Natural Bridge

This famous landmark on the Border Ranges between Qld and NSW is notoriously difficult to photograph.

It was overcast outside so we thought we'd give it a go, hoping that the duller sky would drop the dynamic range of the scene somewhat, and it did, but not by a great deal. It was still impossible to accurately capture in a single frame, so I decided to do a panorama, adjusting exposures to suit the conditions as I panned. While still not exactly what I wanted, it's definitely better than I'd previously managed. Another attempt will be made at a later date, as I have had new ideas about going about it.

This cave (which extends another 20m or so to the left of the frame, is the home of glow worms and small bats. The glow worms can only be seen at night, and it's due to their presence that flash photography is forbidden in this cave. The bats are visible in the daytime (just). To give you an idea how dark that end of the cave is, I attempted to shoot the bats - iso 6400, f/2.8 only got me a shutter speed of 1/13th second!

View all photos taken: Saturday, 20th February 2010, This photo: 12:31pm

Previous Photo: The crossing
Next Photo: Natural Arch


  • RobertsonPhotography said:
    nicely done with e exposure compensation there dave. that cave certainl;y is a difficult place to capture. goodto see you didn't resort to HDR.
  • [ Kane ] said:
    Came off great bro.
  • David de Groot said:
    Yeah not a fan of hdr, not when it's possible to get decent results using more standard means. Still like to get it in one shot though, and to that end, we have a plan.
    None too shabby really.
  • Glen-Michael said:
    Great shot David. I agree about the HDR. I always try for a single shot when I can as well.
  • dtmateojr said:
    Nice work on the pano and exposure. I can see details in both interior and exterior. I would have already resorted to HDR in this scenario. It's the easy way out for those who are learning to shoot :-)
  • aramisfirefly said:
    Very smick Dave, very smick.
  • David de Groot said:
    Thanks :)
    Easier maybe, but the results aren't always that crash-hot.
    Thanks Matt :)
  • jacs14 said:
    David ... you give me something to attempt to aspire to, was @ natural bridge a few weeks ago and I couldn't get anything to work inside the cave.
    As for HDR ... couldn't get that right either!!! :O
    From a newbie ... thank you for setting a standard!!
  • golmuso said:
    the composition works really well here dave, well done...another place i must visit! we also have glow worms down here in the otways. i love getting down there at night, it's quite a sight!
    is this fall close-ish to the car park or quite a walk?
  • Rom├ín Emin said:
    Wow! Very beautiful picture.
  • David de Groot said:
    Thanks Jacqui, it's a very tough location to do well. This one isn't a bad start, but it's also not exactly what I wanted either.
    Quite close - about 500m I'd guess. However, it is downhill from the carpark, meaning you'll need to climb back up stairs to get out.
    Thanks :)
  • cookie_c73 said:
    Nice work dave, especially with the dynamic range. I wonder if you would have good a decent result using a non tonemapping HDR technique by just manually blending them in photoshop.
    A bit more work and maybe still not the best solution (you've done quite well already!) but I find most people have a gripe with tonemapping results through photomatix which are overdone and give HDR a bad name. You can get good results (not that I've done it, but I've seen it) by just taking 3 or 5 shots into photoshop and manually blending the layers to give the dynamic range of the scene.
    I'm sure that crossed your mind though, but I'd be very interesting to compare how that method turns out for you if you were to go and shoot again.
  • David de Groot said:
    That's pretty much what I've done here, although quite subtly. I have a few more frames and may play around a bit more yet.
  • looby88 said:
    I think its lovely, well done !
  • David de Groot said:
    Thanks Helen. I think I can do better though.
  • Thea M said:
    Great shot, Dave. The water looks inviting, both as a pond as a waterfall.
  • suburbanvoodoo said:
    Geez, great shot Dave, been meaning to go back there for ages. Nicely done.
  • David de Groot said:
    'twas warm enough to consider getting in too, although the water was quite cool (stood in it further down stream for a couple of other photos).
    I need to go back again to try another technique here. This isn't quite what I wanted.
  • Tatters:) said:
    it is a very good shot of the Natural Bridge
  • petepothole said:
    Came out great David Nice spot there!
  • David de Groot said:
    Thanks :)
    'tis indeed Pete. Even better like it is now with lots of water running.
  • MUSTAFASOD said:
    Nice shot
    i like that place, didn't have much time in it tho...this is my angle of the cave