My passion for aviation started before I can remember and then the lure of photography started some 25 years ago. I got my Private Pilot’s License when I was 18 years old, did my national service in the SAAF and then worked as a professional photographer from 1991 – 1995. I needed something more solid in my life and went off to study Electrical Engineering. The photography had to settle for becoming a hobby at that time.
A few years down the line, I couldn’t resist the call of the lens any longer, and once gain flicked the switch of my professional photographic career.
Since I started out in photography everything has changed, my darkroom has been replaced by a PC and we still reminisce about the good ol’ days of film, how exposure and darkroom techniques were so hard-core and unforgiving. The truth is…they were…but I much prefer the digital age. I will never regret those days in the darkroom as it taught me more about photography and light than digital ever will.
I started back then doing weddings and corporate shoots, but it was up in the air that I really wanted to be. So in 2006 I decided that aviation photography was something I really wanted to pursue. Looking back at those images now make me realize just how far I’ve come in five years, those early airshows and air to air to shoots were…well, let’s just say I won’t be publishing those images anytime soon. Aviation photography was a huge learning curve and for the first time was forced to use shutter speeds that I would never dream of doing handheld. But after hours and hours spent on the sides of runways practising, it all started coming together. Forums and online galleries became my outlet for my photos until an editor of a local magazine called me up one day looking for me to go and cover and shoot a story here in Cape Town. The rest just started to fall into place after that. Make no mistake, I still need to go and make things happen, stories and photoshoots don’t normally just fall in your lap.
Being a fine art wedding photographer didn’t really help me much in the beginning as far as aviation went but now I’m able to blend the creativity of that genre with my aviation work.
As for my equipment, I shoot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark 111 and Canon EOS 1D Mk1V….both great cameras, both delivering what I need when I need it. For air to air work, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM and my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM are my lenses of choice. On the ground, the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS USM, a 1.4x converter, the two previously mentioned lenses and a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L make up my bag.
It’s not often that one gets to mix your passion with your job and then added to that, mix two of your passions into one. Aircraft and photography together… I just love it!
And in closing sometimes I have to reflect on the immortal words of photographic legend, Ansel Adams:
“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”
What’s in my Bag:
Canon EOS 5D Mk111
Canon EOS 1D Mk 1V
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L USM
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS USM
Canon EF 85mm f/1.4 USM
Canon 1.4x converter iii
Elinchrom Ranger Quadra
2x Canon 580 EX ii Speedlites
CP-E4 Battery pack
1 x Elinchrom Skyport
2 x Pocket Wizard TT5 Flex
1 x Pocket Wizard TT1 Mini
12 x Sandisk Extreme 60 Mb/s 8Gb Memory cards
1 x Vosonic multimedia storage device – 250Gb
Manfrotto tripod with a geared 3 way head and ball head
Light stands & modifiers