FRON­TIER

Sunday Territorian - - FRONTIER -

IT WAS a stir­ring sense of ad­ven­ture that drew Elise Derwin away from her in­ner-city Syd­ney home to a re­mote Top End buf­falo hunt­ing camp.

Al­though the shift was a cul­ture shock for the then-veg­e­tar­ian, she al­most in­stantly fell in love with the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, its land­scapes and its peo­ple.

It was the per­fect spot for sto­ry­tellers, which Elise is, so she later forged a ca­reer as a press pho­tog­ra­pher.

And just over a year ago, it was that same sense of ad­ven­ture that took her away from her per­ma­nent job at the NT News to mak­ing the “plunge” to be­come a free­lancer at Lis­more in North­ern NSW.

She hasn’t looked back and she has since se­cured a con­tract as PBR’s ring-side pho­tog­ra­pher.

If you have been to a PBR you might have caught a glimpse of Elise in ac­tion.

It’s her job to float be­hind the shoots and around the arena to cap­ture the thrills, tri- umphs and mo­ments of bull­rid­ing glory.

Her big city days are be­hind her, and now it’s all about buf­faloes, bull rid­ing and build­ing a busi­ness from pho­tog­ra­phy.

Look­ing back, Elise said it wasn’t a hard de­ci­sion to move away from Syd­ney.

“I wanted to go some­where warm,” she joked.

“So what bet­ter way to do that then move to the other end of the coun­try?”

Elise moved north with a plan to drive from Broome to Cairns, and on the way a friend told her a buf­falo-hunt­ing camp was in need of a cook.

Her goal of a seek­ing a warmer cli­mate was achieved ten-fold.

“This was dur­ing the Build Up sea­son, the rains hadn’t come yet, and it was heat I had never felt be­fore,” she said.

“And it was re­ally iso­lated, I had gone from the mid­dle of Syd­ney one day, then the next day I was in com­plete iso­la­tion.

“So it was 12 hours by car to get there from the near­est town.

“I was veg­e­tar­ian at the time so work­ing in a buf­falo hunt­ing camp was pretty con­fronting.

“I had to re­main pretty open-minded, I had to ac­cept it all for what it was — it was a com­pletely dif­fer­ent world.”

While a chal­lenge, Elise said her stint in East Arn­hem was ex­actly what she needed. “It felt like home,” she said. “I ended up lov­ing it and end­ing up eat­ing lots of game meat, lots of bar­ra­mundi, kan­ga­roo and buf­falo.”

Elise al­ways had her cam­era on her, and said her time in the north fu­elled her pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy.

“Be­ing up there ig­nited some­thing in me to find a way to make a liv­ing from it,” she said.

“I think mov­ing from Syd­ney to the North­ern Ter­ri­tory just cat­a­pulted me into want­ing to make a change in that re­spect.”

Elise moved to Dar­win and se­cured a job as a pho­tog­ra­pher for the NT News, later work­ing her way up to be­com- ing the news­pa­per’s photo edi­tor.

How­ever, just over a year ago she made an­other bold choice and stepped away from the se­cu­rity of a full-time job.

“I took the plunge and left every­thing,” she said.

“I left my whole net­work in Dar­win and my job, I moved to a new place and crossed my fin­gers.”

Shoot­ing the bull ride in Dar­win was al­ways a fun job, so Elise jumped at the chance when PBR gen­eral man­ager Glen Young asked her to come on board with them.

Elise de­scribed her role as fast paced and job where you are “con­stantly look­ing over your shoul­der”.

“You have to check there are no bulls com­ing,” she said.

“I have been do­ing it for 12 months for them and I am find­ing ev­ery time I go to an event I find some­thing new.

“I never feel like it’s run of the mill.”

Elise’s work has shed a dif­fer­ent light on bull rid­ing, her pic­tures high­light the ca­ma­raderie be­tween the com­peti­tors and of­ten put a big­ger fo­cus on the bull’s ath­leti­cism.

She has learnt a lot about the sport, and now has favourite bulls to shoot.

“There is one called Bee Sting and he al­ways jumps so high, and he al­ways hits the rail,” she said.

“You can get some good shots with him.

“And Sweet Pro’s Hill­billy Deluxe, that’s a good one too.

“They are my two favourites and I al­ways rush to get them. But I mean at the level of PBR they are all pretty good.”

As for the rid­ers, Elise said most of the time they were “pretty shy” sub­jects.

“They tend to be quite re-

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