I recently stayed at Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island, which is about 4 hours north of Brisbane, Australia.

The weather was pretty overcast for most of the time, so most of my photographs were pretty ordinary. The main reception of the resort was a large atrium style building, with lots of windows. This made it pretty difficult to photograph. Here’s how I chose to tackle this problem…

Considering the windows are used to light this structure during the day, there is quite a bit of contrast between the bright light outside and the darker interior.

This made it almost impossible to get a decent indoor photo of the resort’s main building.

I should probably also explain that Kingfisher Bay Resort is one of the most well known eco-tourism resorts in Australia. Hence, the use of natural light over electricity and the airy design to avoid the use of air conditioning. The layout is also very spread out to provide nooks for people to relax and have a private conversation.

The main building is quite a remarkably designed structure. The resort ambience is unmistakeable, but you can still feel that you’re within a forest on an island.

Taking photographs during the day was clearly out. Nevertheless, I did try (that’s the great thing about digital – the trial and error it allows), just in case I was proven wrong, but I wasn’t.

Being on a relaxing holiday I decided to pack light, and this did not include my tripod. However, taking indoor photographs at low light pretty much demands an unnaturally steady hand, or preferrably, a tripod.

With no tripod, that meant using what tools I had around me. In this case it was these tall cane pieces that were adorned by small plants.

They were the perfect height for what I wanted – a quasi-tripod. So, carrying my camera, I repositioned these cane ‘towers’ where I wanted them, with every step being followed by odd looks from staff and fellow guests. I made sure to return them to their original position.

Then, on came the timer setting, and I was in business! The shutter speed for each image was about 1/6 second, so I would have needed a very steady hand!

I was pretty happy with how the images came out, and incredibly lucky that there weren’t too many people around, so I could get clear photos. Probably because it was dinner time and most people were sitting down to eat!

The one exception was this photo here. There was no cane tower in sight, so I sat on the floor, balanced my camera on my knee, held my breath and took the photo! Considering, it turned out pretty well.

So, next time I’ll remember to take high contrast photos either early in the morning, or at dusk, and to bring a tripod!

About Cyrus Ward