Brisbane Botanic Gardens (Mt Cootha)


Brisbane Botanic Gardens at the foot of Mt Cootha (nto to be confused with Brisbane City Botanic Gardens) has been a favourite spot for professional photographers for years.  Covering an area of more than 50 hectares, there are many different areas covering a wide variety of vegetation types and lots of little areas to do portrait shots.

There are of course plenty of Macro opportunities as well with Flowers and Insects pretty much all year round.


Features of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens include:

  • Tropical Display Dome
  • Japanese Garden
  • Bonsai House
  • Fern House
  • Arid Zone and Cactus House
  • Exotic Rainforest
  • Australian Rainforest
  • Fragant Plant and Herb Garden
  • Temperate Garden
  • Lagoon and Bamboo Grove
  • Australian Plant communities
  • National Freedom Wall

Japanese Garden

A favourite spot is the Japanese Gardens. Designed by one of Japan’s leading traditional Japanese garden proponents the late Kenzo Ogata (his last work), the garden is faithful to Japanese Garden design concepts, and uses Australian trees, native shrubs and flowers.

How to get there:

Located on Mt Coot-tha Road at Toowong, the gardens are open every day of the year between 8am – 5.30pm from September to March and 8am – 5pm from April to August. Entry to the gardens is free. Dogs are not permitted.

Best time:

I prefer early morning – before the crowds arrive, but there are so many areas it is usually possible to find a quite secluded place for taking photos 🙂


Girraween National Park (Qld)


Girraween National Park is an area of the Granite Belt in south-east Queensland. Girraween boasts massive granite outcrops, balancing boulders, clear running streams and spectacular wildflowers in spring.

Golden wattles, yellow, red and purple pea flowers, dainty orchids and flannel flowers grow amid forests of red-gum, stringybark and blackbutt. Frogs, lizards and snakes rustle among the leaf litter. Brilliant turquoise parrots, yellow-tufted honeyeaters and superb fairy-wrens splash the granite-strewn countryside with colour, while red-necked wallabies, brush-tailed possums and spiny echidnas weave their way through the wonders of the woodland.

see: Girraween National Park for more information

How to get there:

Girraween is situated approximately 260 km by road south-west of Brisbane. To reach the park, turn off the New England Highway 26 km south of Stanthorpe or 30 km north of Tenterfield. The winding bitumen road continues a further 9 km east through the Wyberba Valley to the park information centre.

The alternative road from Stanthorpe to Girraween via Eukey and Storm King Dam has some gravel sections (but in my opinion is a much more spectacular way to experience the park for the first time).


Girraween has 17 km of walking tracks, ranging from a 280 m stroll beside Bald Rock Creek to an 11 km return walk to Mount Norman. Most walks start near the visitor information centre and day-use area. Main tracks are well defined but expect rocky sections and steep upper slopes (and some can be quite challenging if you are lugging a pile of camera gear).


Girraween is just 26km from Stanthorpe – with a well deserved reputation for being the coldest place in Queensland.  Even during summer, you should be prepared to be cool… but in winter, make sure that you bring plenty of clothe to rug up in.

Ballandean Pyramid (Qld)


Ballandean is a small town south of Stanthorpe on the New England Highway – most famous for its Vineyards.

The Ballandean Pyramid  (not to be confused with the nearby natural rock formations known as the Pyramids in the Girraween National Park) is a man made stone pyramid near the small village of Ballandean, Queensland, Australia. The pyramid is approximately 15 metres in height and built from blocks of the local granite.

The pyramid is visible  (to the east) from the highway, but most photographers (me included) miss it because they are busy looking the other way scanning the spectacular mountains to the west for photo opportunities

How to get there:

From the centre of town (don’t blink), turn East off the New England Highway (towards the Ballandean Hotel), turn right immediately after crossing the railway track and keep going a couple of minutes – you can’t miss it.


It is currently forbidden for public to climb the pyramid for any reason.  The area is protected by an electric fence (and yes… it is turned on… I checked :))

The Falls Drive – Boonah to Killarney


Most South East Queenslanders use the Cunningham Highway via Cunninghams Gap to get to Warwick from Brisbane – but there is a little known (and much more photogenic) route via Boonah and Killarney known as The Falls Drive.

How to get there:

The route leaves the Boonah-Rathdowney Road south of Boonah and through Teviot Gap near Killarney takes in the four waterfalls on part of Spring Creek Road – Browns, Daggs, Queen Mary and Teviot Falls – and Carrs Lookout.  See The Falls Drive for more detailed information

Note: as of May 2014 the Teviot Falls section of the Rd is closed and you need to take an alternate route (on reasonable quality gravel rds) via White Swamp – see Killarney District Road Conditions for latest information.

Photo Spotz

There are a number of great photo opportunities along this route (including some which are quite condescendingly identified with large “Take Photos Here” signs).

The Moss Gardens. A walking track leads off to the left of the car park, into the Moss Gardens (which are not very well signed).  All of the trees along this track are covered in moss
and lichen.  This walk is very steep and rocky, but the view at the end is quite spectacular. (not recommended for people with mobility problems).

Carney’s Creek Road – has some spectacular views and great photo opportunities.

Carr’s Lookout –  overlooks the head-waters of the Condamine River, with spectacular views over the valley below.

Queen Mary Falls – has a picnic grounds with covered picnic tables and gas BBQ areas and public toilets.  The lookout point itself is an easy 400 metres walk and if you are feeling energetic (and have the time)you can continue walking to the base of the falls on a well defined track (a 2km circuit with some steep steps). Birds often congregate at Queen Mary Falls Tourist Park, opposite the
picnic area where a kiosk sells seed for bird feeding, as well as refreshments for visitors.

Dagg’s Falls, offers a lookout point from the road with an awesome view of the water plunging 38 metres over a basalt wall.

Brown’s Falls requires a 600 metres/20 minute walk/scramble.  The track is not well defined (but recently marked with red reflectors), but is well worth the effort.  Brown’s Falls
cascade 15 metres.


Some of the locations mentioned above are accessible right from the road (e.g. Carrs Lookout,Daggs Falls), some (e.g Queen Mary Falls) have well structured walking tracks, others (like Browns Creek Falls) require a bit of a scramble  through natural rainforest.  If you want the full experience you will need as moderate level of fitness and bring your walking shoes.


Lake Moogerah (QLD)


Lake Moogerah in Southeast Queensland’s Fassifern Valley, is well know for recreation, fishing and camping, but is also an awesome place to take photos.

Nestled in amongst the foothills of the Great Dividing Range. it offers panoramic views of the mountain range overlooking the lake.  There are also plenty of birds (lots of Pelicans usually), and if you hunt around a bit, lenty of dead trees sticking out of the lake which provide great atmospheric Sunrise/Sunset shots.

Lake Moogerah is also one of the closest locations to Brisbane offering relatively little light pollution – so on a clear (cloud free) night is a fabulous place to take star photos.

How to get there:

Lake Moogerah is located around 60 km southwest of Ipswich and about 90 minutes drive from Brisbane. From Brisbane or Ipswich head up the Cunningham Highway and take the Boonah Turnoff (thsi turnoff is also well signed form lake Moogerah)


There are two main “public” areas where you can access the lake…

  • Lake Moogerah Caravan Park (on Muller Park Road), is available to Day Visitors and overnight stays. You will need to check in at the caretaker to get an access code for the boom gate.  Make sure that you check what time to the code is valid until, but if you let them know that you plan to stay late to take photos (and ask nicely) they may extend the exit time for you.
  • Lake Moogerah Picnic Area – on Lake Moogerah Connection Rd provides lots of space for picnics, with picnic tables and BBQs (but not overnight stays are allowed).  This area overlooks the dam itself and provides good southerly views over the lake and up to the mountains.

Much of the shoreline around Lake Moogerah is on Private Land… some of this is accessible by road or woth a bot of a clamber, but best to look out for No Trespassing signs and ask permission where possible before trying to photograph form these areas.

Best time:

This spot is great most times of the day – but is outstanding for Sunrise and Sunset.  The lake can get busy with boats on weekends (particularly in the summer months), so if you want a natural look, maybe best to go during the cooler months (or during the week)



Ta Phrom, Angkor (Cambodia)


Ta Prohm, The Temple made famous by the movie Tomb Raider (featuring Lara Croft running and diving through amazing temples and ruins), is one of the more popular temples in the Angkor complex.

Because of it’s popularity your timing in coming here is very important as if you arrive with the crowds, getting one of the iconic photos of the temple without it crawling with people is next to impossible.

Aim to arrive early before the crowds.

How to get there:

It is possible top get a Tuk tuk from Seim Reap, but I would recommend that you seek out assistance of a local photographic guide for this temple.  They will know the best time to arrive, and be able to guide you to the best spots before the crowds start filtering in.


This temple has (so far) been left largely un-restored, so has a very natural “ruins” feel to it.  Huge fig trees are growing out of, through and over the top of this temple, and causing damage to much of the stonework along the way.  Reconstruction and repair work is currently under way – and recently  (July 2013) platforms and fences have been put up to protect the temple from tourists (and vice versa) and some of the classic photos you may have seen are no longer possible … however, with the right light, the right angles (and very few people around), it is still possible to get some amazing photos of this temple.

Location fees/costs:

As a part of the Angkor complex, you will need an Angkor pass to firstly access the area at all, and again to get into the temple

Best time:

Early in the morning or late in the afternoon – when crowds are fewer


I toured this temple with Nathan Horton -Angkor Photography Tours – and I would highly recommend his services. Nathan has developed relationships with local monks, staff and villagers and is able to get access to areas and  provide photographic opportunities that would not normally be available to the independent photographer.


Brisbane Supreme Court Plaza (Brisbane CBD)


1-IMG_9367Brisbane Supreme Court and District Court building (415 George Street) has a public plaza / forecourt which is a great place to get architecture, reflection and “angle” shots.  It is surrounded by shiny new glass buildings with loads of opportunities for reflections of the sky, clouds and other buildings.

There are also some interesting sculptures in the area – most “eye catching” (sorry I couldn’t resist) is the Thousands of Eyes sculpture by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, which  features three-hundred and fifty steel and enamel eyes floating along a sloping, curved wall in the public plaza.

1-IMG_9329This spot is also just 100 meters from Kurilpa Bridge which is definitely worth a look as well.

Best time:

Early morning is a good time to catch some great light effects across the buildings.


If you are going for architecture shots (particularly if you are doing timelapse), wait for a day with some interesting clouds.


Amity Point (Stradbroke Island)


Amity Point (NOT the one of JAWS fame) is located on the North Western tip of Stradbroke Island, and has sweeping views over Moreton Bay back over torwards Brisbane and is therefore a good spot for sunsets.

Amity Point is known for visits from wild dolphins.  Most afternoons – just before sunset –  “wild” dolphins come and visit the jetty… although there are fears that these Indo-Pacific dolphins (which have been fed for years), have lost their natural fear of humans are becoming too habituated with human contact.  Feeding the dolhpins is not encouraghed and hthere are signs requesting peoiple NOT to do it.

How to get there:

You can get to Stradbroke Island via car or passenger ferries which leave regularly from Cleveland (just 30 minuets drive from Brisbane CBD).  The ferry trip is approximately 40 minutes and once on the island you can get pretty much anywhere in 20 minutes.  a 4WD is NOT required for most areas,. but to get on the beach and head to more isolated places you will need a 4WD and a beach driving permit.

Amity Point is about a 15 minute drive from Dunwich (where the ferry lands).


There can be mozzies and sandflies (particularly in summer) so bring some insect repellent

Good idea to bring a polarising filter, and if you want some good sunrise/sunset shots (particularly if you are doing time lapse sequences) a selection of ND filters and a tripod is a must.

The Timelapse sequence below, a Sunset from Amity Point (Stradbroke Island ) is made up of 196 photos compressed to a 7 second timelapse video sequence :


Borough Market (London)


Borough Market is London’s most famous food market. It is bright, vibrant, and full of activity and a great place to get “people” shots.

Best time:

The full Market is open Thursdays 11am – 5pm, Fridays 12pm – 6pm and Saturdays 8am – 5pm, while the Green Market is open Monday – Wednesdays from 10am – 3pm

Niagara Falls


Easily the world’s most famous waterfall, Niagara Falls is a photographer’s dream with the opportunities for photos here, endless. These falls are around 790m wide and are the most powerful falls in North America.


Niagara Falls can be found on the border between Ontario and New York

Best time:

Niagara Falls is so beautiful and powerful they photograph well at any time of day. However, to experience something magical, swing by at night as the lighting behind the falls will make for a dramatic shot.


A slow shutter speed will blur the motion of the water, but will hardly capture the sheer force of this incredible feat of Mother Nature. It is also wise to use a wide-angle lens in order to capture a substantial portion of these dramatic falls.

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