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 where the quality of the light and the slow, easy going nature of the township are very alluring.

The Painkalac Creek that flows, via a shallow tidal lake, to the beach is pretty, the cliffs and beach more dramatic and the sometimes wild Southern Ocean provide great variety for the enthusiastic landscape photographer.

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.

My Memories of Fuji 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.

That was the best film I ever used for color landscape photography.

Making the Effort, Taking a Chance

The photo at the top of this post 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 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 darkness 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 day’s 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 remember sprinting to get into position for this photo looking down onto the beach at Aireys Inlet 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 featured on the right hand side of the frame is part of the same structure in the image at the top of this post.

The main difference between the two images is where I'm making the photos from, in relation to the light.

When you photograph with the light behind you color and detail are revealed. Conversely, when you photograph into the light subject matter that is not illuminated will likely record as a silhouette.

The brighter the light, the darker the shadows will photograph.
— Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru
Silhouette, Twelve Apostles

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Photography Helps Us Look Back And Remember

I've been fortunate to have travelled 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