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Mt Kosciuszko Summit Hike

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Hike

The Top of Australia

Last weekend we made the hike to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak.1

At 2,228m above sea level, Kosciuszko is quite a small mountain when compared to peaks of Europe, Japan, North America or even our neighbour, New Zealand2.

We commenced our hike at Eagles Nest, which is at the top of the Kosciuszko Express chairlift at Thredbo Alpine Village. The walk is very easy to navigate, as you simply follow the mesh walkway to Rawsons Pass3, and then continue on the well kept (and well sign-posted) trail to the summit.

Or you could just follow the dozens of other hikers if you’re walking on a weekend.

From Eagles Nest, the hike to the ‘top of Australia’ is about 13.5km return, through rugged alpine terrain.

Kosciuszko itself is fairly underwhelming. Sitting on top of the Main Range, the peak is only just a little higher than other surrounding peaks, and being much older than the more impressive ranges of new lands it has been weathered down through the ages. It is not an imposing peak like New Zealand’s Aoraki, Japan’s Fujisan, and the European Alps.

Nonetheless, the views from the peak are spectacular and are absolutely worth the trek to get there. You get impressive vistas over The Australian Alps, the Main Range and into Victoria.

The hike itself is fantastic—although rated as moderate, this is mostly about the length of the hike and the constant climb.

This is an Alpine hike, so weather can change quickly. You need to ensure you have gear for warm or cold weather, regardless of the time of year, and be prepared for wind and rain. There is no access to drinking water or food, so you need to take your own.

On the day of our hike we had winds of 50-70km/h, with gusts exceeding 100km/h. We got back to Eagles Nest just before a big storm. So be prepared.

A hike well worth doing.

Image Data

  • C: Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
  • L: Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4
  • E: Lightroom (CC)

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr.


  1. To be factual, Kosciuszko is the highest peak on the on The Australian continent, with the higher peaks in the Australian Antarctic Territory, and on the uninhabited island territory of Heard Island. 
  2. New Zealand’s Aoraki, at 3,724m, is almost 1,500m higher than Kosciuszko, and it is a much more visually impressive peak. 
  3. An important location, being the junction of the Summit path from Charlotte Pass, and the location of Australia’s highest public toilets. 
Behind the Falls

Behind the Falls

Behind the Falls

Among the myriad of waterfalls in Iceland, Seljalandsfoss is unique in that you can easily walk behind the falls to gain a spectacular view through the water curtain over the adjacent plains.

We visited this site on a (typically) overcast day, and got some good images. The following day was much sunnier, so as we drove back to Reykjavik we made a quick stop, which paid off with this image.

Like the nearby Skogafoss, the challenge for photographers is to create images that reduce the crowds. The best way is to get there early before the tour buses from Reykjavik arrive.

An additional approach is to setup a composition with an angle that minimises crowds, and then pick you moment!.

Another challenge here is the spray from the waterfall. It is intense, so you need to setup your composition, cover the lens and the rip off the cover, shoot, wipe and repeat. Needless to say, plenty of microfibre cloths are essential.

This is one location where a very wide lens helps get the full scene, and exposure blending techniques will be useful to balance the very dark to very bright, especially on a sunny day.

Skogafoss

Skogafoss

Skogafoss

While Iceland has countless amazing waterfalls, a handful really touched me, including Kirkjufellsfoss, Godafoss, the Valley of the Tears, and the majestic Skogafoss.

Located in the south of the island, between Vik and Reykjavik, Skogafoss is special in that you can walk right up to the base of a fall that drops over 60m, or climb the steps up to a viewing platform overlooking the waterfall.

Behind the viewing platform is a pathway that is the start/end of a 25km hiking track, with numerous additional and unique waterfalls along the glacier-fed river that leads to Skogafoss.

Skogafoss is busy, making it difficult to capture images like this one with few people. The trick is to get there early or late in the day. This image was captured in the morning before day-trippers from Reykjavik arrived. I setup and composed my image, then waited patiently for no-one to be in frame.

I love this site, and look forward to revisiting in winter or spring when there is snow on the surrounding peaks.

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr

Grand Valley

Grand Valley

Grand Valley

This grand valley lies near Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island and is a great example of the incredible hils and valleys that make up the Land of the Long White Cloud.

I love the way that the road cutting through the valley disappears into the folds of the surrounding mountains, and the sheer walls of the cliffs.

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr

Vestrahorn

Vestrahorn

Vestrahorn

The first time I saw images of Iceland’s Vestrahorn I knew that I had to visit and photograph this magnificent mountain range. It is simply one of the most spectacular ranges right on Iceland’s south eastern coast.

Vestrahorn is quite accessible from the nearby town of Hofn, and makes for stunning sunset photos in any (every) season.

Vestrahorn requires a wide lens—this images was made with at 8mm on my m43 camera (16mm FF equivalent).

Alternatively it is a great scene for a panorama. In fact, if you wanted to get any closer to the range you would need to go pano unless you have a super-wide angle lens.

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr

Autumn Colours in Kyoto

Autumn Colours in Kyoto

Autumn Colours in Kyoto

The Tenryuji Temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama area is a peaceful temple complex with spectacularly beautiful gardens.

The ponds provide stunning reflections, and in the bright middle of the day light, I found that eliminating sky and focusing on colours and the reflections made for stunning images.

This is a great complex that is worth spending time exploring and finding images that talk to you.

‘Serenity’ was that message that I took from the Tenryuji Temple and gardens, and this was the feeling I was aiming to evoke in my images.

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr.

Image Data

  • C: Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
  • L: Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4
  • E: Lightroom
Drama over Kirkjufell

Drama over Kirkjufell

 

Drama over Kirkjufell

Located near the town of Grundarfjörður on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Kirkjufell may well be the iconic image of Iceland.

There is a reason this sight is so well photographed—it is very accessible, and has the ‘whole package’ of a distinctive mountain and two waterfalls in the scene (the second one is on the bend on the lower right of the image—the white water is beneath the fall).

Being so well photographed, the challenge with somewhere like Kirkjufell is to make an image that is unique.

Over the course of a couple of days during our Iceland adventures I was able to get several different perspectives, and was happy to get some real drama in the sky on in several images.

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr

Lava, Light and Rhyolite

Lava, Light and Rhyolite

Lava, Light and Ryolite

Iceland’s highland region of Landmannalaugar is notable for the spectacular rhyolite mountains, valleys and hills. It is also known for several surrounding lava fields.

For photographers, these features make for spectacular subjects, but a good photograph has a good subject and great light, and Landmannalaugar is also well known for the spectacular light that can be experienced.

After quite an amazing trek up Blahnukur, we explored the adjacent lava fields, and found several vistas showing both the hills and fields, but the light in this vista really took my imagination. It was simply spectacular.

An all day trip to Landmannalaugar allowed time to explore, and you really need to be able to take the time and let the light conditions progress. Don’t rush.

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr

Image Data

  • C: Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
  • L: Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4
  • E: Lightroom
Dark Skies over the Black Church of Budir

Dark Skies over the Black Church of Budir

Dark Skies over the Black Church of BudirThe Black Church of Budir is one of those Icealandic photography locations I had seen in various Youtube videos and guidebooks, and the look of this quaint, black, church intrigued me enough to ensure a side trip to visit the location while staying on the Snaefellsness Peninsula.

This was early in our trip to Iceland, and the skies were not promising. As we drove over the mountain pass from Grundarfjordur (the town adjacent to Kirkjufell), the heavy rain and low clouds did not give me great confidence of great images.

We of course persevered, and the cloud did not lift. If anything, it set in even further, with the surrounding mountains shrouded in a heavy cover.

So while not ‘ideal’ the conditions challenged me to look around, and instead of using the mountains as a backdrop, I changed composition to show the sea.

As with many locations in Iceland, the beauty of the scenery is often enhanced by the ever-present cloudy skies, bringing out the saturation in the grasses.

In this case, the black church provided a stunning contrast to the church grounds, and the skies enhanced the mood of darkness that the church naturally evokes.

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr

Image Data

  • C: Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
  • L: Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4
  • E: Lightroom Classic
Milky Way over the Lightstation

Milky Way over the Lightstation

Milky Way over the Lightstation

Precisely one year ago we visited Cape Otway on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, staying at the Cape Otway Lightstation for a milestone birthday treat.

There are three or four cottages or studios in historical buildings in which you can stay at the Lightstation. On this occasion, we are pretty sure we were the only guests staying overnight, and given the staff don’t stay on site, we had this incredible piece of history to ourselves overnight.

I haven’t done a lot of night sky photography, but with a clear night and a new moon in a remote location I had to take the opportunity.

Staying overnight provides the opportunity to scout out compositions before dusk, and the use of the PhotoPills app allowed me to plan the time of night when the milky way would be aligned above the lighthouse.

While I am sure that there is a lot of room for improvement, I am very happy with this image. Not only it is a decent image of the magnificent night sky, it brings forth great memories and wonderful imaginings.

Photography is a medium for story telling. This image provokes thoughts of the vastness of the universe, it is a reminder of the danger of navigation along a treacherous coastline. These threads combine—for me—into thoughts of exploration and journey.

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr

Image Data

  • C: Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
  • L: Laowa 7.5mm f/2
  • E: Lightroom CC
Harbour Sunrise

Harbour Sunrise

Harbour Sunrise

One of the joys of living in Sydney is that you have a magnificent city scape, a beautiful harbour and many beaches and bushlands to explore.

When I arrived on this morning, I was a little disappointed about the low cloud covering the horizon, but the pre-dawn glow was just right to cast some beautiful pinks and reds into the sky. This was also a good hour for minimal boat traffic on the harbour, which my long exposure also dealt well with.

I can’t imagine tiring of taking this exact shot time and again, and know that chasing the perfect image is a worthy quest.

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr

Image Data

  • C: Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
  • L: Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4
  • E: Lightroom Classic
Storm over Godafoss

Storm over Godafoss

Storm over Godafoss

Godafoss was one of the key photography locations that I was looking forward to seeing and capturing during our visit there in September 2019. I can’t remember exactly how and when I first learned of this stunning waterfall, but it certainly came up regularly as we planned our trip.

We based ourselves out of Akureyri in northern Iceland for a couple of days, and made the journey out there on our second day. Of course the weather was quite overcast, and the distant mountains were completely hidden in the cloud. We still spent some time hunting for composures and hoping for the weather to clear. It didn’t, so we continued on to visit other locations around Lake Myvatn.

While I got a couple of nice images, I was not able to get the image I had in my minds eye—and had travelled half way around the world to capture.

The next morning was our last in Akureyri, and I planned to get up early to try again for the image I wanted, but the weather was even worse, so we had a leisurely breakfast, explored Akureyri and set off early afternoon for our next destination.

Our route would take us right past Godafoss, but the weather was still poor. As we neared the waterfall, we decided to stop anyway. I got the camera gear out, covering it up a raincover.

Suddenly there was a break in the rain, and the cloud lifted just enough to expose the distant mountains. The drama in the sky added to the natural beauty of this ‘waterfall of the gods.’

A little bit of persistence, and an equal measure of luck, helped me to get the photo I imagined.

View this image on my Photo Gallery or Flickr.