Second Valley – Painted by Light

After finally finishing the Malaysia holiday series of posts, I’ve taken the opportunity this week to catch up on visits to some of the WordPress blogs I follow.

One of these is High Street Photos X100 authored by another Adelaide photographer Andy Kidd. Andy takes most of his photos with a Fuji X100 camera, hence the X100 in his blog title. He has recently published several posts of photos taken in the area around Rapid Bay and Second Valley. Looking at his posts has prompted me to revisit some photos I took at Second Valley about 18 months ago.

Second Valley is 80 kilometres (50 miles) or so south of Adelaide on the coast of Gulf St Vincent. Size-wise, there’s not much there except a handful of holiday houses, a caravan park and a small jetty. The surrounding area is quite attractive: the coastline is backed by steep hills and Second Valley is located where a small creek flows out of the hills into the sea.

I drove down there in the autumn of 2013 to take photos of some geological formations for use in my son’s Year 12 geology assignment. He’d been down that way some time earlier on a school tour but had apparently missed photographing certain formations he now wanted to reference. So dad to the rescue. He chose to stay home to do some maths home work, so armed with my camera and a quick briefing of what I was looking for, off I went.

The day was drizzly rainy with leaden skies, so I wasn’t expecting too much in the way of interesting photos. But I just happened upon some quite dramatic lighting as you will shortly see.

Yankalilla Bay, Fleurieu Peninsula

Second Valley is on the road that leads down to Cape Jervois. After passing through Yankalilla and Normanville, the road runs along the coast for a few miles before turning back inland. This is the view looking south at the point where the road turns left to head back into the hills. Second Valley is one of the little coves in the distance while Rapid Bay is just this side of the far headland. Dreary drizzly conditions and the hazy look at top left is the rain falling on the nearby hill tops.

The turnoff into Second Valley is marked by this historic flour mill, now a restaurant.

Leonards Mill, Second Valley

Leanards Mill at Second Valley. Still raining. Jumped out of the car, took a photo and then retreated back to the car to wipe the camera and lens dry. Built in the 1850’s, the mill dates back to the early days of the colony of South Australia.

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

Second Valley jetty. The creek flows into the area left of the causeway and then out under the bridge. But as is typical for the area, a sandbar forms over the dry summer months and closes the creek mouth off. There hadn’t been enough winter rains as yet for the creek to rise and break through the sand bar.

For something different, I’m jumping to black and white processing for the next few images, but follow with the colour version for a couple of them. You can choose which you prefer.

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

A small clear patch of sky amongst all the heavy cloud lit up the Second Valley cove for just a few minutes, and providing the inspiration for this post’s title, beating out Seeking unconformity as an alternative title which might have appealed to geologists but probably no one else.

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

But looking back out to sea, more rain was on its way. The blue colouring seen below was real – the backlit clouds were just chock-a-block full of water.

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

With the sun dropping down behind heavy cloud, the sunset turned out to be a non-event photography-wise, so I finished up by turned my attention to some long exposure images taken in the failing light.

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

And then back to the car just moments before an absolute dumping of rain.

Camera Gear

Being a series ‘from the vault’ as it were, camera in use was a Pentax K-x rather than the Pentax K-3 I’m currently using. The K-3 would definitely have been the better option (had I owned it then) as the wide dynamic range of the scenes really challenged the K-x. Most of the photos in this post have taken a lot of post-processing to optimise. And after processing only K-3 RAW files the last year, I found it a bit of a shock going back to the K-x RAW files and finding how much less flexible they are for images taken in challenging lighting conditions. The K-3 files just have so much more information to offer.

Lens was the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8.

A tripod was used for the final three long exposure photos with a mix of lens.

To Learn More

In preparing this post, I stumbled on why Second Valley is called Second Valley. So once again, my photography has taught me something new. Take a peek here to discover the history of Second Valley.


Related Posts

Roughly half way between Adelaide and Second Valley is Sellicks Beach where I sometimes take my pooch for a walk.

Walking the dog…


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4 thoughts on “Second Valley – Painted by Light

    1. aussiesouthlander Post author

      Happy to show you around my patch. I’m sure Sandy H would like to meet up with you as well. Plenty of good wine down here and the Aussie dollar has tanked (like almost every other currency) against your greenback so a good time for you to be traveling.

    1. aussiesouthlander Post author

      Thank you for the kind words.

      It was one of those luck of the draw moments as I could go down there again twenty times and still not capture a similar mood. On another occasion I want to go down there and climb some of the hills – the views should be pretty good in the right light.


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