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.

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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