Mount Solitary

Looking back- Ben Pearse 2016

Looking back on Katoomba from Mt Solitary ridge

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.

cheers Ben

All images are copyright to Ben Pearse Photography 2016

Website

Golden stairs to Mount Solitary

three sisters view

three sisters view

Golden stairs decent- april 2016- 2048

Golden stair pathway

angophora trees

Angophora trees

Signs to Solitary- april 2016- 2048

Signposts to Mt Solitary at base of Golden Stairs

Entering the forest- april 2016- 2048

Entering the forest

Dappled light- 2048

Dappled forest light

Forest views- april 2016

Forest views

Forest greens- april 2016- 2048

Forest greens

Sunshine in greenery- april 2016

Sunshine and greens

Sun through the trees- april 2016- 2048

Sunshine through the trees

Trees amongst the ferns- april 2016- 2048

Trees amongst the ferns

cliff lined views- april 2016- 2048

Cliff lined views

Track between ferns- 2048

Track through the ferns

Forest in sunlight- april 2016- 2048

Forest in sunlight

Sea of ferns- 2048

Sea of ferns

Under a fern canopy- april 2016- 2048

Under a fern canopy

Lush forests- april 2016- 2048

Lush forests

Bush toilets- april 2016- 2048

Bush toilets

Turnoff to ruined castle- 2048

Turnoff to Ruined Castle

Warning signs to heed- april 2016

Warning signs to take note

Camping site- 2048

Campsites and rest spots

Water and shelter stop- 2048

Water and shelter

Rain tanks and shelter- april 2016- 2048

Rain tanks and shelter

Last pit toilet- april 2048

Last pit toilet stop

Rainwater tanks- april 2016- 2048

Rain tanks can provide water if it’s available

Raintank- april 2016- 2048

One of two rain tanks available

Beautiful angophora trees- 2048

Beautiful angophora trees

The uphill climb begins- april 2016- 2048

The uphill climb begins

Ruined castle views- april 2016- 2048

Ruined Castle views

Angophora forest- april 2016- 2048

Angophora forest

Sunlight over angophora- april 2016- 2048

Sunlight over Angophora tree

Angophora canopy- 2048

Angophora canopy

The track steepens- april 2016- 2048

The path gets steeper

First steep scrample

First steep scramble

Looking to Kings Tablands

Looking to Kings Tablelands

Katoomba cliffline views

Katoomba cliffline views

The chimney climb

The chimney climb

The second knoll climb looms above

The second knoll climb looms above

Looking back across the jamison valley to Katoomba

Looking back across the jamison valley to Katoomba

Looking back panoramic views

Looking back panoramic views

Narrowneck plateau views

Narrowneck plateau views

Summit views...still a way to go.

Summit views…still a way to go

Finding shady spot on the climb

Finding a shady spot on the climb

Summit glory

Summit glory

Chinamans gap- Mount Solitary

Chinaman’s gap- Mount Solitary

Chinaman's gap eucalyptus trees

Chinaman’s gap eucalyptus trees

Chinamans Cave- Mount Solitary

Chinaman’s Cave- Mount Solitary

 

Chinaman's gap in the mist

Chinaman’s gap in the mist

Morning light

Morning light

Melville's lookout- Mount Solitary

Melville’s lookout- Mount Solitary

Zooming in on Lake Burragorang

Zooming in on Lake Burragorang

View over Lake Burragorang

View over Lake Burragorang

Panoramic view from Melville's lookout

Panoramic view from Melville’s lookout

Rain over Lake Burragorang

Rain over Lake Burragorang

Tales around the campfire

Tales around the campfire…

Katoomba panoramic view

Katoomba panoramic view- Mount Solitary on the left. The hike starts from right, underneath narrowneck plateau, and continues left past and below ruined castle and finally up the steep visible ridgeline onto Mount Solitary.

 

Thanks for looking, cheers Ben

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favourite pictures from 2015- Ben Pearse Photography

Three sisters in snow

Three sisters in snow

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

what goes up must come down..

what goes up must come down..

Katoomba gets some snow

Katoomba gets some snow

Three sisters on sunrise with a little snow

Three sisters on sunrise with a little snow

Blue Mountains winter wonderland

Blue Mountains winter wonderland

Three sisters in snow

Three sisters in snow

Snow over three sisters

Snow over three sisters

Winter Magic Festival 2015

Winter Magic Festival 2015

Hands, Heart & Feet annual perforamce

Hands, heart & feet great winter magic annual performance

viking encounters

viking encounters

Undearneath the canopy

Underneath the canopy

Blue Mountains Summertime

Blue Mountains Summertime

Pools of green

Pools of green

Three Sisters moods

Three Sisters moods

Commercial photography for BMCC

Commercial photography for BMCC

Lady luck festival

Lady luck festival

Jamison valley rays

Jamison valley rays

Crescent moon reflections in pool

Crescent moon reflections in pool

Grose valley clouds

Grose valley clouds

Fog in the jamison

Fog in the jamison

Misty moods

Misty moods

Rainshower over Lake Burragorang

Rainshower over Lake Burragorang

Lithgow Halloween

Lithgow Halloween

Morning mist

Morning mist

Bondi twilight runner

Bondi twilight runner

Lithgow halloween costumes

Lithgow halloween costumes

Solitary confinement

Solitary confinement

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Ben Pearse Photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Commercial photography

Australian Kite Flying Society- Bondi Beach

Australian Kite Flying Society- Bondi Beach

Rural sunset

Rural sunset

Karuah views

Karuah views

Face in the clouds

Face in the clouds

Culturescape

Culturescape

Forest light

Forest light

Emily

Emily

Leura village fair

Leura village fair

Golden three sisters on sunset

Golden three sisters on sunset

Leura Cascades

Leura Cascades

Linda falls

Linda falls

Boulders home

Boulders home

Huntsman hideout

Huntsman hideout

Pod of Dolphins

Pod of Dolphins

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Murray river bridge Taree

Murray river bridge Taree

Pelican portrait

Pelican portrait

North face runners

North face runners

Pelican gathering

Pelican gathering

Kangaroo amongst bamboo

Kangaroo amongst bamboo

Three sisters under floodlight

Three sisters under floodlight

Avoca fury

Avoca fury

Ettalong beach sunset

Ettalong beach sunset

Country frosting

Country frosting

Mountains sunset

Mountains sunset

View to solitary

View to solitary

Katoomba falls panoramic

Katoomba falls panoramic

the-north-face-100-sunset-runners

The north face 100 sunset runners

Sunset over falls

Sunset over falls

Mountains flow

Mountains flow

Tranquil waters

Tranquil waters

Roadside rays

Roadside rays

Blue moments

Blue moments

Fog in the valley panoramic

Fog in the valley panoramic

happy halloween

happy halloween

Leila

Leila

Self portrait

Self portrait

Snow over megalong valley

Snow over megalong valley

View to falls

View to falls

Golden reflections

Golden reflections

Three sisters snow sunrise

Three sisters snow sunrise

funeral blues

funeral blues

Into the cauldron

Into the cauldron

Rhythm and flow

Rhythm and flow

Water of life

Water of life

Where witches leap

Where witches leap

Falling water

Falling water

Hidden in the mist

Hidden in the mist

Around the campfire

Around the campfire

Jamison ablaze panoramic

Jamison ablaze panoramic

First light on jamison

First light on jamison

Landslide rainbow

Landslide rainbow

 

Thanks for taking a look, cheers Ben

Dogface & Landslide, Blue Mountains, Australia.

Dogface panoramic

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.

Contact Ben-Email-benpearsephotography@gmail.com

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Seeing Red

Seeing Red

The Dogface Rock

The Dogface Rock

Seas of Fog

Seas of Fog

Looking up to Dogface

Looking up to Dogface

Looking out

Looking out

Landslide view

Landslide view

left in pieces

left in pieces

Dogface in black and white

Dogface in black and white

Big sky panoramic

Big sky panoramic

Dogface Glowing

Dogface Glowing

Smoke over Dogface

Smoke over Dogface

Looking through to Dogface

Looking through to Dogface

Afternoon glow

Afternoon glow

Dogface viewing

Dogface viewing

Dogface in Fog

Dogface in Fog

dogface panoramic

dogface panoramic

looking into the jamison valley

looking into the jamison valley

a view of cliffs nearby

Dogface through wildflowers

plays of light

plays of light

Jamison seas

Jamison seas

 

Black & White Photography

Sydney Opera house
Rain & rainbows

Rain & rainbows

Sometimes I feel that colour doesn’t always do a photo justice. In order to truly see what is in some photos, you sometimes have to strip away the colour leaving just the black & white contrasting shades & tones. I was brought up early on a healthy diet of B&W photos. My uncle Garth was a navy trained photographer and he was always taking wonderful B&W photos of us kids as we hiked and camped all over the beautiful Blue Mountains, Australia. As youngsters we would see him go into the laundry of our grandmothers house (his darkroom) where he would disappear and somehow come back magically with these wonderful photos……how he did this, I certainly didn’t know back then.

As I came to understand and practice my own photography years later I believe my early exposure to black and white photography had been awakened. Some photographers who specialise in B&W photos say that they, “see in B&W”, when looking out in the world and I totally believe this. I know that a large aspect of being a photographer is your ability to see a finished photo as you are taking it. The ability to pre visualise a scene before taking a photo and to know how it will look after editing is what makes a better photographer. I have come to understand when I’m out taking photos what light & subject would suit B&W or colour. I find as my photographic journey progresses I find I’m drawn more & more to black & white or a duo toned shot. There is a beauty in stripping something back, a rawness to it. Much like how a cabinet maker might strip back an old piece of furniture, removing the old excessive layers of paint to reveal it’s true bare form & it’s naturally beautifully grain. This for me is wonder of B&W, the allure to find a scene without the hindrance of colour. A scene where dark and light truly unfolds across the frame. A scene where there is only black….or white.

Black & White

 

Echo point at night

Echo point at night

basking in light

basking in light

Leura Falls

Leura Falls

balancing act

balancing act

jamison valley drama

jamison valley drama

Katoomba falls in the mist

Katoomba falls in the mist

low fog in the grose valley

low fog in the grose valley

phantom falls

phantom falls

drama

drama

Grose valley panoramic

Grose valley panoramic

minni haha falls

minnehaha falls

Rainy days

Rainy days

Dad

Dad

wedding fun

wedding fun

melbourne streets

melbourne streets

mother & daughter

mother & daughter

Into the mist

Into the mist

pine needles pattern

pine needles pattern

urban fog

urban fog

echo point in the fog

echo point in the fog

Autumn mist

Autumn mist

blazing wattle tree

blazing wattle tree

iconic Bondi beach

iconic Bondi beach

what the fork...

what the fork…

urban night

urban night

Jamison rains

Jamison rains

out on the farm

out on the farm

drive me to the moon

drive me to the moon

north face 100

north face 100

Brooding streams

Brooding streams

Opera house Sydney

Opera house Sydney

skating

skating

mardi gras

mardi gras

approaching storm

approaching storm

reaching for light

reaching for light

Bee & nessie

Bee & nessie

last show

last show

seas of fog

seas of fog

waverley cemetery

waverley cemetery

Autumn night

Autumn night

shadowlands

shadowlands

katoomba falls pano

katoomba falls pano

Jamison seas pano

Jamison seas pano

Bee

amongst the daffodils

 

I can do this

I can do this

life is still

life is still

sisters in silhouette

sisters in silhouette

last light

last light

popular spot

popular spot

ellenborough falls

ellenborough falls

junction falls

junction falls

pumping along

pumping along

after the rains

after the rains

dark moods

dark moods

Victoria

Victoria

Carrington hotel cellars

Carrington hotel cellars

glow worm cave

glow worm cave

generations

generations

dance motion

dance motion

cockatoo portrait

cockatoo portrait

weeping rock

weeping rock

glowworm stream

glowworm stream

looking to megalong

looking to megalong

approaching change

approaching change

katoomba falls

katoomba falls

three sisters

three sisters

dogface panoramic

dogface panoramic

cultural centre

cultural centre katoomba

echo point viewing at night

echo point viewing at night

winter magic festival

winter magic festival

 

amongst the ferns

amongst the ferns

getting in close

getting in close

cascades in flood

cascades in flood

getting a haircut

getting a haircut

wedding party

wedding party

rolling in

rolling in

explosion

explosion

feline study

feline study

Atop ruined castle

Atop ruined castle

moody falls

moody falls

phantom commeth

phantom commeth

Katoomba falls

Katoomba falls

louie the fly

louie the fly

operatic mood

operatic mood

Katoomba courthouse

Katoomba courthouse

having an outdoor shower

having an outdoor shower

calm

calm

lost in thought

lost in thought

allot more to go… perhaps another time

Wentworth Falls lake

Golden morning

Golden morning

I can remember swimming across Wentworth Falls lake, a large and vast open body of water, (well so it seemed like when your 10) as a  young kid growing up in the Blue Mountains. As a kid you were elevated to a higher status amongst your peers (local street kids) for successfully making the swim across the lake. It seemed that the older kids suddenly knew your name and for the next for weeks………you were immortal………like…ish. So as I returned to take some sunrise photos I couldn’t help but think of those early carefree days on the lake.

Checking the weather maps the previous night offered up the chance of  fog  the following morning, which means the possibility of some good mood. Though the low fog wasn’t as much as we would of liked, it was far better than none at all and really help to set a golden scene as the sun began to rise. I have always enjoyed coming to the lake on different seasons throughout the year and I look forward to getting some more shots from this beautiful little spot in the Blue Mountains, Australia.

I hope you find some time to get out and about….

cheers ben

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Wenty lake shots

Autumn glory on the lake

Autumn glory on the lake

The sun rises

The sun rises

poles apart

poles apart

enjoying the lake

enjoying the lake

Lady Luck Festival 2014

It was that time again this year when all things 1950’s descended upon the township of Katoomba and the Carrington Hotel for the annual  Lady Luck Festival . Held on the 17 & 18th of January this year, the weather produced a summer scorcher as hot rods lined the main street and rockabilly inspired dress turned heads as they sauntered by…. . A great crowd turned out to see live music and some amazing 50/60’s dance action that was held on the Carrington front lawns.

If your into vintage cars or just want to see some really beautiful automotive designs, then make sure you come and have a look next year as it really is a great family day with lots to do and see…

cheers Ben

benpearsephotography@gmail.com

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          a few snaps from the day

rockabilly outfits

rockabilly outfits

hot rods galore

hot rods galore

vintage wheels

vintage wheels

great live music

great live music

bustin some moves

bustin some moves

centre stage

centre stage

feelin the groove

feelin the groove

putting on a show

putting on a show

human swing

human swing

celebrity guests enjoying the fun

celebrity guests enjoying the fun

learn some new moves

learn some new moves

enjoying the swing

enjoying the swing

shufflin 50's style

shufflin 50’s style

sweet rides

sweet rides

Watching a great show...

Watching a great show…

Leura falls, Blue Mountains

Leura falls panoramic

Leura falls panoramic

Leura falls is one of those areas that pops up in a photo once in a blue moon. I had been to these beautiful falls many years ago without a camera & decided it was high time that I went back and took some photos. It’s one of those locations that does require quite the walk out of the valley, so this keeps most people away. Recently I decided it was definitely time to go out and get a heap more waterfall photos, so I packed up and spent three days immersed in the creeks and streams in the beautiful Blue Mountains, Australia.

During the afternoon I was standing knee deep in water and I looked up to see a group of young tourists just standing there staring at me, obviously thinking, “this guys bloody mad”. It moments like these that I feel truly happy and content with my life…..As the afternoon light descended onto the sandstone cliffs, I tried finding some interesting angles of the falls and surrounding area. I always love the challenge of presenting an area with different and unique angles that I can come up with on the day…..

cheers ben-

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more photos of leura falls

last light

last light

through the ferns

through the ferns

I couldn't resist a selfie on this boulder

I couldn’t resist a selfie on this boulder earlier on the day

in B&W

in B&W

shadow & light

shadow & light

Cicadas-A short but noisey life

Breaking free

Breaking free

Cicadas are one of those things that tell us that summer must be on the way. I was completely amazed the other night when I went outside to see heaps of these little guys struggling to get to higher ground in order to shed their skin. Australia has some 237 species of cicadas and I reckon half of them were on my porch the other night. They live for at least a year underground feeding on sap from roots of trees. Upon emergence you can often hear that distinctive hum(some would call it a great racket) in the air….Cicadas tend to live for only a few weeks after years underground.

I can remember walking through different parts of the bush in summer to that almost deafening noise at times. As a young boy with my brothers and friends we would spend summer days trying to capture the elusive “black prince“, where apparently you could take it to the local chemist for money……..never did see any cash for our efforts…..another urban myth we believed. I don’t quite know what attracts me to these curious, noisey critters. Perhaps it’s the alien, like act of bursting out of their body and evolving into something different, or their attention seeking shrieks I hear when I’m walking, I’m just not sure. However I can tell you this, if I do find a black prince in the front yard this summer I’m going straight to the local chemist to get some of that cash……….lol

Thanks for reading, cheers ben

facebook  flickr                                                                                    more cicada magic

The climb up-September 2013-Web size Cicada holes- September 2013-Web size New body- September 2013-Web size Coming out- September 2013- Web size Tough climb-September 2013- Web size Hitching a ride 2- September 2013-Web size Rebirth- September 2013-Web size Having a seat-September 2013-Web size Hannging on-September 2013- Web size Lttle friend-September 2013- Web size Line of cicadas- September 2013- Web size Cicada on the branch-September 2013-Web size Old body- September 2013- Web size

seeking higher ground

seeking higher ground

Cicada--September-2013--low-res Moved-on--September-2013--low-res End-of-the-road--September-2013--low-res Cicada-shell--September-2013--low-res

Smoke & Light

Smoke & Light

Smoke & Light

In Australia we live under the constant threat of bushfires & hence the need for controlled hazard reduction burning on a regular basis to help reduce bushfire severity. It has been a particularly dry winter period so the RFS  has been out & about trying to burn as much fuel as possible. Now as a person who doesn’t suffer from asthma, I really enjoy the smokey skies and as a photographer it’s mood heaven for me. Every time I hear that they might be burning in my area I always try and head to some of my favourite spots to grab some of the smokey goodness in the skies & valley’s. Smoke is a really great infuser of colour & light and can really set a scene for some dramatic images come sunset.

I really do appreciate the great work that the RFS and all other departments do in order to keep our homes and livelihoods safer come fire season. The fires came close to where I live only a few years ago and the helicopters did a great job of controlling the blaze as it raced towards businesses and homesteads, via repeated water bombing from the air. So even though fires can wield a terrible destructive force, I also enjoy the beauty they can bring to a landscape as well. New life swiftly follows a burnt out area of vegetation with vibrant greens and reds as the environment quickly adapts after a fire. I hope that this season the fires will burn in habitats that can sustain and re-develop quickly and hopefully leave the smoke far from our doors…

Note: After writing this yesterday I came home today to learn that fires have been burning out of control in the lower Blue Mountains and western Sydney region. My thoughts go out to the people that have already been affected by this seemingly early start to bushfire season. Once again I take my hat off to the brave men & women who risk their own lives to keep the greater community safe. I dedicate this image to them…

cheers ben

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mob-0405052660                                                                                                                                                                smoke infused photos

heavy smoke

heavy smoke

Smoke soaked sunrays entering the Jamison valley

Smoke soaked sunrays entering the Jamison valley

silhouettes in smoke

silhouettes in smoke

amazing sunsets

amazing sunsets

Jamison Glow

Jamison Glow

Smoke-in-Katoomba--September-2013--low-res

smoke rays

megalong burns

megalong burns

back open for business

back open for business

scorched

scorched

birds watching the smokey sunsetbirds watching the smokey sunset

tired firefighters

tired firefighters

water bombing the fires

water bombing the fires

new life comes

new life comes

close call in 2011

close call in 2011

cloud of smoke

cloud of smoke

choked valleys

choked valleys

after glow

after glow

shafts of light

shafts of light

colours of smoke

colours of smoke

Ben Pearse Photography

fires of 2009

Narrowneck plateau, Katoomba

Ben Pearse Photography

If I had to name one, if not my favourite, all time locations in the Blue Mountains it would have to be Narrowneck plateau in Katoomba, NSW, Australia. I was first introduced to the this area, along with my brother Simon, some 25 years ago when we first started rock climbing in the area. As young enthusiastic teenagers we use to spend all weekend, cutting our teeth, on the magnificent sandstone walls of this area. Climbing would envelop our life for the next 10+ years, without much room for much else…..

Narrowneck is a narrow ridge line that cuts it’s pathway between two majestic valley’s, the Megalong & Jamison. Approximately 12 kms in length, it commands attention within it’s landscape of the world heritage listed,  Blue Mountains. So here I am some 25 years later wandering the plateau again, perhaps not clinging to the side in desperation or for life, but still clinging, hanging, camera in hand…………..in search of light & mood. I’m not sure what attracts me to this location so much, perhaps it’s the balancing act, perched between to the two valleys, constantly tugging at me from each side, luring me in for another shot………………who knows, but I love it. I’ll continue to wander this landscape getting lost in thought & time searching for that elusive perfect light & mood for many moons to come, perhaps I’ll see you out there one day……

cheers ben

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   more narrowneck splendour

waterfalls of mist

waterfalls of mist

Golden light

Golden light

summers afternoon

summers afternoon

trees with colour

trees with colour

balancing act

balancing act

a popular abseiling location

a popular abseiling location

Fog rolling between valley's

Fog rolling between valley’s

dissecting the valley's

dissecting the valley’s

moody skies during bushfires

moody skies during bushfires

last light

last light

Me training a few years back

Me training a few years back

Me.....back in the day

Me…..back in the day

a view of cliffs nearby

a view of cliffs nearby

looking into the jamison valley

looking into the jamison valley

heavy smoke on the plateau

heavy smoke on the plateau

jamison valley glory

jamison valley glory

Ruined Castle

Ruined Castle

Ruined Castle

The ruined castle is a popular and distinct  sandstone rock outcrop in the Jamison valley within the World Heritage Blue Mountains, Katoomba, Australia. I have ventured out there for a walk on numerous occasions and also camped within the ruins many moons ago. A great sight of this wonderful sandstone structure is to witness the last sunrays falling across the castle in the jamison valley on sunset.  I have often stood at a lookout watching the last rays of the day lighting the sandstone walls of the castle walls. I’m guessing that it got it’s name, as it appeared, “castle like” to somebody walking through the area some time ago and in which they probably said something along the lines like, “Hey, don’t you think that looks like a castl, you know, like a ruined one”! I’m sure this is totally incorrect, but it will do for now and if you need to know, I’m sure  google has the answer somewhere…..

If you do find yourself in the area and you have a few hours in which you’d like to get your heartrate up a little and be rewarded with a beautiful 360 degree view at the end, then this just might be for you. A great way to get there is to descend the golden stairs off the Narrowneck plateau. If however you would just like to admire it from the distance like the many thousands of tourist each year, then Echo Point in Katoomba is a great vantage point for this spectacular Blue Mountains landmark. I hope you find time in your week to get outdoors to explore…..

See you out there

cheers ben                                                                                                                                                                                          more castle views

surrounded by mist

surrounded by mist

last light touches the walls

last light touches the walls

hazy light

hazy light

without colours

without colours

hidden in bushfire smoke

hidden in bushfire smoke

aglow

aglow

glimpsed through the trees

glimpsed through the trees

A storm approaches the castle

A storm approaches the castle

Guardian of the Castle

Guardian of the Castle

Conquering the Castle

Conquering the Castle

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Tuncurry, NSW Australia

Ben Pearse Photographyrecently found myself enjoying a little sun & sand in the gorgeous coastal town of Tuncurry in NSW, Australia. Located approx 300 kms north east of Sydney, it is a a popular tourist destination for many holiday makers. One of my favourite places to take a stroll is on the beautiful 9 mile beach where I often tried my hand at catching some fish and I’ve also seen many dolphins swimming just offshore from here.

I managed to do a sunrise walk along the beach one morning and was really glad I made the effort as I was rewarded with some beautiful light, colours and a pod of dolphins playing in the waves on sunrise. I had forgotten just how beautiful the ocean can be when the weather and conditions are just right. The colours that engulfed the ocean and beach on this morning were just spectacular to witness. Moments like these I feel so privileged to be a photographer and a dedicated chaser of light. It was a great way end to my short stay in the area and I’ll be eagerly awaiting my next trip to beautiful Tuncurry. If you get a chance to visit the area I’d highly recommend it as a beaut spot to get away with friends or family.

See you out there,

cheers ben

Facebook   shop   flickr                                                                                                                                                                                       more Tuncurry magic

golden sunrise

golden sunrise

here fishy fishy

here fishy fishy

riding the swell

riding the swell

moody seas

moody seas

sunset glow

sunset glow

oceans of light

oceans of light

dolphins riding the waves

dolphins riding the waves

not a shark...

not a shark…

waiting for the waves

waiting for the waves

surfer dude

surfer dude

pod of dolphins

pod of dolphins

Jamison Valley- Blue Mountains

Dramatic jamison valley

Dramatic jamison valley

One of best viewing platforms to see the beautiful Jamison valley in the Blue Mountains has always been from Echo Point in Katoomba. From this very popular tourist destination you can often see jamison valley transform through it’s different moods before your eyes. The valley is a sandstone area much like most of the Blue Mountains and Sydney area, characterised by it’s steep  sandstone cliffs. Much of the soil in the region has a layer of shale throughout which has been eroded over time causing the sandstone to collapse, which helps form the beautiful deep valleys and canyons.

I spent a large part of my youth and beyond roaming and climbing around these beautiful areas. The jamison valley is populated densely with Eucalyptus trees, often giving it a blue haze that looks stunning upon sunset. Many times I’ve come down to the jamison valley trying to capture some change in weather or mood. Some of my most memorable photos so far have been the morning mists or the smoke after hazard reduction burns in the valley. I don’t think i’ll ever tire of looking out into the jamison valley and into the sea of trees………..I just love it.

I hope to see you out there….

cheers ben                                                                                                                                                                                         more from the jamison

3 sisters sunset

3 sisters sunset

fog swirls in the valley

fog swirls in the valley

valley mood

valley mood

smokey skies

smokey skies

Into the blue

Into the blue

valley of smoke

valley of smoke

seas of fog

seas of fog

waterfalls of mist

waterfalls of mist

plays of light

plays of light

Jamison Glow

Jamison Glow

a dry summer

a dry summer

steep water carved valleys

steep water carved valleys

gorgeous curves

gorgeous curves

under the light of a full moon

under the light of a full moon

last light on the ruined castle

last light on the ruined castle

glowing with colours

glowing with colours

plenty of wildlife

plenty of wildlife

Mount solitary commanding a view

Mount solitary commanding a view

enjoying the jamison views

enjoying the jamison views

Smoke soaked sunrays entering the Jamison valley

Smoke soaked sunrays entering the Jamison valley

Phantom Falls…….Blue Mountains

Phanton Falls- Narrowneck plateau, Blue Mountains

Phantom Falls- Narrowneck plateau, Blue Mountains

One of the great natural phenomenons that occurs in the upper Blue Mountains is the little known “phantom falls”.  Without boring you too much with the science behind it…., it basically requires warm humid that is heated by the sun rays in the Jamison Valley colliding with much cooler air from the neighboring Megalong valley (or via versa),  resulting in the spectacular “waterfall” like effect in the valley. I have watched the fog numerous times just effortlessly gliding over the Narrowneck plateau, shrouding the scene in a wedding like veil.

I took off on a large walk the other day, not really anticipating capturing the phantom falls in action. I had actually gone off in search of a waterfall I’d seen many years ago and was keen to take a peek. As it was humid I decided to get closer to see if there was any fog in the valley and I was pleased to see the apparition like scene in the valley, the phantom had most definitely appeared. One of the things as a photographer I try and do is to get some different and unique compositions of an emerging scene. So I spent the next 1.5 hours scooting up and down the cliffs looking for different angles to capture this wonderful phenomenon.  Though I’ve seen the fog covering more of the escarpment in the past, I was happy to get some nice light in the valley on this occasion as well. I’ll continue to look for this great natural occurrence in the future and I hope to get many more great shots of it. So if you’re in the area and conditions feel right, head over to the nearest lookout and you just may see the…………………..Phantom of the Blue Mountains.

have a wonderful week, enjoy the views

cheers ben                                                                                                                                                                                     more of the phantom

reaching into the megalong

reaching into the megalong

like a waterfall

like a waterfall

creeping to the edge

creeping to the edge

past the wildflowers

past the wildflowers

blue skies above

blue skies above

I'm searching for the phantom

I’m searching for the phantom

 

seen without colour

seen without colour

careful, the phantom approaches

careful, the phantom approaches

Three Sisters

Growing to match the enviroment

Growing to match the environment

The 3 Sisters is one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks attracting millions of visitors each year. In my younger days I worked as a climbing guide and have taken hundreds of people to the summit of these unique sandstone formations, unfortunately you are no longer allowed to climb these peaks. Rising out of the Jamison valley in the world heritage listed Blue Mountains, they project a  unique and breathtaking image to the many who flock to witness their beauty. The native Aborigines of Australia call them  Meehni (922 m), Wimlah (918 m), and Gunnedoo (906 m) and have their own legend of how they came to be here.

As with many of the popular lookouts and vistas that populate the Blue Mountains I often look for a composition or a take on the scene that I haven’t seen before. I constantly challenge myself to come up with different and unique ways to capture and express the iconic 3 sisters to the viewer. Photographers will often say about a popular tourist destination, “ahh that has been shot to death, don’t shoot that”. As is often the case that just encourages me to do the opposite and i’ll work hard to represent a common scene in a new light…….my light, my way of seeing. I like to convey a scene the way I see it through my lens,  and we all see things quite differently.With the above shot I was fascinated by the three weeds growing which seemed to be mimicking the real sandstone structures in the scene. As I live just up the street i’m often here at the lookout just taking in the view, often not photographing anything but rather watching as the light transforms the view into something different. I have been here allot and to me it’s always different, the mood, the weather, the light………it looks different everytime. I took one of my most recognizable and best selling shots here.

If you haven’t been to look at these amazing sandstone rock formations I would really recommend them for sure. As with any popular tourist destination or location, there is a reason people go in search of it………it simply looks great!

I hope to see you there one day,

cheers ben                                                                                                                                                                            more photos of these great ladies….click on images for a larger view

3 sisters sunset

3 sisters sunset

through the grass

through the grass

half a rainbow....half a pot of gold then

half a rainbow….half a pot of gold then

sunrise panoramic

sunrise panoramic

ocean of mist

ocean of mist

light it up

light it up

after glow

after glow

morning fog

morning fog

afternoon rays

afternoon rays

Valley mood panoramic- 20 inch by 8 inch panoramic- $110.00

Valley mood panoramic

Jamison sunset

Jamison sunset

Rainbow sisters

Rainbow sisters

through the trees

through the trees

night viewing

night viewing

Three sisters with cloud

Three sisters with cloud

Three sisters with low cloud

Three sisters with low cloud

Three sisters at sunset

Three sisters at sunset

Sisters from below

Sisters from below

upclose

upclose

panoramic views

panoramic views

Afternoon glow

Afternoon glow

heavy smoke

heavy smoke

Boxing day panoramic on sunset

Boxing day panoramic on sunset

Rainbows and Rain

Rainbows and Rain

jamison shower over solitary

jamison shower over solitary

sisters in silhouette

sisters in silhouette

Echo point panorama- 60cm by 20cm- $120.00

Echo point panorama

sisters on sunset

sisters on sunset

bushfires

bushfires

Rainbow over Sisters

Rainbow over Sisters

in black & white

in black & white

three sisters by night

three sisters by night

silhouetted sisters on sunrise

silhouetted sisters on sunrise

as part of the big picture

Part of the big picture

from a distance

from a distance

Ben Pearse Photography

Play of light

shadowlands

shadowlands

Three sisters sunrise

Three sisters sunrise

approaching storm

approaching storm

changing weather

changing weather

bit of fun...

bit of fun…

after glow

after glow

ocean of mist

ocean of mist

Growing to match the enviroment

Growing to match the environment

touch of red

touch of red

Three sisters sunrise

Three sisters sunrise

Shadows circling

Shadows circling

Colours at dawn

Colours at dawn

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun

three sisters....with 3 sisters

three sisters….with 3 sisters

plenty more to come……another time

Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival 2013

Carrington lawn dancing- winter Magic 2013- low res

opening the festival- hands, heart & feet

So as the drumbeat fades into the distance it marks the close of another great Winter Magical Festival that was held in world heritage listed, Blue Mountains, Australia. As usual the event was held in Katoomba on the winter solstice, meaning the shortest day of the year. We got lucky with the weather as the rain held off  most of the day & just long enough for the fireworks display, before the skies opened up. This year would see me don the fluoro vest in order to get in close to some of the great action throughout the day.

The official estimates for the crowd this year were in the vicinity of 45000+ which is a great result for all those who put in the huge effort in organising this massive event for the local Blue Mountains community. Allot of these events are normally run by the local chamber of commerce in other towns, this event however is run by the local members of the community. It is a real credit to the locals to get something this large off the ground. There is allot of voluntary work hours that go into the winter magic festival every year to make it a viable option to put run.

The Grand Parade that makes it way up katoomba street had over 700+ people participating and gave the large crowds some great Kodak esque inspired moments to capture. This is always the highlight of the festival as you witness all the weird and wonderful costumes making their way past. One thing I really enjoy is the great personalities you get to chat with throughout the day. These festivals really allow people to embrace,explore & express their creative and quirky personalities. I think this is crucial for the blue mountains community as we are home to some truly exceptionally creative residents.

I felt the need to try and cover allot of the festival this year and in doing so I still missed quite allot of activities. When you are trying to document a large event such as this you don’t have the luxury of sitting back and waiting for the “money shots” as their is far too much to cover. I have seen some great shots from other photographers on the day and I’m happy that I was able to put my own spin on the event as well. Next year i’ll implement a different plan of attack  in covering the event, it’s all a learning curve for me and I love a good challenge. This year we saw the  addition of the newly built Katoomba Cultural Centre which added a wonderful vibrancy to the festival and town atmosphere. The cultural centre hosted some wonderful musical and performance acts that really got the crowd in a fantastic mood throughout the day.

I really enjoyed myself on the day and it was great to see so many families having a fun time too. The finale to the day was again well worth staying around for. Held at the Carrington Hotel, the fireworks display was a real treat for the audience that saw the night sky light up with a great array of colour and sound. If you missed the event this year I urge you to put aside a few hours and come have a look next year…………..I’m sure it will be great!

If you haven’t already seen my album of photos from the day you can see it here-https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.594399713914223.1073741833.483571081663754&type=1

Have a wonderful weekend, cheers ben                                                                                                                           more shots from the day              

Spiderman delivering newspapers- Winter Magic 2013- low res

Spiderman delivering the news                                                              

Belly dancing- WM 2013- low res

dancing up the street

Street performers-Winter Magic 2013- low res

engaging the crowd