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

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three sisters and snow

Three sisters in snow

Three sisters in snow

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.

Follow Ben’s photographic journey on any of these social media platforms Facebook  Instagram  Google+  Twitter  Flickr  500px  Pinterest 

Website- benpearsephotography.com.au

Contact Ben here

Sisters under snow siege

Sisters under snow siege

Three sisters on sunrise with a little snow

Three sisters on sunrise with a little snow about…

Snow over three sisters

Snow over three sisters

Three sisters in a snowstorm

Three sisters in a snowstorm

Blue Mountains winter wonderland

Blue Mountains winter wonderland

Katoomba gets some snow

Katoomba gets some snow

 

 

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

 

Cicadas

Cicada shells in the sun

Cicada shells in the sun

I really thought I’d got my Cicada photos out of my system with the last blog……I guess not. They tell me that every seven or so years we get plague like proportions of these little fellas, and this year is one of them. The warm weather has brought them out of the ground around 3 weeks early, and this year and they are everywhere….I won’t bore you with too many facts this time as you can read them in my last blog. You will find as you look through my photos that I find the shells far more engaging than the actual Cicadas, weird I know. For me I find the skins far more photogenic in nice light than the actual live cicadas, not always but most of the time. So if you’re not overloaded with the noise from the guys at the moment I’m sure my photos might tip you over the edge, lol. Enjoy!

Have a super weekend…

cheers ben

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Cicada madness begins

marching shells

marching shells

cicada glow

cicada glow

soaking up some rays

soaking up some rays

how much further...

how much further…

get in line

get in line

need a shower

need a shower

hatching

hatching

march to the light

march to the light

basking in light

basking in light

broken out

broken out

lef hanging

left hanging

greengrocer

greengrocer

only dirt remains here..

only dirt remains here..

golden glow

golden glow

follow the leader

follow the leader

hanging around

hanging around

old skins

old skins

upclose

upclose

shedding old skin on sunset

shedding old skin on sunset

new life above ground

new life above ground

a bugs life

a bugs life

my old home

my old home

left clinging

left clinging

hey you....come here

hey you….come here

in the forest

in the forest

In the light

In the light

hiding from predators

hiding from predators

blasted by light

blasted by light

under the forest canopy

under the forest canopy

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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e-benpearsephotography@gmail.com

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