This post is pretty localised, but if you’re ever in Melbourne it’s well worth taking the time to head out of town along one of the Peninsulas that form Port Philip Bay and taking in coastal towns, beaches and lush hinterland. There are many locations on either side that are great for photographers, but one in particular I keep returning to. Hopefully if you live far, far away this will give you some ideas to explore your local area for photos.
Point Lonsdale is on the Bellarine Peninsula at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay and offers photographers a wide range of shooting opportunities. This review aims to be a short guide as to what photo opportunities you might find to help plan a visit.
Highlights: The lighthouse is Point Lonsdale’s main feature and dominates the landscape. The best views are from the western side either on top of the cliffs or on the main beach where you will have the sun behind your back at sunset. The lighthouse sits atop a rugged cliff top above craggy rocks that have been shaped by the ocean over the years. These can be used to good effect to give a remote feeling to the scene if that is your intention.
Point Lonsdale has an old pier now only used for fishing. Great shots can be had from the beach on either side, or from on the pier itself looking back towards the coastline and lighthouse. It faces east so you’ll need to be up early if you want the sun in your shot.
The main beach faces the rough Southern Ocean which swells over rockpools which provide some beautiful reflections in the right light when the tide is out. The shape of the pools change constantly with the tide, so repeat visits will almost always bring a different result.
As well as this there are many opportunities to photograph birds, flora and rugged coastline.
How to get there: From Melbourne, it’s a 1 1/2 hour drive along Princess Highway. A car park is located only a short walk from the lighthouse itself so no hiking is required. Easy access to both beaches is via stairs.
Gear: A wide angle lens is a must. So is a tripod. A good solid one is needed to combat the high winds that whip off the Southern Ocean. Many shots are likely to be at sunrise or sunset, so you may want to also pack a set of ND filters.
When to go: Summer is when you’re likely to find some amazing sunrises and sunsets, but it gets busy. If you don’t want your photos to include people then sunrise is the better option. Winter can also provide some beautiful colours and due to the rough seas can make for some quite brooding scenes, perfect for black and white photography.