8 tips for taking great winter photographs on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island

8 tips for taking great winter photographs on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island



Win­ter on KI is tru­ly spe­cial, espe­cial­ly when it comes to pho­tog­ra­phy. Here’s how to make the most of it.


South Aus­tralia has some of the most pho­to­genic land­scapes in the world, and Kan­ga­roo Island is no exception.

The island is home to spec­tac­u­lar coast­lines, a huge abun­dance of native plants and ani­mals, and wilder­ness found nowhere else in the state.

If you’re won­der­ing when to vis­it, con­sid­er a win­ter get­away – espe­cial­ly if you’re keen to cap­ture your adven­ture on camera.

Pho­tog­ra­ph­er Ross Evans, who lives on KI, says the cool­er months are a spe­cial time to vis­it and pho­to­graph. All you need to do is rug up and you’ll reap plen­ty of rewards 

Here are his top tips for using the island’s win­ter con­di­tions to your advantage:

1. Make the most of the elements

In sum­mer, the sun is strong and can eas­i­ly lead to your pho­tos being blown-out’ – where the sky appears white, with­out any features.

But if you vis­it in win­ter, the sun is gen­er­al­ly low­er in the sky and there’s usu­al­ly greater cloud cov­er. This means the sky is a lit­tle dark­er, so you can get great pho­tos with­out need­ing a fil­ter on your lens like you would in summer.

With the sun low­er in the sky and the sky not as bright, con­di­tions also make it eas­i­er to pro­duce long-shut­ter pho­tog­ra­phy that can pro­duce the milky effect on waves and run­ning water.

Top tip: give long-shut­ter pho­tog­ra­phy a go at Bil­ly­goat Falls on the Water­fall Creek Hike in the West­ern Riv­er Wilder­ness Pro­tec­tion Area. It’s per­fect in win­ter when the water­fall is in full swing.

8 tips for taking great winter photographs on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island

2. Let the moody skies be the star of the show

Along the same lines as the tip above, let KI’s win­ter skies be more than just a sup­port­ing act to your photos.

Unlike in sum­mer, where the sky gives you a sim­ple back­ground of hazy blue, in win­ter you get some epic clouds break­ing up the scene and becom­ing the focal point of the photo.

At sun­rise and sun­set, these clouds either fil­ter the sun’s light or cre­ates a can­vas for the sun to paint its mas­ter­piece on.

8 tips for taking great winter photographs on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island

3. Cap­ture the wild waves

Souther­ly winds can add more than a lit­tle dra­ma along the coast at some of the island’s pop­u­lar nation­al parks.

A great spot to pho­to­graph is in Cape Gantheaume Con­ser­va­tion Park. Take the her­itage self-guid­ed dri­ve, which takes you past some inter­est­ing cul­tur­al sites as well as amaz­ing beach­es and surf spots.

Sew­er Beach at the end of the tour is the best spot to cap­ture images of the pow­er­ful swells that bring epic break­ing waves.

8 tips for taking great winter photographs on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island

4. Be at the ready forwildlife shots

KI isn’t short on wildlife year-round, but it’s in win­ter that it’s more active. 

Cool weath­er, increased water sources, and breed­ing sea­son for a lot of the wildlife means there’s more activ­i­ty from many ani­mals that, at oth­er times of the year, would be asleep or hid­ing out in the shade for most of the day. 

Kan­ga­roos and Tam­mar wal­la­bies are every­where, so be care­ful while you’re dri­ving – par­tic­u­lar­ly in one of the many nation­al parks and wildlife pro­tec­tion zones on the island.

Either end of win­ter is a real­ly good time to spot a duck-billed platy­pus along Flinders Chase Nation­al Park’sRocky Riv­er Hike, as the rains cre­ate healthy pools along the riv­er. Sun­set and sun­rise are your best times to catch a glimpse. 

Also, down at Admi­rals Arch in Flinders Chase Nation­al Park, win­ter is a great time to spot long-nosed fur seals bat­tling the frothy surf, surf­ing the waves or bask­ing on the rocks.

8 tips for taking great winter photographs on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island

5. Keep your eye out for fungi

Nation­al parks on KI dur­ing win­ter time are a great place to spot some tru­ly enig­mat­ic fun­gi. Parks like Flinders Chase Nation­al Park and the Ravine des Casoars Wilder­ness Pro­tec­tion Area, are with­out doubt fun­gal hotspots’ dur­ing winter. 

In the Rocky Riv­er area of Flinders Chase alone, about 450 dif­fer­ent fun­gi species have been record­ed. At the Ravine des Casoars almost 300 species, and at Kel­ly Hill Con­ser­va­tion Park140 species have been found. 

There are many types of fun­gi on KI, includ­ing the extra­or­di­nary ghost fun­gi that gives off an eerie ghost-like glow in low light. Jel­ly fun­gi can also pro­duce some vivid colours that con­trast sharply against oth­er vegetation.

8 tips for taking great winter photographs on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island

6. Make the most of lat­er sun­ris­es and ear­li­er sunsets

The short­er day­light hours that come with win­ter mean sun­rise and sun­set occur at a much more con­ve­nient time of day. Which means there’s real­ly no excuse for not get­ting up in time to take stun­ning sun­rise shots, and your sun­set pho­to shoots won’t inter­fere with your din­ner plans. 

Make the most of the Blue Hour, the hour before sun­rise and after sun­set, when the light is blue and dif­fused, and the Gold­en Hour, the hour before sun­set and after sun­rise, when the light is gold­en and soft. 

Keep­ing with the light’ theme, you might like to cap­ture the sun­rise from Cape Willough­by Light­house in the east and the sun­set from Cape Bor­da Light­house in the west. With the rich yel­low and red hues of the Gold­en Hour, the two light­hous­es pro­vide per­fect fore­ground fod­der to con­trast against the epic sun­ris­es and sun­sets that grace the skies behind them. 

If you hap­pen to be on loca­tion a bit ear­ly for sun­rise or late for sun­set, don’t despair! The dif­fused light in the Blue Hour pro­vides a per­fect oppor­tu­ni­ty to take advan­tage of the light from the light­house and a long shut­ter set­ting on your cam­era to cre­ate some­thing like this:

8 tips for taking great winter photographs on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island

7. Lookto the stars for inspiration

The west of the island is a per­fect place to view and take pho­tos of the night sky. Not only is it area of vir­tu­al­ly no light pol­lu­tion but there are some great places to have in the fore­ground of your photos. 

Places in Flinders Chase Nation­al Park like Remark­able Rocks, Cape Du Couedic and Cape Bor­da Light­house, as well as seclud­ed beach­es like West Bay, all pro­vide spec­tac­u­lar fore­ground set­tings, while places like Snake Lagoon offer the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cap­ture a mir­ror-like image of the night’s sky – as long as there’s no wind. 

Win­ter can be tricky though. While the cold night air holds less mois­ture, mak­ing the sky crisp and clear so you’re more like­ly to get a clear view of the stars, there is a trade-off with cloud coverage. 

Top tip: down­load some mobile phone apps to help you plan your astrophotography,such as Windy’ (which uses Bureau of Mete­o­rol­o­gy data to show cloud cov­er, wind, light­ning, etc.), Phas­es of the moon’ (to show how strong the moon light will be), and Pho­toPills’ (to plan your Milky Way photos).

8 tips for taking great winter photographs on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island

8. Fol­lowthe rolling green hills

Win­ter on the island takes on a green hue with much of the plant life spring­ing to life and the grass turn­ing a lush green.

So get off the island’s main tourist routes and explore the rolling hills and seclud­ed spots on the north shore. 

Lath­a­mi Con­ser­va­tion Park is not just a great place to spot one of the bur­geon­ing pop­u­la­tion of the endan­gered KI glossy black-cock­a­too, it also offers great views down the val­ley towards Stokes Bay. 

photography-on-ki-body8.jpg
Green Coast’ (Image cour­tesy of Ross Evans)

Fun fact: KI glossy blacks are now on the rise thanks to the hard work of the Glossy Black-Cock­a­too Recov­ery Team.

For more ideas on how to spend your time on KI, check out our sto­ries:10 trea­sures of Kan­ga­roo Islandand10 things to see and do at Flinders Chase Nation­al Park.


This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living