Nathan is another great find from a recent surfing session on 500px, and he’s another aussie that is heavily into shooting landscapes. Do you shoot landscapes?
Tell us a little about yourself?
I work professionally at a large digital agency in Melbourne as a designer/animator. I spend every free minute I can shooting landscapes. I have exhibited my work in a range of locations around Melbourne. I have been doing my own custom picture framing for nearly two years now, and I recently invested in an Epson 4900 fine art printer. I take a lot of pride in the presentation of my prints and enjoy being able to produce a finished, framed print entirely in my studio.
What inspired you to get started in photography?
I worked for several years as a video editor/camera operator. While I was travelling around America on holiday my video camera broke and I started taking pictures on an old Nikon film SLR. I haven’t stopped shooting since.
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens can you not live without?
These days I shoot on a Canon 5D MKII, so that’s always in my bag along with a Canon 17-40mm f4L and 24-105mm f4L. Both are pretty hand lenses, they’re sharp, light and versatile. I always take a bunch of screw in Hoya filters, cable remote, Manfrotto tripod and my trusty gumboots.
How do you market yourself and has social media been an important part?
I’m pretty slack when it comes to marketing, it’s not something that comes naturally to me. Social media has never been my thing either, I’m not interested in writing where I am and what I’m doing online for the world to see. That seems to be the complete opposite of what I want out of photography – which is to be alone in nature away from crowds, traffic, noise and incandescent light. If I couldn’t exhibit my work or post it online I would still be out shooting as much as I can. I do it completely for myself, not to rack up likes on Facebook.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
My favourite photo is this shot of Milford Sound. It was taken during one of those amazing moments where everything seems comes together at the right time. I was on a cruise through the fiords with my wife while on holiday in New Zealand. It was raining heavily and the conditions were very grey and gloomy. Everything looked flat and boring. A few moments before the boat pulled back into the dock, the clouds parted and a ray of light broke through to bring the whole scene to life. The light didn’t last long, just enough to fire off a few frames of the famous Mitre Peak. The boat in this scene in very important. It was positioned perfectly and gives the a great sense of scale to the scene.
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was taken and how did you edit it?
This is a shot taken in Queenstown, New Zealand. It sat in my archives for two and a half years before I processed it. It’s now one of my favourites. It was shot as 3 bracketed exposures; 0EV, -2EV, +2EV. I did the initial edit to each shot in Lightroom, adjusting Blacks, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation and White Balance. I then stacked all three frames into one Photoshop file as layers and used custom layer masks to blend in the correctly exposed areas of each layer. I duplicated the sky layer and used blending modes to bring out some more contrast. I then added some curves adjustment layers with custom masking to further emphasise the ray of light. Finally finished with a custom vignette to again emphasise the light ray and draw attention to the centre of the frame.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work or in post ?
I use Lightroom and Photoshop for processing. I really enjoy pushing my images in post. I have a lot of respect for both schools of thought on this topic. I greatly admire photographers like Kah Kit Yoong who do almost everything in camera, and I am a huge fan of Christian Fletcher who uses Photoshop to create stunning effects. While my in-camera technique is far from perfect, I don’t like to limit myself to what get’s saved on my memory cards. A great image is a great image, whether it’s been created in Photoshop or has come straight out of camera. Both take a lot of skill and experience, and there are plenty good and bad examples of both techniques.
Whats your favourite photography accessory other than your camera?
I love my Canon TC-80N3 remote.This is a great tool to have for shooting time lapse (something I am doing more and more of) and setting extra long exposures in bulb mode.
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why there?
For years I have been posting on Flickr. I think most photographers have at some point. However the site is slow, clunky, out of date and worst of all the images do not look good. I still post there, but I have also started posting to 500px. It’s a much more modern site, it seems to have more serious photographers using it, and most importantly the images look fantastic. Yahoo seem too scared or too lazy to change Flickr and bring it up to date with modern website design and functionality.
Do you ever get photographers block and if so what do you do to get inspired again?
I take all my inspiration from nature, as long as there is beautiful scenery to capture I will always feel compelled to go out and shoot new images.
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?
Not really. Making mistakes and trying new techniques is all part of learning. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at with my photography, so it’s hard to be too critical of the road I took to get here.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?
Regret is far worse than failure.