Winter on the south west coast of Victoria does not typically bring small swells, light winds and sunny days. But around the time of the full moon in late June this year it did. This unexpected period of quiet clear weather was preceded by and followed by cold stormy periods with strong cold fronts and the winds, low cloud, rain and big swells more typically associated with winter in this part of the world.
The photos of these few calm and cold days were all taken at Apollo Bay on the south west coast of Victoria, Australia.
This reef just offshore is Little Henty Reef, near Apollo Bay. Outer Henty Reef is about 3kms south east of Little Henty. To this photographer’s eye, a light layer of cloud on the horizon enhances the beauty of a moonrise. The moon was in fact the colour shown in the reflections on the water and sand. The longer exposure required to capture this essentially night scene, inevitably overexposes the image of the bright moon, which is why it looks white and not golden. I decline to edit colour on to the moon. I also decline to take a further image with the correct exposure for the moon, and combine it with this image (which would produce a single image with a golden moon and the rest of the scene suitably exposed as shown). One shutter release, one photo.
On the part of the reef furthest from shore, there is a permanent Australian fur seal colony. I hope they enjoyed this moonrise. I have photographed Little Henty Reef in massive swells which completely wash over the reef and its occupants, especially on a high tide. The seals have earned a few nights such as shown above.
Stars were visible to the naked eye above the cloud near the horizon. But a full moon invariably outshines the stars. Milky Way photos are best taken on moonless nights.
Fishing vessel with only a few kms to its home harbour at Apollo Bay, passing just seaward of Little Henty Reef. Some offices are better than others.
The rising moon shone gloriously behind this thin layer of cloud. In the top of the image a few stars can be seen. It was very peaceful standing in the dewy green grass on top of the sand dunes overlooking this scene as night fell.
The cloud that filtered the moonlight into gold did the same thing with the sunrise next morning. This was taken just north of Apollo Bay, near Tuxion beach. Calm seas with no swell were the order of the day. But as the surface of the water shows, there was a light breeze creating a fine texture on the ocean surface. The air temperature was in single figures on this morning (Celsius).
When the morning cloud burned off and the sun rose higher in the sky, the wind settled into a light (offshore) westerly which sculpted these small swell lines and produced their white manes.
I find the subtle rise and fall of green swell too small to make a wave in the depth of water over which it is passing as beautiful as the waves breaking over the sand banks.
The midday sun gave this breaking wave a real sparkle.
I couldn’t resist a black and white edit of this wave which sparkles even without colour.
Wild Dog Creek flows into the sea at this beach, which takes its name from the creek. This part of the bay has a complex series of gutters and sand bars running parallel to the shore but further offshore than is typical on the stretch of beach closer to the township. The light westerly gave the sea texture and light and shade, as well as the spray blowing back from the waves nearer the shore. The small swell meant that some waves remained unbroken until right on the shore, which resulted in gentle undulations in the ocean surface as the swell approached the shore. This is peaceful and beautiful swell. It could only occur on an ocean. No matter where I was in the world, this photo would make me yearn for the Southern Ocean at Apollo Bay.