Almost 2 months into 2017, I figured it was time for a quick blog update on what’s new and in store for the year ahead. On February 13, my wife and I welcomed into the world our healthy and happy baby daughter, Aurora Jade Patino. All is well and she’s fit right in at home with her brother Judah. It’s exciting and terrifying having a newborn again but I’m cherishing each day that passes and the moments we have already shared. Over the past couple of months I’ve put on hold any travel and reduced my work load to the occasional local workshop here and there, allowing me to spend some quality time with those that mean the most to me, particularly before the busy year ahead.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the calendar is quite full with multiple workshops being ran in New Zealand, Iceland and Canada, as well as my first trip to Patagonia. I’m really looking forward to being in the presence of some of the world’s most humbling landscapes again, sharing these adventures with new and familiar faces. As much as I dearly miss my family whilst abroad, I feel compelled to continue on this path, something I’m thankful for each and every day.

Regarding my personal photography, I feel as though I’m at the beginning of a new chapter. As the years have gone on, I’ve began to realise my own vision, establishing what it is that I’m most passionate about and what drives and fulfils me as a photographer. Each day I see ‘easy’ to photograph scenes but the desire to capture them is gone. A deeper progression is needed. The absence of man made structures, finer detail to light and further exploring abstraction are what I feel drawn to at present, particularly in mountainous areas which have dominated my recent work. Of course this can and most likely will change, however I’m eager to see what opportunities are presented throughout the year, particularly with a more critical eye. Ultimately it’s the continual pursuit of the sublime, an attempt to capture but a fraction of the emotion and awe that overwhelms one, when in the presence of rare and fleeting natural beauty.

Below are the only landscape images I’ve made so far this year with some descriptions underneath.

Cathedral Rocks sea cave

A familiar location I know well, through running workshops as well as making my own imagery here, Cathedral Rocks at Kiama is the one place I have visited the most over the years. I’ve been relatively content with the photo’s I’d made in the past however re-doing my 2013 ‘Meridian’ at high tide has always been on my mind, particularly with the original being quite out-dated. Of course, the light, tide and sun direction all needed to align but after a few attempts this summer, I managed to create what I envisioned.

To make this I needed to use 2 exposures to capture the large dynamic range, water movement as well as a focal length blend on the spire to overcome the wide angle perspective distortion. An aperture of F16 was used to create the sun star.

As I continue on this journey, the meaning behind my original shot still stays the same and is reflected here; stepping out from darkness into light , finding stability an ever changing and decaying world.

I recently returned to the Budawangs with my friend and fellow photographer/hiker Chris Wiewiora. This was our third trip to the national park and very reminiscent of our previous treks with scorching summer heat, scratched up legs and some of Australia’s finest mountain and wilderness views. Summiting the Castle and Mt Nibelung on our last visits, we headed further north this time and ascended the ‘Shrouded God’s’ mountain. After a failed attempt on day 1 we ended up admitting defeat and sleeping inside a cave just a few mere vertical metres below the summit. With the protective shade from the cave, we both managed the one of the biggest sleeps we’ve had in years, waking refreshed and determined to make it to the top. We eventually made it up and were welcomed by much grander views than below. The thick scrub still made it difficult to traverse as far east as I would’ve liked so we made it as far as we could and set up camp tucked away in a cosy corner of scrub.

The weather fluctuated quite a bit through the next 24 hours and by sunset things moved very fast. Within an hour the sky went from 100% clear to visibility being reduced to just a few feet in front of us. Fortunately it was quite atmospheric and I managed to capture one image I liked just as the last light of day ignited the western face of the iconic Castle.

The Budawangs NSW
Hiking the Budawangs

Well,that’s all for now. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter to receive the latest announcements on new workshops. Thanks! WP

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