by Chris Belyea
A big thanks to Chris Belyea again for this contribution to foto priority. This time Chis brings us an Amateurs ‘How To’ Guide to the Homebush Bay Shipwrecks!
Quite often when you mention Homebush as a venue for a photo shoot, the typical response is not that enthusiastic …. ‘yeah, the Stadium and Acer Arena … boring !’
Not so, as most people are quite surprised to hear about the shipwrecks located in and around Homebush Bay and they can prove quite challenging to capture, but very rewarding when it all comes together.
Then main wreck is perhaps the most photogenic, however the other wrecks can prove rather interesting as well.
Ask any good photographer and they’ll quickly point out that its ‘all about the light’ and so it goes at Homebush Bay, but its one of those places that can change quite dramatically given certain weather conditions … sunrise is always a winner, but when its cloudy and storms are threatening, it’s the place to head to !
About this shot
Canon EOS 5D Mk II, ISO100, f/14 at 15 s, Manual mode,0EV, Evaluative metering, Daylight WB
Manfrotto tripod, mirror lockup, cable release, ND Grad filter (1 stop)
EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 24 mm
I set up on the small bridge just to the rear of the apartment blocks making sure that I had everything level, and then focused on the rear of the wreck, selected f/14 to try and get as much of the scene in sharp focus. This also made sure that I was shooting through the axis of the lens so as to avoid and weird distortions.
The long exposure time helped ensure that great glass smooth appearance on the water, but admittedly, the morning this was taken the was no wind at all – you just need to pick your times I guess
The lighting was fairly ‘even’ (nothing too bright or dark) as you’re facing almost due east, I went for Evaluative metering as the spotlight from the apartments illuminated the main wreck rather well and I wasn’t overly concerned about the rear shoreline being in silhouette. I fitted an 1 stop ND Grad filter to darken the sky down slightly and then waited for the sun to co operate.
Bearing in mind that the 5D Mk II is a full frame camera, to get this angle/perspective with a crop camera you’ll need to have a wide angle lens of around say 10 – 15 mm. Canon shooters with the EF-S 18-55 lens should be OK and I’m presuming Nikon has a similar lens in this range
The RAW files was processed in Lightroom to get the basic image to where I wanted it, and then used Nik Software plugins in Photoshop to finish things off.
Things to Consider
1 – You’ll need to time your visit quite carefully if you planning a sunrise shoot as the main wreck is illuminated by spotlights from the nearby apartment blocks and these turn off around (or appear to) 6:00 am. After that you’ll be relying on natural light and if there’s no clouds about the wreck can remain quite dark whilst the sky gets very ‘right’
2 – The wrecks are a roosting ground for sea gulls, and they get quite active around sunrise, so you’ll need to be patient. They also make a lot of noise
The main wreck faces due east so at sunrise you will be shooting directly at the sun so graduated neutral density filters can help if its particularly bright.
Needless to say, a tripod is essential as the shutter speeds can get rather low, and I’d suggest you get familiar with how to put your camera into Mirror Lockup if that facility is available.
A remote shutter release is also a great asset, however if you don’t have one, simply put your camera into self timer mode
Best Time to Shoot
I’ve found the best time to shoot is definitely pre dawn and sunrise, however when its gray and overcast can also prove to be ‘rewarding’
How to get there
Park in the car park on Bennelong Road and then make your way along the path adjacent to the apartments and just beside the bridge. Just follow the path and you can’t miss the shipwreck.
If you’ve got the time, there are two other wrecks but can be difficult to find and are very easy to miss.
To find the Hidden Shipwreck, proceed over the bridge and enter the gates on your left, follow the path until you come to the first path on your left … keep your eyes peeled … the wreck is on your left !
View Larger Map
To get to the third wreck, get back onto the main path and follow it around past the observation tower and its about 200 metres past there but its also screened by the mangroves, so you’ll need to be observant
Google Maps and Google Earth both show all three wrecks quite well
Have fun !