Dave, what's your background in photography?

I started my fascination with photography in High School while I was in Christchurch. Riccarton High School had an hobby style of setup for students and I loved the process of film, developing in a dark room, and getting out there taking photos! It was fun and that kicked it off for me.

What is your inspiration today?

I love to be out there and in nature. Around it. Through it...  Splashing away down streams, fumbling my way through the NZ bush, or knee-deep in the sea hoping my camera won’t fall in!

It’s a case of how I can best represent what I feel when I see it with my eyes (hence my handle Est Oculus) and what I want people who are viewing my work to feel.  That’s it for me.

If something stops me in my tracks and makes me pause for thought – then I hope my audience can do the same.

What do you find is the hardest part of taking nature photos?

For me, the struggle is in getting it right... Having, or seeing, that moment and then not being able to reproduce it! Splashing around in a stream and just not getting the shot right and walking away feeling frustrated that either I wasn’t feeling I could do it OR my camera couldn’t focus or my tripod wasn’t staying steady etc. Getting home to go over my photos and seeing each one in full on a big screen and seeing blur or shake...  All of the above!

How do you know what to photograph? Do you plan or act on the spur of the moment when an opportunity presents itself?

I can plan but I normally act spontaneously. I am the sort of person who will be out walking or driving and just pull over or walk inland and off the beaten track to find that noise or see what the sun is doing through those trees or stop to take photos when the clouds are just perfect.

How do you achieve the final result?

I use Lightroom and Photoshop. I’ll use Lightroom for adjusting the exposure, texture, colours, highlights, and shadows, etc, and Photoshop for dust on the sensor!!  But I have been playing around more in Photoshop recently to see what else I can achieve. Good old YouTube is a great teacher.

What advice would you give to someone who’s just getting started with nature photography?

Take plenty of photos of the one moment that you’ve lined up!  BE PATIENT!  Don’t walk away from that millisecond pause of, “should I?” (we’ve all done it) CAPTURE IT!

Do you have any fun or interesting stories from taking photos in nature?

Oh I have plenty. Like the one time I almost fell off a cliff as I was too focused on the sunset before me. One of the most memorable was taking a photo of a spectacular storm only to forget that I was 2KM from the car and it was just starting to be a bit more ominous!  And then it hailed…

Tell us about some of your favourite photos...

All of my photos featured here are favourites, each one telling a different story...

There’s the famous house on the hill in the Wairarapa which is now gone - Those clouds were fantastic at that moment in time and just added mood to the overall shot.

Then there’s the picture of the waterfall.  This was off the beaten track and all I had to go by was the noise it was making so I went and found it, almost breaking a leg in the process!

The family on the beach with the haze and the last of the rays has to be one of my overall favourites though.  It was so warm and it was fantastic to be amongst the families on the beach – everyone was enjoying the feeling of warmth and having fun.  Especially that family.  They were a delight to photograph!

What else should we know about you and your photography?

There’s not much more to say!  I am hard working and sometimes I fluke the shots but they are the best shots, taken in the moment.

Instagram @davevercoe

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