Im­ages to in­spire

Three read­ers tell us the sto­ries be­hind their best shots

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I ac­quired a taste for pho­tog­ra­phy in my early teens when my par­ents bought me an Olym­pus OM-10 and some lenses, and with my fa­ther I set up a dark­room in our garage. I was heav­ily in­volved with Scout­ing and out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, and my cam­era en­abled me to doc­u­ment the places we ex­plored.

When I moved to Syd­ney to at­tend univer­sity, pho­tog­ra­phy fell by the way­side as I fo­cused on stud­ies and com­put­ers (I’m an IT pro­fes­sional by trade). Af­ter uni I dab­bled with a suc­ces­sion of film and early point-and-shoot dig­i­tal cam­eras (I had the Nikon Coolpix 900), but noth­ing re­ally in­spired me or gave me the con­trol over shots that I was look­ing for.

Go­ing dig­i­tal

Af­ter hav­ing three beau­ti­ful daugh­ters, and feel­ing se­verely con­strained try­ing to doc­u­ment them grow­ing up with medi­ocre cam­eras, I in­vested in my first D-SLR, the Nikon D90, in 2009. Since then my pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy has grown, and I spend as much time as I can re­search­ing tech­niques and hon­ing my craft. I’ve also ac­cu­mu­lated all man­ner of gear, and up­graded through two cam­era bod­ies: the D7000 and cur­rently the D600.

I love to ex­per­i­ment with new tech­niques and tools, and I’ll

pretty much shoot any genre. How­ever, what I love most is land­scapes, seascapes and light paint­ing, and my best work is prob­a­bly my long-ex­po­sure pho­tog­ra­phy. Shoot­ing with long ex­po­sures be­fore sun­rise, or dur­ing the hour af­ter sun­set, is such a re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. I love the peace, and the spec­tac­u­lar dis­plays na­ture puts on. Wed­ded Bare [3] started out as a long-ex­po­sure seascape, but when the new­ly­weds wan­dered onto the foot­bridge I took an­other quick shot, and blended them into the scene.

Paint­ing af­ter dark

Night pho­tog­ra­phy, such as light paint­ing and star trails, in­volves long ex­po­sures by de­fault, gen­er­ally any­where from many min­utes to even hours for a sin­gle frame.

The two light-paint­ing im­ages [1] [2] were taken dur­ing an an­nual event in Syd­ney called ‘Sculp­ture by the Sea’. Each year for about two weeks, hun­dreds of out­door sculp­tures are placed along the coast­line be­tween Bondi beach and Ta­ma­rama beach. They at­tract tens of thou­sands of vis­i­tors, along with many pho­tog­ra­phers who come to pho­to­graph these amaz­ing works jux­ta­posed with the spec­tac­u­lar scenery, and some friends and I use light paint­ing to in­cor­po­rate these works into the wider en­vi­ron­ment.

I’m a tech­ni­cal per­son by na­ture, and I love pho­tog­ra­phy

I love pho­tog­ra­phy be­cause it can be highly tech­ni­cal, but it also forces me to ex­er­cise the cre­ative side of my brain

be­cause it can be highly tech­ni­cal, but it also forces me to ex­er­cise the cre­ative side of my brain. This doesn’t come nat­u­rally to me, and I’ve had to train my­self to both see and work cre­atively.

This is per­haps why I like the slower and more mea­sured pace of land­scape and night pho­tog­ra­phy: I can take more time to con­tem­plate and con­sider ev­ery shot, to per­fect the pho­to­graph in my mind be­fore I take it, to cap­ture the beauty in the uni­verse as I felt it at that mo­ment.

01 FIRE BALL Nikon D600, Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4, 73 secs, f/9, ISO100

02 GATE KEE PER Nikon D600, Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4, 300 secs, f/11, ISO100

03 WEDED BARE Nikon D600, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, 528 secs, f/11, ISO100 & 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO400


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