Born and raised on the South Coast of NSW Australia, my home has always been in and around the seaside suburbs of Wollongong. Over the past 30 years I’ve witnessed some amazing sights, experienced growth, change and explored escarpment trails and countless miles of coastline. I’ve always felt proud and privileged to call this place home.
Since picking up a camera, photography has led me around the world, often to remote and wild places where nature reigns and man is humbled. These travels have effected and influenced my thoughts, actions and outlook on life. During this time I formed a love and admiration for the South Island of New Zealand, to a point where flying out of NZ felt more like leaving home instead of returning to it.
So, after being on my heart and mind for sometime now, my wife and I are excited to have just purchased our first home and will be relocating to the South Island of NZ with our two kids to commence the next chapter in life. Based in Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland, we’re both excited for the adventure ahead and the different lifestyle for both us and our children. Change can be feared but that’s temporal. Regret however, can haunt us forever. So, I’m embracing change and whatever it may bring, looking to learn, laugh and grow along the way.
Most of my work is actually of overseas locations but I wanted to share in this post some of my favourite photo’s captured in the Illawarra region, accompanied by a brief back story for each. The majority of these are older and although not what I’d consider my best work, they all mean something special to me.
It’s always been my hope to inspire people. I know some of the photos I have shared from here over the years have indeed done so. And for that, I am grateful. At the least, I hope you might be encouraged to go outside and explore, to look at the world closer, through new eyes with a sense of purpose. That’s what this journey has been about for me.
Thank you for viewing. WP
Tree Of Life (2012)
The oldest photo in my website gallery and still a personal favourite. I spent my life passing by this tree just off the side of the highway at Windang. I always thought it looked so scenic standing resiliently by the edge of lake, so the same year I became interested in photography it became one of the first subjects I set out to capture. They don’t get much simpler than this, but sometimes that’s the key.
Sunrise soon became my favourite time of day and after experiencing a display like this, I knew pursuing and capturing light was going to be a life long affair. I think this was actually one of the first photo’s I made using a tripod, which really opened up a world of new possibilities for me, particularly being able to slow down water movement and shoot in low light. From this day onward I have awoken every morning before the sun rises, just to see if something like this might occur. As you can imagine, it’s quite rare but I would still venture out with my camera on a weekly basis, learning to understand land appreciated light and these simple moments by the sea.
The Unknown (2013)
This place wasn’t always the tourist attraction it is now and in fact, when I visited here years ago, I hadn’t seen any other photo’s from this location. It was a friend who led us here one day when we were exploring the area with our cameras. The waterfall was barely existent at the time so I made an effort to return during a decent downpour and this is the result. Timing is critical with the rain and if you arrive too late the water level rises up to the roof (due to it being sealed a few hundred metres down).
The Divide (2014)
Another location and vantage point that was far less popular than it is now. I remember spending a considerable amount of time looking for a way to photograph this icon from a higher vantage point, making it much more rewarding once I did. My friend and I had to push through head-high lantana and scrub and had no idea where we were going to eventually emerge. These days there is a well worn path, however access is prohibited. I don’t really shoot man-made structures anymore but was glad to capture this new perspective at the time. After this made the rounds online, I’d never been emailed so much about how to reach a photo location before.
Ancient Of Days (2014)
Cathedral Rocks has always been a special location and very instrumental in the development of my photography over the years. Almost like a training ground. In 2014 I was asked what’s the one shot I would love to make in my lifetime and out of the entire world, it was this photo that kept coming to mind. I thought it would eventuate but maybe after a good decade or so however it was that same year that the vision became reality. After a few failed attempts we were blessed with 5 days straight of storms during the summer, granting me the opportunity of a lifetime. Crouched under an umbrella and tracking this particular front as it moved from west to east, I just had the gut feeling as I kept shooting exposure after exposure. Sunset light gave way to darkness and the rain was getting heavier, I was close to calling it quits when suddenly this bolt struck. Shooting at 55mm for a better perspective, I certainly narrowed my chances of capturing lightning, so you can imagine the overwhelming feeling of seeing this on the back of my camera. I was really taken back. I soon had to run for shelter inside the cave where I continued shooting for the next hour. What a night. I’ll never forget.
The first time I stepped foot in Bombo Quarry I knew I would be coming back many, many times. Both here and Cathedral Rocks are the locations I’ve frequented the most over the years. Between running workshops and for my own personal shooting I’d say it’s close to100 visits. Bombo is tricky though. There’s a beautiful rage that’s hard to capture and express. It can get too messy, too unsafe or even too tame. Composition and subject options are aplenty, which can sometimes work against you in your decision making. It’s taken a long time but this is my closest attempt at capturing what it is that I love and feel when I’m at this place.
One from the early days of exploring rock shelves. Looking back, with these conditions it’s a wonder that I was even out. That’s the beauty of learning though, you go out and try no matter what. This was one of the first times I really felt adrenaline and a little fear when being behind the lens. These surges of water would rush up and outwards, splashing waist high at times (there’s a youtube video of me getting knocked over here years later). I was conflicted on wanting to turn back but also desired to be closer to the light. The light won me over. As it always does.
Arms Of The Almighty (2015)
I would drive for hours searching for trees along the foothills of the Illawarra escarpment. This one was discovered accidentally though, out the back of Horsley on a farmers property. I had a few older photos of this old girl but this is the most recent and one I like most. Sadly, the property was sold and this photo is impossible to take with houses now behind the tree and a large retaining wall directly in front. A common scenario across the world.
Wollongong Harbour and the Historic Lighthouse became my go-to location when I was short and time and the light was about to do something interesting. Rainbows, big swell. lightning storms, sunrise, sunset and anything in-between, you name it, I’ve captured it here. On this afternoon I had a suspicion that we were in for a spectacular sunset but I wasn’t expecting it to be the best I’d ever seen, one that burned away with colour visible right into the early night. I shared this moment with some close friends and even to this day, the locals and even Sydney folk still recall what a sight it was.
A special thank-you to all who have participated in my local group and individual workshops over the years. Without you, I wouldn’t have been able to make this passion my career. It’s been a pleasure sharing these locations with so many people, and reliving those first visits that I had years ago. I’ll be return several times through the year so please keep in touch and feel free to subscribe to my mailing list for the latest workshop openings.