USA adventure magazine WEND recently summed my life up pretty well:
“Australian adventure photographer (and occasional journalist) Mark Watson is a liar. He suggests his job is not so glamorous, but drop him an email and his out of office auto response will inform he’s heli-skiing New Zealand or trekking Patagonia. In downtime he surfs and mountain bikes Sydney’s Northern Beaches or can be spied drinking cafe latte’s on the beachfront when he should be editing photos. He is a Nikon Ambassador and Red Bull Australia’s No.1 photographer, … and after a few Corona’s, admits, I photograph cool people, in cool places, doing cool things! Quickly followed by the disclaimer it’s not always exciting … But always said with a mischievous grin.
So there ya have it… but if you want a more detailed approach:
I am a full time professional adventure sports photographer.
The challenge to create emotion in my imagery is what drives me to push the boundaries of conventional photography and hence my work is regularly published in outdoor and sporting magazines worldwide.
With a client list that includes Red Bull, Treble Cone, Oakley, Speedo, Land Rover, Tourism Victoria, and The North Face, I am lucky enough to never be short the chance to create breathtaking images once never thought possible.
My first paid freelance job was a Snowboarding photo published in Australian Snowboarder magazine in 1999. The first commissioned job was photographing product and mountain biking images for Wild Horizons, a company run by adventurer Huw Kingston, one of my early influences in pursuing my own path in life.
I only committed to professional photography in 2000 after returning from two years living and working in London.
I threw in my ‘real job’ managing a photography store and established mwphotography (now inciteimages) and began networking. I traveled to mountain bike events, met with magazine editors and began photographing athletes freelance before getting images regularly published and commissioned work from magazines. I did likewise for snowsports but really threw myself into documenting the ‘then new’ phenomenon of Adventure Racing, which later led me all over the world.
A top tip for beginners is Determination. It takes a long time to get noticed and many photographers give up. Just because somebody says it cannot be done, does not mean that is so. A plethora of friends and peers suggested there was no future in adventure sports photography, I did not believe them…. now I get paid to go heli-skiing or trekking in Peru! I always email those same people, mostly friends, to let them know where I am … just for a laugh.
My favourite Nikon gear is the Nikon D3s body – It is amazing. Robust, well sealed and a fast frame rate but more importantly the 12.1MP full frame senser is just blow ya mind amazing. So sharp, incredible at high ISO’, no noise! Awesome! Additionally I love the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. The corrected super-wide angle zoom is awesome for sport and landscapes but it is also so incredibly sharp. My Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 is a super sharp universal lens and the PC-E Nikkor tilt/shift lenses are amazing for portraiture imagery. Additionally my SU800 and SB900’s and SB800’s used with the wireless creative lighting system is killer in certain lighting conditions and the new 70-200 VRII lens is the sharpest zoom telephoto since my old favourite and crystal clear 80-200 AFS.
So there ya have it… there’s not much more to ad.
Keep snapin away!
The Nikon Ambassadors are authorised by Nikon to demonstrate to the public and professional image makers the capabilities and use of Nikon imaging products, but the expressive content of their work is solely their own. Nikon Ambassadors are independent contractors and visual artists and are not employees of Nikon. Nikon Ambassadors are responsible for the content of their photographs, websites, exhibitions, and visual images and the manner in which such content and images are obtained. Any messages, beliefs, or viewpoints expressed in the Ambassadors’ photographs, websites, exhibitions, or visual images do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs or viewpoints of Nikon or any Nikon employee.