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

 

 

Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival

hands, heart, feet...

hands, heart, feet…

As a long time resident and professional photographer of the Blue Mountains I’ve always looked forward to the annual Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival in june each year. The festival is held in the upper mountains township of Katoomba and revolves around the winter solstice every year. It’s a time for people to embrace and showcase their inner creative and flamboyant streaks by wearing a costume that reflects the annual theme of the festival. Each year the theme changes, this year it was peace and over the last few years it has been phoenix dreaming and historia…Every year there is a grand parade that makes its way up Katoomba street, cheered on by large crowds that line the sidelines. Each year crowds over 45 ooo+ people will come and visit the festival. There is a huge selection of stalls to browse through on the day and many performances take place at various venues of the course of the festival.

Over the last few years I’ve been one of the official photographers and I thought I would put together a small showreel of some of my favourite images that I’ve captured of this wonderful local festival over the last few years. I thought this year was the busiest in terms of just moving through the crowds, I personally struggled throughout the day as I felt pretty unwell and only shot a small portion of the day’s festivities. Luckily there is always plenty of local photographers on hand to showcase the event to the public via social media platforms. As always the event is organised by a group of tireless volunteers who do a great job of coordinating one of Australia’s biggest festivals..no small task i’m sure, and they do an outstanding job.

So sit back and scroll through some of the images that I have personally enjoyed capturing of the Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival. I hope to see you there next year…..

cheers Ben

Website- benpearsephotography.com.au  Winter Magic Festival Website-http://www.wintermagic.com.au/

looking back at winter magic over the years

selfie time

selfie time

rhythm

rhythm

Strike a pose- Winter Magic 2013- low res

Strike a pose

Grand parade coming through

Grand parade coming through

Sweeney Todd & Mrs Lovett

Sweeney Todd & Mrs Lovett

Happy faces

Happy faces

romantic interludes

romantic interludes

Carrington hotel fireworks

Carrington hotel fireworks

smiles all round

smiles all round

street performers

street performers

marching to the beat of the drum

marching to the beat of the drum

little fairies

little fairies

tall people

tall people

wonderful volunteers

wonderful volunteers

having a good time

having a good time

scarey outfits

scarey outfits

traditional music

traditional music

colourful kids

colourful kids

knights of the realm

knights of the realm

blue mountains fans

blue mountains fans

marching bands

marching bands

fireworks in the mist

fireworks in the mist

great performers

great performers

eye popping acts

eye popping acts

captivated crowds

captivated crowds

what goes up must come down..

what goes up must come down..

getting there groove on

getting there groove on

stop on red

stop on red

talented youngsters

talented youngsters

boom shakalaka

boom shakalaka

show of hands

show of hands

burning off lunch

burning off lunch

little Harry potters

little Harry potters

cultural centre drumming

cultural centre drumming

church choirs

church choirs

Captain Jack is sure to be there

Captain Jack is sure to be there

checking the outfit

checking the outfit

viking encounters

viking encounters

long time participants

long time participants

beautiful costumes

beautiful costumes

yummy food

yummy food

redheads

redheads

funksters

funksters

jumping with joy

jumping with joy

happy helpers

happy helpers

festival favourites

festival favourites

thor

thor

great traditional dancers

Jo from Wagana

happy stall holders

happy stall holders

performing to the crowds

performing to the crowds

morning entertainment

morning entertainment

getting the shot

getting the shot

spidey deliveries

spidey deliveries

blast from the past

blast from the past

belly dancers

belly dancers

kids in colour

kids in colour

sun dancers

sun dancers

rock singers

rock singers

up on stage

Wagana performance

friendly pets

friendly pets

graffiti artists

graffiti artists

dressed in white

dressed in white

making news

making news

Mad hatters

Mad hatters

ending with a bang

ending with a bang

thats a wrap for now

Hands, Heart, Feet

5

Winter Magic Festival 2017

Winter Magic Festival 2017

Winter Magic Festival 2017

1

Winter Magic Festival 2017

40

Winter Magic Festival 2017

Fireworks 2

Winter Magic Festival 2017- Fireworks

Winter Magic ver 3 copy

Winter Magic Festival 2017

About Ben- Ben Pearse is a commercial and portrait from Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Ben works from his home portrait studio in Katoomba and also sells and licenses his large portfolio of landscape images of the Blue Mountains, Australia.

You can follow Ben’s photographic journey on these social media platforms Website Facebook  Instagram  Twitter  Google+  Flickr  500px

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

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

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…

Cockatoos

Watching the sunset

Watching the sunset

I think you either like Cockatoos or you don’t. They are a very common Australian bird and can be rather cheeky and a little noisey at times. I for one really like them. I think they have allot of character and I like their cheeky side too. They also do make a pretty easy target if you’re trying to capture them in a photo as well. Over the years I have managed to take quite a few shots, especially of the sulphur crested Cockatoo, which is very common species throughout the Blue Mountains where I live.

I’m really looking forward to getting some shots of the majestic black cockatoo in time as well. They have proven to be much more elusive to get a really top notch photo of. I have come very close on a number of occasions whilst trying to stalk them through the bush, but alas I’ll have to keep trying to get the really great shot that I feel does justice to this beautiful bird…

I hope you’re well and enjoying some time in the beautiful outdoors, cheers ben

pst… I do weddings now too

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more cockledoodledoos

Cockatoo in afternoon light

Cockatoo in afternoon light

a heated debate amongst friends

a heated debate amongst friends

basking in light

basking in light

getting a portrait done

getting a portrait done

soaking in some sun

soaking in some sun

in the dark

in the dark

abstract view

abstract view

taking a breather

taking a breather

snuck up behind me

snuck up behind me

"I said your a... *%^@

“I said, its a bit noisey isn’t it”.

catch ya later

catch ya later

flying by katoomba falls

flying by katoomba falls

taking in the view

taking in the view

taking off

taking off

friendly visitor

friendly visitor

sitting out the rain

sitting out the rain

shy

shy

flap flap

flap flap

touchdown

touchdown