Fairy Bower pool, Manly - Mo Hossain Photography

Fairy Bower pool, Manly, New South Wales

Fairy Bower pool is about 25 mins drive from Sydney CBD. I came across this place from my online research while making “to shoot list”. Initially I thought the Sea Nymphs sculpture by Helen Leete is one of the Sculpture by the Sea sculptures but then I realised its a permanent sculpture waiting for me to shoot at Manly!

I started thinking about post-production as soon as I saw the sculpture in person for the first time. I wasn't aware of the fact that Sea Nymphs sculpture was destroyed by a violent storm last June. I prefer not to spend too much time on my computer but in this case I had the option to either fix it later in photoshop or go to nearby beaches to shoot something else.

The problem was I didn’t do enough research on Shelly or Manly beach so didn’t know what to shoot there. I drove 50 mins from my house specifically to shoot this sculpture and really didn’t have a plan B. Anyways light was changing quickly so I decided to stick by the pool and fix it later in post-production.

I’ll give you some editing tips later in the article but let's cover the basic topics first.

How to get there: I usually shoot sunrises and around that time you won’t find any public transport so you may have to drive or just catch a cab. If you put Fairy Bower pool on Google map then it should take you to Bower Lane. However, I did not find parking in Bower Lane at 5.30am so you may want to park at Bower Street instead. I highlighted the best parking spots in the map below for you.

If you park in the highlighted area then its about 2 mins walk to Fairy Bower pool. From Bower Lane, turn right into Marine Parade and the pool will be on your left after 30 secs walk.

Best time to shoot: Its facing north-east so sunrise is the best time of day to take photos.

Photography tools and equipment: Apart from the camera, here’s a list of things you may need:

1. If your main subject is the Sea Nymphs sculpture then you may not need a wide angle lens here. I used Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 to get the following shot.

2. Remote shutter release to reduce camera shake but the 2 secs/ 10 secs timer on your camera will work just fine.

3. Filters to block light which will allow you to decrease shutter speed. You can of course shoot without filters but filters will increase your shooting time. I use the starter kit from Nisi filters.

4. Tripod.

Editing tips: This is what the shot looked like with basic edits.

ƒ/8.0 | 28.0 mm | 2 secs | ISO 100 | NiSi Soft Grad ND Filter GND8 (0.9) 3 Stop | NiSi ND64 (1.8) 6 Stop

Here are the steps I followed to fix the sculpture. I’m by no means photoshop guru so you don’t have to follow my steps but here’s how I did it.

1. Took a copy of the background layer

2. Selected the right statue in the new layer > Layer via cut > Free transform > Flip Horizontally.

2. Then moved the new layer to align with the broken part.

3. Added layer mask to fine tune my adjustment

4. Used Spot Healing Brush tool to fix the random clouds in the sky. From a distance, it looked like scratches/dust on my lens.

5. Used the Clone Stamp Tool to fix the reflection on the water and changed Opacity to ensure the layer blends well.

Here is the final image:

If you found these tips helpful then please hit the Like button below. Let me know if you know a quicker way to fix this in the comments section below.

Happy shooting.


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