When did your journey with landscape photography begin?

I  had a serious look at photography back in 2003 when my wife and I took a trip to Canada . I had a newish Canon N300 film SLR, and I purchased a Canon G3 compact digital camera for my wife to use on the trip.  After our trip, I was amazed at how good 4 megapixel and 4 X optical zoom really was, and from that time, I become excited about digital imaging and joined my local Camera Club, starting my journey with that very same camera.

After retiring, my wife and I moved up to the Central Coast from Eastwood to Terrigal where I still reside. I quickly found a group of like minded togs of various ages and became engrossed with sunrise and sunset photography at the many beaches up and down the coast, and learned so much more about my favourite pass time.

What are you shooting with now?

My gear currently consists of, my Canon R5 mirrorless main camera with   RF 15-35mm F2.8,   RF 24-105mm F4,    EF 100mm F2.8 L series Macro,    EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 L series,   and  RF 800mm F11 prime  lenses.  I also have an EF to RF adaptor with this kit. In addition, I have a comprehensive Haida ND and polarizer kit which includes  .9 stop Soft Grad,  1.2 stop Soft Grad,  1.2 reverse grad,  6 stop and 10 stop black glass  slide in glass filters.  Also a backup kit of X-S10 Fujifilm  APS-C mirrorless with stabilization,   18-135mm F3.5-4.5,   50-140mm F2.8 and 2x extender,  10-24mm F4,  27mm F2   lenses.  A good quality Carbon Fibre tripod, rock boots, headlight and insect repellent completes the kit which I always carry in the back of my car.

How would you define your photographic style?

I think I can honestly say that I haven’t really developed a style, but I am very much drawn to landscape / seascape photography with a leaning to panoramic style images where it suits. That said, I very much enjoy the challenges of bird photography and Macro. I tend to shy away from portraiture, as I find it fairly confronting to direct a subject to achieve the desired outcome.

The Australian countryside provides plenty of opportunity to capture moody, colourful, vibrant,  and stormy landscapes and further out, away from light pollution, the ability to capture the night sky and general astro photography which is a whole new aspect to get your head around.

Being a born and bread Kiwi, I do enjoy getting back across the ditch as often as I can because it offers a very different aspect to landscape photography you won’t find in Australia, Especially the lower South Island where I came from. I have a great affection for the mountains and lakes and sounds.

Do you plan each photo in advance or just take photos whenever an opportunity arises?

I guess, living where I do, and being involved with a great group of local photographers (amateur, hobbyists, and professionals) who get together at least every Saturday morning for a sunrise at one of our many local beaches, the choice is easy.

Just being out on some of these rock shelves before first light and witnessing the colours of daybreak is very magical, and to capture this evolution of another day is very rewarding no matter whether it’s high cloud with reflective colour, or dark and stormy with huge swells and waves crashing over the rocks. One can go to the same location many times over, and never capture the same scene again.  When on road trips or travelling overseas, I always have one of my cameras sitting within easy reach for that spontaneous shot I may come across.

What accessories do you recommend to members looking to improve their landscape shots?

For landscape photography, I find the tripod and filters essential to control the exposure especially on longer shutter speeds in lower light conditions, and of course, a cable release, which is faster in response than Bluetooth on my phone, to capture the exact moment. Essentially, it really is all about the timing, especially with seascape where wave movement is constant.

What does your post-processing routine look like?

In terms of post-processing, I do try to get the capture right “in camera” whenever I can, but Post-processing is still necessary to fine tune the end result, and for this, I use a pre cloud version of Photoshop (CS6) with NIK and Topaz plugins, and I also have Affinity Photo and ON1 to play with sometimes.

Most of my images only require a light adjustment,  firstly, I develop in Camera Raw, then in Photoshop, a de-noise in Topaz, then a little correction in Curves and a light adjustment in Hue/Saturation and finally a High Pass sharpen.

What inspires you to pick up your camera?

I have always enjoyed the challenge of improving myself and bettering the images I have captured at locations previously visited, and the friendly interaction with others in my photography group, but also the social side of it. After every Social Saturday Sunrise, we all converge on a Café or Surf Club nearby, for the obligatory coffee and bacon and egg roll with a lot of banter about the mornings shoot and who received the Snorkel award for getting the wettest.

After losing my wife to Cancer (3 and a half years ago now),  it was my photography and strong support of my Tog friends that helped me overcome my loss.

What are the biggest challenges you face?

This is an interesting one, getting out of bed at stupid hour to get to the meeting place for the mornings shoot is hard enough sometimes, but then the climb down and long beach walk to some of our locations is becoming more difficult at my age (70 something)  and then to find a spot with good foreground interest and some structure to your frame, all in the dark with only a head torch is a real challenge for me

Having found the perfect spot, this can put you in danger from sudden rogue waves catching you off guard, and on numerous occasions, I have had waves burst across the rocks up to, and over the knees at times, and retreat is not an option.

All you can do is brace yourself on your tripod and hope your rock boots are well anchored and pray your camera doesn’t get soaked. Salt water is not kind to electronics!  Others in the group have lost cameras in these situations, and touch wood, my only loss has been a phone in my pocket after a huge drenching, which, at the time, my Fuji XT-3 survived after drying it off.

Do you have any favourite photos? Tell us about them!

I do have a favourite photo, it is 1 of 7 I posted on Facebook back on the 6th of January 2020 depicting the bush regrowth out at Kulnura here on the Central Coast NSW just 3 weeks after the fires had passed through, with no rain at that point in time.  

The post went viral, shared thousands of times around the world, because World News was centred on the horrendous fires we were experiencing in Australia at that time.  It was interesting to note how many people worldwide didn’t believe this could happen, not understanding that the Australian Bush needs fire to regenerate.

I guess I realised there was a market for my prints and canvases from this, and sold around 65 to 70 images all round the world over the next month or two and donated a large amount to the Red Cross for fire aid.

Have you taken part in any photography exhibitions?

I have been involved with a group of potters and painters in a yearly 10 day gallery where I have sold framed prints and large canvases and I still get the occasional req

However, my greatest claim to fame is when I was asked by the NSW Government, if they could use three of my images to project onto Sydney Opera House sails on Australia Day 26th of January 2020. Myself and my daughter were given VIP passes to access the top deck of the Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal opposite the Opera House so that I was able to capture the event for myself. My images came on to the refrain of John Williamsons “True Blue”... I was one very proud Kiwi.

What's next for you?

I am looking at having a play with NFT’s to see where that may lead.

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