A Weekend Timeline

In mid January, Marianne, Charlotte and I took the opportunity to have a long weekend away and travelled to Kangaroo Island with Keith & Amy who were visiting from Hong Kong. We had never met, but thanks to email and various social media we were able to arrange this weekend successfully and have made new friends. It was our first trip away with Charlotte anywhere and at 4 and a half months, we knew that it would provide us with a few challenges. Kangaroo Island itself is a large island and far too expansive to cover in a single long weekend and so, as usual, this trip was a teaser for a future trip! Here’s a timeline of how we went about the weekend.


6am : Rise and shine and the packing commenced. During the week, we had charged our batteries, cleaned out the tripods and filters and made sure our CF cards were emptied. Packing for Charlotte was a completely different experience and we were paranoid that we had missed something!

830am: Departure for Noarlunga Colonnades shopping centre where we would meet Keith and Amy, fresh off an overnight flight. Our intention was to find them internet access for their Australian trip and do a little shopping. Incidentally, technology seems to have leaped ahead of all of us as we could not figure out why we couldn’t lock their rental Mitsubishi Outlander. It turns out that it locks itself after walking more than 10m away from the car! After some shopping at Woolworths , we left shortly after 1030am.

12pm : Arrival at the Sealink ferry terminal. It seemed that many people had also decided to take the weekend off as we were packed like sardines down below in the car hold! I had driven down the highway on autopilot as it was a road I was very familiar with but unfortunately, the winding road and jetlag took their toll on Keith and Amy who were feeling a little queasy on the choppy waters during the ferry ride. Marianne was also feeling a little unwell and needed some open air but suprisingly Charlotte stood tough with daddy watching the horizon go up and down, up and down……

Sealink Hold

2pm: After reaching terra firma with still quivering stomachs , noone was particularly keen for lunch so we drove on to our first stop : Pennington Bay. This location would have been an absolutely fantastic location for sunset or sunrise but since we were staying at the opposite end of the island, we had to make do with midday conditions. I nearly managed to drown the 5dmkII after getting careless while heading back to the car. A big wave caught me from behind and ended up soaking me thoroughly and part of the unprotected camera.

Keith atop the jagged rocks of Pennington Bay

Pennington Bay

330pm:  Our appetites returned and we stopped over at Bella’s Pizzeria for a fantastic family sized pizza. To our surprise, we found that the owner was David Mitchell! Someone who’s work I’ve been following on deviant art and a guest at a wedding we had photographed the year previously. If you’re ever on Kangaroo island and after a tasty pizza , Bella’s is the place to be! We stocked up on some fresh food before heading off to our accommodation.

Charlotte urging us on from Kingscote!

5pm: Little Sahara sand dunes. Once again, this was another location which would have been stunning at either end of the day because of the lighting and the lack of sand-boarders in the area. Charlotte by this stage was starting to turn up the grumpiness and Marianne had to stay with her in the car to stop the ‘cry of death’ from happening. Photographically, I didn’t feel as though I did the place any justice and will definitely be back in the future some time! ps. Charlotte loves playing with sand between her toes but loves having it blown off even more!

Dune patterns at Little Sahara

6:30pm: Arrival at Western KI caravan park: A beautiful location just outside of Flinders Chase National Park. We couldn’t ask for a more peaceful location to base ourselves. After a quick snack and setting up the room for Charlotte, Keith Amy and I took the drive to Cape Du Couedic lighthouse. Unfortunately, as the spectacular light all occurred  as we were driving to the cape and dispersed the moment we parked our cars and set up our tripods to photograph the scene.

Lightouse by fading light

9pm: Marianne had fried us all up our usual travel meal of rice, spam, egg and veges. It was a long day , especially for Keith and Amy. After some brief talks about post processing and what we planned to do the next morning, bed time could not have come soon enough.


5am : Another early rise and shine ready for a dawn shoot at the remarkable rocks. The cloud cover was quite thick but we were determined to make the most of the weekend! Photographing iconic places always seems so much more peaceful and relaxed at strange hours of the day when the usual tourists crowds are yet to arrive. That particular morning, we experienced quite a few different lighting conditions even in the two hours we were there.

Different lighting over Remarkable Rocks

Keith, Amy & I atop the rocks

9am: Jet lag and the early morning shoot seemed to have finally taken their toll on Keith and Amy who ended up sleeping for the remainder of the morning. Marianne and I took the opportunity to keep Charlotte company and amuse her in her new settings. It was the first time that we had slept with her in the same room and we know now how parents who sleep in the same room as their child probably don’t get much sleep. Every little rustle and momentary wakening she experienced managed to wake us up too!

1pm: We finally made it out for the day and settled for a picnic lunch at Vivonne Bay on a gorgeous but windy day. Marianne had been looking after Charlotte until now so it was my turn to look after her with her on my back! We found to our great relief that Charlotte really likes our baby back pack and managed to fall asleep despite me sometimes bending over and the wind blowing quite strongly at times. The green waters of the bay were extraordinary and we appreciated every moment of it.

Vivonne Bay on a blue sky day

Charlotte asleep on my back

3pm: Next stop was Seal Bay. I tried my best to amuse a tiring and increasingly grumpy Charlotte with some degree of success but there’s nothing like Mummy sometimes. After some close encounters with sea lions on the beach, we headed back to our accommodation for a little less rushed dinner. Charlotte meanwhile, even started to get grouchy while the car was in motion. It seems that her ‘witching hour’ of grumpiness coincided with sunset which was not good for a photographic trip!

This sea lion had a captive audience

Sea lions having a 'debate' on the beach

730pm: Nonetheless, we headed to Admiral’s Arch for sunset. I stayed around the carpark and lighthouse as the wind heading toward the arch would probably have been too much for Charlotte. It was one of those clear and beautiful sunsets that were appreciated better by experience rather than photographs.

Admiral's Arch at sunset

Cape Du Couedic from Admiral's Arch

Charlotte bundled up against the elements on my back

930pm: The night skies were clear and starlit before moonrise. Keith and Amy, who rarely see stars in Hong Kong stayed up taking a few pictures of the stars around our cabins but Marianne, Charlotte and I decided that a little sleep was just as important. I had planned to get up early for dawn the next day anyway and the mental alarm clock would no doubt keep me waking every half an hour convinced that I had missed dawn.

3am: After some caffeine and a little indecision due to intermittent fog passing over the area, Keith and I headed out for some star trail images. By this stage, the moon was lighting the foggy terrain and the temperature had dropped to a very unseasonal 8 degrees. We settled on an open stretch of road on the South Coast road where for the next 2 hours, we were completely uninterrupted. During this time, we drove the car up and down the road without headlights in one direction (and driving extremely slowly) to try for a composition with light trails on the road and star trails in the sky. When first light started to show, we decided to try Hanson Bay for our dawn shoot.

Star and light trails

530am: We were greeted by dense fog and a transformer box overhead precariously discharging sparks as our only light source as we headed down to the beach. In the gloom, I noticed that there was a lagoon inland from the shore with alot of mist in the area. It certainly looked as good an option as the bay itself , so we headed there first. We found a bunch of kayaks all tied up except for one. It made for a good photographic subject so we put it to use and waited for light. During this time , parts of the mist were rising and the sky developed a band of cloud , and so, trusting some instincts, I left the mirror-like lagoon to focus on the sunrise itself from the dunes of the beach. Either way, the morning turned out to be spectacular but I’m glad I managed to find the dune patterns with the head of the Bay in the background to give the images a locational relevance. This is something I’ve been trying to achieve with images. I don’t feel as though I have achieved  much photographically if all I’ve done is taken a generic seascape image ; sure I’ll remember where it was taken, but to another viewer it won’t give that sense of ‘oh I’ve been there and I never saw it like that!’ which is the intention of most my work. It was a great way to wrap up the trip and in our euphoria and sleepy haze, it was only on our return to the caravan park ( to a sleepy Marianne) that we discovered we had left the door to our cabin ajar!

Predawn gloom and the mist over Hanson Bay's lagoon

Dunes in the pre-dawn lighting at Hanson Bay

Golden Dawn over Hanson Bay

930am: Time for farewells! It was a pleasure to have met Keith and Amy and we were not only relieved that they didn’t turn out to be axe-weilding mass murderers , but instead, we ‘ve made good friends with people in yet another corner of this wide world. They were both very fatigued from the flight and itinerary but would stay another day on the island before moving on to Queensland and Port Lincoln. Meanwhile, Marianne , Charlotte and I headed back to Adelaide via the Island Beehive for some delicious honey, and final taste of David’s pizzas in Kingscote. Our next weekend is based in Robe where we’ll be trying to sneak a couple of dawns and dusks of the limestone coast! Following that, we may be absent for an extended period with a real rush to the end of the wedding season : three in March, one in April and then, a three week trip to New Zealand!

Port Elliot, the site of one of our upcoming weddings

Until next time!



Posted on February 12, 2012, in How we..., Photography, South Australia and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Sounds tiring, but awesome at the same time ! A beautiful location!! 🙂

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