Philip Island, off the coast of southern Victoria, is renowned for fairy penguins and great fish and chips in the seaside town of Cowes and at San Remo at the fishermans cooperative by the pelican feeding area adjacent to the pier. What is not publicised are the massive white pointer sharks that feed off the seals that populate the rocky reef just offshore from where this photo was taken.
I have been visiting the island for years. In fact, my parents first took me camping on Philip Island when I was about 6 years old, and I have been visiting most years since. It's a wonderfully photogenic island with wild rocky cliffs, turbulent surf, calm, safe sandy beaches, paperbark forests and the famous Barmah trees.
The day of this photo, it was blowing a gale (as usual), and being April, it was cold. The difficulty in a long exposure shot like this (2.5 seconds) is keeping the tripod from vibrating too much in the wind on the top of the cliff line.
The Pentax 645z with the 80-160mm lens is no lightweight system, but it still needs a firm hold to prevent vibration. I was very pleased with this shot as it conveys some idea of the wild ocean that batters this southern coast.
Access to this coastal area is now limited to the cliff tops in clearly marked locations. Still, as a child, we wandered along the base of the cliffs playing 'chicken' with the waves as they thundered in, scrambling over the rocky shoreline and swimming in the abundant rock pools; this is no longer possible, far too dangerous, but it taught me to respect and fear the power of the ocean.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor