Covid Diaries part 1 is the first in a series captured during the Covid-19 pandemic (Corona Virus) in Australia. This video features short time-lapse footage captured within the upper Blue Mountains area where I live. During the early restrictive phases of the lockdown, I used the time to capture time-lapse and video footage whilst my photographic work was reduced due to the pandemic. This body of work reflects the quieter times and moments during the Corona virus pandemic… Timelapse footage – Ben Pearse Music- Dismantle- Peter Sandberg- Epidemic Sound Software- Premiere Pro- Adobe Camera- Nikon D850 in 4k
In late late 2019-2020, you probably heard and saw dramatic and devastating footage of the bushfires that ravaged Australia. I posted images and footage in this blog post here about these bushfires in my local area of Katoomba, Blue Mountains, Australia. After the fires had gone through I was interested to see the impact on the local landscapes in my area. After the bushfires many of national park areas that were burnt remain closed due to the risk of falling trees etc. I was very interested in hiking out to Mount Solitary, however this trail is still closed at time of writing.
I decided on documenting one of my favourite areas, Narrowneck plateau in Katoomba. This area was impacted by the ruined castle bushfire in early December 2019. As I wandered through different areas of narrowneck plateau, it became apparent that certain areas were going to take some time to regenerate compared to others. In the gully of diamond creek, the unmistakable vibrant green regrowth stood out against the dull magenta and black of the surrounding burnt landscape. I couldn’t help but be drawn into this area due to the alarming contrast of colours on display. As diamond creek carves it’s way through the valley, it brought a lifeline, in the form of water, enabling new life to regenerate and grow.
Over the next few months I would see more regrowth appear across the burnt fireground. In the steep gullies and the tops of ridgelines where the fires burnt very hot and intense, it will take additional time for the regeneration to gather momentum. The flora and fauna that grow, dwell and cling to the sandstone formation that is Narrowneck plateau are resilient and should thrive once again in the years to come.
Thanks for looking,
Visit Ben’s website here- Ben Pearse Photography
It’s always nice to wake up to snow covering the ground in my hometown of Katoomba, Blue Mountains, Australia. Over the last decade I’ve tried to capture a snowfall that has settled on the iconic three sisters in Katoomba. I’ve only seen an old postcard of snow that has properly settled on these sandstone ladies from the 1970’s. I thought this time I might be in luck as the snow really starting coming down on sunrise, however it just wasn’t quite enough. So the quest continues, perhaps 2020 will be the year I get the photo I’m seeking…
Visit Ben’s Website here: Ben Pearse Photography
In late November 2019 the Blue Mountains in NSW Australia would see the start of a unprecedented bushfire season that would destroy approximately 80% of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area. Drought conditions across Australia in the leadup to the fire season left the soil with very little moisture which helped fuel hundreds of bushfires across the nation. By the end of the fire season, 34 people would tragically lose their lives and over 46 million acres (186,000 square kilometres) of land would be burnt. Hundreds of millions of mammals, reptiles and birds would perish during the fires…
I first took note of a very small bushfire that was burning around the Ruined Castle on 27th November 2019 in the jamison valley in Katoomba, NSW. Over the course of the next few days this fire would spread onto the Narrowneck plateau and eventually into the megalong valley. Most of the images I captured are from the Ruined Castle bushfire.
Thick dust laden smoke starts to choke the air on sunset in Katoomba. The setting sun takes on an eerie feeling, a forewarning perhaps of troubling times to come…
On December 1st, 2019, the Ruined Castle bushfire flares up and races up the sheer sandstone cliffs on the Narrowneck plateau in Katoomba. Despite a strong prevailing breeze against it, the fire raged effortlessly up and down the sheer vertical walls and pushed closer towards the township of Katoomba. Precision water bombing from the RFS helicopter slowed the fire spread before nightfall. RFS ground crews worked throughout the night to control the blaze along the narrowneck plateau.
At night concerned local residents would view the Ruined castle bushfire from Echo point lookout. At night you could clearly see the location of the fire as the flames would become visible in the darker conditions.
A backburn that was implemented to stop the spread of the massive Gospers Mountains fire, broke containment lines and entered the grose valley. The grose valley fire produced a huge pyrocumulus fire cloud that dominated the skyline…The Gospers Mountains fire was unstoppable and burnt over 1.2 million acres, becoming the largest forest fire in Australian history.
Note: I would like to personally thank all the incredible and tireless work that the Emergency workers do across Australia each fire season. Thankyou!
Cheers for looking, Ben.
View Ben’s Website here: Ben Pearse Photography
Situated in the world heritage listed Blue Mountains, Australia lies the majestic Mount Solitary. At 950 metres above sea level Mount Solitary demands attention amongst it’s nearest landscapes rivals such as the iconic three sisters located nearby. The local indigenous people called the mountain Korowal meaning “the strong one”. Mount Solitary is located in the jamison valley and is most easily accessed via the mountain township of Katoomba.
Over the years Mount Solitary has been a sought after destination for many experienced walkers, hikers, runners and overnight campers as they seek the majestic and breathtaking views the mountain offers up as you labour up it’s steep eucalyptus lined ridges. From it’s summit you are offered a stunning view from melville’s lookout near chinaman’s gap that takes in lake burragorang and the wild dog mountains.
In recent times the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) have installed pit toilets, shelter and rainwater tanks for the increased traffic flow to Ruined Castle ,which you pass along the way enroute to Mount Solitary. Though the rain tanks may supply water year round, yet it’s vital you carry a good supply of water as it may not be available in the dry periods atop Mount Solitary. Overnight campers can stay in chinaman’s gap or nearby areas with suitable tents and sleeping equipment.
Below is a series of pictures taken by Ben Pearse who is a commercial photographer living and working in Katoomba, Blue Mountains, Australia. These images document the popular walking route from the Golden Stairs to atop Mount Solitary. The distance from the beginning of the Golden stairs to the Chinaman’s Gap is approximately 7.7km. (please read additional notes below images on hiking severity)
I hope these images help others enjoy this beautiful section of the Blue Mountains, Australia.
All images are copyright to Ben Pearse Photography 2016
Golden stairs to Mount Solitary
Thanks for looking, cheers Ben
Note: The hike to Mount Solitary is not suitable for inexperienced hikers and campers. The long steep ridge path through sections of sandstone boulders can prove exhaustive and dangerous for those whose fitness is not at a suitable level.
Note: The author takes no responsibility for any incorrect information in this blog post. All person/s who are undertaking a walk/hike or camping trip to Mount Solitary should research/contact NPWS and other local government agencies and/or official sites prior to leaving to ensure their own safety. Please stay safe and monitor bushfire warnings when hiking and camping and be sure to take out your rubbish with you so other can enjoy these areas too.
So once again it’s quickly become that time of the year where I take a look back at some of my favourite photographic moments from the year just gone…2015. Wow that was fast! Are we sure there is still twelve months in a year or has it changed to about seven! This year, now nearly over, just seemed to fly by for me.
For me personally 2015 was a tough year as my father passed away on his birthday leaving me quite flat and uninspired at times. I made the decision to step back from taking allot of pictures in 2015 as I didn’t feel my usual drive. I’m glad of this decision as it allowed me to solidify my photographic business direction for the next few years. I got to work for some great clients in 2015 and I’m very thankful for those opportunities and I’m sure 2016 will be even better.
I hope you have enjoyed looking at my images from 2015 and I hope that you will continue to appreciate my photos for many years to come. Thanks to all of you that have viewed and perhaps shared my images online through the various social media platforms that I use. A big thanks to all my wonderful clients from 2015 and to the businesses that support my work as well. I’m looking forward to holding a joint photo exhibit this year in August as well as expanding my commercial photographic business to incorporate new and exciting opportunities for future and past clients. I wish everyone a very happy and safe New Years celebration and I look forward to bringing you much more of my photographic work in 2016. Thanks again for your support!
Here are a few of my favourite images from 2015
Thanks for taking a look, cheers Ben
After the promise of snow in the blue mountains from the weather bureau came and went a few weeks ago without even a flurry, it was finally great to see a decent amount start to fall on thursday night (16-07-2015). Now over the last few years I’ve been trying to capture an image that combines the iconic three sisters in Katoomba and some snow in the scene as well. Each time there has been a snowfall I’ve raced off down to the three sisters to capture this image that has been sitting in my head for a good few years. Anyone familiar with the landscape side of my photography knows that I’ve attempted to capture the three sisters in as many different moods and weather scenarios as possible over the years. So with family and friends in tow we set off on foot down the street as the snow started to blanket the streets into a winter wonderland.
As we walked and slid our way down to echo point and the lookout, the wind was really starting to howl. I remembered the last time it snowed I had come down and my umbrella blew inside out in the first few minutes, luckily for me it was 90% rain and there was no shot to get. So this time armed with a few handy assistants I liked my chances allot more. Knowing the three sisters are lit up at night was a real deciding factor for coming here in such horrid conditions. So with my partner holding the umbrella for me and a friend giving me some light via the phone light I set up my tripod and camera. A big part of photography is pre visualising a scene in your head before you take the shot. Prior to coming down I was 90% confident of the shot I wanted without even knowing how much snow was around. As I set up the conditions were rapidly getting to the point where it was really hard to keep the camera covered from the elements. The floodlights though strong, were not going to shed enough light to highlight the snow which was rapidly swirling around us. I attached my trusty speedlight (flash) and metered the scene in camera. I manually dialled in how much fill light I wanted in the flash, wiped down the lens element of snow for the umteenth time and pressed the shutter……..got it!
I was really happy with the outcome of the shot and was glad to have finally captured the iconic three sisters in some snow. I came back in the morning on sunrise hoping to get the sisters covered in snow, you know that picture perfect postcard esque scene…. but alas that wasn’t to be. The snow hadn’t settled on them as the wind had been far too strong (you can see this clearly in the B&W image below) overnight and the sisters elevation in the valley proved a little low for a decent snow dusting….with any luck it might snow again this winter and I’ll be able to tick a few more of my “must have”images of my list.
I also went out and captured some images of the blue mountains township of Katoomba when it was covered in the beautiful snow. See the photos here
About Ben– Ben Pearse is a commercial and wedding photographer who works and resides in the beautiful blue mountains, Australia. Ben also sells and licenses his portfolio of blue mountains landscape images. These are available from this website in the shop section.
Contact Ben here
As a long time resident and professional photographer of the Blue Mountains I’ve always looked forward to the annual Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival in june each year. The festival is held in the upper mountains township of Katoomba and revolves around the winter solstice every year. It’s a time for people to embrace and showcase their inner creative and flamboyant streaks by wearing a costume that reflects the annual theme of the festival. Each year the theme changes, this year it was peace and over the last few years it has been phoenix dreaming and historia…Every year there is a grand parade that makes its way up Katoomba street, cheered on by large crowds that line the sidelines. Each year crowds over 45 ooo+ people will come and visit the festival. There is a huge selection of stalls to browse through on the day and many performances take place at various venues of the course of the festival.
Over the last few years I’ve been one of the official photographers and I thought I would put together a small showreel of some of my favourite images that I’ve captured of this wonderful local festival over the last few years. I thought this year was the busiest in terms of just moving through the crowds, I personally struggled throughout the day as I felt pretty unwell and only shot a small portion of the day’s festivities. Luckily there is always plenty of local photographers on hand to showcase the event to the public via social media platforms. As always the event is organised by a group of tireless volunteers who do a great job of coordinating one of Australia’s biggest festivals..no small task i’m sure, and they do an outstanding job.
So sit back and scroll through some of the images that I have personally enjoyed capturing of the Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival. I hope to see you there next year…..
looking back at winter magic over the years
About Ben- Ben Pearse is a commercial and portrait from Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Ben works from his home portrait studio in Katoomba and also sells and licenses his large portfolio of landscape images of the Blue Mountains, Australia.
Wow, that went fast! So as I start gearing up for 2015 I thought i’d reflect on a few moments from 2014 that stood out for me, photographically speaking. One of my highlights was getting to work on a “feature series’ that was filmed here in the Blue Mountains. I was hired to photograph locations throughout the upper Blue Mountains area. Over the course of a month I shot well over 100+ locations. From traditional landscape scenes to shops, offices, buildings etc whatever fitted in with the script and could be possibly used as a filming location within the series. It was a great learning curve and taught me some valuable lessons which I’ll take into my professional photographic journey. A great benefit in 2015 is I will be able to keep and showcase in my portfolio all of the locations to future commercial clients who might be filming or shooting in the blue mountains! Over the course of the years I’ll add to this library as I photograph more and more locations.
Another highlight was shooting a variety of landscape scenes by nightfall, the majority of these I won’t be showing via social media, but rather through an exhibited series. As more amatueur and hobbyist photographers enter the photographic market from the sidelines it’s important to retain a level of uniqueness in an ever growing marketplace. It’s been great to see so many people wandering the mountains armed with a dslr lately…
Another quick highlight was capturing the Royal visit here in my hometown of Katoomba in april. Though i’m not an avid royal watcher by any means it was still great to see the Blue Mountains get swept up with royal fever. You don’t get a better tourism advert for the area than a young royal visit and after a very poor tourism season prior due to bushfires it was welcomed by local businesses. I should also quickly mention shooting an album cover for the Royce Twins (from X factor) they were a nice bunch of young and talented young men…As usual I will only show a small proportion of the work I’ve covered and here I’ve lent towards my personal favourite moments….
So, enough prattling on for now, I’m very much looking forward to some great photographic endeavours in 2015 and I wish everyone a fantastic and safe 2015.
here is a small selection of photos from 2014
I hope you enjoyed these images
On January 26, 1931 a large fissure of rock (Dogface) some 5 to 9 feet wide separated itself from a section of Katoomba cliffline creating a large semi detached rock precariously poised over the jamison valley. A short time later on January 28, local residents were awakened at 4am as some 100,00+ tonnes of rock hurtled and crashed into the valley floor creating a thunderous sound. A surveyor inspected “Dog Face Rock” in February and found a canyon like formation some 30ft wide and 300 feet deep. The “Dog Face Rock” as it became known became a very popular tourist destination in the ensuing months bringing sightseers from across the Blue Mountains as well as interested tourists from Sydney wanting to view this intriguing landmark of collapsing cliffline. As a result of heavy rains in May 1931, the final landslide occurred on the rock face which left behind a clean sheer face of yellow sandstone which you see today.
In the 1960’s the late John Ewbank a pioneer of Australian climbing began establishing rock climbing routes on this notorious soft and yellow rock, often in climbing terms referred to as “Choss”. Having myself rock climbed on the “Dogface” in the 1990’s I feel a strong connection to this unique landscape scene in the Blue Mountains, Australia. Over the last few years I have endeavoured to capture this iconic landmark at varying times of the day and with differing accompanying moods. Here is just a few of the many photos I have captured of this beautiful Blue Mountains scene.
Ben Pearse is a professional photographer living and working in the beautiful world heritage Blue Mountains, Australia. Ben is available for Weddings, Portraits, Functions, Licensing & most forms of commercial photography. Ben also has a large selection of images of the Blue Mountains available as fine art prints or image licensing for business.