My phone was flooded with messages about Kite Surfers getting big air at my local beach and photographic opportunities were being missed. I grabbed my gear and headed to the beach, found a good spot to capture some action shots however the camera had other ideas.
Its hard to explain what was happening but I’ve put it down to the batteries being really low and the camera couldn’t decide between where to provide power, to the lens or the body. As kite surfers are fast moving I was shooting in Mode S (Shutter-Priority Auto) to capture the action. This leaves the camera to decide the Aperture for the best results but all but one of the shots was either over or underexposed and the camera wouldn’t focus nor allow me to press the shutter button.
I persevered (what I really mean is that I wrestled with the camera whilst muttering under my breath WTF is wrong this camera) for over an hour before I headed back to the car knowing one photo might be salvageable however but the rest would end up in the trash as they were useless.
At some stage in our careers as photographers, pro or amateur we will experience equipment failing and nothing we try to do to rectify the issue doesn’t work, and it seemed it was my turn. Some times its best to pack it in and come back tomorrow for another go.
Photos and videos from drones have always captured my attention, and after much research of what was the best drone to purchase I decided on the DJI Mavic Mini 2 with the Fly More Combo. DJI list the drone as a beginners or entry level drone and the likelihood of crashing is high, it seemed to be the most appropriate drone to purchase.
After test flying it around the local park I decided to be a little more adventurous and head to the beach. The laws around flying drones here in Australia are fairly clear, no more than 400ft in Altitude, must have line of sight and be at least 30 meters away from people.
Fully aware friends and family here in Australia and across the globe are yet again in lock down. With that in mind I headed to the local beach with the drone, to capture some footage of waves rolling in to the shoreline to share with everyone so they had a distraction, even for just a few minutes and apart from the visual distraction there is a back story.
Drone laws here in Australia are pretty clear and to name a few you are not allowed to fly a drone within 30 meters of other people, no higher than 400ft (120 meters) etc but to reach a suitable spot to fly the drone I needed to walk through the clothing optional area of the beach, that’s right, the nudist beach. This might sound like a good idea but let me assure its filled full of men, and only men who are all naked resulting in me looking at my feet the entire length of the beach.
2020 has definitely been a year that I, and I assume most of us, would like “a do over” if it was ever possible. We have witnessed so many terrible, tragic events such as the bush fires that ripped through the East Coast of Australia leveling thousands of homes, and sadly killing many Australians either trying to flee or fight the fires plus the unfortunate loss of up to a million native animals, COVID 19 tore through towns, cities and countries across the globe creating death and division amongst people, only to be followed by protests with many becoming violent pitching neighbor against neighbor. Death visited many families and took away loved ones way to soon, much like my Mum passing away, alone in a nursing home and her husband unable to be beside her due to COVID 19, only then to realise our family would not be able to attend her funeral due to state border closures and quarantine measures was gut wrenching.
Thankfully photographers and film makers from all walks of life documented many of these tragic, terrible and some times violent events and hopefully these millions of images and hours of video will serve an important visual record for future generations to look back and learn from our mistakes so they are not repeated well into the future.
The review of 2020 will be a little different this year. Its not just going to concentrate on the Top 20 photos of 2020but rather a reflection of what I photographed in 2020 and the year started off with a bang. The first collection of photos was captured during the Australia Day protest march, also known as Invasion day by Indigenous Australians. I often find the best way to capture that shot is to be in amongst the protesters where the emotion is at its most raw and that is how I captured the below photo of an Indigenous Elder who has nothing but sadness in his eyes.
Early February, I learned Flickr had been acquired by SmugMug and the CEO had written a letter about how they were losing money. After some research and rejoining Flickr and not wanting Flickr to suffer the same fate as Google Plus, I stuck my hand in my pocket and become a Flickr Pro member. For an Australian this is not a cheap exercise as the exchange rate fluctuates and Flickr only offers Pro Flickr accounts in approx. three currencies, and the Australian dollar is not one of them.
The Black Lives Matter movement in the US grew rapidly and unfortunately spiraled out of control with people losing their lives. Here in Perth, Australia the protest organisers refused to heed the state government’s warning not to hold the protest due to likely COVID breaches but the organisers went ahead with the protest whilst managing COVID safe practices, it was pretty much a peaceful protest with the majority wearing masks and observing social distancing. The protest also provided many photographers who had been stuck inside for quite some time an opportunity to get out and photograph the people and the event.
After a long period of lock down my wife and I had an opportunity to escape to the Australian outback and go camping, the best way to isolate is be in the middle of nowhere with no one else around. Apart from nearly running out of fuel…..twice during the trip we managed to four wheel drive our way to the most Western point of Australia, Steep Point. It took over 3 hours but it was well worth it. Also managed to sneak in a visit to Natures Window in Kalbarri National Park.
Visited the Busselton area where I spotted several young men jumping off the Southern Hemispheres longest jetty into the cold Indian ocean, asked if they minded if I took a few shots and lo and behold, one of them pulled out a kids scooter and lept of the jetty.
Early November, myself and a small group of mates attempted and conquered a remote four wheel drive track. It was an epic adventure with all but one of the vehicles sustaining some sort of damage but as it turned out it was a much needed getaway for our mental health.
And lastly I visited mates who are veterans struggling through 2020 and we walked through the bush and talked about the old times, mates who are no longer with us and how we hope 2021 will be better, for all of us.
If you have made it this far, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you
Finally the horror show of 2020 has come to an end, therefore I would like to wish everyone Happy New Year and (hopefully) 2021 is a whole lot better than last year for everyone.
Also, the Thief Images Photography Blog has recently reached a few milestones. Firstly, I’ve been blogging here on WordPress for 10 years and I’ll be the first to admit, I never expected it to last this long. The blog has undergone some changes over the years, even had periods of inactivity but I kept coming back and blogging, probably because other social media platforms are well, not for me.
Secondly, this is blog post number 301, personally this is mind blowing achievement as it goes hand in hand with the “I never expected it to last this long” comment. Here’s to another 300 blog posts.
The first post of 2021 will be a little different, decided to share a short YouTube video of an adventure. A group of mates (friends) finally called me on something I have been talking about for what might seem an eternity. To try and conquer a remote four wheel drive track in Western Australia called the Holland Track. Stretches for approx. 260 kilometers, the track can be challenging, technical and filled with deep muddy bog holes and after much pressure and persuasion, I planned a boys trip and we went for it.
Day one wasn’t without its challenges as we only covered 50 kilometers in just a little over 5 hours. As you can imagine it took several days of driving through beautiful scenery that constantly changed. It was an a really enjoyable trip and we are now trying to work out where the next trip should be, and who in 2021 will be planning it.
Until next time, happy shooting.
P.S Edited using Davinci Resolve 17 Beta – Its Free and is amazing video editing software. If video editing interest you, check it out. Link is Here,
Always seem to stumble across a piece of Australian history when we’re out wandering through the bush, and I never seem to have my camera at the ready and revert back to using the phone to take a few shots. I think it all comes down to the ability to do a quick edit without having an internet connection to show your mates.
Stumbled across a few old buildings from a sawmill that are no longer in use, the main sawmill building is pretty uninteresting and bland but the building in these two photos has a lot more character, and even though I wasn’t wearing appropiate footwear I was still drawn inside to look around.
For those of you who are under a lock down, please keep smiling as the lock down and self isolation will eventually come to an end and hopefully life will resume some sort of normality.
For those who celebrate it, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Walking through the bush with a good friend late yesterday afternoon had both of us looking at the way light fell through the trees and cast shadows across the path. We eventually found a spot that fitted our needs to capture the falling light and hopefully some leading lines to draw the eye down the path.
Its good to get away with mates to concentrate on other things, and its even better when its a boys trip attempting to conquer the Holland Track in remote Western Australia.
The Holland track is a remote track with a large number of huge bog holes filled with mud, and if you break down out there, well its along way to anywhere with phone reception.
It took us 3 days to complete the track and in hindsight, we probably should have pushed it another day as the track is not just hard on your body but also on your four wheel drive.
And yes, the bog hole in the above shot isn’t deep, its simply a teaser making you think the next one is the same only to discover its a lot deeper causing you heart to skip a beat or two.
With with exception of one vehicle, everyone else had vehicle damage to some degree or another. The vehicle in the above photo had to replace both cv’s and change diff oils and the vehicle below suffered rear panel damage and a broken tail light whilst trying to get out of a very deep bog hole, one swamped vehicle is going to take some time to dry out and the list goes on……….
With everything that happened, we all had an adventure creating memories and stories that will be told around camp fires for some time.
Now I’m off to find a good repair shop to fix the dents (Wife only knows about one of them!) until next time, happy shooting