Tag Archives: sunset

I must be getting better at this

Melbourne Southbank

Like it says on the header – writer, photographer, animal lover, space nut. It has been a little while since I addressed the commercial part of ‘photographer’, so recently I decided to divert my procrastination in the writing arena into offering a few photos to the stock photo sites I use to sell my wares.

Most of the pictures I’ve had online have been of birds, insects, or whales. To be honest, I’d found Dreamstime (which is a large stock photo site used by a LOT of designers) wasn’t very interested in my landscapes and sunset/sunrise shots, so I stopped sending them. Then I figured, all they can do is refuse. They didn’t (!). There are millions of photos on these sites, many of the same place. I had a lot of excellent photos of our Rhine cruises refused because, “we’ve already got lots of the same subject and this photo isn’t better.” Which is fair enough. But it seems the Australian landscape category isn’t quite so full.

I’ve even added a few quite old pictures to my collection. That said, I can certainly see how the quality has improved over the years. What I might once have thought was an OK photo is these days relegated to the ‘meh’ basket. Or even deleted.

Dreamstime accepted all the pictures I posted – except one. That very nice (if I do say so myself) picture of Southbank in Melbourne was refused. I knew not to show any logos, and carefully removed the few that were visible. But even that was not enough. I would have had to obtain property releases (permission to use their building in a photo) for Dreamstime to accept the picture. I expect the main culprit for that one would be Crown Casino – but – it’s not that important to me.

Buildings can be copyrighted. You can’t sell a photo of the Sydney Opera House without permission, and that’s just one I know about, Here’s what Dreamstime has to say about these matters.

check carefully for copyright issues such as labels, logos, characters from cartoons or movies etc. Note that some buildings are protected by a trademark (such as new sculptures), cars like Ferrari and Porsche, Harley Davidson motorcycles, the Coca-Cola bottle, the Olympic logo circles.

Bright spinnakers contrast with the storm clouds in a yacht race near Fraser Island

This photo (above) was refused because of the spinnakers. There are no logos on those sails – just standard bought-from-the-shop colour. But as we all know, many racing boats have sponsorship. I might have tried explaining the issue didn’t exist for my picture, but honestly, I couldn’t be bothered.

And I suppose all this makes sense. If a designer bought an image with a logo on it, then used it to sell something which would impact that logo, the owner of the logo would have every right to be annoyed. For example, a BMW bike ad showing a broken down Harley-Davidson (or something), I’m sure you can think of others. Any photos with recognisable people in them need a model release for the same reason, if the photo is for commercial use. You may think that’s not really an issue for me. I don’t take pictures of people – but it’s a consideration even if the people are in there by accident. For example, a photo of a whale spy-hopping. It’s nice to include people in those scenes, but I’d need a model release if the people could be identified, even from the back, like in the photo below.

Whale spy-hopping

Before you ask, I don’t sell many images. My best sellers (ha ha) are whale shots. So why do I do it? Well, quite a few people asked me if I sold photos when I posted pictures on Facebook. That encouraged me to try a stock photo site, where I quickly discovered that the quality required was quite a few notches above ‘looks good on Facebook’. And in the end, that’s why I do it. I get a silly little buzz when stock sites accept my photos simply because it means they’re technically good enough to make the cut.

And while you might think that ‘technically good enough’ is the same for all sites, it’s not. I’ve had photos accepted at Canstock and not Dreamstime and vice versa. So I guess there’s an element of subjectivity in the process.

Of course, you can see most of these online at Dreamstime. But I thought I’d share some, anyway. And one that didn’t make the grade.

Late afternoon sun lights up the cliffs at Geikie Gorge

A contrail catches the hidden sun as the horizon lightens

Sunlight strikes the rocks around Wilpena Pound

A moss-covered tree in temperate rain forest

Millaa-Millaa Falls is the highest waterfall in the Atherton Tablelands. I took out the people in the image before I sent this.

3 lorikeets fighting for position. This one wasn’t accepted by any of the stock sites – too much noise, too much out of focus. But there you go – those aspects are what gives the image its sparkle (IMO)

A summer storm

A cumulus tower

A cumulus tower

Summer storms are a fact of life where I live. They seem to pop up out of a clear blue sky. This one is no exception. I hear it first, a low rumble in the distance outside my window. There it is, a vast cumulus tower, its curves bright white in the sun. A look at the radar shows we’ll probably be in its path.

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Here it comes

When the sky grows dark I go outside to watch its progress. The soaring thunderclouds are invisible now, the sky a uniform deep grey blanket except for that ragged leading edge, like fingers dragging a cloak of cloud in their wake. Lightning flashes all around me, sometimes high up in the cloud, making it light up inside, sometimes a spear of brilliance stabbing into the ground.

I count the seconds for the thunder. One… two… and then the rolling bouncing rumble like a bowling ball in the gutter. Or the sharp ear-bursting cymbal crash followed by a drum roll.

The very air is electric, making my skin tingle. There is no wind down here, but there is up there. The finger fragments have passed me, now heading for the sea. Now the first heavy drops of rain begin to fall, leaving a polka dot pattern on the hot paving. And with the rain comes the wind, bending the palm trees and swirling around the veranda.

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Lightning now well out to sea

I retreat under cover and watch the sky show as the storm surrounds us with noise and fury. Bolt after bolt of lightning hurtles down, thunder bangs and crashes while the rain beats down with an added timpani of hail.

The seconds between the lightning bolts and the thunder lengthen. The storm is gone almost as quickly as it developed, leaving 22mm of rain in as many minutes.

Not long after, the sun breaks through, bright as a searchlight on the trees. Of course there’ll be a rainbow. And there is, along with a brilliant sunset.

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Ord River buzz

A lake ArgyleThe highlight of our visit to Kununurra was a trip on the Ord River. After all, without the Ord River, Kununurra wouldn’t exist. The town was created in the sixties, when one of the visionary Duracks, who originally opened up the area, persuaded the Government to dam the river. If you’ve been following my journey, you’d know that year-round water is a huge problem up here. There’s the Wet and the Dry, and the Wet is very, very wet and the Dry is very, very dry. In between there’s fire, which clears the land ready for the next wet. But traditional crops like wheat, cotton and sugar cane don’t grow like that. So a dam was built and Lake Argyle was created. You can read all about it here.

It’s hard to give an idea of size when talking about lakes and things. I’ve often heard descriptions involving Olympic sized swimming pools and football fields. But sometimes even they become insignificant. In Australia we have our own term of measurement – Sydney Harbours. Sydney Harbour holds a big lot of Olympic swimming pools (don’t ask me how many) so we have an idea that’s an enormous amount of water. Lake Argyle holds about 15 Sydney Harbours in normal times. At the height of the 2011 floods it held 44 Sydney Harbours and the flow over the diversion dam that feeds the irrigation area is also measured in Sydney Harbours.

Yes, there’s irrigation, but the other use for all that water is hydro electricity, which requires steady water flow over the turbines. So the line of isolated waterholes that used to mark the course of the Ord River in the Dry is now a fast flowing, all year river.

That’s it for context, folks. Let the journey begin. We caught a bus up to the main dam, stopping for a scenic glimpse of the lake. From there, we piled onto a jet boat – very fast, with very shallow draft to get over the shallow, rocky bits, but able to drift very comfortably in the deep bits. And off we went. The very knowledgeable driver stopped often to let us take pictures of wildlife and reflections.

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A rock wallaby watches us from high on a vertical rock wall. They are very agile little critters.

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Red rock, blue sky, water. Gorgeous.

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We stopped for afternoon tea. This was taken from the river bank in late afternoon light.

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Paperbarks line the bank.

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A pair of pelicans enjoy the sunlight

A croc

A Johnson river crocodile basks on a reed bed

Guys, this was the bestest trip. Loved the boat, loved the river, loved the red rock almost glowing in the sunlight, loved the reflections, the bird life, the crocs, the botany lessons. If you get a chance, go do it. And at the end, back at Kununurra, we watched the sunset from the boat.

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A frozen moment of time

Those of you who know a little about me know I enjoy taking photos. My subjects tend to be creatures that fly and maybe I’ll talk about them another time. This time, I want to talk about sunsets. You might think sunsets and flying birds don’t have much in common but there is one thing. With a camera, a photographer can capture one moment in time, an event which will never happen in quite the same way ever again. Oh, a bird will fly, a sun will set but the chances of ALL the circumstances being exactly the same – you’d have a far better chance of winning the lottery.

So share with me this wondrous sunset on the shores of Hervey Bay.

I went to a spot I frequent, where a creek flows into the bay. We have large tidal rise and fall and there is a vast tidal flat exposed here at low tide. I arrived before sundown and watched the people and the dogs – and a few birds – enjoy the ambience.

Then the sun set in the West (as it does). It’s just above the tops of the trees. Notice the high cirrus cloud, hardly affected by the sun.

The sun starts to sink below the trees

So intent was I on the sun sinking in the west, I ignored what was behind me. A short time later, I looked over my shoulder and saw this. I’m looking at the eastern sky, with the sun just set behind me.The eastern sky is alight with colour

And then I turned around again. And captured a river of light reflected in a river of water. A truly amazing sight that it is my privilege to share with you. Three incomparable, never to be repeated, moments in time.

A river of light in the sky reflected in the water

Please enjoy – and if you wish to share these, be my guest but I ask that you acknowledge my copyright by attributing me.

Sunset at low tide

picture of sunset on the bayWater and light. In this shot the setting sun is to the left of the picture, its last rays reflecting from the clouds onto the shallow water of the bay. Night is minutes away. There is no lingering twilight in these latitudes. © Copyright Greta van der Rol

When I’m not writing I take photos

I’m feeling a tad introspective at the moment. Since I don’t have anything wonderful to say, I’ll show you something wonderful instead.

I live near a beach. I go there quite often, always that same piece of beach. And every single time, I see something new, something different. This was one of those times; low tide, near sundown, warm, calm… This is my idea of peace on earth. © Copyright Greta van der Rol

Please enjoy.