A Visit To Erskine Falls

A lovely, silvery detail of a fern, rendered into black and white, near the base of the Erskine Falls in the Great Otway National Park near Lorne, Australia.

Erskine Falls is one of the most popular Great Ocean Road attractions. I’d recommend a visit to Erskine Falls be on your list of things to do in Lorne during your next Great Ocean Road trip.

How to Get To Lorne

Lorne is a very popular seaside town 142 km south west of the state capital, Melbourne. With the goddess of traffic smiling in your direction you could make the trip in a leisurely 2 hours while enjoying driving along the spectacular Great Ocean Road.

However, if you’re making the trip near the afternoon peak hour or on a weekend in summer it could take quite a bit longer.

A black and white rendering of the base of Erskine Falls and surrounding rainforest in the Great Otway National Park.

Lorne Waterfalls

Situated within the Great Otway National Park, and only about 10 minutes drive out of Lorne, Erskine Falls is probably the most heavily visited waterfall in the region.

From the carpark it’s a short, steep trek down to the base of Erskine Falls. If you’re fit and not carrying any camera gear you could trek back up again in around 5 minutes.

Loaded down with camera, tripod and other paraphernalia the climb up might take you 10 minutes. Either way, when you’ve reached the carpark, you’ll know you’re alive.

A black and white photo featuring the magnificent Erskine Falls and surrounding rainforest from the lookout point.

Erskine Falls Lookout

On the way down to the Erskine River there’s a lookout down and onto the falls. It’s a great place to photograph Erskine Falls amidst the beautiful trees and ferns that surround it.

You can see that the tremendous amount of texture in the foliage surrounding Erskine Falls was central in my mind when I made this image.

To further emphasize the textural qualities within the scene I opted for a black and white rendering, with which I’m really happy.

A detail of ferns and leaves on a rock near the base of Erskine Falls near Lorne in the Great Otway National Park.

Exploring Erskine River

Once you’ve reached the bottom of the canyon it’s possible to jump some rocks and get a position right in front of the falls. You can make some powerful images looking up to the top of Erskine Falls from that position.

It’s also possible to find a few spots along the narrow canyon, by the banks of the Erskine River, from which to photograph the entire waterfall and to find some interesting nature details to explore through your camera.

The limited opportunities for movement should encourage you to slow down and become aware of your surroundings. Tree ferns along the sides of the river can help you frame Erskine Falls as it sends water cascading down to the river below.

A close-up image of a fern by the banks of the Erskine River near Lorne, Australia.

Photographing Waterfalls and the Advantages of a Tripod

Usually the best time to photograph a waterfall is on a cloudy day or, alternatively, very early or late in the day when the surrounding landscape is lit by relatively even lighting.

This tends to keep the dynamic range of the scene down to an acceptable level and increases your chances of keeping detail in the brighter water and deeper shadows within the scene.

For some the low light levels will dictate the use of a tripod to ensure sharp photos, particularly where slow shutter speeds are used to emphasize movement in the water.

While a tripod can be a bit of a hassle to use, let alone carry, more carefully considered compositions will usually result.

And for those folks still unfamiliar with their cameras, this kind of contemplative photography forces you to consider and, eventually, come to terms with the knobs and wheels that control ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture.

It is from this point that the exciting world of creative movement and depth of field emerges for the enthusiastic photographer.

 

Water cascades down Erskine Falls near the town of Lorne in the Great Otway National Park, Australia.

 

Lorne Waterfalls

Because I’ve photographed Erskine Falls on numerous occasions I need to challenge myself to make new and interesting images on subsequent visits.

On one such visit I decided to explore close up details. I was able to make a few images that I hope explore notions such as fallen beauty, decay and provide a glimpse into the nature of things.

It’s always a good idea when you’re confronted with an icon, such as Erskine Falls, to look down and around for alternate ways of exploring the location.

It’s those alternate views that, quite often, best portray your own, individual experience and your unique way of seeing the world.

You never know which photos will be your best. But, almost certainly, your more memorable images will be your most personal.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru