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On Saturday night, I rallied together a small group of friends to chase the Aurora Australis. The Aurora had been putting on a show for the last handful of days and the images that fellow photographers had shared were looking incredible. We set out for Phillip Island - a casual 2-hour drive away from my house in Melbourne.
As is often the case, the weather was at odds with me. By the time we had reached San Remo, the last township before the island, the cloud cover was settling in and turning for the worse. The sun was beginning to set and we* decided that this might be our only opportunity to salvage something from the drive.
* - I. I decided. I will take responsibility for this one.
Most of what I managed to capture at this location was 'B-Roll' - images whose only purpose was to keep a record of where we went and what we did. I'd had the San Remo to Phillip Island bridge in the back of my mind for a long time. The difficulty in shooting this bridge is that the shoreline doesn't offer many forgiving angles that allow you to capture a workable perspective of the bridge without obstructions. The water doesn't flow through here in a way that creates nice lines to follow with your eyes; it rolls in and around itself as water drains from the Western Port Bay but flows in from the Bass Strait. There is a small embankment underneath the bridge and, if the flow of the water is timed correctly to avoid the break, it can work quite well with the setting sun in the distance.
Lately, my focus for photography has been on exploring how far I can push the mood of my images and continuing to learn more about stepping outside of the box when creating an image. Every photographer that I know finds it difficult to abandon the original idea for an image or the expectation of what it should look like once finished. A lot of the time, when framing up an image and deciding on the right settings to capture it, we're building an idea in our mind of what the final product is going to look like; a loose target to aim at. For me, this is usually something that captures the feeling of being at that location in those conditions. I try to maintain the natural appearance of colours and textures, so I've found it particularly challenging to let go of looking natural if it's what makes the image the most captivating.
Once we were on the island, it became abundantly clear that we were not going to be shooting the aurora. The cloud cover that set in was too thick and all encompassing of the sky, despite projections for a fairly decent light show. We spent the rest of the evening scoping out "the best fish 'n' chips in Australia" (according to the Englishwoman in our group) and driving home in high spirits from a great (mis)adventure with friends.
Better luck next time.