Jarrod, What's your background in photography?
My great grandfather was an extraordinarily clever man, he built a power generation plant and brought electricity to the Coromandel a long time ago. He was a keen photographer and I remember being captivated by his black and white images as a kid which is where I guess it started. I’d remained interested in photography but hadn’t really done much until Auckland’s most recent lockdown when I committed to a self-prescribed daily photography habit, and learned a whole lot!
What is the inspiration behind your photographs?
I enjoy the peace and connection with the natural world and also the challenge of trying to capture that time or experience and share it with people. I try to make images that are interesting and as hard as it is, something beautiful and ideally with an artistic edge.
How do you know what to photograph, do you plan each shot in advance?
I normally just have an idea like “ok I’m shooting birds this morning” so I set my camera/lens up for that and head out. I guess I tend to be intuitive with where I go once in the field and more often than not things work out when I slow right down and let the scene present itself. I don’t think it would be good for my sanity if I had a specific picture in mind and tried to fulfil that vision. It might be good as a challenge from time to time but with all the variables out in the wild that could get really frustrating really fast.
What do you find the hardest part of taking photos?
The hardest part is trying not to get frustrated when my images aren’t coming together as I’d like, or the conditions are not behaving themselves. Conversely this is exactly what makes the rush of excitement that I get from time to time when “that image” happens making it all worth it!
Do you follow any particular process when taking your photos?
I like to get out early and give myself time to take an area in before even picking up the camera, but apart from that and the obvious technical set up that’s needed I try to stay as organic and fluid as possible. If I feel like the light could be better over there, then off I go. Yip, this has meant I’ve missed out on some cool shots but I’ve captured some cool ones too so I feel like my lack of a hard and fast process is working out so far.
Do you have any fun stories from your photography trips to share with us?
I went out to Waiwera beach a few months back with my six year old son for an “adventure”. We stomped around the in the bush and headed out on the tidal flats to try and get a water reflected sunrise. Turns out I hadn’t got the tides quite right and as I set up, the water started coming in filling in the lower areas around us. He thought it was a good time to leave but of course I didn’t have “the shot” yet! We retreated (not quickly enough according to the protests from the wee guy beside me) and I took a couple of shots that as it turned out I was really happy with. We both got wet feet, he got his adventure and I got the shot!
Tell us about one of your favourite images...
One of my favourite images is this one of a small creek out the back of our place. During lockdown I’d head out early and explore the streams, bush and neighbouring properties hunting for photogenic gems, and just being in nature. This was one of the early ones I took and is the first photo I was really proud of. It ended up exactly as I had intended and was the first time I had successfully used my newly acquired post editing skills to develop an image properly. And it took a surprisingly long time to do! I’ve really enjoyed shooting Gannets at Muriwai the couple of times I’ve been out there too, they’re such elegant birds and photograph so well. The smell is not as romantic…
What advice would you give to someone who’s just getting started with landscape and nature photography?
Advice, haha, I’m as green as they come so I’m not sure I qualify to give advice yet! The top 3 things that have helped me is to; 1) learn your camera, then learn it again 2) stay relaxed in the field, let the image come, and 3) don’t be scared of trying stuff in-post (PS/LR etc.)
I’d highly recommend joining your local club too and getting some feedback from genuinely great photographers. It can be daunting and a little hard on the ego sometimes but it’s a really great way to hone your craft and improve. Cheers to the Hibiscus Coast Photographic Club for helping me.
Is there a particular image that holds special meaning to you?
This is quite a recent image and one of my favourites mostly for what it represents to me. This is part of the stream that runs through the back of our new home. It’s been a long time coming and we feel amazingly lucky to have found a place that is as amazing as this, and the photographic opportunities are endless!! When I was mucking around editing the shot I flipped it in half and really liked the result!
This is the original, I like this one too!
What else should we know about you and your photography?
I try to produce something memorable with my images and in doing so can spend a long time getting the result I’m after. It can be disheartening in this ultra fast “Insta-world” to wonder if people actually take the time to appreciate these images, or photos in general anymore? There are also soo many really talented people out there producing amazing work it can feel a little like “why bother, I’ll never be that good”. However, I think we all feel a bit like this from time to time so I think the answer is something like – enjoy the process, love the outcome and forget about what the world thinks.