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Photographing Boats on Brisbane's Bayside

Home > Brisbane > Beaches | Escape the City | Free | Outdoor | Photography
by Meg Forbes (subscribe)
Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane. https://www.instagram.com/megforbesphotography/
Published May 23rd 2020
Creative photography at Point O'Halloran
Despite Brisbane being a thriving city, the surrounding areas provide locals and visitors with many areas of outstanding natural beauty for recreation. One of these places within the Greater Brisbane Area is Point O'Halloran on the Redlands Coast.

Point Halloran waterfront at sunrise
The Point O'Halloran waterfront at sunrise


An unusual feature of the waterfront at Pt O'Halloran is that the council allows the mooring of boats here. Additionally, this sheltered area of Moreton Bay provides a popular overnight stay for boaties and yachties from further afield. The combination of the natural beauty and the wide variety of boats makes this area ideal for photography.

A yacht moored in Moreton Bay off Point Halloran
A yacht moored in Moreton Bay off Point O'Halloran


A good place to start is the Orana Esplanade Foreshore Park (see map here). There is parking along the side of the road here, and easy access from the park to the beach in the form of a ramp. One of the fabulous aspects of this area in terms of creativity is the large, flat intertidal zone. Tides for this area can be checked here ahead of your trip so you can plan for the type of photographs you wish to take. My favourite time of day for photography here is sunrise, with the sun appearing behind Coochiemudlo and North Stradbroke Islands across the bay. Sunrise and sunset times for this area can be checked here when planning your trip.

Boats moored off the waterfront at Point Halloran at sunrise
Boats moored off the waterfront at Point O'Halloran at sunrise


At high tide almost, if not all, of the boats, will be in the water. This often creates a very peaceful scene as well as pleasing reflections. Boats that are predominantly white or yellow in colour often work especially well on the water for this type of photography.

Boats in the water at high tide
Boats in the water at high tide


By contrast, at low tide many of the boats will be lying on the sand with the water behind them, or even partially in the water with the sand keeping them stable. This provides opportunities for long exposure photography, since the boats won't be moving around in the water potentially causing a blur across your image. Long exposures will work best prior to sunrise, unless you have a neutral density filter on your lens. These filters slow down the amount of light entering your camera without affecting the colour getting through. If you choose to take long exposures it is best to use a tripod to keep your camera stable, again to avoid any blurring of your image.

A long exposure with the boats in the foreground resting on the sand for stability
A long exposure photograph with the boats in the foreground resting on the sand for stability


Although this sounds slightly technical, photographing boats on Brisbane's bayside can be enjoyed by anyone with a reasonably recent smartphone. Many smartphones today have excellent cameras, and often have options for taking long exposures. Additionally, phone and dollar shops often sell attachments that will allow you to mount your smartphone onto a tripod.

Tripod attachments for smart phones
Tripod attachments for smart phones


Winter is an especially good time for this sort of photography since the sun is rising later. With the colder weather though it is a good idea to take a spare pair of shoes and a towel on your photography excursion in case, your feet get wet.

Winter skies in the early morning are ideal for this type of photography
Winter skies in the early morning are ideal for this type of photography


Other equipment that may prove useful, in addition to your camera or phone of choice, includes:

A tripod
A neutral density filter for long exposures
Insect repellant
Sunscreen if you intend staying after the sun has risen
A thermos with a hot drink or soup if you go during winter!

Have fun experimenting (ideally while keeping your feet dry!)
Have fun experimenting (ideally while keeping your feet dry!)
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Why? A stunning, calm foreshore with a variety of boats to photograph
When: Anytime
Phone: 07 3829 8999
Where: Victoria Point in Redland City
Cost: Free
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