Hi, my name is Jake and I’m a landscape photographer – nice to meet you! Born in Hobart, Tasmania I’ve done most of my growing up (over 14 years, actually) on the south coast of New South Wales in Moruya. I also like coffee.
How did you first get into photography?
My camera-based background actually started in videography and filmmaking, making silly little sketches with friends. This stemmed into a passion for filmmaking and in 2014 I started making short films, with the intention to grow my passion into a videography business. Before long I told myself “you should probably learn photography as a backup”, and it very quickly took over as my ecstasy.
Do you have any formal training or qualifications?
Nope, everything I know is purely trial and error, and my own research. A lot of my growth comes from the pressure I put on myself to deliver the best work I can, and my drive for perfection. I know I still have a long way to go before I perfect my style, but that’s half the fun. I definitely intend to be involved in photography workshops and the like, but I have zero interest in sitting in a classroom writing about photography when I could be out doing photography.
What gear do you use?
Currently I’m using an all-Sony setup – my camera is the Sony A7r II equipped with a few Sony lenses, but my go-to lens is the Sony Zeiss 24-70mm FE. My tripod is also a Sony one that I bought for my first handycam – it’s got a few dints and scratches but it’s still standing strong! I also use NiSi neutral density filters to slow down my shutter speed (that’s how you get those silky water effects.) But every now and then I will still just use my iPhone to get a snap.
Funnily enough though, I’m not a big fan of talking about gear. I feel like it creates the assumption that you need all of this expensive stuff to get into photography, or puts you in the mindset of “I can’t do this, unless I have this piece of gear.” I’m not saying there’s never a point where you should be upgrading or looking at new gear (like anyone I still love a bit of shopping!) but it should never be at the front of your mind.
What was your first camera?
If I remember correctly, it was a red plastic film camera my brother gave me in the late 90s – but if I’m being completely honest, I only used it for photos because I loved the sound of the shutter and the feeling of winding the film up after a shot. I think most of the time it didn't even have film in it. If we bypass the early days, I did all my photo taking on my phone for the longest time. When I wanted to get a little more serious I was using a Nikon D5200 with a 35mm prime lens.
What has been your favourite location to shoot?
I’ve only recently just discovered this place for myself – Horse Head Rock at Bermagui, New South Wales. It’s just one of those iconic landmarks that looks so different from different angles. You take a few steps to the right and the composition changes completely. Not only that, but actually getting there is a trek in itself. Climbing over wet rocks as quick as you can to avoid getting swept away by the huge waves just adds to the rush that is landscape photography and makes that shot you get all the more rewarding!
Any advice for someone wanting to get into photography but not sure how?
Just start. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say, “I’d like to do photography, but I don’t think I’d be good at it” I would never have to work another day in my life.
It’s all about being inspired. Whether that’s by reading books about photography, or looking at photography websites, or just by seeing something and thinking “I don’t want this moment to get away.”
The difference between success and failure is drive. If you have a passion for photography and love the experience of getting out and taking a photo, you will be successful. And the great thing about success is, you define what it means. Whether you want to have a photo on the front cover of National Geographic, or just a nice photo of the sunset for your wall, you decide if you’re successful or not.
Gear I Use
Sony A7r II (photography)
Sony A7s II (videography)
Sony Zeiss 35mm F/2.8 FE
Sony Zeiss 24-70mm F/4 FE
NiSi Filters – various ND and soft GND strengths
Tiffen Variable ND filter
Rode Videomic Pro