The steamy forty degree heat of summer dropped to a lovely 25 degrees last weekend, so taking that as a good opportunity to roadtrip, we went on a spontaneous trip down the Great Ocean Road to chase waterfalls. In the morning, however, the weather was a bit of a hit and miss. One second it was sunny and warm, the next it was spitting rain. When we arrived in Lorne at about mid-day, the sky had turned grey and we could see insidious rain clouds forming in the distance. I had my fingers crossed the entire time during lunch, praying it wouldn’t rain. No one likes to go hiking when its raining (especially when you are carrying a DSLR Camera and lens that aren’t waterproof). Thankfully the weather-gods heard my prayers and at about 1pm the grey skies gave way to a beautiful sea of blue. Our first destination for the day was Teddy’s Lookout. Check out photos here.
With the weather finally in its right state of mind, we were in high spirits as we headed to our second stop-over which was Sheoak Falls. From Lorne, the drive to Sheoak Falls took about 10 minutes. I have never been good with location, always missing the entrance to things and having to do U-turns back. Thankfully finding Sheoak Falls was very easy as there was good signage telling us when to turn right. There were plenty of parking spots which was also good. Following the gravel path, we began our mini hike to our first waterfall chasing destination.
The hike was beautiful.The first part involved a good view of the Great Ocean Road and the surrounding seascapes. The second part of the hike involved descending a flight of stairs. We were surrounded by a gorgeous rocky formation on one side and a tall crop field on the other. Suddenly, I felt like I was in the rural parts of south-east Asia (not that I have been there before, but judging by pictures I have seen).After about ten minutes of leisurely walking, the path eventually splits into two, with one path going up and the other going down. We decided to follow the path down to the base of the waterfall.
Sheoak Falls was beautiful, with lovely green ferns and a deep dark pool surrounding the landscape. Having done some research prior to coming, I learned that the water at Sheoak Falls can be quite variable depending on how much it has rained prior. Luckily on the day we went, there was a good amount of water falling down. I think if we went a week later, Sheoak Falls would have dried up and there would have been little to no water coming down.
Sheoak Falls isn’t as famous as some of the other waterfalls scattered in the Great Ocean Road region. For that reason, there wasn’t too many people. That’s a good thing because I didn’t want to wait for the scene to clear before I could start shooting my waterfall photos.
To shoot a good waterfall where the water looks smooth and silky, the camera’s shutter speed needs to be put at a very slow speed such as 2 seconds (or even slower). The downside to increasing shutter speed is that the picture can become overly exposed if there is too much sunlight and could easily blur. That’s why a tripod is high crucial to prevent camera shake. To compensate for the over exposure, photographers would use what is called an ND filter to block out sunlight so that the shutter speed can be increased. Since I don’t have a ND filter in my tools-of-the-trade, I put my sunglasses lens over my cameras lens to act as a makeshift ND filter. Surprisingly enough it did work (though it did take a lot of effort).
Below are some photos without “ND” (sunglasses filter) over my camera lens. They look horribly ugly. I mean, there’s nothing wrong about the composition just that the lighting is terrible.
Here are some photos with the sunglasses filter placed over my camera lens. Notice the difference? It is so much more easier on the eye whereas the lighting in the above two photos are just jarring.
After my photo spamming at the base of the waterfall, we retraced our steps back to the place where the path splits into two. This time we follow the path up. Along the way, I managed to get a quick snapshot of Sheoak Falls form up high.
About midway up, there was a viewing platform where we could see a smaller cascade in the distance. At the time I didn’t know what it was, thinking it was just another part of Sheoak Falls. I later learned that it was a place called Swallow Cave. Apparently in spring time, Swallows come to the caves to breed. hence the name. How interesting.
Due to the interest of time and the fact that we were probably two hours behind schedule, we didn’t get a chance to continue up the path. If time hadn’t been an issue, we would have continued upwards and probably we would have ended up on that viewing platform you can see in the bottom right corner in the photo below.
We quickly returned back to the car and off we went on our waterfall chasing adventures Part 2# @ Erskine Falls. Blog post to come!!