How did you forge a career in nature photography?
As a kid, I always had wind up film camera or disposable camera at hand. I then took photography as a subject at school in 6th form and loved it, so I did a diploma in contemporary photography. In the course, we were primarily trained in studio photography. After I graduated I thought that my only options were limited to being a food, wedding or portrait photographer so I rolled with the punches and before too long got uninspired. So I ejected myself from the photography world for a while. It wasn’t until the dawn of Instagram when I rekindled that passion, I started putting up the shots that I loved taking - nature landscapes, outdoorsy stuff - and shared that on social media. It took off on its own. Now, here I am three years later as a professional photographer.
That’s great that Instagram gave you a platform to forge your own niche in photography. Is it something you rely on for exposure?
Yes, it’s been great, though I am sure Instagram has a certain lifespan on it and things are getting pretty oversaturated, so I am not trying to be reliant on it. The whole insta-famous thing has given it a negative stigma because there are people buying likes and buying followers. It totally discredits people who are working hard to get a genuine following.
How did you capture your winning shot in the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year competition?
It was my second time flying the drone, so I was very much a rookie. On the day, I got up at day break with my cousin at Matapouri and headed down to the pools before the crowds descended. It wasn’t the best flying weather, it was super windy and there were seagulls attacking the drone. At one point, my phone which was controlling the drone went black, once it came to life I would fire off a couple of photos, and then it would black out again. This is the first time I have entered the competition, I just thought that I may as well try. I entered it, forgot about it and then I got an email, so I was stoked to make the finals.
What do you like about shooting in nature?
Nature is where I feel most myself, I find cities very stressful. The vast slabs of concrete that cover cities means that the living element is not there. It feels stagnant compared to being in nature. I have a huge thing for the ocean, if I am away from an ocean I get antsy, I long to have a dip in the ocean. I surf, though not very well! Growing up in my teens, I felt like whenever the surf was good I would have a choice between “do I surf or take photos?” I always chose my camera over a board, so my surfing never really progressed.