Images to inspire
Three readers tell us the stories behind their best shots
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.
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  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   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