I recently shot a small library of images for Origin Energy’s solar division for both industry and residential uses. I’ve been using a drone more often lately in my advertising shoots where we need a variety of landscape shots to tell the whole story. This was definitely a shoot where using a drone was actually a real necessity and would have been impossible using a helicopter as I probably would have done 5 years ago.
A few months ago I traveled to Weipa in the western Cape York peninsula in Queensland to shoot a campaign for Rio Tinto. Weipa is a small, remote town with a huge bauxite (raw aluminium ore) mine that wants families to come and put down roots as development and local investment looks to grow in the coming years.
Client: Rio Tinto / Weipa Tourism
Creative Director: Ben Croft
A few months ago I shot a bunch of images for Mitsubishi for their new car in Australia, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.
When we did this shoot this was the only Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in Australia. It has a busy schedule and the only days I had to shoot it just happened to coincide with the Melbourne Cup race in Victoria, which is something of a holy week there. We couldn't find a location scout who was available (i.e. wanted to take time out of the Melbourne Cup festivities to find locations) so I had to go down to Victoria a week early and find my own locations. Because I really didn't know the Victorian countryside I started every morning looking at Google satellite maps for terrain and roads that might have something interesting to shoot on- especially private properties that looked like they had roads on them that we could get permission to use. I would then spend the next 12 hours driving every day combing over every road in that area and then try and contact homeowners that might have a nice road. After driving around 1000kms of small backroads, at the 11th hour I finally found a family that let us shoot on their land. We couldn't have asked for more amazing weather.
To do the aerial shots I worked with Flying Dragon, a drone company that specialises in high-end cinematography. I had experimented with several readily available drones like the Phantoms and the still image quality just didn't stack up for the size we were going to have to use for the stills. We had to use a camera that was over 30 megapixels to satisfy their print needs and the only drones that can hoist up a camera large enough to do that are the heavy duty 8 blade drones that require professional pilots and cost a fortune. The operator was in charge of the flight controls and navigation on one monitor and I controlled the camera gimbal and captures on the other. I have to say, despite the challenges of short flight times due to battery power, I definitely preferred using a big drone to hanging out of the side of a helicopter.
Client: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Agency: Richards Rose Executive
Executive CD: Adam Rose
CD: Liam Hillier
A few months ago I was contacted by the U.S. natural history publication the Smithsonian Magazine to shoot a story on Charles Darwin’s exploration of the Blue Mountains- it’s one of my favourite places in Australia.
It was a shoot that I became more passionate about as I worked my way through the assignment; it was an odd coincidence that I was hired for this shoot- a few weeks before the magazine asked me about doing the assignment my wife and I had decided to move our family to the Blue Mountains. It was a pretty exciting opportunity to explore a whole region that would be our new home. It was early spring when I started the job and the Blue Mountains is much colder and rainier than Sydney, so instead of doing the whole shoot in one trip, I actually had to drive out to the mountains every weekend for a month to get a break from the rain and fog and get all the shots I needed.
In Glenbrook and also in the Wolgan Valley I saw hand paintings in caves which are said to range from hundreds to thousands of years old and it struck me how much more of an impact seeing hand prints made on me than carvings or drawings I’ve seen at other sites. To see a hand print of someone from thousands of years before is to see their size, their age and their physical humanity and connect with them in a way I hadn’t really sensed before. I noticed one set of hand prints where the person must have broken their hand at some point and it healed badly because one of the fingers bent away from the hand in an unnaturally awkward angle. I felt like I was reading some form of ancient text about who lived on this land.
Often when I'm shooting a morning landscape I'll get to the location well before dawn and shoot through the sunrise for an hour or two. Even in a not-so-mindblowing landscape there is usually a moment where the light and the morning atmosphere does something that makes everything light up in the right way. For these shots of what is known as the Jamison Valley in the Blue Mountains off of Sublime Point in Leura, I felt like I was watching a light show- the sun, the mist and the eucalyptus vapor in the air kept changing colors and lighting up the landscape in surprisingly different ways. Every 10 minutes was something different. Finally when I was done I set the camera down in the grass while I was packing up my gear and tripod and grabbed a quick shot- I realised that that was probably my favorite shot of the morning.
I spent a day doing a massive hike in the bushwalk around the Three Sisters. I started off at Scenic World taking the world's steepest train down the escarpment and walked for hours around the bush track. I wasn't keeping track of time and missed their last elevator back up, so I ended up having to climb the near-vertical staircase up the Three Sisters with a backpack full of heavy camera gear after I was already tired from hiking all day. By the time I walked back to my car and put the keys in the ignition I closed my eyes for a second and ended up sleeping for an hour and a half in the drivers seat with the door open.
The cottage that Darwin stayed in was located on the property of the Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort- the most expensive hotel in Australia. I had arrived on a Friday afternoon and it coincided with their absolute busiest time- when the guests are all arriving for the weekend. There were Ferraris and Lamborghinis in the parking lot and guests landing at the helicopter pad and I was given about an hour to shoot what I needed to get before they had to devote their full attention to the guests. Since the magazine budget clearly did not involve staying at the spa, after I was done shooting I had to drive about an hour before I could find a place to stay. The local town was having a big lawn bowling competition and all of the rooms were booked out to drunken retirees enjoying their night out with the boys. The only place I could find to sleep was a room above a loud pub with a bunch of guys arguing about rugby. My bed must have been a junior bed because my feet hung off the bed past my ankles and I could hear a guy in the room next door watching porn on his phone all night. The difference between the Emirates Spa and the sleeping situation I had arrived at could not have been more stark. I had a late dinner at a local bar and was called a "fancypants" by one of the locals. I couldn't really figure out why other than the fact that I was wearing glasses and reading while eating dinner. I guess I was being a fancypants.
I had taken some big hikes getting (sort of) lost looking through a cave system in the Wolgan Valley for some hand paintings that were just too hard to find. Instead I got sunburn and bug bites. After finding only a few hand paintings I struck out for the Mt. Tomah Botanical Gardens which have examples of wollemi pines growing in their gardens. It was the end of the shoot, I had gotten everything ticked off my shot list and I was looking forward to going home the next day.
I was supposed to meet Darwin's great-great-grandson Chris Darwin and shoot his portrait, but despite our best efforts we just couldn't make it happen- he had booked passage on a very slow container ship from France to Australia to reduce his carbon footprint and didn't get back until after the story went to press.
The story that the images accompany can be found on the Smithsonian's website here: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/australia-put-evolution-darwins-mind-180953651/?no-ist
I recently wrote a post about an ad campaign that I shot for the eyewear retailer OPSM in Busselton, Western Australia with Saatchi & Saatchi. The images below are just a few of the shots that I did for the brand to tell some of the stories of the everyday people in Napier, New Zealand. I love New Zealand- aside from having incredibly beautiful landscapes the people there are quite beautiful and agreeable in their own right. We met a huge range of people from architects, designers, farmers, fisherman, tractor mechanics, vintners and even a Scottish bag piping corps and I felt blessed to be able to meet these people, hear their stories and shoot in such an intimate way. We shot there for a week and I averaged 16 hour days and took portraits of over 50 people and plenty of landscapes and I was exhausted in the end but really had great shoot.
The town and its surrounds are an interesting mix of 1930s art deco architecture and farms offering fresh picked cherries, figs, berries and veggies everywhere we went. I ate some of the freshest, tastiest food I've ever had and we felt welcomed by friendly faces everywhere we went. If you're ever there, be sure to check out the lovely people at Aroha and Friends.
I recently spent several weeks traveling and working with Saatchi & Saatchi on a new ad campaign for the eye wear retailer OPSM. The job was a really exciting project for me to be a part of because it picked two small towns- Busselton, Western Australia and Napier, New Zealand- and found people of all ages and walks of life who use and need their product, eye glasses. Saatchi & Saatchi scoured through Australian and New Zealand census data to determine a town in each country that encompassed the broad range of types of jobs, incomes, ethnicities etc. that represent each country. We met with bushfire fighters, a horse whisperer, a bagpipe marching band, a master jeweller and a beekeeper just to name a few. I was really excited by the notion of shooting my favorite subject in advertising work: real people with real stories. These are just a few of the shots from Busselton, Western Australia. I'll post images from the New Zealand campaign which was shot in Napier, New Zealand in the near future.
Like most of the large productions I've been working on lately, I was shooting alongside a TVC production that was filming spots for TV and the web, while I was shooting images for the new catalog, website and everything print- in-store, billboards etc. We shot every day for 10-14 hours a day for 2 weeks and I ended up shooting portraits of over 100 people and a lot of landscapes along the way. Most days I would shoot alongside the TVC crew, grabbing shots when I could and stepping in when the TVC guys were done or had a few minutes to hand the subject and location over to me. In each city I had a day to shoot 25 portraits a day which broke down to a new location, set up and portrait every 20 minutes or so for 9 hours. An exhausting but exhilarating exercise as the opportunity to meet new people with great stories just kept coming. At one point I ended up getting pretty emotional at a small town bag piper rehearsal after feeling so lucky that these people would allow us to come in and be a part of their private experience, something I would have never been able to know about or be a part of if I was on my own traveling through this small town.
At the end of the 2 week assignment I'd shot portraits of more than 100 people, was tired, sore and really missed home but damn, I enjoyed that job. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
CD: Matt Gilmour Sr AD: Nils Eberhardt Sr Copywriter: Veronica Copestake The TVC/Motion campaign was produced by Tobias Webster at EXIT Films and directed by Stephen Carroll.
I recently had 2 huge jobs which both happened to bring me to New Zealand for shooting. We had a brief day with my fantastic assistant Maxy where he took us to an incredible black sand beach north of Auckland and we took a break from the crazy job and spent the evening surfing. I suppose it's a bit of cliche now to say that New Zealand is place full of lovely people and beautiful landscapes but it just is.
I just recently shot a new campaign for Vodafone launching their new 4G service. The job involved working with massive, real letters spelling out the "4G" that weighed several hundred pounds and took a team of moving experts to get the unwieldy, fragile and extremely expensive props into place. We started off at 2:30 AM shooting on Sydney HarbourRead More
A few months after shooting the first leg of the 2013 Subaru Forester's trip around the world, AOI Pro contacted me and asked if I'd like to go to Norway to shoot the next leg. I jumped at the chance- I've always wanted to go to Norway and after I moved to Australia I considered the chances of ever going to be close to nil. Even though there would only be 4-5 hours of daylight a day, -20C most days and it would be something like 28-35 hours of travel each way depending on flight times and delays and it would be right before Christmas, I had to go.Read More
In September I was asked by the Japanese advertising agencies Hakuhodo and Aoi Pro to take part in a year-long project shooting the new Subaru Forester as it began a drive around the world through some its toughest terrain. I shot stills alongside a motion/TVC production headed by the Australian cinematographer Daniel Ardilley with the Australian production handled by Dynamite Productions. I felt pretty lucky to be involved in this production as I knew I was going to be going to parts of Australia that I probably would never get the chance to go see otherwise and I'd be able to go up in a helicopter to get some great views of the incredible Aussie outback landscape.Read More
Back in August I worked with the German advertising agency Jung von Matt ( JVM) on the "I Am Imagination" campaign for the new Nikon D5200. It was also one of the several jobs I've done this year alongside a TVC/motion production where I was the still shooter. I had the pleasure to work alongside Danish director Henrik Henson who shot the motion spot for this campaign.Read More
I know that I haven't been updating my blog very much lately but it's because I've actually been pretty busy and unfortunately many of the jobs that I've been working on have confidentiality agreements that don't allow me to talk about the jobs until several months after I've shot them. But I've got loads of new images to show you and I hope you like them.Read More
Last week I covered the Bondi Kite Festival for a local Bondi magazine "Life in the Bubble" and had a great time getting my feet wet in the Bondi surf while shooting these amazing kites. More images and the story can be seen here: http://www.lifeinthebubble.com/issue/2012/may/windsofchange
Last month Monocle Magazine featured the most liveable cities in the world and of course, Sydney was one of them. They wanted me to travel around the Sydney area and document the people and places that makes swimming feature so strongly in the Sydney lifestyle. I traveled around the northern beaches like Balmoral and Manly and many of the eastern beaches like Clovelly, Maroubra and of course, Bondi. I'm a big swimmer myself so I was really looking forward to hitting the spots that I love and getting the chance to find some new ones.Read More
I woke up this morning with an email from a friend back in Chicago warning me that several people were sending around a picture on Facebook that I took, claiming that it was theirs. Apparently there were some pretty ominous clouds over Chicago and someone either mistakenly (or intentionally) said that this picture was taken yesterday of the same storm and at some point, the image went viral on Facebook and Reddit with several people claiming they took itRead More
I was recently asked by the American publication The Smithsonian Magazine to shoot a cover story featuring Tasmania and Tasmania's world famous MONA Museum. I was asked to document Hobart, shoot the Mona museum and some portraits of its notoriously camera-shy owner David Walsh and then afterwards make my way up to the Freycinet Peninsula to document the award winning Sapphire Hotel, Wineglass Bay and the incredible surrounding landscapes.Read More
Last month I was asked by the UK's Redwood Media Group to shoot a story featuring Mazda's new BT-50 model for its award-winning online presence, Zoom Zoom Magazine. They wanted to tell a story about a day in the life of a BT-50 owner with a natural, reportage feel- showcasing its versatility by following the owner through rough terrain, a surf trip, a trip to the zoo "glamping" (glamorous camping) with his nieces and capped with a night out on the town.We had a looonngggg shot list for the 2 day shoot and I was working alongside Jefferson Grainger, from Corporate Video Australia, who was shooting the motion segment of the piece for the web.Read More
Last month Monocle Magazine sent me up to Australia's Northern Territory to cover a story on their burgeoning capital city, Darwin. Darwin has become big news in the last few years as the United States has promised to begin stationing several hundred troops there in an effort to re-establish a naval presence in that part of the world. There's also been some massive investment in natural gas by the Japanese and French to the tune of $39 billion AUD. Monocle wanted to find out how this new interest in Darwin might change the city and what the people and government thought about it. I teamed up with Darwin journalist Eric Tlozek to meet some VIPs there and shoot everything I could with the 2 days that I had.Read More