I grew up on the Sunshine Coast, Australia although these days I've gained the nickname 'Child Of The Universe' since I've now been a nomad for the past 6+ years. The Sunshine Coast was the perfect place to get involved in almost any sport and I just remember spending most of my days outside. When it came time to start my career, I took off to Sydney after University to become a sports photographer and based myself there for four years. But in 2011, I came to realise that I wanted to divert into the adventure industry as I lost the passion for sports photography in the newspaper arena. After my accident in Pakistan in June 2011, it took me a few months and a chance phone call to work in Antarctica as a guide. By the end of the year, I left Sydney and never looked back and became a full-time adventure photographer.
At the end of highschool, I was a bit lost in choosing a career except knowing I couldn't work in an office. I loved art, sport, and music and originally I started to look at a fine art degree but I didn't have enough majors to qualify. It was my Mum who suggested that I should try photography as she thought I had a good eye. I scoffed at the idea originally thinking how on earth do you make a career as a photographer but enrolled in any case. When I got accepted, I remember heading to the newsagent and picking up a bunch of Australian Photography magazines. Inside one of them was the folio of Adam Pretty and as soon as I laid eyes on his work, I knew instantly that I wanted to be a sports photographer.
Thank you! For me, I felt that I could connect with adventure sports naturally thanks to my bringing up in the outdoors. The biggest challenge is being able to access the right vantage and keeping up with the athletes. Sports like skiing, rock climbing, surfing typically involve a much more hands on process for the photographer to get the shot in the thick of the action. An adventure photographer isn't just about being a photographer, but also having the skills to safely move around on ropes around cliffs, swimming amongst big waves, hiking up mountaineering terrain and so forth.
I do miss finding time to dedicate to my drawing. I grew up drawing all the time and really loved to work with pen, pencil or charcoal. These days with managing my business and capturing images, I just have a hard time finding the right balance and spare time to dedicate to my drawing again. I'm sure in time I will find a way again as I always found drawing quite meditative.
I work with Canon Australia as one of their ambassadors and for my entire professional career, I've only ever shot with Canon. These days I am shooting with a 5DS R and a 1DX Mii. I choose Canon as it captures the way I want to see the world. Canon equipment is sturdy and knows how to handle the elements. I've taken it to tropical, arctic, desert and many other scenarios and never had any serious issues. Sometimes the weight can get heavy but I would rather bring high-quality glass and not sacrifice the quality of the image.
About two years ago, I was invited to go freediving with Sperm whales in the Azores. It was definitely one time I wanted to pinch myself and ask myself whether this was actually happening. By far one of the most memorable trips and moments in my life. This one particular day, 5 sperm whales swum in the vicitiny where I could've touched them had I extended my arm. Connecting with them and looking at them eye to eye, I returned to the surface yelling and screaming. Our small group could not form a coherent word for the next hour. My heart just wanted to explode in pure joy. By far one of the most surreal and incredible moments I've experienced.
As a friend once taught me, make sure you are having fun. It might sound simple and cliche, but surprisingly its easy to forget when you can become caught up in other things like chasing sponsors and providing content. We all get into this because of its a lifestyle and not a job. If you aren't having fun, then its worth questioning why are you there? This happened to me on an expedition in Alaska where by day 9 of 14, I spoke up to the group and said I just wasn't having fun anymore. We pulled the pin and thankfully so as one of the ladies developed kidney stones that needed hospital attention. Gut instincts work in funny ways but never doubt listening to it.
Photography has given me the ability to want to engage with the world around me. Whether its meeting new people, exploring new landscapes, photography gives me the excuse for wanting to explore this world to the wild and unique places. Ultimately in life, I want to be educated and through that notion, it's by connecting with different people and learning through experience.