14 September 2015
When I landed in Australia from the UK in 1990, the thing that stood out to me most was the sheer vastness of the country. Massive skies and rich, sprawling landscapes, with an endless supply of glittering sea scenes dotted in between.
For me, the best of those sea scenes were the ones I discovered in Byron. When I arrived at Main Beach in a beat up Holden HZ panel van as a 20-year-old backpacker, I vowed that I’d try to get back to spend a bit more time there one day, and thanks to a little bit of planning and a lot of luck, that day arrived 10 years ago. This place has been home ever since.
Armed with a cheap-and-cheerful camera, it wasn’t long before I started to take photos of the area. I was hit hard by the photography bug when I was studying graphic design during the ‘80s, and, drunk on Byron’s endless supply of scenery, I suppose it was inevitable that I’d start snapping it.
About two years ago, I photographed the punchiest sunrise I’d ever seen, but my happy-snap camera didn’t come close to doing it justice. It was my wake-up moment. I invested in a semi-professional DSLR setup and sucked up every online tutorial I could find. And I practiced. The challenge now is to grow into a more well-rounded photographer and to develop a signature style. Although my guess is that challenge will never feel like it’s been nailed! There will always be things to learn and new styles to take for a spin.
Everything seems more intriguing and multi-layered now that I’ve taken up photography as a serious hobby. I think that’s because you start to look at things differently when you’ve got a camera in your hands. I’m always on the hunt for undiscovered vantage points, but the chase to find a different perspective or angle on some of Byron Shire’s most popular spots is also what gets me up before dawn, even if it’s frosty and way too early to buy coffee. But when I can manage to find that shot, perhaps I give other people a different way of looking at things, too. And I think if you can get a photograph to do that, you must be doing something right.
Here’s some of my latest handiwork, taken both in and around Byron and a bit further afield.