Tell us a bit about you and how your passion for nature photography started…
I'm a qualified veterinary nurse from the West Coast of South Africa. My partner and I arrived in New Zealand in July 2018 and, being very outdoorsy people, New Zealand has, of course, been a case of love at first sight.
I remember looking out of the airplane window as we neared New Zealand and saying 'Look, it's so beautiful and... small...’! Well, we've been here for some time now and have travelled around quite a bit when work (and Covid restrictions) have allowed and I still have 246 places on my 'want to go' list that I keep adding to!
I initially took photos to show our family and friends back home how absolutely stunning this country is!
What's your background in photography - how/when did you start?
I had my camera about two years before I fell head over heels in love with photography. All the photos I took were initially in auto mode, but during the lockdown, I decided I wanted to learn how my camera works so I enrolled in an online course. I loved it so much that I completed a course in Lightroom and Photoshop, went to multiple workshops, and became part of a photography community (The Wandering Photographers).
Is there a specific genre of nature photography you prefer?
I primarily prefer landscape photography. Long exposure waterfalls are my absolute favourite but I do photograph a little bit of everything. Astrophotography is probably my favourite challenge at the moment.
Do you follow any particular process when taking photos?
I observe the scene, decide on composition (what is it that I want the audience to see or feel when looking at the end result?), set up required equipment, decide which settings would work best for the specific scene (+/- add filter), capture.
I always carry my tripod and Nisi filters with me when I'm heading out. Lightroom is my go-to post-processing program.
What do you find is the hardest part of taking nature photographs?
Thinking 'outside of the box' when it comes to the composition... There is no point in taking the exact same photos hundreds of other photographers have already posted… I love to be able to give a different perspective in my photos.
Do you have any tips for amateur photographers wanting to take better nature photos?
Be yourself (and think outside the box) when deciding on a composition, it's great seeing different perspectives from different photographers!
YouTube videos are your friends when you want to learn new techniques but also, go to workshops, they're so much fun and it’s great meeting like-minded people.
From your point of view, what makes a good Nature photo?
Capturing the entire scene (and mood) as it is and how you see it with your own eyes. I strive to capture moments like some of the photographers I follow where you can 'feel' the scene they've created.
Do you have any photography-related regrets?
I'm actually a bit obsessed with waterfalls, to be honest, and regret not having the photography knowledge I have now when we travelled around Fiordland... Guess I'll just have to go again!
Do you have any favourite photos?
Tongariro Winter Sunrise
I'm always keen for an adventure, but this one has to be my favourite adventure of all times! We started hiking at 2am so we could catch the sunrise from the top of the red crater. Hiking at night under the full moon was so peaceful and the cold only really hit us at the plateau when we were putting our crampons on, but by the time we were halfway up the red crater. The clouds were rolling in, it was hard to see, extremely cold, and seeing the sunrise from the top seemed unlikely and dangerous... We huddled up together behind a rock and discussed if we should keep heading up or turn around. Everyone was keen to wait a couple of minutes in the hopes of the clouds lifting. We got lucky! The clouds started lifting and we practically ran up (well as much as our fitness allowed) the last bit to be greeted by this magnificent sunrise.
The Lonely Tree
This photo was taken while on a weekend away with The Wandering Photographers. It was my first Milkyway photo that I'm proud of and I was buzzing for hours afterwards! I really wanted to stay for a star trail here too, but the temperature dropped quickly and everyone had some trouble with condensation on their lenses so we decided to head out for a nightcap instead.
What else should we know about you and your photography?
I secretly go to dog agility events and have an absolute blast seeing their facial expressions when I start going through the photos at the end of the day!
Where can we find you online?