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

 

 

 

 

Mount Solitary walk- Blue Mountains

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

Website

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

Website

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

 

 

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