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The hardships and successes of the Andean Expedition taught me that I could achieve anything that I wanted. I decided that I was going to be a professional photographer. My love of wild places was the catalyst for my career. It has also had the greatest influence on how I live my life. Wilderness gave me the mindset, and the skills, to create a successful business that revolves around wilderness, light aircraft, photography and the things I love.
In 1974, I took a scenic flight to Tasman Island where I photographed a few of the Sydney – Hobart yachts. After reviewing the prints, I began to plan how I could do better the following year. That led to a career niche, and a passion that I love just as much today as I did nearly half a century ago. The things that appeal to me about photographing the Sydney-Hobart from the air are: the many moods of the sea, the sense of participation in a great adventure, sensing the proximity of the elements, the wildness of the sea, the gales, the different light and the dramatic coastline.
When I approach a yacht from the air, I observe the sea, the play of light on the water and the storytelling clouds. I watch the boat, look for the photogenic angle, the set of the sails , the rise of the bow, the bow wave and the wake. These are storytelling elements. I want to explain the sea state, the mood of the sea and use the beautiful Tasmanian light to advantage. The light is different off the New South Wales coast compared to Bass Strait. And Tasmania’s east coast has a different feel to our wild west coast.
The beginning of the day, before dawn, is a special time. The light is beginning to come, with a subtle pre-dawn glow. This is where the mood of the sea can be almost intoxicating. The soft gunmetal tones strengthen as pastel colours flood the dawn, and if a racing yacht appears at that special time, with a good breeze and a great background, I am a happy man.
Stronger breezes appeal to me. Storms, within reason, provide my favourite conditions. That is where the most dramatic pictures are. When I am shooting, my instincts and coordination are concentrated on making all the necessary creative decisions in the moments before the exposure is made. The wind, the turbulence, the g forces in turns has no influence on my concentration, because this is part of the wild environment that fuels my enthusiasm.
- AIPP Master of Photography IV
- Honorary Fellow of the AIPP
- Fellow of the AIPP
- Centenary Medal for promotion of Tasmania through photography (2003)
- PICA Gold Tripod Award for outstanding contribution to the Australian Imaging Industry (2006)
- Nikon/Kodak Australian Press Photographer of the Year (1999) Best Sports Photograph
- EPSON AIPP Tasmanian Professional Photographer of the Year (2005)
- International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum - produced worlds largest photographic diorama (1996)
- Awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Australia Day 2020 Honours list for service to photography.
Professional Career Highlights
- Master of Photography AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography)
- AIPP member since 1973
- AIPP National President 1993/94
- AIPP Chairman of the Board 1995/96
- Chairman of the Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA) (8 years).
- Currently Chairman of the AIPP Honours Committee
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