Find out a little about the man behind the lens
I’ve been taking photos for over 20 years now, although probably only seriously for the last 10. Looking at the world through a lens has certainly taught me to see things from a different perspective. I particularly love capturing those magical moments around sunrise and sunset, when the sky changes colour from minute to minute and knowing that every image is completely unique in its own way. I am also fascinated by long-exposure techniques that reveal the colour and texture in a scene normally invisible to the naked eye. Last, I have a real passion for wildlife photography: there is something very special about seeing animals in their natural environment.
I’ve been privileged to travel all over the world and have visited cities in 45 countries, including extensive roadtrips through South Africa, North America and Alaska. I’m happy doing the standard tourist thing but have also visited some fairly remote locations, including Tromso, Norway (in the Arctic Circle), glaciers in Iceland and the Little A’Le’Inn café on the Extra-terrestrial Highway in Nevada, USA. It’s certainly brought home just how big the world is and how small at the same time. All I know is that I want to see more! My next trips will hopefully include Japan, New Zealand, Galapagos Islands, and the Antarctic (one can dream, right?).
My first camera body was a Canon EOS 500 (Rebel) and I’ve remained a die-hard Canon fan ever since. I resisted digital for as long as possible, shooting Fuji Reala 100, graduating to Fuji Velvia 50, after finally succumbing to a Canon 1Ds MkIII, which I’ve used exclusively since 2008. While I’m still in two minds about film vs digital, I’m self-taught, so the instant feedback I get from digital means I’ve learnt more about light and exposure in the past 5 years than I had in the previous 15. Nonetheless, part of me still misses that anticipation when a film arrives back from the lab and finding out that you’ve managed to capture an image just the way you wanted.
Despite the move to digital, I have to admit to retaining an “old-school” approach to my images. Although it’s great to see how accessible photography has become over the past few years, I think it’s become too easy to let “Auto” mode do all the work and use Photoshop to correct mistakes later. My preference is to get the exposure and composition right the first time to minimise the time I spend on post-production. I generally just use Lightroom to tweak white balance and saturation.
My gear (for fellow photo geeks only)
Besides the camera bodies mentioned above, I’ve gradually invested in a range of lenses, from the 14mm f/2.8L II through to a 500mm f/4L (which literally comes with its own luggage). My favourite lens is my 24-70mm f/2.8L which I probably use for about 80% of my images, although I’m increasingly using the 14mm f/2.8, 16-35mm f/2.8 and 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift.
I use a Lowepro CompuRover AW bag to carry my gear on a day-to-day basis, although the Lowepro CompuTrekker AW Plus replaces it on safari trips (it’s one of the few bags that will fit the 500 f/4 along with all my other gear). I also occasionally use a Lowepro Dryzone 200 for real protection from the elements (which allowed my gear to survive a swim through the Morakot Cave on Koh Mook, Thailand).
My favourite accessory is probably a Qstarz GPS Travel Recorder which I use to geotag all my photos, closely followed by a Wolverine 250GB portable hard drive which is great insurance against a card crashing.
More stuff about me
I grew up in Durban, South Africa, then spent 10 years in Cape Town, followed by a few years in Johannesburg, an extended stay in London, UK and have now settled in Sydney, Australia.
In real life, I don’t have nearly enough opportunities to take photographs. Besides having degrees in Actuarial Science and Information Systems, I am a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder and have an MBA from London Business School. I have worked in pensions, asset management, management consulting, e-commerce and Trust and Safety (at eBay), and have spent the past five years as CEO of two online e-commerce startups.