Meet Ben Mulder: Redlands’ sultan of sunsets

Ben Mulder’s sunset photos of Wellington Point have taken Instagram by storm. With over 40,000 followers, Ben showcases the Redlands to the world daily. Let’s meet him.

Sunset at Wellington Point

Tell us about your background and how you got into photography in the first place. 

My father was into photography. I didn’t get into it until I was travelling overseas with a point and shoot Olympus film camera and travelling to all these amazing locations and just couldn’t help taking photos. That’s where I got my passion for photography. I’ve upgraded to digital which allows me to take many more photos so I don’t have to be so selective. I got back to Australia and didn’t have that much inspiration until I came to Wellington Point and really enjoyed the ocean and the water and got back into it again. A friend suggested I get on Instagram and show my photos off.

What is so unique about photographing Wellington Point?

You don’t get many places like this on the east coast of Australia with the sun setting over the water. Wellington Point has the beautiful jetty for the sunrises so it’s got the best of both worlds with locations for sunrises and sunsets. The location is so impressive that I even had a Japanese lady contact me through Instagram – she flew here to photograph Wellington Point with me for three days.

Sunrise over Wellington Point jetty

How often do you come to Wellington Point?

I’m mainly a low tide photographer so I’m here every second week. And if the clouds are looking good there’s a really nice spot around the mangroves called the 3 amigos which is nice to capture at medium tide. I enjoy coming down after work and breathing the fresh air – it’s a nice way to finish off the day.

What are your favourite places to photograph?

Obviously Wellington Point. North Stradbroke Island is another really magical place to photograph; I really enjoy Adder Rock for the sunsets – I’ve got some really beautiful ones there, Deadman’s Beach around the big sand hill is great for sunrises, and I love photographing kangaroos at the headland, Point Lookout is a magic spot for the wildlife. Out at Cleveland is nice with the old jetty. Victoria Point is a nice place to capture the sunrise and the boats at low tide. There are a few nice spots if you drive around Mt Cotton as well.

Adder Rock, North Stradbroke Island

What are your tips for taking great sunset photos?

You need a good bunch of clouds around to get the best colours out of the sunset. Try using the natural lines of the clouds to draw the viewer into the middle of the photo. Use the silhouettes of the people walking through in the afternoons and the reflections at low tide. It’s a good idea to have something in the foreground as a focal point. I use a graduated neutral density filter which takes the brightness out of the sky creates a more even exposure in the foreground. A good wide angle lens for Wellington Point is key because it’s such as wide open space and you can create extra depth of field. I use a 10-20mm Sigma lens with a Nikon D7200 body.

Can you tell us about your post processing workflow?

I use a free app on my iPad called Snapseed. It’s a really easy tool to use. I saturate the colours and sharpen the image. I really enjoy bright colours in photos.

Sunset at Wellington Point

When did you first notice your photos becoming so popular?

Pretty early on in the piece – about a year in to it. I think reflections are quite a hard thing to capture. You need a lot of water around. Reflections, sunsets and silhouettes are a perfect combination. I get quite excited every day looking up at the clouds and seeing the patterns I can create using reflection.

How do you use hashtags to reach a new audience on Instagram?

I like to stick to a lot of the same ones, they’ve been quite good to me and other accounts feature my photos quite a bit and they have quite a wide audience. I think that’s really helped out with the growth of my account. The last few months my account has taken off and it’s really exciting to see.

Have you ever been recognised?

Yes a couple of times!

Sunset at Wellington Point

What do you love about Redlands?

I love the sea breeze and the smell of the ocean. It’s so much cooler here than the rest of the mainland. One time I was working at Amberley and it was 42° and when I got here it was 28°. It was like jumping out into air conditioning, it was so nice. The people are friendlier here too. I think the ocean air makes people nicer.

You can follow Ben Mulder on Instagram.