Another trip to Adelaide, another stack of sunset photos. That’s the short version of this blogpost. The longer version is that I’ve just returned from a few days in Adelaide. My only reason for going was to visit family. As I’ve mentioned before, my father was very unwell earlier and this was a chance to […]
Another trip to Adelaide, another stack of sunset photos.
That’s the short version of this blogpost. The longer version is that I’ve just returned from a few days in Adelaide. My only reason for going was to visit family. As I’ve mentioned before, my father was very unwell earlier and this was a chance to check in an see how he is recovering.
I don’t miss living in Australia. However, I do miss spending time with my family. Over years holidaying in Adelaide I’ve gotten into a very comfortable routine that includes lots of family meals, pottering around the garden with my mother, watching football with my father, going for long bike rides and, yes, taking lots of sunset photos.
There’s something kind of special about the light in Adelaide, especially in the mornings and evenings. Adelaide is a flat coastal city, with a low hill range to the east and a long shallow beachside to the west.
Although we see the sun setting into the water, Adelaide is not really an Ocean-side town, it sits on the edge of Gulf of Saint Vincent which means as the sun sets over the water, it is still reflecting off the land around Port Vincent. I suspect this is what gives the cloudless sunsets some of their spectacular colour and luminosity.
Where my parents live is on the most northern peninsula and one of it’s most attractive features is a coastal bike path, which thanks to recent extensions stretches all the way from the port of Outer Harbour in the north (with a charming little rail station and golf course), to Fort Glanville in the south (with a small scale tourist steam train, park and surf club).
I’m not sure exactly how long the path is, but my estimate puts is at around 12 kilometres. It’s flat smooth bitumen, except for a few spots where you cross the dunes on lovely wooden bridges. If you stay on the path you’ll pass four cafes (all of which either serve decent burgers or Fish ’n Chips) and you can also wander into Semaphore for some cool, local, non-chain cafes with good coffee and great cakes.
With the sun setting around 5.30 in the evening, my pattern was to set out before 4pm, ride for twenty to thirty minutes, just to enjoy the afternoon calm, then stop for a coffee, maybe at the North Haven Marina. Then I would set out down towards the beaches, usually ending up somewhere around Largs Bay as the sun started to dip towards the ocean.
Typically I would be carrying my gear in a Click Elite Impulse Sling. A backpack would be more comfortable for riding, but I like that you can work out of the Impulse Sling without having to take it off, or get off the bike. In the sling I would carry my D90 and this trip most of my shots were taken with the 24mm PCE Tilt/Shift lens. I always use filters when shooting landscape and on this trip I made good use of my Singh Ray Galen Rowell Graduated hard-step Neutral Density 3-stop Filter and a 5-stop Mor-Slo ND Filter.
I also pack a tripod on the back of the bike. You really need a tripod if you want to try this kind of photography. No amount of camera tech or lens stabilisation will make up for the lack of a stable surface for your camera. When shooting sunsets, especially in the 10-20 minutes before sunset, the shutter speeds are very fast and it is easy to shoot handheld (especially if you are going for high contrast shots). But, in the minutes after the sun sets the exposure times get longer and if you are trying to create moody, evocative twilight shots you’ll soon be leaving the shutter open for 10 or 30 seconds or more.
Providence is a funny thing. I visited Adelaide on Holidays in 1998, before leaving Australia. That was part of a big road trip, from Sydney, across rural New South Wales, through Mildura and into the Barossa Valley, then along the Adelaide Hills and into the Coonawarra, along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne, then north across the River Murray at Albury through the Snowy Mountains to Canberra and then back to Sydney. It was a great tour of coasts, mountains and wineries and a farewell to Australia.
But, I never expected to come back to Adelaide. But, when my parents retired to that city I started visiting more regularly and found the town quite agreeable. I’ve now got a body of photos, over a period of years and a whole chapter of experiences that I never expected to have.