Photography From Teddy's Lookout, Great Ocean Road, Australia

 

The view from Teddy's Lookout down onto the St. George River, just outside of Lorne, along Australia's Great Ocean Road.

 

This photo, made from Teddy’s Lookout along Australia’s Great Ocean Road, is one of the oldest images in my portfolio. I guess it was made in the early 90’s.

Having originally printed it in the darkroom as a 16" x 16" print I decided to dig out an old and not terribly high quality scan made from the original color negative and put some life back into it on the desktop.

I plan to get a much better scan, providing a sharper and more highly detailed image, in the not too distant future.

It was a favorite image, back in the day, and I can still remember the thrill I experienced when making it.

Driving through the tourist town of Lorne, on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, I headed for Teddy’s Lookout, a short drive from town.

It was the third time I’d visited the lookout in as many weeks. Despite the picturesque location, the first two visits were uninspiring. In each case the light was flat and the tide had come in too far for an interesting image.

I wanted desperately to make a good photo, so I returned for a third attempt.

It’s a 2-hour drive, each way, when the traffic is light.

It was not, a fact which contributed to my lack of success the first two times when I arrived at the lookout just as the light had begun to fade.

But I’m nothing if not determined and the scene that awaited me, during my third attempt, was indeed beautiful. This time the tide, unique viewpoint and light were all working in my favor.

The warm end of day light illuminated the sand and foliage, while the cool skylight reflected onto the surface of the road and water.

 
Surfer, Bells Beach, Australia

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The Human Element Arrives

I just needed one other element to bring the image together in a cohesive manner.

I noticed a group of people exploring the shallow pools of water on the edge of the St. George River. I kept a close eye on them and waited, hoping they’d add a sense of cohesion and harmony to the image.

My efforts and perseverance were rewarded when the people came together to gather around a small, circular pool the shape of which had been emphasized by a stone being dropped into the water.

The image was made on a Hasselblad 500C camera and Hasselblad 150 mm f/4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Professional Ektacolor Gold 160 film.

I originally printed my own RA-4 color prints on Kodak Ektacolor Glossy Paper.

The spectacular Great Ocean Road offers a classic driving experience as illustrated here as the road passes over the St. George River near Lorne.

The second image from Teddy’s Lookout was made back in 2009 while running a landscape photography workshop along the Great Ocean Road.

I made the photo with a Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24 mm f/1.4 wide-angle lens.

The rectangular format of the sensor and the classic wide-angle focal length allowed me to make an image that better explored the sweeping hillsides and the snake-like nature of the road as it winds its way around the coast.

A heavy warm/cool split tone was applied to add mood and provide separation between the brighter sand and grass and the darker tones of the surrounding trees.

It’s great to re-visit Teddy’s Lookout through these old photos. I think each photo tells a quite different story.

The color image explores the joy of the moment, of play and of being in nature.

The black and white image speaks to me of a watchful, brooding presence within the landscape and the excitement of driving through it.

It’s been ages since I last ventured along the Great Ocean Road. Now that summer’s begun I think I’II make it a priority and I’m looking forward to making several trips over the next few months.

I hope to include Teddy’s Lookout as part of that exploration. It will be interesting to see what story the landscape presents this time around.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru