Outdoors in Victoria in Spring – it pays to plan your photography trips

Written by Gary on October 22nd, 2016

Victoria in spring is a highly variable season – it could be quite cool, wet and windy, there can be thunderstorms and damaging winds, or beautiful sunny days progressing to warmer or even hot northerly wind days preceding the next cold front which always comes from the south-west or west.

This week I had a variety of short holiday options to consider:

  • head west to the beautiful Grampians
  • head south west to the Otways and Twelve Apostles
  • head north to the Murray River region
  • head north -east to alpine areas such as Mt Buffalo
  • head east to alpine areas such as historic Walhalla or further east to remote bush walks around Licola
  • head south east to Wilsons Prom again

I was leaving on Wednesday morning.

The weather was forecast to be beautiful and sunny on Thursday but with strong northerly winds in western Victoria hitting Melbourne in the evening then south Gippsland and the alpine areas overnight on Thursday, followed by a strong cold front which would make conditions more dangerous and more miserable on Friday and Saturday.

The northern areas of Victoria had already been flood affected and recent wind storms had caused further road closures so northern Victoria was not high on my list.

Snow had been forecast for the alps at the start of the week and most of the alpine roads are still in seasonal closure until end of the month so, the alpine areas for solo bushwalking were not a great option.

With the cold front coming in from the west, western Victoria was not going to be the best option as it would shorten my “nice weather time”.

So I headed off eastwards with no fixed destination, although Walhalla was my first priority, with camping gear and camera gear, range of clothes for whatever weather I was served up and some freeze dried food in case I ended up without access to a cafe for dinner (most close early in the countryside).

As I drove I saw the beautiful puffy clouds and I realised that with a bright sunny day forecast for the next day with possible strong winds coming, the cold forests would not be my best option, but the lovely beaches of the Prom would be optimal – hence I took my time meandering around the South Gippsland countryside in occasion rain showers exploring the beautiful rolling hills around Mirboo North before heading to Tidal River where I set up camp.

Mirboo

Three cows on a hillside

Mirboo

Rolling hills from Loves Lane on the way to Mirboo North

Mirboo

On the Grand Ridge Road circuit past Mirboo

Mirboo

Dilapidated building in Mirboo – presumably a town hall.

Convoluted decision making but in the end, the best decision, it was awesome down there – see my previous blog posts.

The weather makes an enormous difference to landscape photos:

  •  clear blue skies associated with a high pressure system to give the summer relaxation feeling or spaciousness to your image allowing your subject full attention, but which give very harsh midday shadows in the Australian summer
  • small puffy cumulus clouds which precede the high pressure system and which make for great sunset photos or lovely high contrast dramatic dark monochromatic skies, or a more subtle, dreamy look
  • wispy cirrus clouds after the high pressure system passes to create beautiful dramatic high contrast skies
  • storm fronts of the incoming cold front or thunderstorm systems
  • boring stratus clouds preceding a cold front which make the sky look ugly in most landscape images but are great for shallow depth of field work outdoors such as portraits, etc where the sky can be excluded or used as a white backdrop

Examples:

The Big Drift

Lovely cumulus clouds in the distance at the big drift

The Big Drift

Small puffy cumulus clouds in the late afternoon

The Big Drift

Lovely swirly cirrus clouds follow a high pressure system and precede the stratus clouds that envelope the sky before a cold front hits.

 

 

 

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