on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

My Favourite Image

Blowing Fern and Falls - from the Blue Mountains NSW Australia

Susan Brown

Sue is a self taught photographer and has gravitated from darkroom to digital with difficulty. She specialises in coastal photography so trees are a bit out of comfort zone, Sue is an experienced photographer (35 years) and is a Fellow of the RPS.


Every photographer has an image that means a lot to them, even if it's not the most successful on social media or one that friends and family don't 'get'. Images that stretch the edges of compositional norms, that show well-known places in different ways or that reflect a moment that means so much personally in your progress as a photographer or just in life.

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I have a Daughter who lives with her family in Sydney; on a visit last year I was lucky enough to have a day out with Len Metcalf.

The day arrived, it was raining, and as we approached the Blue Mountains the fog was heavy and the air humid, the sort of weather that keeps the tourists indoors, for us – PERFECT! It was quiet in the dense air, the sort of fog that dulls all sounds and stirs the senses.

We had breakfast in a café, which was welcome, but I was itching to get going in case the fog lifted, but I needn’t have worried as it persisted all day. Over breakfast, Len explained what to expect and how to deal with it. Waterproofs on, tripods in hand we set off, there were areas where we would stop, wander off and then meet up again, both working independently, getting lost in our own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. For me it was so different to terrain I am familiar with, the tree ferns were giants, the other native trees had peeling barks all gently swaying, silently, in the gentle breeze. The bird sounds were alien; loud and mocking in comparison to British woodland birds that I am familiar with. There were teasing views of the Katoomba Falls forever present.

The descent was somewhat steep in places and a little muddy. There was an occasional rustling in the leaves on the ground and being a wimp I immediately thought of snakes, initially, I admit to feeling somewhat nervous but it was not long before the beauty of my surroundings dispelled all anxieties and I was lost in the beauty of the rain forest in all its glory.

As we descended into the valley below, the falls became more dramatic and we could feel the spray in the air. There were occasional clearings where we could get glimpses of the Three Sisters (an unusual rock formation), as the fog swirled around us there were times when the Three Sisters were completely hidden from view and the silence audible.

It took us around five hours to get to the bottom of the walk and it was with relief I saw we were returning by a train,

Waterproofs on, tripods in hand we set off, there were areas where we would stop, wander off and then meet up again, both working independently, getting lost in our own thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
I have say I was not expecting the speed at which we would return, it was after being harnessed in my seat and looking behind me I realised the drama, five exciting minutes to the top. In all the excitement I had not even noticed how wet I was, my hair soaked and clothes dripping, I arrived back at the car looking like a drowned rat.

Len then took me to a restaurant with superb views where we had lunch and discussed images, which I downloaded on to my laptop, I couldn’t wait to get home to process them, and it is rare I print 12 images from one day out most of which have been exhibited.

At the end of the day, photography is all about communication, I hope in this image ‘Fern and Falls’ with the fern blowing and the glimpse of the waterfalls you can feel just some of the wonderment I felt that memorable day.

Many thanks to Len, for driving, assisting me on difficult slopes, (a perfect gentleman), also for being such a wonderful guide and good company. I am back in Sydney at the end of February and hope we can meet up again.

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