Photographing Aireys Inlet at Dusk

A beautiful reflection on Painkalac Creek, Aireys Inlet, at dusk along Victoria's Great Ocean Road in Australia.

Aireys Inlet is a sleepy township along the Great Ocean Road in southern Victoria. It's one of those very special places. The Painkalac Creek that flows, via a shallow tidal lake, to the beach is pretty. The cliffs and beach are more dramatic, and the Southern Ocean can be quite wild.

Photos are Nothing without Light

But it's the light that, under the right conditions, really transforms this location. Very early morning and either side of sunset are often the best times to photograph the lake, particularly when you're working under still conditions. The reflections in the shallow tidal lake can be really beautiful.

Memories of Velvia

Back in my film days I photographed the Aireys Inlet beach and its surrounds on numerous occasions, including several photos of the lake and nearby sand dune with my Hasselblad X-PAN camera and Fuji Velvia 100F film, the best film I ever used for color landscape photography.

Making the Effort, Taking a Chance

This photo was made during a Landscape Photography Workshop I was running along the Great Ocean Road. It was dusk when we pulled our cars over to the side of the road, prior to heading up to the hill to photograph the Split Point Lighthouse above and on the other side of the dune.

We only had a few minutes before our night session began and I needed to get the group up the hill and organized before night began to descend. Nonetheless, I felt the risk was worthwhile, and it proved to be the right decision. It was fun photographing under the beautiful, soft light at days end and a great preparation for what lay ahead. 

Surf and mist meet along the beach at sunset at Aireys Inlet along the Great Ocean Road in Australia.

Photography And The Evocative Nature Of Backlighting

It's always worthwhile taking the time to explore a location. If you have plenty of time you can do so in a relatively leisurely manner. If not you have to hustle, which kind of goes against the natural flow we should be experiencing around the edges of the day when the light is usually at it's most beautiful. The trick is to be prepared to break away from preconceptions and respond to what's happening in the here and now. I sprinted to get into position as the warm sunset light, rolling waves and rising mist came together to produce a very evocative image.

You'll be interested to known that the silhouetted rock feature on the right hand side of the frame appears, on the same side of the frame, in the image at the top of this post. The main difference between the two images is where I'm making the photo from, in relation to the light.

Photography Helps Us Look Back And Remember

I've been fortunate to have traveled and photographed on six different continents over the years. Yet, despite the privilege of having photographed truly remarkable landscapes and all manner of interesting people, my memories of Aireys Inlet remain strong.

I'm reminded that it's the light that transforms this landscape from a pretty location into something quite special. I understand why, over the years, many folks have made the sea change and moved to Aireys Inlet and the other scenic locations along Australia's Great Ocean Road region. It's no longer my dream to live there, but it retains a special place in my memory. And I know I'II continue to return there over the years.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru