The Australia You’ve Never Seen - Part 2
In this final instalment, Andrew Bertuleit shares more of his stunning photography from around the country and the commitment it takes to get the perfect shot.
Luckily he’s a patient man and the result is this second series of epic photography, including his tips on how to successfully capture quality photos.
Ted's and BIG4 Holiday Parks would like to thank Andrew for his wonderful photographic contribution. You can find more of Andrew’s work in his previous article titled The Australia you’ve never seen (part one), or by visiting his website.
Aerial shot of the Melbourne CBD, St Kilda Rd running into Flinders St and becomes Swanston St. Shot out the window of a Cessna in May 2015.
I think this used to be the old fire station in Walhalla (a gold mining town in Victoria) and is now a museum. Interesting place to have a wander around.
I always thought Wineglass Bay in Tasmania got its name purely because of its shape but a customer once told me it’s because a long time ago whaling ships used to anchor there to do all their butchering and the whole bay turned red - like a glass of red wine. I think I was better off not knowing.
The old boat shed off Mounts Bay Rd in Perth. Every photographer that comes to Perth has a go at this shot and whether it works or not depends largely on the weather. It's an early morning shot so you just have to bite the bullet, get up before dawn and hope for the best. That rickety walkway was slippery and had the odd slat missing so it was hard to keep the camera steady for a long exposure. I had to set the timer and carefully walk far enough away that I didn’t send out any vibrations. I had $6000 worth of gear sitting precariously over water on slimy, rotten timber. That woke me up.
Sunset in Byron Bay. It's a nice place but I can't help wishing I could turn back the clock and visit it 40 or 50 years ago, before the crowds and commercialiation.
Nine days. That’s how long I had to wait to get this shot. I’d ridden the motorbike from Melbourne all the way up through the Flinders Ranges, Marree, Alice, across the Plenty Highway, up to the Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Cape Trib, Cooktown, Weipa and finally up to the tip of Cape York where I looked around and decided the best shot would be an aerial of the tip, looking back.
So now I need a plane. First sunny morning and I’m in business - and that’s what took nine days. Every morning (it had to be a morning shot) was either overcast, raining, or just too cloudy. Normally I’d head off to the next destination and come back another time but it’s a long, hard ride to get there so I had to stick around. There are definitely worse places to be stuck for nine days but I was keen to get back on the road so it was pretty frustrating. Finally, on the ninth morning, some sun.
This is where you’d stay if you were visiting the rock and wanted to spend a few days. It’s a long drive if you want to go back and forth from Alice Springs.
This old shed is across the road from the Middleton Hotel in outback Queensland. I was up early one morning, a rare occurrence, especially after spending the night at a pub, and saw the sun shining through from window to window. It’s a simple shot but I like it because it’s also a bit different and you kind of have to look at it twice to get what it is.
You’ve really got to see this place from the air. And if you can, spend a few extra days in the area because it's a beautiful part of the country.
I was on a short trip, just driving around Victoria for three or four days, heading nowhere special but trying to go down roads I hadn’t driven a million times already. After a couple of days had gone by and I hadn’t taken one decent shot I was starting to question what I was doing out there (this is not unusual for me).
On this morning the forecast was for fog so I got up before dawn with fingers crossed and went looking for something interesting. An hour or so later I still had nothing and was frustrated, annoyed and felt like packing it in and going home. But then I came upon this scene and I was so pleased with the image the last few days didn’t matter. For every shot I take that's good enough to print there are hundreds, sometimes thousands, that aren’t. Which means a lot of wasted time, lots of driving and lots of money spent and nothing to show for it. But, as I have to keep reminding myself, the more time I spend looking the more chance I have of finding something.
You never know what’s around the next corner.
Andrew’s Tips On Nailing Better Photography
- Get off auto.
Turn your camera's setting to manual or aperture or shutter speed and play around with it. You may get terrible results at first but it will teach you how aperture size ties in with shutter speed which ties in with ISO which ties in with ... you get the picture (hopefully).
- Get closer.
Many people shoot from so far away, or with such a wide-angle lens, that the main subject gets lost in the background. Think about what you're trying to convey then ask yourself what does and doesn't need to be in the frame.
It may be expensive and it may be a pain to learn, but processing your images in Photoshop or Lightroom (or whatever) makes a huge difference. Just don't over-do it. Remember it takes two people to use Photoshop - one to do the processing and one to say STOP!
- Put your money into lenses.
Bodies will come and go but good lenses will last forever. No matter how good your camera's sensor is, the light still has to come through the lens first so having a $500 lens on a $5000 body makes no sense.
- Don't overspend.
Yes it's nice to have all the best gear and there are shots you can get with $10,000 worth of equipment that you can't with $1000, but spending big bucks is no guarantee of getting a good image. Any image that evokes an emotional response in the viewer beats one that's technically perfect but doesn't say anything and you can get the former with your phone.
- Spend time online.
All the free tutorials, blogs by top photographers, info and inspiration you could possibly need is out there.
- Show only your best.
You will be judged as a photographer on the images you present so it's much better to only show people your 10 very best images than all of your images.
- Be brave, but ask permission.
For most people, asking a complete stranger if you can take their photo is difficult. You don't want to ask and be rejected but you also don't want to miss out on a potential award-winning image (hey, you never know). As most people will say yes it’s always better to ask first.
- If you have the money, use a helicopter.
Yes, it will cost you three times more than a fixed-wing plane, but it is much, much easier.
- Don't think you'll shoot it on the way back.
If you're driving around and you see something interesting you should stop and shoot it then and there. You can tell yourself you'll come back another time but chances are you won't and it will stick in your head as a lost opportunity.
Try a different angle, a different lens, a different anything. Shoot fast action with a slow shutter speed (to get motion blur) or try a double exposure for the first time - experimentation will make you think about what's possible when you're lining up your shot and it's good to have those options in the back of your mind before you press the button.
- Never take a fully loaded, big motorbike out to Fraser Island.
The sand is so deep you'll crash it 20 times in 3km, you won’t be able to pick it up because it's too heavy, you'll swear your head off, curse the day you decided to come here and leave the island on the first ferry out the next morning, crashing another 20 times on the way out. Trust me.
- Shoot the stuff you like, not what you think others will like.
The flip-side of this is that if you’re shooting for a living and not everyone likes the same stuff you do, then you’re going to have to compromise to a certain degree just to sell your work. It’s a fine line.
Andrew is a professional photographer based in Melbourne, who spends most of his time either taking pictures, thinking about taking pictures, flying, driving, riding and walking to the picture location and then, if all goes well, selling the prints and buying another lens.
Print sales are through this website andrewbertuleitphotography.com and also at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne so if you're visiting the city, drop in and say hello.
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