Tools of the Trade

Next week I will be heading to Broome for a research trip. This will be my first intentional trip tailored to researching a novel. Inspiration usually strikes when I’m away on holiday and my mind is clear and ready for new experiences. The genesis of the story that I’m writing came from a trip to the Newport Aquarium in Cincinnati. A t-shirt with a sketched antique brass dive helmet on it sparked an idea which I have traced to the other side of the world, to North Western Australia in Broome, the heart of pearl diving. The history of pearl diving is romantic, harsh, dramatic and cruel. These are all aspects that will lend themselves to an engaging piece of writing.

I’ve traveled most of Australia as a travel photojournalist writing articles for newspaper and magazines. However, this will be my first trip to Broome. I’m interested in getting a feel for the weather. Ernest Hemingway once wrote that description in fiction is ‘weather.’ I have always used the elements to set the scene, and this story will be no different. The history of Broome which is littered with interesting and illuminating stories can be researched from anywhere. How the sun strikes your face on a hot, cloudless day or the size of the moon hanging over a vast ocean requires personal experience where possible.

The last professional article that I wrote included photos taken using a reliable little Samsung digital camera (WB5500, 26x Optical Zoom, 14 Megapixel, 26 mm Wide Angle Schneider-Kreuznach lens). It is compact, and the quality of the image is incredible. I still use it as my backup camera as it is easy to use, lightweight and fast. In preparation for my Broome trip, I have invested in a DSLR camera. This is my first SLR camera since I started photojournalism seventeen years ago. At the time, I used a Canon 35 mm with a 28-200 mm Tamron lens, which is still in use today.

The latest acquisition a Canon EOS 5DsR was chosen so that my older compatible lenses could still be used. Plus the quality of the camera and accessibility to parts is unparalleled. It captures images using a ridiculous 50-megapixel sensor. The two lenses chosen for the trip are the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM and EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM. Both offer superior clarity and the best image stabilizers money can buy. It was an absolute joy shooting with these and realising the opportunities missed on previous adventures due to the lack of technology available. Many of my photos are printed on large format media for framing and wall graphics, clarity and richness of colour are paramount. Below are images taken around Loch Sport a small beachside town in South Gippsland, Victoria, using my new equipment.

I’m looking forward to capturing as many images as possible of a unique and beautiful part of Australia. As well as using these to inform a personal and tragic tale of loss and survival in the harshest of environments.