I’d been following Dan on twitter for sometime, but it wasn’t until I started this site that I revisited his website and realised why I followed him in the first place, Snowboard photographer!! but he is into all sorts of action sport photography so have a read.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in the south western suburbs of Sydney in a town where there was not a lot of ambition being exhibited by anyone. I got into skateboarding when I was about 13 and from there it became my life. it wasn’t too long after that I became interested in photography – fuelled by the amazing images that I would see in skate magazines such as Thrasher, Transworld etc. I started shooting pictures of my friends skateboarding and spent pretty much all of year 11 and 12 in the school’s darkroom.
What made you get into photography?
As above it was skateboarding, and I suppose skateboarding led me to see things a bit differently. It didn’t hurt that my mum worked for Fujifilm, as there was never any shortage of film or cheap processing!
How did you get started?
I purely shot pictures for the enjoyment for a long time. I wanted to make it a career, but it was a hard one as I had a thirst to travel and see the world, and I needed to work to pay for expensive camera gear. So for a long time I just had a basic film camera and two lenses, and shot for fun. In 2000 I was living and working in Whistler, Canada and snowboarding everyday (skateboarding led to snowboarding and I became addicted to that). A friend who I met there was outrageously good and asked me if I could take some pics of him for a magazine back home. I bought a couple of rolls of Fuji Provia slide film, shot some frames and sent them back to Australia not expecting anything. The rider was Nick Gregory, the magazine was Australian Snowboarder. Within two years I was the senior photographer at the magazine and traveling the world shooting snowboarding and skiing. It took me to places I would have never dreamed of, snowboarding and shooting in places such as Chile, Bulgaria, Argentina, Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, USA, Canada, and getting to cover the Winter Olympics in 2010 was also a career highlight.
What sort of photography to you mainly do?
For close to ten years it was mainly action sports. Snowboarding and skiing with a little bit of commercial work and architecture to keep the bills being paid in the off season. Nowadays I still do a lot of commercial snow work for clients such as Billabong, but less editorial. I now shoot a lot of news for the News Limited newspapers, The Australian and The Sunday Telegraph, and news wire agency Australian Associated Press (AAP). I was always a news junkie and it was actually what i wanted to do when I left school, so in some ways my photography has come full circle.
What gear are you using?
Nikon D3, D300s, 14-24 2.8, 16mm fisheye, 50 1.4, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8, Elinchrom Ranger strobes and a bunch of pocketwizards. I also have a Bronica SQ-A and a Nikon F5 that has had a roll of Kodak Tri-X in it for over a year!
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Probably the 14-24 at the moment. It’s great for the photojournalism stuff and it’s incredibly sharp, but the 70-200 would be by far the lens that gets the most use – the workhorse.
How are you marketing yourself?
Just through my website (which is in desperate need of a refresh) and blog, and also Twitter (although I’m hopeless at self-promotion and absolutely hate it!)
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
This is always the hardest thing to choose. Way too many favourites so this is a pic I took a couple of weeks back for the newspaper at the Bondi Bowl-A-Rama. Shooting contests is always challenging, there’s people and photographers and video shooters everywhere, backgrounds aren’t clean and you don’t have any control. So with all that in mind I was pretty happy with this shot. Also I’ve attached two older snow shots that I always come back to.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Study the market you’re looking to get into and work towards that. If it’s action sports, look at the magazines, look at the pictures that get run and keep shooting until your stuff is looking like it ‘could’ be in that magazine – then keep shooting more. Get other photographers who have been in the game longer than you to critique your work, their feedback will be priceless and hopefully brutally honest.
Work hard. It will feel like you’re beating your head against a wall for a long time but it will eventually come together if you work at it.