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Photographer's Note

There is a lot written, and there are a lot of good shots on TE already, for The 12 Apostles (or whatever the count is now, as it keeps changing) so I will contain my notes here on my own observations. There is very good reference material however for this and the rest of the Great Ocean Road trip to be found at: http://www.greatoceanroad.org/index.asp

This is definitely a highlight for a trip down the Great Ocean Road. After reading about others’ experiences taking shots here, I planned to arrive at sundown. I hadn’t planned on stormy conditions but sometimes you just get lucky.

The 12 Apostles are in Port Campbell National Park. Parking is free and very well managed but give yourself about 15 minutes to get to the actual site. Parking is across the road and you need to walk through a tunnel to get to the ocean side. When we arrived it was actually lighter than it had been at Gibson’s Steps , though it was starting to spit. The sun now was below the clouds, and shining directly at us along the water. This is where I could have use the ND filter that I keep promising myself. There are two main observation decks, with a third overlooking the 1st one. I shot from all three, I shot in both directions (there are a couple of Apostles to the west), and I tried different exposures for different effects (like everybody else I wanted something different). I even tried a couple of HDR shots (with disastrous results with the waves).

For this one I was on the outer platform (another future Apostle?), and after patiently waiting for the people with the camera phones to finish, I set up low with my tripod angled to allow my camera to stick through the lower part of the cable fence. I decided for this one I wanted the water, with the sun and sky, but I needed to keep the rocks in the shot to provide locality. Having the brush available I saw as a bonus, providing natural framing. I underexposed (for most of the scene) to try to compensate for the sun, and took the shots.

Things I might try differently if there is a next time, is to shoot early morning to capture the light on the face of the Apostles, rather than the shadow, a different lens and filtering might be nice as well.

Workflow for these pictures as follows:
2 shots taken in Raw, in series with the same exposure: f8, 1/30 sec @ 18 mm
The NEF files were processed in parallel to maintain exposures and saturation levels
Files were cropped to support alignment and fit, and saved as tiffs
2 tiff files were merged as a panorama, the shot was straightened to horizon and cropped in a 20 x 8 format
Used Blur tool on stitch (not happy with that one)
Curves were used to pump some light into the shot, mainly in the shadows area
A couple of more Curves layers were created for separate selection between the sky and the land and water.
An overlay layer was used for dodging and burning
Saturation layer used for land and sea (+10 yellow and red - they still seemed “flat”)
Added a layer for sharpening and “over-sharpened” with Smart Sharpen
Modified sharpening with a layer mask (15% opacity black brush)
Saved as a Tiff
Continued with file for this post, further sharpened for the reduced size, framed, and saved as a jpeg

Re-post as wrong frame selected, too large and grey - highlighted to me by another member, and he was right. It just didn't match any of my other work and looked out of place.

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Additional Photos by John Plumb (JPlumb) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 710 W: 158 N: 1008] (3159)
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