Snow in Katoomba, Blue Mountains-August 2022

There had been a slight chance of snow a couple of times throughout July-August here in Katoomba, however it never quite eventuated. Forecasts on the 22nd of August were starting to look good for some snow falling here in the upper Blue Mountains in the late afternoon on Tuesday 23rd. I had seen some video online of some good falls happening at Shooters Hill (1355m), one of the high points in the central tablelands, and it was starting to look promising for Katoomba.

At around 6.45pm I could see the first proper flakes and within an hour it was starting to settle on the ground. As I stood on my porch watching the cars go up the road in the snow, I had the thought of getting a long exposure image as the car travelled along Lurline street. I grabbed the camera and a umbrella and setup on the footpath and waited for a lone car doing about the right speed for what I wanted. I had estimated I needed about 15-20 seconds to expose the shot correctly and get the red trail I envisioned.

After waiting for a few faster 4WD to exit the street, I saw a car approaching, quite slowly. With the shot pre-framed, I pressed the shutter as it entered my frame and then ended the exposure after 20 seconds. When I looked at the back of the camera, I knew I had the shot I envisioned and it was time to go and warm my hands by the heater….This is the fifth image in the “atmosphere” series which explores the transitional atmospheres within a landscape or urban environment.

Snow in Katoomba, Blue Mountains, August 2022
Snowtrails – Lurline street Katoomba

The next morning we went out before sunrise looking to see how much snow was around. I was a little dissapointed to see that we didn’t get any more falls that night as I was hoping for a really solid dumping…We drove around and found some nice views looking across to Narrowneck plateau on sunrise, which had a nice light dusting on the trees. I waited for the early warm light to filter in and took a few frames. I’m still hoping that we’ll see another good snowfall here in the mountains, before the weather warms up later in the year.

Narrowneck plateau on sunrise
Snow on the eucalyptus trees on sunrise
The sun starts to warm the cold landscape
Golden light and snow on the Blue Mountains landscape
Old cars and new snow

Thanks for viewing, cheers Ben

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Chasing trout in the frost, out west.

Well it’s been a while since I posted a blog so I thought I’d just write a few words and post some images from a recent winter solo fishing day out west…

I don’t often bring my camera along on my fishing trips, however sometimes you just know that the conditions are probably going to be great and you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t…I knew that the clear skies overnight would probably mean a decent chance of a good frost….and it didn’t disappoint. I had, a bit of time to take some pictures as the trout wouldn’t be interested until the water warmed a little. The mount piper power station chimneys blew a magenta infused smoke on sunrise as the early light unveiled a frost laden landscape. As I wandered I took photos of scenes that caught my eye in the interesting frosty conditions. After a while the light warmed the cold, white ground, dissipating the frost, and it was time to put the camera away and start fishing….

Images captured on Nikon D850 & 85mm f1.4 prime lens. Thanks for looking,

Cheers Ben Website

Echo point Katoomba- Lockdown-August 2021

Echo point in Katoomba is one of the major tourist destinations in NSW, Australia. Located in the township of Katoomba within the world heritage listed, Blue Mountains, it attracts millions of visitors each year with it’s majestic views of the iconic three sisters and jamison valley. However as we enter our 9th week of lockdown due to the corona virus (Covid-19, delta strain), the lookout has been closed off for all visitors, including locals who live nearby. As I wander past most days on my permitted exercise walks, I begin to see new compositions emerge that perhaps would never have been considered….

As I look through the wire fencing that council has installed to keep people out, I definitely think it’s a little surreal to see an empty viewing platform that should be teaming with overseas tourists and holiday makers. I totally understand and agree that these restrictive measures need to be put in place in order to deter and stop the congregation of people mingling together at certain popular areas. I thought it would be good to document this area via some photos, showing how it looked it during the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in August 2021…

Echo point Katoomba- August 2021
Echo point viewing platform- August 2021
Echo point, closed to visitors due to Covid-19 health orders- August 2021
Echo point fenced off to visitors- August 2021
Echo point- Dusk- August 2021
Moody sunsets- September 2021
sun setting at echo point- September 2021
Quiet streets- September 2021

Stay well and thanks for looking…

Cheers Ben

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Snow in the Blue Mountains- June 2021

Weather forecasts for some snow around June 10th, 2021 in the Blue Mountains had me intrigued. It was starting to look good for a decent dumping. I’ve been trying to get a great snow photo of the iconic Three Sisters for many years and I thought, perhaps, just perhaps, this could be it, as they had forecast snow down to 600metres. As I packed my camera bag the night before, I’d sneak a peak out the window every few minutes, to see if the snow had started to fall.

I woke up about an hour before sunrise and the snow had begun to fall. You could tell that the snow flakes weren’t as large as the last snowfall and perhaps a little on the wet side. I decided there was no point in trying to shoot the three sisters at sunrise as it was very overcast and not enough snow had fallen yet. After a couple of hours I decided it was time to walk down, (yep I live just up the road from echo point). The snow was falling pretty consistently down at echo point, however the jamison valley was a complete white out at this point and you couldn’t see anything of the 3 sisters. You could barley see out a few metres from the hand railing at times…

Enjoying the snow at Echo point- June 10th 2021

I decided that I would wait and see if the heavy fog in the jamison valley might lift over time. As there wasn’t that much option for still images, I decided to film some video of the snow around the echo point lookout areas…You can watch it on my YouTube channel link below.

It was evident after a few hours that the valley was not going to clear and provide an opportunity for my Three sisters image. I was quite sure that the 3 sisters did have an amount of snow on them, how much, well that I guess I’ll never know…So the quest continues and I’ll continue to try until I click the camera shutter, on the image I’ve had in my head for many years. I only took a few more still images that day and I’ve posted them below….

Hairpin banksia’s in the snow

Gums in the snow

Snowman

Ferns covered in snow

Thanks for taking the time to look at my blog…

Cheers Ben

Ben’s Website

About Ben:

Ben Pearse is an Australian photographer living an working from his home based portrait studio in Katoomba, Blue Mountains, Australia.

Interconnection

This is my entry into the Blue Mountains Portraits 2021 exhibition, currently on show at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre in Katoomba.
“In this image of Becky, I wanted to capture and combine two key aspects of Becky’s life, her work with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and as a long-time senior performer with Wagana Aboriginal Dancers. Both of these life paths enable Becky to honour and to be on Country, which as a Kamilaroi woman, is very important to her”.
Subject- Becky Chatfield
Photographer: Ben Pearse
Medium: Photographic print, AO size.

Note: This image went on to win the “People’s Choice Award” at the Blue Mountains portrait exhibition in March 2021.

Covid Diaries part 2

Covid Diaries part 2 is the second in a series captured during the Covid-19 pandemic (Corona Virus) within Australia in 2020. This video features short time-lapse footage captured within the upper Blue Mountains, NSW 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 – Peter Sandberg- Epidemic Sound Software- Premiere Pro- Adobe Camera- Nikon D850 in 4k

Covid Diaries- Part 1

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

After the Bushfires – Blue Mountains, Australia.

Narrowneck plateau in Katoomba after the bushfires

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.

narrowneck plateau, Katoomba

Altered lands

Aftermath of the Katoomba bushfires

Life still remains…

Mount Solitary panoramic view from Narrowneck plateau in Katoomba

Panoramic view looking past Ruined Castle (small outcrop in middle) to Mount Solitary (left) and Lake Burragorang just visible in the rear. Castle Head jutting out from Narrowneck on the right.

Ruined Castle, Katoomba

Looking down to Ruined Castle, where these bushfires originated in 2019. Allot of what is pictured here was burnt in the bushfires.

Lightbleed- Ben Pearse 2020- Web Size 2048

New growth catching the light

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.

Resilient Lands- Ben Pearse 2020 (2)

Resilient Lands- Narrowneck plateau- March 2020

Narrowneck plateau in Katoomba after the bushfires

Return to Green- Diamond creek pathway

Blue Mountains fire regrowth

Narrowneck plateau, Katoomba, Blue Mountains.

After the bushfires 2020

Green returns to the landscape

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.

Lizard emerges after the bushfires

Wildlife returns

Regrowth after the bushfires, Blue Mountains

New buds emerge…

New growth

New growth after the fires

Green returns- Ben Pearse 2020 copy

View from Narrowneck into megalong valley

Kangaroo tails emerge after bushfires in Blue Mountains 2020

Emergence- Kangaroo tails (Xanthorrhoea) catching the last light of the day…

Looking west over megalong valley on sunset

Looking west from Narrowneck plateau over megalong valley on sunset

New Life- web 2048

Regeneration- New growth returns after the fires…

New Growth- February 2021 - Web 3840

Still going- February 2021- Web size 2048

Pink flannel flowers in bloom- Febraury 2021-Web- 2048

Pink flannel flowers (Actinotus forsythii) in bloom on Narrowneck plateau- February 2021

Pink flannel flower- Ben Pearse 2021- Web 3840

Beautiful pink flannel flowers bloom a year after the bushfires, it’s actually the smoke and not the heat that makes these rare flowers germinate…

Thanks for looking,

Cheers Ben

Visit Ben’s website here- Ben Pearse Photography

Blue Mountains Snowfall-August-2019

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…

Snowfall in the Blue Mountains

Snow on the Mountains

Snowfall in the Blue Mountains- Three Sisters

Sunrise and Snow

Snowfall over Three sisters- August 2019

Snowfall over Three sisters- August 2019

Ben Pearse Photography

Blue Mountains Snowfall- Ben Pearse 2019

Visit Ben’s Website here: Ben Pearse Photography

Bushfires in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia, 2019- 2020- New Blog!

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.

Ruined Castle Bushfire- Ben Pearse 2019

The Beginning-Ruined Castle Bushfire- November 27th 2019

Fire Season- Ben Pearse 2019- web 2048

Small puff of smoke near ruined castle

Begrimed- Ben Pearse 2019

Begrimed- Ben Pearse 2019

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…

Sunfire- web 2048

Eerie sunsets

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.

Narrowneck plateau fire- web 2048

Fire rages on the narrowneck plateau cliffline

Plateau on Fire- Ben Pearse 2019- web 2048

Fire engulfs the treeline on narrowneck plateau

Narrowneck Fire- Ruined Castle Bushfire 2019- web 2048

Thick plumes of smoke choke the air

Raging- Ben Pearse 2019- Web Size 2048

Fire climbs up and down the sheer sandstone walls in minutes

Ruined Castle 1- Web Size

Dry conditions fuel the fires- December 1st 2019

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.

 

Ruined Castle fire- Ben Pearse 2019- web 2048

Night view of the ruined castle fire from echo point lookout

Fireline- Ruined Castle Bushfire 2019-web 2048

Line of fire in the jamison valley, Katoomba, Blue Mountains, Australia

fire watchers web size

Echo point providing a great viewing platform for the ruined castle bushfire

Jamison valley fire- Web 2048

A wall of flames at night in the jamison valley, Blue Mountains.

Jamison fire- Ruined Castle Bushfire- web 2048

Nightfire- Katoomba, Blue Mountains, Australia- December 3rd-2019.

Jamison valley- Ruined Castle Bushire 2019- web 2048

Fire burns up into Pitts Amphitheatre, Katoomba, NSW.

Mount Solitary at night- web 2048

Fire burns a path onto Mount Solitary. In the background the Kowmung river fire rages. This fire would go on to join with the the Green Wattle creek fire.

Flaring up- Ruined Castle bushfire 2019 web 2048

Ruined Castle fire flares up in gusty dry conditions- December 10th 2019. Planes and helicopters water bomb from above and bring the fire back under control.

Castle Fire- Ben Pearse 2019 - web 2048

Fire returns and burns in behind the iconic Ruined Castle sandstone formations. This was near the point where the fire originated 2 weeks ago.

Twilight glow- Ben Pearse 2019- web 2048

A small flareup on narrowneck plateau as misty conditions permeate the night…

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.

Pyrocumulus Cloud- Ben Pearse 2019

Pyrocumulus Cloud- Grose valley fire 2019

Gospers Breath- Ben Pearse 2019

Gospers Breath- Grose valley fire 2019

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