Photography, Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings – Looking for the Stars at Aireys Inlet

Searching for the Milky Way and places to photograph it have become a bit of an obsession for me, I think.  I have been out to take photos of it with John Holding a couple of times, and we had scheduled a trip down to Sorrento, but he saw the images I had taken at Aireys Inlet and expressed an interest. I didn’t mind going back, so on Monday we went there to see what we could find.


The plan was to get there earlier, check some places out around the lighthouse, photograph the sunset, have some dinner some where and then back to do the milky way.  After looking around the lighthouse, we went down to the beach.  The wind was really strong and I was trying to get the sand flying over the beach.  You can see it so easily with your eyes, but it is so hard to capture it with your camera. We also photographed the waves as they crashed in.  I was using my 80-200mm 2.8 lens to photograph these.


The sunset looked so promising.  We had gone back down to the beach to get the sunset.  It was an okay sunset, but it was what was happening behind that got the best images.


It was so pink.  I loved it.  I should have taken a lot more images from here.  The cloud cover was larger and the colours were so intense.  I can’t wait to get some filters to try doing this more.  I had change my lens back to the 24-70mm, though when I put the Cokin Neutral Density filter on to slow the water down, I noticed I couldn’t use 24mm, I had to zoom out until you couldn’t see the filter ring, which is a bit annoying.  So, yes, we did photograph water as well, then it was off to dinner. There aren’t a lot of places to eat in Aireys Inlet, but the local pub, The Aireys Pub, was friendly and the meals were really nice.


Then back to the beach for the milky way.  There was some cloud initially, but we didn’t let it bother us.  We took some on the bit of beach we had been to earlier.  I changed my lens again to the 14-24mm to take the milky way.  I can’t believe I went out in one day and used three different lenses, that must be a record for me.  It is something I need to get better at doing, changing my lens and not being lazy.


This one was taken at the bottom of the lighthouse, something John really wanted to try. So I thought I would give it a go too.  Looking straight up the side of the lighthouse to the milky way.


Though, I think this may have been my favourite in the end.  I love the way the milky appears to be coming out the top of the light house.  I do love it when you go out to take photos and have a great time and get some great photos.

I am looking forward to seeing John’s photos and we decided that we would link to one anothers blogs today, so you could see them as well, his blog is John Holding.  If you are interested in Astrophotography John did an up for discussion post on it a couple of weeks ago, Up for Discussion – Astrophotography.  I am going to put more photos in a gallery now.  I hope you enjoy my trip to Aireys Inlet, and plan on some doing some wandering yourself this weekend. It is getting too late to do the milky way, but the full moon is next week, so I have started planning trips around it.




  1. You amaze me with your prolific photos Leanne. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you Ardy, I just take heaps when I do go out, haha. I don’t go out very much. That sounded weird. LOL.

  2. Love the astrophotography photos – looks like determination to get the images paid off

  3. Wow, your pictures of the Milky Way are stunning! I tried to take such pictures in Namibia, but didn’t get the right exposure time… Love your photography! :-)

    • Thank you, you should check out John’s article, he explains about exposure times. Thanks for saying that, always like hearing that. :D

  4. It really shows how much you think about your photography – some great photos and yes I really like the Milky Way appearing to come out of the lighthouse – a good prompt – I must think about some of my less used lenses

    • Thank you Diana, my husband would say I think about it too much, LOL. I like that one too, and yes, changing lenses and things is a good thing to do, I need to do it more.

  5. All of your photographs are incredible but those with the lighthouse are just breathtaking, especially the one looking directly up the tower of the lighthouse towards the star-splattered sky. Stunning!

  6. I agree that the lighthouse with the Milky Way almost appearing to leap out from it’s top is an absolutely wonderful shot. For me though; the composition and perspective from the bottom of the lighthouse is just tremendous. If that was a print on my wall I would stare at it for hours.

      • My daughter downloaded an app last night for looking for stars. I might indeed although I wouldn’t know the first thing about it and only have kit lenses. Although I saw a sigma 70-300mm lens in a Cash Converters the other day and the GG has offered that if I want to take my camera up to try it out he will buy it for my birthday. I’m not sure about it though.

      • The best kit lens to use is the 18-55, do you have that one Suz. Wide angle is best for doing the milky way, you get too much movement in the stars with telephoto lens, which are better for doing star trails.

      • I have an 18-55mm. So I will try that (when this cold snap is over lol). Although colder weather will mean clearer skies.

      • It is getting a bit late in the lunar cycle now Suz, the moon will be getting too bright. Best to wait about two or three weeks. I will see if I can remember to say when on my blog.

  7. They are incredible Leanne! I love the one of the base of the lighthouse looking up. Sensational!

  8. Wow … your view from the southern hemisphere is a hands-down winner over mine from the northern hemisphere that I posted last week. Really beautiful Leanne. D

    • Others have said that too, nice to know we get a good view of it here, still trying to work out why. I saw your shot too, they were great.
      Thank you.

  9. Just had to have a peep before Zzzz ..
    A Fantastic nights work ! Can feel your pleasure at it all coming together Leanne … how cool to be out with John there . I know now what it’s like to join up with a photography buddy for a photo session , it seems to double the whole experience somehow especially when the results are this stunning !
    Understanding all the science is not everything .. so long as I can recognise a few of the constellations and so anything else will be a bonus :-)
    Just love them all .

    • Thank you Poppytump.
      It was a great nights work, lots of great shots, John got some great ones too. It is great having others to go out with, just for that reason. YOu can rave on and on about photography and you know you aren’t boring them. LOL.
      Some science would be nice, I don’t even know the constellations, I know the southern cross and the saucepan, or Orion’s Belt, someone told me that is what it was called. I would like to know more. Then I can predict more.
      Thanks and you have a good nights sleep. :D

  10. Taking pictures like these is a good obsession!! Amazing milky way shots, Leanne!

  11. Leanne, the lighthouse photos are so beautiful! The would look wonderful on my walls!!

    • Thank you John, someone else said something similar, and someone wanted to know if they were for sale. Interesting.

  12. A stellar presentation, Leanne! I don’t have anything to add to. Thanks so much and have a beautiful weekend! :)

  13. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says

    Leanne, I’ve only had such a strong emotional response a few times in recent years and looking upward, standing beside the lighthouse is one of them. Another was seeing Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial and seeing veterans reflections in the stone. These images are beyond breathtaking. You should take a bow for your accomplishment. <3

    • That is fantastic Jackie, the response has been fantastic, It is so good to have people have this sort of response, maybe I should put them up somewhere and see if people would be interested in them. Thank you so much Jackie, I really appreciate you letting me know this.

  14. The MWs are exceptional Leanne. Like you, I share the obsession – and once you enter that doorway to the Sagittarius Arm and view it like this, you can never leave. Looking forward to seeing more. Wes

    • Thank you Wes, it is a good obsession I think, I now know what the Sagittarius Arm is, I’ve been trying to find out more about what I am photographing. Lots more to come to, I must go and find yours.

  15. Very beautiful photos, I especially like the ones taken from beneath the light house. If you dont mind me asking, leanne, are all the colours captured in the milky way shots as is?

  16. A great set of images Leanne, but the ones with the lighthouse and the Milky Way are all stunning 😊

    • Thank you Mark, that is what we went there for, so it was good to see how well they turned out. :)

  17. Leanne, can you tell me one thing? Is it that the Milky-way can be seen only in places like Australia and New Zealand, or it can also be seen somewhere in the centre of the Earth like the Middle-East or for that matter, India or anywhere? I am really curious about the Milky-way positions.

    Thank you so much, btw! As always your images are stunning!

    • I don’t really know, I always thought everyone could see it, but apparently that is not the case. I have been told the best place to see it is the southern hemisphere, but I also know you can see it in the northern hemisphere. sorry, I’m not being much help.

      Thank you Ankur.

  18. Hi Leanne – I really love the lighthouse images. I live in NYC so it’s hard for me to find any spot here where I can do Milky Way shots. I did my first just this last June in South Africa It was a lot of fun and it was so exciting to see how much the camera would capture compared to the naked eye. I am going to Kenya in September and I hope to be able to try some more.

    • Wow Susan, someone else sent me a map of the light pollution in the US and I understand how you find it hard to do there. Your shot from South Africa is amazing, love the tree in the image too, would like to do some like that when I go up to the mallee next. I know what you mean by what the camera captures, it is so amazing. I look forward to seeing your next efforts, thank you Susan.

  19. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says

    Reblogged this on The Artistic Spider's Web and commented:
    Leanne Cole’s Weekend Wanderings – Looking for the Stars at Aireys Inlet
    These images are very stirring emotionally and perhaps religiously.

  20. All of the images are beautiful! I especially like your pink sunset image, and the MW with the clouds and light house. A very successful outing I think. Very well done.

    I just rented the 14-24mm for a trip to Moab, UT last week-end. I was shooting the Milky Way too. I love that lens! Probably a mistake to have rented it b/c now I want one. “)

    • I like that pink sunset too, thank you, it was a great outing and I am so happy with what I got.

      I have that lens, it is so good for doing these sorts of images. I can understand that mistake, it is a great lens, but I don’t use it as much as I thought I would, if that helps.

    • That’s brilliant Carol, thank you. I think I love the night sky, I just wish I knew more, working on that now.

    • That is a great link you sent Nexi, thank you for that. It’s interesting to see where the light comes from, and nice to see that Australia is one of the perfect places for doing the night skies, more so because the milky way is seen so clearly, or something to do with the southern hemisphere, I don’t know, still trying to work it out. Wow that is a long sentence, sorry. I have heard others talk about how hard it is in the UK because of all the villages and such. You know what, you will just have to come to Australia. I should run tours.

  21. Great images as ever Leanne; the final one is a stand-out though, it is absolutely spectacular! :)

    • I think I like that one a lot too, I love the light, it was hard to get, I only had a couple of seconds to get it. Thank you.

  22. Great shots, Leanne – the lighthouse/ milky way shots are so cool – interesting to see John’s take too. But the shot with the pink sky is sublime.

  23. Just spectacular.. How pleased you must have been, they are truly extraordinary :)

    • I was Kaz, really pleased, it is so nice to take a trip away and get so many great images. :) Thank you.

  24. Leanne, I’ve sent a link to this post to my family. I’ve mentioned to them that I was able to see the Milky Way while out at sea when I was in the Navy. Nowhere in Ohio is it remote enough to get away from the light pollution. On a clear night here the stars appear scattered with great distances between them.

    • Thank you John, I have to say I find it strange hearing people say that don’t see it, though we don’t see it in Melbourne, we do see it not far from the city.

  25. Wow! These are fantastic! Beautiful shots, I’d love to go get some astrophotos if i can manage to get away from the city for a bit :)

    • I hear lots of people planning trips or holidays so they can try and capture them. I am lucky, within a hour or two I can be at some great locations to get the milky way. Thank you Ted. :)

  26. Wow! These are amazing and so beautiful. Love the one of the stars straight up from the lighthouse. :)

  27. Amazing shots, especially the two shot framing the lighthouse in the foreground. Looks like I’ll be back in Oz in the spring. Definitely going to have to try some more astrophotography when I’m there.

  28. These are amazing! I was able last week to capture a small motion blurred photo of the Orion Nebula. Not good by any means, but my first nonetheless.

    • I don’t think we can see that here, but I’m sure you will have better luck next time. I’m still not good at looking for that stuff, it still has to be obvious for me, like the moon or the milky way. Thank you.

  29. Your work is stunning! Inspirational and beautiful. I’m so glad I came upon your blog. Thank you for sharing your photos.
    I would love creative criticism on my photography if you have time to stop by my site!
    I look forward to learning from your words and work.


    • Thank you Hagen, I love hearing that my work inspires others.
      I would love to look at your photos, but it is something I get asked a lot, and not something I am comfortable doing, sorry. It is all experience and just getting out there doing what you love.
      I do try and share what I am doing and if that helps people, then that is fantastic. Thanks again.

  30. I grew up in a metropolitan area and I was in my mid-twenties before I saw the Milky Way for the first time. There are an incredible number of people on this planet who live their entire lives without seeing it because they live in areas that are heavily lighted at night.

    Amazing photographs! I am itching to do a bit of astro photography, but I want to develop my skills a bit more before I purchase a mount.

    • I have heard the same from many other Chris, I grew up seeing it. I was originally from a rural area, and I can remember lying on my back looking up at the stars as a child. I think everyone should see it once, I have heard of people that have never seen the ocean as well.
      Thank you, Astro photography is not really that hard, though I don’t have a special mount, not sure what that is for. I just do long exposures for about 30 seconds with a very wide lens. Good luck with it.

  31. robslusar says

    Love the shots of the milkyway, captured the colours beautifully. Wonderful work.

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