Hopetoun Falls – Victoria, Australia

A location I’ve been to time and time again since I was a child – Hopetoun Falls is a short detour from the famous Great Ocean Road in Victoria, and easily (in my opinion!) the most spectacular of the falls in the region.

I had photographed this location earlier in the year, around autumn (see below). On arriving and seeing the waterfall, I knew I had come at the wrong time of the year. There was only a slight trickle of water flowing over the falls and down into the creek below. Regardless, I scouted a spot and took some frames. With this in mind, I made a note to return in winter after some rainfall.

Fast forward a few months. One day after a night of heavy rainfall in the area, I returned to Hopetoun Falls. This time, I had the exact opposite problem than the last visit – there was TOO much water! The previous angle I had scouted was no longer there, as the position was fully submerged under a fast and heavy stream of water. I decided that I wasn’t returning home empty handed again as I had driven hours to get here, so I rolled up my jeans, placed all the items in my pockets in my bag, and jumped into the creek.

Donald Yip Hopetoun FallsDonald Yip Hopetoun Falls

The water was tremendously cold – I had a limited time to compose, and fire off a bunch of shots. Also in the water were small leeches which didn’t help! Constant water splashing onto my upper body and the camera itself, meant droplets which also ruined quite a few frames. Regardless, I came out with an exposure that didn’t clip any black points, and a great amount of detail was able to be salvaged from the single RAW file. Definitely worth it for a few leeches!

Nikon D750 | Nikon 16-35mm @ 16mm | f/9 | 1/2 sec | ISO 50
Location: Hopetoun Falls, Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia
Post Processing:
– Exposure correction in Adobe Lightroom, particularly the shadows
– General levels and contrast adjustments in Adobe Lightroom before importing into Photoshop
– Colour balance correction (shifted to a warmer tone)
– Dodge/burn, in particular the water at the bottom and moss on right rock
– Blended a seperate exposure for the golden light at the top of the falls
– Selective blending of seperate exposure for the water below, using a bluer white balance to contrast the warm light and foliage

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1 Response

  1. Nice job Donald. I have learnt a lot from this short article. I was there earlier this week. I’m in my seventies and fearful of slipping on the rocks and doing an injury. I went to both falls and also sat in the river.

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