A moody afternoon in Blackheath...
The Blue Mountains feature a diverse range of locations for portrait photographers. Mount Blackheath is certainly one of my favourites. Although it may not offer the the best light for shooting with direct sunlight, it does offer a unique form of light through the valley below. Light can be used directly if you shoot parallel with the sun with the subject on the wooden deck. However, that can be a little daunting due to the fragile state of the old paragliding runway. I have always found it interesting shooting from around a quarter of the way down with the subject toward the end, depending on how willing the subject is though!
A simple tip I can offer is to just get creative, it has been shot a lot in the past, to stand out you really have to think outside the box and not be afraid to try something different. Step out of that comfort zone, I know I'm guilty of playing it safe and sticking to the standard. Something as simple as using a mirror or your phone for refections and light distortions. Fairy lights are an awesome addition as well! I don't have a lot of experience shooting with fairy lights, but they are a ton of fun and I highly recommend giving it a go! They open up a whole new realm of creativity and opportunities, not only limited to portraiture either. They can add subtle texture, leading lines or even just simply creating another dimension to your landscapes, changing it up from classic practices. I love the way they are able to subtly create a surrealistic vibe, especially within moody landscapes. You can also maximise your shooting time with props such as fairy lights. Instead of just shoot during the small space of time between sun down and sunset when the light is in its prime, you can also shoot once the sun has gone down. You wont even have to pump your ISO up to an insane level and slow the shutter. All of the shots I'm featuring in this post were all taken between an ISO range of 100 to 320, avoiding any major grain in the image. I had my friend use a simple phone light to shine on the subject to boost the available light and allow for a lower ISO setting. This can be a helpful little tool to aid in situations such as this.
If you are interested in shooting some more photos at the same location, there is another ramp and far wider open landscape just down from the main carpark. People often mistake this one for the one that is usually seen in photographs, I tend to shoot at the ramp 5 minutes down the track, towards the main lookout and through the bush to the right. However, if your after shooting the sunset directly, especially on a cloudy day as the sun peaks in and out of the clouds I defintely recommend getting out a zoom lens and shooting out from the main paragliding ramp, you wont be disappointed. This location will always offer new perspectives, I urge you to not just go once but to come back on multiple occasions and see the differences.