Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Stockton Sand Dunes – Tales + Digital camera Settings

Let’s take a stroll via the sand dunes of Stockton with Deb Newton of Lens and Muse, native photographer and contributor of The Wandering Lens.

Highly effective, breathtaking and ever-changing, the Stockton sand dunes situated on the Worimi Conservation Lands in Port Stephens, New South Wales, Australia are an ever-changing kaleidoscope of sweeping curves, textures, distinctive patterns, colors and dynamic contrasts of sunshine and shadow.

Fairly merely put, these plenty of shifting sand are a photographer’s dream.

The Port Stephens space, situated a brief drive from Newcastle, is in and of itself, a photogenic paradise. From azure blue bays and surf seashores, to the towering headland of Tomaree Nationwide Park, and an abundance of strolling trails snaking via nature reserves dotted alongside the shoreline, there are many landscapes to be impressed by. It’s straightforward to see why so many photographers have Port Stephens on their checklist of locations to seize.

One other inspiring panorama situated within the Port Stephens space is the Stockton Sand Dunes situated on the Worimi Conservation Lands. At a size of 32km, the Stockton Sand Dunes are the longest transferring sand dunes within the Southern Hemisphere, and at their peak, can attain as much as 50 metres excessive.

From the second you arrive, it’s not exhausting to see simply how imposing the dunescape is. While this panorama appears to be like extremely spectacular from a distance, it’s solely if you begin strolling amongst these towering partitions of sand that you simply get an actual sense of simply what number of photographic alternatives there are in and amongst the dunes.


Exploring the Stockton Sand Dunes

In relation to exploring and photographing these landscapes, it’s necessary to grasp that dunes may be fairly deceiving on the subject of safely navigating your approach out and in. If, like me, you intend on strolling your self out and in of the dunes, a few tricks to take into account could be:

Watch the climate – each earlier than and through your dune journey. This isn’t simply from a pictures perspective, but additionally making certain you’re dressed appropriately for the climate you anticipate you’ll expertise.

Familiarise your self with the entry and exit factors. Attempt to discover a bodily panorama maker you can simply recognise to provide you with a warning to these entry and exit factors, in order that if you happen to’re strolling again in very low mild, you possibly can nonetheless safely discover your approach out.

Concentrate on the wildlife that you could be come throughout within the dunes. If the dunes are inside a Nationwide Park, the Nationwide Parks web sites present a wealth of data round each the wildlife you could possibly anticipate finding within the space.

Behind the Lens – Tales + Settings

Digital camera Settings: ISO 100 – 28mm – f16 – 1/15sec

Don’t let the calm wanting nature of this picture idiot you – this specific afternoon within the dunes the wind was howling as an incoming storm got here rolling in.
I had been watching the climate forecast all afternoon and determined to take an opportunity and drive as much as the dunes and see what I may seize whatever the approach the climate turned out. As I walked into the dunes, the cloud cowl was rising considerably – as was the pace of the wind – and I knew I’d have a restricted period of time to scout for a location, determine on my composition, seize it and get again out of the dunes earlier than the storm hit. I continued to stroll into the dunes just a little additional than ordinary and I got here throughout this scene. The solar’s golden hues had been spilling out from the skies to the west hitting the peaks of the dunes giving depth, type and distinction to the dunescape via shadow and light-weight.

There was sufficient mild to select up the patterns of the sand ripples within the foreground, and the mixture of the sunshine hitting the peaks of the dunes and howling wind transferring the grains of sand at a speedy tempo, meant that I may seize the motion of the sand throughout the peaks of the dunes within the picture. The inverse main traces of the curvature of the dunes and
the clouds additionally added some visible curiosity to the picture.

Digital camera Settings: ISO 100 – 70mm – f5.6 – 1/40sec

The sunshine on the night this specific picture was captured was one of the crucial wonderful shows I’ve witnessed to date within the dunes. Because the solar continued to dip decrease and decrease, the color of the sand would change as the sunshine did – from gentle yellows, to pastel pinks and muted oranges, to fantastically earthy burnt sienna tones – a kaleidoscope of ever altering color repeatedly modified the panorama earlier than me.

The earthy tones within the dunes offered by the sunshine later within the night had been simply beautiful, and I needed to get artistic and isolate a small part of a dune to create a extra summary seize and focus in on the intricate sand ripples and type of the dunes.

Digital camera Settings: ISO 100 – 35mm – f14 – 1/20sec

Natural shapes and sand ripple patterns within the dunes are a few of my most favorite types of photos to seize. What I really like about it’s understanding that the subsequent time I flip up on the similar location, I’ll by no means be capable to seize the identical shapes and sand ripple patterns ever once more, and due to this fact every picture is exclusive. While I’m an enormous fan of color pictures, there’s something so splendidly uncooked, highly effective and pared again about black and white

The sunshine this specific afternoon was just a little uninspiring, and so I went in quest of natural shapes and patterns within the dunes as an alternative. I spent practically an hour on this one undisturbed space of dune the place there have been miraculously no footprints or 4 wheel tyre tracks to spoil the picture. What struck me with this composition was the very pronounced pure curve transferring my eye all through the body, and the way in which the sunshine accentuated the distinction of
texture between the sleek sand and the raised sand ripples.

Digital camera Settings: ISO 100 – 70mm – f11 – 1/25sec

While golden hour is my favorite mild to shoot in, each every so often, it’s good to push myself creatively and seize the dunes at completely different occasions of the day. It had rained the night time prior, and the cloud cowl was setting in to stay round all day so I made a decision to seize my digicam and head out to the dunes and see what I may discover to seize.

Strolling into the dunes what caught my eyes had been the patterns within the sand. The patterns I’m referring to weren’t from the same old natural ripple patterns you discover in these landscapes, slightly, the patterns got here from the rain the night time earlier than and the sand drying in numerous sections at completely different occasions, creating summary shapes all through the panorama – it regarded as if somebody had taken to the dunes with a giant paintbrush. Having vital cloud
cowl additionally meant that I primarily had Mom Nature’s very personal model of a diffuser the scale of the sky to melt the scene which helped to create a pastel color palette. As I began to take photographs of the dunes, I observed a cloud hovering above the height of one of many dunes – it regarded prefer it was so shut that I may simply stroll up and contact it…after all I couldn’t, however the cloud, the pastel color palette and the patterns from the rain made for a whimsical type seize.

Digital camera Settings: DJI Mini 3 Professional – ISO 100 – 6.72mm – f/1.7 – 1/1250sec

There’s one thing so magical about aerial photos of any panorama – and capturing sand dunes from an aerial perspective is not any completely different. I really like the artistic freedom a drone can deliver to composing and capturing a scene, and it’s very useful to discover just a little additional afield in a dunescape when your legs can’t fairly go the gap. It’s necessary to notice that it’s a good suggestion to do your analysis concerning restrictions previous to launching your drone to ensure you are allowed to fly your drone within the space you’re capturing. The Stockton Sand Dunes do have sure restricted areas requiring approval to fly a drone when the realm is energetic, and I take advantage of the app Open Sky to verify for any restrictions and to verify it’s protected to launch, land and function my drone.

I arrived on the dunes within the early hours of the morning with the intention of capturing the panorama with my drone. As I used to be strolling via the dunes I regarded up and noticed a cluster of smaller sand formations on a bigger dune with what regarded like some effectively outlined areas of shadow and light-weight. I launched my drone, and as I flew over the dune, the peaks of those smaller natural kinds had been lit up fantastically by the early morning solar, and I made a decision to isolate sure areas within the body to create the summary picture you see right here.

Digital camera Settings: ISO 125 – 70mm – F9.0 – 1/30sec

One in all my favorite photos from my Stockton Sand Dunes gallery (to date) is that this one. The sundown sky was completely beautiful, and as I used to be strolling round with my digicam, I got here throughout this composition. I really like how the wave-like formation of the sand dunes framed the crashing waves from the ocean within the distance.


Contributor Data – Deb Newton

An enormous thanks to Deb for sharing these insights into her many photographic journeys to those dunes. When you’d prefer to see extra of her work, observe alongside by way of @_debbienewton on Instagram, or take a peek at her different guides and prints by way of
There’s an important in-depth article about exploring sand dunes right here, and Deb is at present engaged on ‘The Australian Sand Dunes Venture’, photographing sand dunes throughout Australia, along with her most up-to-date journey together with a camel trekking safari throughout the Simpson Desert! Try the mission right here – @australiansanddunesproject



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