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 fire from the 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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

after glow

after glow

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