Brisbane’s top 10 photographic experiences - Visit Brisbane

Brisbane’s top 10 photographic experiences

Want to challenge your photography game? We caught up with professional photographer and Canon Collective Ambassador Greg Sullavan to gather his intel on the best photography spots, photo challenges and experiences to have around Brisbane.

As long as I can remember, I have been obsessed about photography. More specifically, obsessed by imagery. My job is to create photographic experiences for the Canon Collective in Brisbane and all across Queensland. Over the past few years, I have hosted hundreds of workshops for our community and shot thousands of photographs. You might say that I have become an connoisseur or appreciator of a good sunrise, sunset or super moon for that matter!

Well, these are my top 10 photographic experiences in Brisbane and this South East corner of the planet that we all love so much.

1. Queensland Reds ‘on-field’ experience

Photo by Greg Sullavan

Literally the best seats in the house! Sit on the turf at Suncorp Stadium shooting Quade and the boys tearing it up from the sidelines, all with a big white Canon lens in your hands. Come along and we'll teach you how to shoot fast moving action photography at night with all the excitement of Super rugby. This event is free, but limited in numbers. Bring on the 2017 season as the Reds will surprise more than a few.

2. Street photography in New Farm & Teneriffe

Photo by Greg Sullavan

With your camera in hand, play a game of 36 Exposure Challenge. The rules are:
1. The camera has to be set to black and white.
2. Do not not use zoom, set the camera to a fixed focal length.
3. You only have 36 shots and you can’t delete any.

Now walk around Brisbane’s trendy New Farm and Teneriffe suburbs and try ‘Street Photography’. The aim is to document a moment in time that captures a little piece of the soul of your fellow human beings! This will help develop your photography in timing, anticipation and composition. Remember to be respectful of everyones personal space. 

*Pro tip; Don’t forget to visit ‘Death before Decaf ’ for a coffee stop, tell them Greg sent you.

3. Aerial Photography

Photo by Greg Sullavan

There is nothing more exciting than shooting from an R44 helicopter at 1000 feet with the doors off, with the wind whipping around the cabin as it banks over the iconic Brisbane cityscape. Departing from Archerfield, Mark from Aerial Advantage will take you in over the Gabba, past the Story Bridge, around Spring Hill and back down the Brisbane River before heading out west via Mount Cootha. We can loan you a 50 megapixel camera and give you a lesson in how to extract every detail from your 20-minute flight. Imagine how your best shot will look on the wall of your office!

4. Wynnum sunrise

Photo by Greg Sullavan

Set an early alarm to get in position for first light over Wynnum Creek. Bring a tripod to set up with the camera and enjoy shooting the moment as the sun rises over old fishing boats that were once the pride of Moreton Bay. There is plenty for a photographer to see here including the local wading pool, jetty and marina, which is home to the Royal Manly Yacht club. you'll have plenty of time to shoot before work and still beat the traffic. If sun rise is not your thing, bring the family down at dusk for the famous local fish and chips.

5. Manta Bommie

Photo by Greg Sullavan

Ranked as one of Australia’s top 10 dive sites, Manta Bommie is a rocky reef located off Brisbane’s North Stradbroke Island. As the name suggests, diver’s regularly encounter giant Manta Rays that use the site as a ‘cleaning station’. This is where little wrasse effectively pick the parasites off the bodies of the larger animals. Our Collective members, who also have their Advanced Open Water Dive Licence, can use our G series camera’s with an underwater housing to photograph the experience. Under the watchful eyes of the Dive Masters from Manta Lodge Scuba Centre, divers can also expect see leopard sharks, turtles, wobbegong, bull rays and lion fish.

6. Wilson’s Outlook

Photo by Greg Sullavan

This is the secret spot that other photographers wont tell you about. There is a little park that opens up to a spectacular view of the Story Bridge, with the panoramic of the city skyline as your backdrop. Find a spot and shoot the sunset as it disappears behind the horizon. But don’t pack up just yet! Use a longer shutter speed and a tripod to shoot the lights of the city at twighlight. The Story Bridge will put on a light show that rewards those that are patient! 

Pro tip: Jacaranda flowering season is mid October to early November, they add an new dimension to an already stunning location.

7. Bird photography at Oxley Creek Common

Photo by Greg Sullavan

One of the most difficult types of photography is to photograph our small feathery friends in their natural environment. Oxley Creek Common features a 4km walk along an unsealed track, just 15 minutes west from the CBD. It takes patience, timing, anticipation and luck to get the shot. Highly desirable subjects include: Fairy Wrens, Rainbow Bee Eaters, Finches, Mannikins and of course, any of the birds of prey. 

You might bump in to other birding enthusiasts and ‘twitchers’ who are always friendly and happy to share information. Part of the fun is to try to correctly identify and share your best photographs in one of the many Australian Birds Facebook pages. This is a big big lens experience and we will teach you how to choose the best focusing mode for the situation.

8. Story Bridge Adventure Climb

Photo by Greg Sullavan

There is no better view of the river city than from the top of the Story Bridge during ‘Golden Hour’. On a Collective climb you get the chance to climb the bridge with a DSLR around your neck – the only photographic bridge adventure climb in the world! We have the bridge to themselves for the evening to watch as the lights in the city turn on. The ambience is electric and the experience is unforgettable.

9. Plane Spotting

Photo by Greg Sullavan

There is an underground network of photographers and aviation enthusiasts that love everything aviation at Brisbane Airport. With viewing locations on Pandanus Ave, Boronia Rd and Acacia St, plane spotting is a fun way to meet new people and learn the lingo. Anything A380 or Boeing 747 is highly desirable, and new plane decals are super exciting! Check the YBBN Facebook community for hints and tips before getting yourself airside with the Canon Collective. Helpful information from the Brisbane Airport Corporation can be found here. 

10. Moreton Island

Photo by Greg Sullavan

Just on our doorstep is a true gem – Moreton Island gives us so many photographic opportunities. With the world renowned Tangalooma Wrecks, Cape Moreton Lighthouse and dolphin feeding at sunset – it’s actually hard to choose just one great experience here! Then there is an abundance of wildlife to be seen under the pristine waters of Moreton Bay. A shore dive to the wrecks with an underwater housing will reveal a new world just below the surface. Aerials over the wrecks are also a wonderful experience. There is too much to do in one day and a family weekend getaway is just the ticket!

Greg Sullavan is a Canon Collective ambassador based in Brisbane. If you would like to participate in Canon Collective events simply visit the Canon Collective website. You can also join the community on Facebook and Instagram, and follow Greg's photography @gregsullavan on Instagram.

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