Follow your passion for adventure, travel and photography

Share – Extreme pursuit for adventure and photography
Inspire – Amazing Images of Natural Wonders of Australia
Create – Passion in your photography and how to make the change

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Johny & Brent

In this episode:
(00:24) Extreme pursuit for adventure and photography
(00:51) Climbing down in the middle of the night
(02:03) Amazing Images of Natural Wonders of Australia
(02:17) Image taken at Joffre Gorge
(03:16) Shots just before dusk
(07:03) Image of Hill Inlet
(09:18) If you missed a shot, see if you can head back
(10:39) Shooting out of an airplane/helicopter
(13:40) Photography as Casual or a Hobby
(15:25) Stay passionate and your clients will know

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Share – Extreme pursuit for adventure and photography

  • climbing down in the middle of the night
  • 5D Mark III got blown over in the wind

Inspire – Amazing Images of Natural Wonders of Australia

1st image – Joffre Gorge

  • relatively easy and gentle climb
  • got shots just before dusk
  • gorge was shot at ISO 400 or 320 and then F11
  • stars were shot at ISO 3200 and then F4

2nd image – Hill Inlet

  • National Geographic picked it up for their magazine
  • if you missed a shot, see if you can head back
  • Get a sea plane

Sunny day

When it comes to shooting out of an airplane

  • shoot through a small opening
  • shot through the window
  • use polarizing filter
  • use fast shutter speed

Create – Photography as Casual or a Hobby

  • fantasies or goals of becoming a full time photographer
  • not many people who hire full time photographers
  • working with tourism boards
  • doing some commercial projects
  • passionate about it


Brent: Alright Paul, share something with us that not many people know about you.

Paul: Well, anybody who does know me knows that I’m a bit extreme in my pursuit for adventure and photography. But for those who don’t know me I’m the guy that’s out there allows of the night and have been most of my photography career chasing those shots that nobody else has or nobody else has either brave or stupid, same thing, enough to get. So I do things like climbing down in the middle of the night to get star photos. Just because I wanted, “What would that look like?”, so yeah, that’s me.

Brent: And you’re still alive.

Paul: Mostly.

Brent: Okay, anything has happened in one of these situations?

Paul: No, I’ve come out relatively unscathed. The usual arms scrape knocks but nothing overly damaged to me or my cameras. I finally ever broken one camera and repaired it and I’m still using it.

Brent: Okay, good.

Paul: 5D Mark III got blown over in the wind and has a nice crack along the top of it but still works fine.

Brent: Yeah, that’s the worst. That happened to me too with my 7D. I was filming myself, watching go over. Not good.

Paul: Interesting film isn’t it?

Brent: Yeah, awesome. And I think with the story you’ve just told us filming out of the Canyon is kind of relate to one of the images you’re about to share with us.

Amazing Natural Wonders of Australia

Brent: So share some amazing images with us, Paul.

Paul: Okay.

Brent: I’ve got them on my screen so we’ll overlay them.

Paul: Sure, so the first thing that we’re going to look at is from the bottom of a gorge. That’s in Karijini National Park in Western Australia. It is in the bottom of Joffre’s gorge which is fairly close there. Now, there’s that thing that goes around like if you’re in a bottom of a well you can see the stars even if it’s bright day. Not true but that whole thing got me thinking what it would look like say at the bottom of a gorge at night and not during the day. I know what it looks like during the day. So I climb down into Joffre gorge. It’s probably one of the easier ones to get in and out of during the day in Karijini National Park. It’s relatively easy and gentle climb. It’s still a climb though. So I set up my camera, got my shots during the day and then I got shots just before dusk to get it. It’s on the edges of the Canyon that’s actually shot at dusk and then I waited about four hours just for the stars to align so to speak. And to come over and to get dark enough and then fire another shot or another couple. I didn’t move my camera there the whole time because I wanted it to be as if it’s a one shot. Then I realized that it was now pitch black. It’s a new moon so there’s no light. And the batteries in my head torch are completely dead. And I usually carry like plenty of spares but I’ve been climbing in and out of gorges so I’ve reduced my bag down to the absolute minimum necessary light and extra batteries where I left in the car. So I had to climb out of the gorge in the dark. I had my phone but you kind of need two hands to climb.

Brent: Put the phone in your mouth if it’s a smaller phone.

Paul: I have to strap it underneath a strap on my head torch. So I just had light there.

Brent: Okay.

Paul: I don’t recommend climbing in and out of gorges without proper equipment and lights.

Brent: No way, I mean just looking at this it looks sheared. It looks just straight up and down, you know, like almost overhanging.

Paul: So there’s a 190 degrees of dew there. The image is actually shown vertically so the very far left of the image is the bottom of the Canyon. And then the far right is what was behind me so to speak.

Brent: Okay.

Paul: So that camera is kneeling straight up.

Brent: Wow, so to shoot this what kind of settings do you use? I mean that’s all natural light. That’s a star light, right?

Paul: Yeah.

Brent: Okay.

Paul: So the edge of the gorge was shot just after dusk.

Brent: Okay.

Paul: So it’s kind of that twilight line. I just want it there to be a bit of an extra light still on the
gorge’s walls.

Brent: Okay.

Paul: So that was a shot with a bit if an ISO 400 or 320 and then F11 I think. I can’t remember the shutter speed but it would’ve been a couple of seconds.

Brent: Okay, yeah.

Paul: And then the stars were shot at ISO 3200 and then F4 I think and then 30 second exposure.

Brent: Yeah, so you don’t get the blurring stars.

Paul: Yeah, with the F15 you can do longer just because it is so wide. I wanted to make sure there are half shot.

Brent: Wow, incredible image there, Paul. Thanks for inspiring us with that image. I’ve definitely got to get there, to that spot in Western Australia for sure.

Paul: Highly, highly recommended. Best part in Western Australia.

Brent: Don’t you do workshops there?

Paul: I did do a workshop there a few years ago. I haven’t run any workshops for a little while of my own.

Brent: Okay.

Paul: I mostly work with the Giving Lens, now running workshops.

Brent: Okay, awesome. We’ll jump into that a bit later. So the next image looks like an arrow shot of a beautiful waterway coming into the sea.

Paul: Yeah, that’s the Hill Inlet at White Haven beach in the Whitsunday in Queensland, Australia.

Brent: Oh, yes.

Paul: So I was in Queensland on a project with Tourism Queensland and Flight Center. And they put me on this sea plane trip that was more supposed to be a romantic couple experience. So it was a bit awkward when it’s just me but it was all these couples and me. But yeah, I got some photos. So, on the flat end we actually land on the beach just to the left of that image. It would not be on the beach but on the water sea plane. Then you have to swim and picnic on the beach. And so as we’re coming in I got some photos but I just wasn’t really happy with them. They’re just went quite lined up how I want it then. So I got talking to the pilot and said, “Which way you got to head out?” I was like “We head south and then across. Any chance we could set for around the Inlet again on the way out?” And he was just, “Yeah, no worries. Why is that?” I said “Shot some photos and everything.”, “Yeah, alright. We can do that.” So we took off with the wind or against the wind and then circle right back. He just kept circling and then “Have you got your shot yet?” I was like “Oh, yeah.” I didn’t realize he was just doing that just for me. Just keep going.

Brent: Yeah.

Paul: Yeah, so that shot I was so stoke. I was just viewing on the back of the camera and knew that was just the shot from that trip. And that shot is done really well. I mean National Geographic picked it up for one of their magazine. And license to quite a few people when Flight Center loved it and Tourism Queensland loved it. I wouldn’t have got that shot if I have asked. Sometimes if you missed a shot, see if you can head back. And it turned out to be and act like a far better shot because the time of change while we’re there. The tide had dropped. So the same mass came up out of the water which really makes the image I think.

Brent: Totally and very inspiring image there, Paul. I’ve actually been there. When we left on a boat like one of those speed boat things, a rough trip and it took about an hour to get out. But by the time we got out and we left the sun is out. It’s beautiful and a couple of clouds and “Yes, I’m going to get some Sun.” and by the time I get into the water the weather is gray. I didn’t even take my camera out. I didn’t take a single shot on the whole day out in the water in the beach. The sun never came out again until we got back.

Paul: That’s terrible.

Brent: So I would highly suggest anyone that’s going to go out to this place in the Western islands definitely take a seaplane if you get a chance and got a sunny day. Don’t go on a cloudy day.

Paul: Yes.

Brent: Awesome, that’s great. When it comes to shooting out of an airplane plane Paul, what do you suggest when it comes to settings and the type of lens and camera and all that you take? And also what about the reflection in the windows or can you actually take a window off?

Paul: This plane I couldn’t take the window off. Usually I fly like I do aerial photography from helicopters or planes where we can remove like the door or a window or you shoot through a small opening. In this case it was too much hassle because it was for customers doing the romantic tour and picnic on the beach and me. So I just shot through the window. So I had a polarizing filter to get rid of the so many reflections. It may look really weird but I had a black jacket with me and in Whitsundays you’re not going to wear a jacket but I had one with me just in case. So I grabbed that for the flight and basically put that up over the window and shot through the jacket. So the black if anything reflects it’s the black. And so I did have to remove just a small clinch in the sky and that’s about it.

Brent: Okay.

Paul: And so in terms of shutter speed you want to go fairly fast.

Brent: 200?

Paul: Yeah, I think it was 250.

Brent: Okay.

Paul: You want to reduce the amount of vibration. So you’re using a fast shutter speed. From memory that was shot with 16 to 35.

Brent: Okay, what are you shooting at? F8 or F16 or what?

Paul: yeah, that shot was F8.

Brent: Okay, kind of middle range.

Paul: Yeah, kind of tried and get as much depth of the field as possible but reduce the shutter speed as need as well. So you got to balance and it would be on ISO 320.

Brent: Okay, so similar to what I’ve done out of helicopters here. You want a pretty fast shutter speed but also have the depth the field and have too much noise in your image with cranking up the ISO.

Paul: Yeah.

Brent: Awesome, Paul. Thank you so much for sharing those 2 images. They’re just so unbelievable images. Love it.

Photography as Casual or a Hobby

Brent: In the next section, the Create section you’re going to teach us something about or what are you going to teach us? Come on, spoil it.

Paul: So, you can learn photography through tutorials like all over the net. And you guys provide some great ones. I have heard but not seen it myself yet. But I rather talk about business.

Brent: yeah, totally.

Paul: A lot of people have photography as either casual or a very serious hobby and they have these fantasies or goals of becoming a full time photographer. I was in that same boat where I relentlessly pursue photography as a hobby for many years and then wanted to make it a job or my business. You pretty much have to go on a business yourself because there are not many people who hire full time photographers.

Brent: Except for the newspapers and it’s getting less and less.

Paul: Giving their journalist iPhones to take photos with.

Brent: Yeah, totally.

Paul: It works. It’s not awesome but it works. And that’s just the nature so to speak. For me the biggest mistake I made was getting into an area of photography that I wasn’t completely passionate about. I enjoyed but it wasn’t really what I want to be doing in a long term. And so I started shooting weddings and portraits which are were a lot of photographers start. And if you love doing that then that’s great. But by the end of my career so to speak as a wedding photographer, I pretty much hated weddings. And it didn’t affect my photography at all but I had a hard time selling ethically.

Brent: Oh, okay.

Paul: Yeah, just staying passionate and your clients know when you’re not or your heart is on it. And so the whole time I was doing that I wanted to build up kind of landscape and the travel based stuff. But I never had any time to do it. And so it was while I was working photography it felt like I just had a job, you know. I might as well be back in my IT job, you know. And I would’ve been getting paid better in getting a day job. And then you can leave work and don’t have to work 16 hours a day. I stopped taking bookings for weddings in 2011. I shot my last one in 2013. So I was booked out a fair way ahead. And just decided, you know. What I always been passionate about has been the travel and the landscape. So I’m just going to put everything I got into doing those. And then try a way how to make money or profit.

Brent: Okay.

Paul: So I started working with tourism boards. You know small projects at first just locally and licensing images here and there and still doing some commercial projects which I quite enjoy. Then the commercial stuff got too many busy so I split that off into a separate business where I actually be hiring photographers to take over the photography of them because with that stuff is purely technical. There’s no actual creativity that I need to keep it uniform. It’s technical photography. So that could be taught. That creativity differs from person to person. So it’s hard to keep a consistent style if you need creativity. So I have pursued that and that works really well. So suddenly I’ve been getting massive projects.

Brent: Do you think its focus?

Paul: I think it’s focus and also just having and being passionate about it. People can tell. And it’s a lot easier to shoot there, the work that you’re passionate about. Especially these days you’ve got your Instagram and Google Plus and Facebook, and Twitter or every other site out there for sharing photography. It’s very easy to share your work and actually get exposure these days. Some of my work now is getting shared like Google. I use their Chromecast so like 10 to 15 million a day have seen some of my photos which are amazing.

Brent: That’s crazy, awesome. I think that’s a great tip Paul to follow your passion. I think a lot of us have gone after the money in weddings and portraits or whatever you can to pay the bills but after a while like you said it ended up just to be another job. And you’re not actually enjoying it anymore. So to follow your passion and actually make money out of it I think that’s the way to go and you know that’s what I’m doing. I love teaching and helping other photographers and that’s the way I’ve gone too. I’ve sold my business and I’m going on to the next area which I’m super passionate about. So thanks for that Paul. It’s a really nice create for us. And that’s a nice tip for everyone watching. Follow your passion and if you focus on it you’ll get there.

Paul: Yeah, no problem. I mean it’s been amazingly successful in the last 18 months just taking off like I’ve visited I think 11 countries in the last 18 months. 2 years every state in Australia at least with a project like I wouldn’t have time for if I was shooting 2 weddings every weekend and having to process all the images. It’s never going to happen. And you know, I get to take my family with me on some of these projects as well which is awesome.

Brent: That’s great; awesome, Paul. So you’re going to be hiring soon. So what we’ll do is at the bottom of this show we put all the links to your website and where you’re going to be hiring photographers; so thanks Paul and we’ll catch you on the other side.

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