I am honoured to be a Nikon Ambassador and a member of the Society of Motion Picture Still Photographers.
I make my living as an Australian based motion picture stills photographer. I work on massive action films such as The Matrix, The Mummy, Mission Impossible, Green Zone, The Bourne films, Karate Kid, Captain Phillips, Skyfall and Mad Max : Fury Road.
My images have been used for movie posters, billboards, TV commercials, magazines and newspapers around the world.
After an early career in photojournalism my motion picture career began on low budget Australian television and film productions before I was given the opportunity to work on big budget films for some of Hollywood’s A-list studio’s, producers, directors and actors.
My little family and I spend up to 10 months of the year on the road so a love for my work and its environment is paramount.
I am lucky enough to work on films that I love to watch, having the opportunity to shoot some action sequences on Skyfall was the culmination of a life long dream, the first film I saw as a youngster was Live and Let Die and I cant help thinking this somehow influenced my career choice and love for working on action films.
My first paid photography job was as a Darkroom technician at the Sunday Times Newspaper in Perth. On September 22 1981 I began my professional career as a cadet photographer at the Sunday Times in Perth.
It was part of our training that we had to do an external photography course for one day a week. I was kicked out just after the introduction when I told my new teacher I wanted to be a war photographer. He told me there was no room for a photographer like me in his class. I always seemed to be in trouble and I was so scared when I had to go back to the office and tell my boss. I can still see the proud look on his face when I told him the reason I was told not to return! 2 weeks later I won the Australian Cadet Photographer of the year award.
I spent the next decade in Newspapers with Postings in Brisbane, Hong Kong and London before moving back to Australia and making the move to motion picture still photography.
If you are starting out make sure you experiment and don’t dwell on the execution too much, after a while you will find that as you and your Nikon become better friends things like framing, lighting and background will just fall into place organically.
I have 2 rules I live by Patience and Timing.
In the old days of film I used to carry several of the same model Nikons for continuity, now with Digital I have several different Body models that I use for different purposes similar to how we used a combination of Lenses and Film Stock.
I mainly shoot action films mostly in very low light so shutter speed is my governing factor, I love the look I get from shooting Ultra fast primes at f/1.8 and f/2 so a low light environment is not an impediment on my style, it actually is my style but It also means it is imperative I shoot the best Glass Nikon has to offer.
The D4 is my main body for pulling up the action, with my Lexar XQD cards I now have a buffer of around 100 frames, I pick the point of impact and then hose down the big stunts.
The speed of the D4 is astounding 10 fps with full auto focus.
In my AquaTech sound blimps I run my high res D800 for dramatic scenes and a D3s when I require a faster frame rate.
I am also a massive fan of the Nikon 1 system and she has saved my skin on a film set many times.
I believe the Nikon 1 system is very much the future of photography.
In addition to a smorgasbord of fast primes I also carry a 400 f2.8 vr, 200-400 f4, 14-24 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 vr f2.8. 2 lenses that seriously impress me for general shooting are the 24-120 f4 and the 70-200 f4. Both lenses offer incredible quality, the 24-120 is probably the most versatile lens on the market and both fall within most photographers budget. My favourite lens Nikon has ever made is my 85 1.4, I pull her out of my case any opportunity I get.
For me the biggest advantage of Nikon over other systems is the astounding low light capabilities these babies can literally see in the dark like a cat full of carrots.
I work in extremely low light environments and low noise is paramount to my style shooting at high ISO levels.
Nikon have an immense amount of respect for their photographers many of the enthusiast level cameras integrate the same functions and abilities I have in my Professional models in fact many of the capabilities in the smaller models act as testing grounds for what I will see in my cameras a few years later. The only real difference being in speed and ISO.
I think the Enthusiast is the heart of photography and I envy their pure love for photography it would be awesome to shoot exclusively for fun…