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…

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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