The light fantastic
Myponga Beach, Australia


Captivated by the dream-like quality of the light at the sleepy coastal village of Myponga Beach, on the Fleurieu Peninsula, OutThere’s Creative Director Martin Perry ventures out with his camera to capture its subtle yet beguiling beauty.

The Sublime South Australia Issue by OutThere magazine

This story first appeared in The Sublime South Australia Issue, available in print and digital.

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Crossing the line

Sometimes even beautiful scenery, like that of Australia, can result in underwhelming shots. But there are simple techniques that can help you produce more interesting images. Interrupting a natural scene with graphic lines, like those created by these telegraph poles or the remnants of Myponga Beach’s old wooden jetty (originally built for the trade of produce such as grain and wattle bark) can lead the eye around the image and create more satisfying compositions. Before pressing the shutter, scan around the whole frame and try to find angles that accentuate these lines. Your choice of lens plays a role, too. A telephoto brings elements on different visual planes closer together, while a wide angle gives an increased sense of perspective. When you’ve taken the shot, look again to see if there are others you haven’t considered. Moving a few feet in any direction will yield different – possibly even better – results. After the event, look at cropping into your images to enhance their composition.

See birds

Myponga Reservoir Reserve is a 10-hectare conservation area providing sanctuary for some of the Fleurieu Peninsula’s most threatened wetland birds. You don’t have to be a twitcher to photograph birds in their natural habitat, and you certainly don’t need to lug around a large unwieldy telephoto lens. Instead of trying to achieve a close-up, view them as compositional elements, to create aesthetically pleasing images. Look out for patterns, colours and textures, and try going wide and shooting groups of birds. Find ways to frame them within the environment, experimenting with your camera’s shutter speed to accentuate or freeze their movement.

Be present

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about the importance of mindfulness, but to anyone keen on photography, that’s yesterday’s news. To capture an interesting image, you need to tune in to your surroundings. Only when you have, will you spot and record the fleeting moments that bring a place to life. I have my camera ready at all times, allowing me to react quickly. This can result in magical shots, taken in a split second. Myponga Beach and the rest of the Fleurieu Peninsula present incredible opportunities to photograph wildlife – such as when a family of kangaroos hopped at speed across a dirt track in the distance – but you need to be quick and present to get the shot. It may not be my greatest work, but it captured a magical and quintessential moment from my trip to this stunning part of South Australia.

Get abstract

Many people fall into the trap of taking photographs of their travels that resemble everyone else’s. Remember, the camera is merely a ‘dumb tool’ to use however you wish. Rid yourself of conventional ways of thinking (easy out here in the reedy, low-lying creeks and flats of the Fleurieu) and make use of the camera to record the things that speak authentically about a place. I found the random patterns of the pebbles on Myponga Beach very pleasing. It led me to look closer at the different patterns around me – the erosion of the surfaces of the rocks by the sea, the wispy blades of wild grasses blowing in the breeze, and the line of seaweed hugging the shoreline. These abstractions convey to me much more about the feeling of being there than a generic vista ever could.

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