Located at Main Beach, it’s very easy to access and is perfect at sunrise. I visited on the weekend armed with my Lee Filters desperate to get some long exposures during the day. Very happy with the results!

I did however break my remote shutter which also broke my heart. As if the world knew, it lifted my spirits by presenting me with one of the funniest things I’ve seen – three buff and tanned ‘bros’ taking selfies. And not just one – would have be more than I’ve taken this year. I wonder what Instagram filter they used…

Selfie Noob Jacqui

  

  

 

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Sunsuper Riverfire 2014

Every year the Brisbane River lights up for the annual Sunsuper Riverfire as part of the Brisbane Festival.  I’ve seen Riverfire countless times on the TV but I have never been into the city to witness the fireworks for myself. This year, I saved the date about a month beforehand and planned to get there early to save a good spot. Karl and I arrived at Wilson’s Outlook at about 10:30 am for a 7 pm start (are we crazy? – probably). I’d taken my iPad to catch up with a couple of blog entries but that didn’t really happen. Haha. Instead I spent most of the time walking around Fortitude Valley trying to find a battery. I’d noticed the night before that the battery in my remote shutter had died and I really didn’t want to shoot without it. I returned from my wandering with blisters, an empty Boost cup and no battery. Thankfully my mum came to the rescue and brought me one (a real superhero in my eyes). Surprisingly the 8 hours went quite quickly between setting up, wandering, eating, moving spots and setting up again. This was my first chance to use my new Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 DX II lens from CameraPro and it was absolutely amazing!! Money very well spent and I can’t wait to use it more.

Will I be at Riverfire next year? Absolutely.
Patchy Sunburn Jacqui

Elabana Falls

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Karl: What’s the name of the falls we’re going to?
Me: It starts with an E.
Karl: I’m gonna need a bit more info.
Me: It’s like E, B, O, L, A…
Karl: Really, Ebola Falls? Really Jacqui?

I was close with the spelling, alright. Haha. We decided that our next adventure would be to Elabana Falls. Hiding in Lamington National Park in South East Queensland, it’s a nice drive but you definitely want to have your wits about you – it’s a long way down if you mess up. To make sure we didn’t have a repeat of last falls experience, we were very strict on our times – which of course meant that we got distracted very easily (I climbed a tree), stopped for food and spent too long at the falls. O’Reilly’s has lots of different walking tracks to various waterfalls and lookouts (I’m definitely going back – multiple times). It’s a really easy track down to Elabana Falls and it takes about 30mins-1 hour depending how fast you go. If you’re wanting a challenge, some of the tracks take about 7 hours!

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The walk down was tranquil. The air was new and the trees were old – some were skeletons awaiting their final moments. We arrived at what we thought were the falls and were very underwhelmed. Positive we were missing something we climbed a couple of rocks to find the true beauty of Elabana Falls. 15 mins to shoot was our limit so we would have enough time to drive down from the mountain before dusk. We reluctantly pried ourselves away from the cameras and quickly started the hike back up. Even within minutes I was already tired but it’s amazing how the body can keep going even when you’re exhausted. I surprised myself by jogging and sometimes running back up despite the stitch in my side and my lungs pleading for more air. I must admit it was a relief to see the arch signifying we had returned to O’Reilly’s. An elderly couple, seeing our red faces, asked which falls we had just visited. “That’s an easy track,” they replied after learning where we had been – they didn’t realise we had just jogged 2km uphill.

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Before leaving we got distracted by a cute little family of wallabies – Two adults and a baby. This guy was a bit cheeky and poked his tongue out at me! 😛

Let’s all pray for rain so the waterfalls are following stronger!
Lamington Eater Jacqui

Cedar Creek Falls

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The adventure continued when Karl and I made our way out to Cedar Creek Falls at Samford. The drive there was perfection (nothing better than winding country roads) and we arrived in good time. We were under the impression that it was just a short walk from where we parked to the falls. Guess what? We were wrong. It's not only that it was long but over rocks 97% of the time. If you've read my previous posts you'll know that I'm not the most graceful at climbing over rocks especially with a still-healing ankle. To give you an idea of what we faced, I actually had to walk sideways with my back pressed again a stone wall to avoid falling into the surprisingly deep water (call me Indiana Jones). On numerous occasions, I needed Karl's help to get from one spot to another. "I'm not waiting for you when we're trekking through the Amazon or chasing jaguars." It's good to know that he's there for me. After thinking the falls were 'just up ahead' a few times, we finally made it. I had previously said that I would need to ice my foot but that water – gosh, no ice necessary anymore. The waterfall was beautiful and I'm so glad there was a good amount of water flowing unlike our last waterfall adventure.

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Light was beginning to fade as we took our last shots. We packed everything into the bags and set off as fast as we could. Seeing as how long it took to get there, I knew the chance of having to walk in the dark was very real. It felt like we were in the Hunger Games only our foe was darkness not a blood-thirsty teen. We even had Skyrim music playing to add some drama. My rock hopping ability seemed to improve tenfold and my eyes became owl-like is the dusk. No help was needed from Karl although I'm now the proud owner of a fabulous cut and bruise on my foot. Colour drained from the surroundings and it became near on impossible to tell if the rocks were flat or pointed. Nothing like the threat of death to spice things up! It eventually became so dark that I could only just see Karl a few metres ahead of me.

Just as we were almost at the car, I heard Karl ask "Jacqui, what's that behind you?". We both instantly thought that we were about to be the victims of some ritualistic killing (we just been joking about it). Thankfully it was something much more friendly – fireflies. We seemed to be suddenly surrounded by probably 20 of them as they gracefully floated through the forest. One word – magical. Once we reached the carpark and opened the car doors, I realised just how dark it was. I needed to use my high beam lights straight away. It’s truly remarkable just how well our eyes can adjust to the night.

Overall, it really was a fantastic walk – challenging at time but lots of fun. Make sure you have a good backpack if you’re taking a DSLR because a camera swinging from your neck can be a hindrance. Definitely take a tripod, ND filter and some snacks.

Tip to the wise – leave before sunset. 😛
District 7 Tribute Jacqui

Kangaroo Point Cliffs

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My city. I know this beautiful skyline so well now as I’ve lived here all my life.

A few days ago I completely missed sunset and last light (thanks traffic) but I’m so glad I made the effort to head in after work. There were boats and planes going everywhere so I was having a field day. Probably my favourite night shot I’ve taken so far. I used photoshop to layered two photos to get both the city cat and airplane light trails.

After photos, a friend and I walked all the way around to Southbank and got dinner. When we were heading back to the car I realised that I didn’t have tripod (I’m a genius). I ran back to where we were and thankfully it was still there. Thank you world!

Bought a new battery for my remote shutter which means I can finally use bulb mode again!! I’m also planning on buying a wide angle lens and some Lee filters in the coming days. So excited about it!

Forgetful Jacqui

Curtis Falls

We’d had a solid day of rain which meant one thing – waterfalls. Karl and I decided on Curtis Falls at Mount Tamborine because it’s pretty close to the Gold Coast and the walking track down is relatively easy. As we walked down the path, occasionally tripping on rocks and tree roots, we heard a very promising sound – gushing water. I’d been to Curtis Falls after a storm before and it was magical. But when up we got there – nothing. Only the slightest trickle of water. Turns out it was not the water but the wind that had raised our hopes. Wind, you cheeky devil. I have no idea where all the water had gone from the previous days downpour but it was not there. This wouldn’t get us down though.

Naturally we jumped the fence and walked over the rocks to get the desired composition. Now, I’ve recently ruptured a ligament in my ankle and it’s still rather weak so I’m sure it’s not hard to imagine me awkwardly trying to climb over rocks. I think I spent more time trying to find a safe path than actually shooting. Karl, however, was jumping over them like he owned the place (sometimes I think he is part mountain goat). “How did you get over there?!” became my new catch phrase.

IMG_1287.JPGCurtis Falls – and now he needs a hip replacement

Photography tip: clouds. Clouds are your friend when you’re photographing waterfalls. If you’re wanting a long exposure, you don’t want direct sunlight on your subject. Either choose an overcast day or (like me) stand around waiting for the ideal cloud to cover the sun for just long enough. The differences between the shutter speeds was only by about one second but the differences in colours was huge. The cloudless shots were a bit dull whereas the clouded shot was a lot greener. Of course, the sunlight won’t be a problem if you own a strong neutral density filter – something which I am desperate to buy.

Can’t wait until we get a few more storms and the waterfalls get flowing!
Awkward Rock Jacqui

Ekka 2014

A few weeks ago, I won a competition to be the Ekka’s official photographer for the day and let’s just say – I was excited. I’ll be honest, I was about 94.63% sure I might win (I stalked the competition hashtag). I probably would have been a bit crushed if I didn’t but I was right so no tears were shed. The day came around and my boyfriend (who is also a photographer) and I set off armed with cameras, tripods and snacks. Thankfully the lockers were only two dollars so we dumped the heavy stuff. No sore shoulders for us.

IMG_1257.JPGThe Ekka is the Royal Show in Brisbane, Australia

There was so much to see and photograph! I’d already mapped out the spots I wanted to visit and it was the animals first. We spent a good couple of hours looking at all the prize winning poultry, fish and cows (just to name a few). The barnyard animals is always my favourite though. It’s always a nice challenge getting fantastic shots – there’s the greedy animals who never stay still as they chase those with the food, the small children who have no idea they just stepped into your shot and the constant worry that no, that was not chocolate I just stepped in. Photography viewpoint: it was tricky choosing the right settings. I needed to bump the ISO up around 400-800 due to the poor lighting to ensure I didn’t get home with photos of a Picasso-looking sheep. I’d just gotten my new 50mm f/1.8 lens so my aperture pretty much stayed on 1.8 which also helped the shutter speed. Then there was actually getting a good composition. I’d crouch down ready to snap a piglet when a goat would mistake my camera for a cup of food and out it’s face in front of the camera (scared me to death the first time!).

IMG_1233.JPGMeet Zen Goat – no small child can break his meditation

We spent the rest of the day taking photos, eating great food (my burger was the greatest thing on Earth), and trying to win prizes (I won a little bear! Karl let me win but still. Hehe). I even had my first Strawberry Sundae – the iconic Ekka snack. Night started to fall which meant my favourite part of photographing the Ekka – long exposures of the rides. I love this so much! Photography viewpoint: light trails=long shutter speed. I made my aperture small (f/22) to get the shutter speed as long as possible. I used my remote shutter (which ran out of battery before the fireworks – argh) to avoid camera shake from me pushing the button directly. Now, it’s not just about getting the right settings but having the patience to wait and wait and wait for the shot. Last year I waited about half an hour for two rides to operate in sync. This year was no different.

IMG_1231-2.JPGMy patience paid off when the Hangover and the Ferris Wheel finally synced up

It seriously was a fantastic day! … And then came the editing the next day. Pretty sure I had square eyes by the end of it. I sent the select few off to the Ekka where they have since used them on their social media sites. As an amateur photographer, it was ridiculously exciting to see my photos out there being promoted. Even when I went to find the link for the Ekka website, they had my clown shot on their banner. My face = huge smile!

If you’d like to see some more of my Ekka photos, check them out on my Facebook page: Jacqui Schulz Photography or my Instagram: @jacquils

Can’t wait for Ekka 2015,
Official Ekka Photographer Jacqui