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 Musenative 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 simple to see why so many photographers have Port Stephens on their listing 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 arduous to see simply how imposing the dunescape is. While this panorama appears extremely spectacular from a distance, it’s solely while 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 terms of exploring and photographing these landscapes, it’s necessary to know that dunes could be fairly deceiving on the subject of safely navigating your manner out and in. If, like me, you intend on strolling your self out and in of the dunes, a few tricks to contemplate could be:

Watch the climate – each earlier than and through your dune journey. This isn’t simply from a images perspective, but in addition 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 which you could 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 may nonetheless safely discover your manner 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 knowledge round each the natural world you would anticipate finding within the space.

Behind the Lens – Tales + Settings

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

Don’t let the calm trying 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 manner the climate turned out. As I walked into the dunes, the cloud cowl was growing considerably – as was the velocity of the wind – and I knew I’d have a restricted period of time to scout for a location, resolve on my composition, seize it and get again out of the dunes earlier than the storm hit. I continued to stroll into the dunes a bit additional than normal 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, kind and distinction to the dunescape via shadow and lightweight.

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 fast tempo, meant that I may seize the motion of the sand throughout the peaks of the dunes within the picture. The inverse main strains 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 vital wonderful shows I’ve witnessed thus far within the dunes. Because the solar continued to dip decrease and decrease, the color of the sand would change as the sunshine did – from tender yellows, to pastel pinks and muted oranges, to superbly earthy burnt sienna tones – a kaleidoscope of ever altering color constantly 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 inventive 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 kinds of photos to seize. What I like about it’s realizing that the following time I flip up on the identical location, I’ll by no means be capable to seize the identical shapes and sand ripple patterns ever once more, and subsequently every picture is exclusive. While I’m an enormous fan of color images, there’s something so splendidly uncooked, highly effective and pared again about black and white

The sunshine this specific afternoon was a bit uninspiring, and so I went in the hunt for 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 graceful 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 from time to time, it’s good to push myself creatively and seize the dunes at completely different instances of the day. It had rained the evening 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 evening earlier than and the sand drying in several sections at completely different instances, creating summary shapes all through the panorama – it seemed as if somebody had taken to the dunes with an enormous paintbrush. Having vital cloud
cowl additionally meant that I basically 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 images of the dunes, I observed a cloud hovering above the height of one of many dunes – it seemed prefer it was so shut that I may simply stroll up and contact it…in fact I couldn’t, however the cloud, the pastel color palette and the patterns from the rain made for a whimsical model 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 isn’t any completely different. I like the inventive freedom a drone can convey to composing and capturing a scene, and it’s very useful to discover a bit 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 relating to restrictions previous to launching your drone to be sure 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 world is lively, and I exploit the app Open Sky to examine for any restrictions and to ensure 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 seemed up and noticed a cluster of smaller sand formations on a bigger dune with what seemed like some nicely outlined areas of shadow and lightweight. I launched my drone, and as I flew over the dune, the peaks of those smaller natural kinds had been lit up superbly 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 (thus far) 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 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. Should you’d wish to see extra of her work, comply with alongside by way of @_debbienewton on Instagram, or take a peek at her different guides and prints by way of
There’s an amazing in-depth article about exploring sand dunes right here, and Deb is at present engaged on ‘The Australian Sand Dunes Challenge’, photographing sand dunes throughout Australia, together with her most up-to-date journey together with a camel trekking safari throughout the Simpson Desert! Try the challenge right here – @australiansanddunesproject

Deb Newton is an Australian photographer, inventive and is the proprietor of Lens and Muse, based mostly in Newcastle, NSW. Offering visible storytelling companies for lodging retailers, eco-tourism and sustainable outside product companies, her imagery connects environmentally targeted travellers with their subsequent must-have merchandise or vacation spot.  Her present challenge ‘The Australian Sand Dunes Challenge‘, focuses on showcasing the fantastic thing about Australian sand dunes, visiting distant and sandy areas throughout the nation.

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