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

 

 

 

 

2013- A year through the lens

So as the smoke fades from the last of the fireworks over Sydney, which I watch in comfort from my loungeroom, I start to reflect on the year that was 2013 through the images I captured. Last year was a year that would see me share allot of images online, not sure I’ll share quite as many this year, time will tell… (pending exhibition too)….  I covered allot of events across the Blue Mountains, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was the year in which I would chase images  from hazard reduction burns in the upper Blue Mountains, seeking mood as the smoke infused light saturated the valleys. It was a year that proved more difficult for capturing my beloved waterfalls as winter rains failed to fill the creeks and streams compared to years past. This worries me little as I will always seek out the water, whenever it may fall. It was a year that saw me dabble with some still life subjects, something that I will continue with in 2014. Though I took quite a few portraits for clients and for personal assignments, I would like to pursue more studio and natural light portraits in 2014 as I really enjoy this type of photographic work. I took quite a few landscapes photos throughout 2013 and I’ll chase these again in 2014 as I hunt for that elusive mood and light in the beautiful Blue Mountains & beyond. With 2013 images safely saved to various hardrives, 2014 folders sit relatively empty, but no doubt this will change as the year progresses and gathers speed as the years do. This year will see me focus on wedding photography as I expand my business further. I look forward to capturing those raw emotive moments that comes with weddings. I will be giving a few presentations early in the year to photography clubs that have ask me to showcase some work & thoughts on my photography. I look forward to this very much. I’m hoping that in the latter part of the year that I’ll get to exhibit my work for the first time, and I’d truly like for this to happen, in this year. I hope you get the time to check in and have a look at some of the new images as the “journey continues” this year. I hope that this year will be a great one and I look forward to sharing some more of my work with you…. cheers Ben- benpearsephotography@gmail.com facebook   portfolio   twitter   buy prints

A small sample from Images in 2013

Yosemite creek

Yosemite creek

Weeping Rock

Weeping Rock

blue tongue road rage

blue tongue road rage

Streets aglow with colour

Streets aglow with colour

Autumn glory

Autumn glory

babbling brooks

babbling brooks

hidden from view

hidden from view

blurred autumn

blurred autumn

Moss covered walls

Moss covered walls

Jamison Glow

Jamison Glow

Smoke soaked sunrays e

Smoke soaked sunrays

amazing sunsets

amazing sunsets

the occasional fierce warrior

the occasional fierce warrior

the planes...the planes

the planes…the planes

Parachuting in

Parachuting in

Govettes Leap sunrise

Govettes Leap sunrise

snails pace

snails pace

swooping in

swooping in

time to relax

time to relax

Heres Harry potter

Heres Harry potter

feeling the rhythm

feeling the rhythm

having a good time

having a good time

smiling for the shot

smiling for the shot

afternoon rays

afternoon rays

Phanton Falls

Phantom Falls

3 sisters sunset

3 sisters sunset

 part of the big picture

part of the big picture

smokey skies

smokey skies

Sublime sunrise

Sublime sunrise

photo bombers

photo bombers

looking up

looking up

colourful display

colourful display

ummmm having an outdoor shower

ummmm having an outdoor shower

an aerial view

an aerial view

Tuncurry, Australia

Tuncurry, Australia

gone fishin

gone fishin

 in the mist

in the mist

Capturing Dad

Capturing Dad

Selfie at Narrowneck watching the fires

Selfie at Narrowneck watching the fires

Belinda

Belinda through the window

shafts of light

shafts of light

after glow

after glow

valley mood

valley mood

colours of smoke

colours of smoke

narrowneck

narrowneck

without colours

without colours

Ruined Castle

Ruined Castle

Golden light

Golden light

jamison valley glory

jamison valley glory

cicada madness

cicada madness

march to the light

march to the light

left clinging

left clinging

under the forest canopy

under the forest canopy

snuck up behind me

snuck up behind me

Watching the sunset

Watching the sunset

basking in light

basking in light

summers afternoon

summers afternoon

rockstars

rockstars

beach babes

beach babes

The North Face 100

The North Face 100

overnight runners

overnight runners

sunset runners

sunset runners

Wild Endurance Walk

Wild Endurance Walk

wild endurance

wild endurance

into the valley floor

into the valley floor

last man stands competition

last man stands competition

looking for the runout

looking for the runout

bushfire meeting

bushfire meeting

concerned citizens

concerned citizens

poetry under the stars

poetry under the stars

poetry under the stars

poetry under the stars

stray at the door

stray at the door

old man crow

old man crow

Swan lake- melbourne

Swan lake- melbourne

too cute

too cute

Eureka shydeck shoot- Melbourne

Eureka shydeck shoot- Melbourne

life is still

life is still

still life

still life

golden girls

golden girls

sunset sisters

sunset sisters

elixir of life

elixir of life

valley moods

valley moods

changing weather

changing weather

blooming colours

blooming colours

approaching storm

approaching storm

Megalong glow

Megalong glow

mount hay & hippos, lol

mount hay & hippos, lol

Attending the sun

Attending the sun

reaching for light

reaching for light

through the grass

through the grass

Go climb a rock

Go climb a rock

graffiti artists

graffiti artists

Echo point at night

Echo point at night

under the full moon

under the full moon

Urban skies

Urban skies

halloween

halloween

witches

witches

blu light

blu light

green on blu

green on blu

ferns and falls

ferns and falls

witches leap

witches leap

Three sisters sunrise

Three sisters sunrise

fire moon

fire moon

troubled skies

troubled skies

lightspill

lightspill

approaching storm

approaching storm

rainbow sisters

rainbow sisters

valley of blooms

valley of blooms

Bondi

Bondi

three sisters portraits

three sisters portraits

new life

new life

full moons

full moons

weddings & cake

weddings & cake

beautiful brides

beautiful brides

sunset watching

sunset watching

Continue the journey in 2014

Continue the journey in 2014

Come on the journey in 2014….Ben Pearse Photography

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