Photographing Cooloola: Carlo Sand Blow

Carlo Sand Blow from the southern side - Photo by Julie Hartwig

Carlo Sand Blow from the southern side – Photo by Julie Hartwig

By Julie Hartwig, Tin Can Bay Camera Club

Carlo Sand Blow is a saddle-shaped mass of windswept sand that covers 15 hectares. The eastern side overlooks Wide Bay and Double Island Point, while the western side overlooks the Great Sandy National Park and Tin Can Bay. To the north, you can see the Great Sandy Strait and glimpses of Fraser Island. With directional views like this, there are plenty of stunning scenes to photograph. Here are a few photo ideas:

  • Facing east and west, it’s the perfect location to photograph sunrises and sunsets.
  • Views from the eastern edge take in the wide sweep of beach from Rainbow to Double Island Point, including the coloured sand cliffs. These glow rich iridescent reds, golds, oranges, yellows and browns in the early morning light. In the afternoon, the cliffs gradually come into shadow, and the colours become more muted.
  • The midday sun turns the water beautiful turquoise and deep blue colours, often found in tropical paradises.
  • The dead trees on the Blow make stunning focal points and when shooting into the sun, create great silhouettes.
  • People sand tobogganing on the hill beside the viewing platform or para- and hang-gliding off the Blow can offer great action shots.
  • When the sun is low in the sky (morning and afternoon), use a low viewpoint to accentuate the shadows and patterns created by the ripples in the sand.
  • Capture the vastness of the Blow by including people in your photos – a wide angle photo will take in the view and make people look tiny, giving photos a sense of scale.
  • From the southern side of the Blow, you get fantastic views looking north across the Blow. From the right spot, a panorama photo will include the Great Sandy Strait, Fraser Island and the Pacific Ocean.

Finally, it’s nearly always windy on the Blow. Wind-driven sand can get inside camera bodies, in between the barrel sections on lenses, in the recesses around buttons, etc, and can be very difficult to remove. Think twice about changing lenses in windy conditions, but if you have to, take suitable precautions to protect your camera. It’s useful to carry a blower brush and cleaning clothes to keep your gear – especially the lens – clean, and remember to give your gear a good clean once you get home.

Happy snapping! More tips next month.

The Tin Can Bay Camera Club’s next meeting: 7pm, Wednesday, January 16 at TCB Library. For more information about club activities and to view members’ images, visit

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