Well, you spend two years planning the move, crossing the T's and dotting the I's and nothing (major) goes to plan. Photography wise, I felt like I was extremely busy in Margaret River, my own brand focusing on surf photography along with Elements Margaret River and finishing the documentary One Shot there was no real time in between or need to come up with ideas / plans for future work during that period.
We knew the move to NZ was going to take time to establish business, its basically starting from scratch, the goals we had in place were certainly achievable in the time frames we set, its when those time frames shrink in size dramatically (think half, half that again and why not half that again) for unforeseen reasons that's when you start to question your initial plan. If I feel like I am not on the go 24/7 (to much thinking time) it becomes that battle of "why this", "why that", versus "this journey is going far better than I thought". Re-assess the goals and in between jobs keep creative, keep learning and turn that first so called thought of disadvantage into a positive action, its a constant inner battle in my photographic world.
I am writing this little piece because this is the truth behind my work and business and a guide to whats real for me, the sugar coating / perception of social media (yes I use it also) is 99% of time the very best of everyone, incredible jobs, always on an adventure, look at this, I don't have a care in the world, look at all my sponsors etc etc, be inspired for what it is and move on. To be a better me in all aspects of my photographic life I only ever compare myself to my past self, the worst thing in my eyes that you can do, is compare what you are doing with your work with others especially that perception of social media (it's bullshit, its the very best of people, me included), focus on yourself and what it takes personally to grow and all the rest will fall into place.
Below are a few images from the jobs (Rankers NZ) I have had in New Zealand (remember that word perception), I actually need to be doing much more than this to sustain a living from my work however when I compare my first three months in NZ to my last three months, its looking far better and we are making great progress plus meeting incredible people. ( All shot on FujiFilm)
The wedding of Lisa & Colin - Auckland
Wedding Stylist / Planner: Wedding Rescue - Michelle Mok
Hair Stylist: Boutique Bride By Amelia Rush
Make-up Artist: Kate Solley
Dress: Samantha Wynne
Transport: First Class Classics
Flowers: David Bell-Booth
Photographer: Russell Ord
Two friends, a motley crew, and the open ocean!
This is the story of how we made our dreams a reality... we bought a big boat, we are decking it out, and setting off on an adventure of a lifetime with no strings, no plans and no deadlines!
The so very true quotes above from Matt Wall and Paul Fowler, the owners, captains, designers, the inspiration behind "The Thin Red Line Journey" and the reconstructed Faraday Pearl boat.
I truly wonder sometime "just how did I end up here" one minute in a 4/3 wetsuit, hoodie and booties in New Zealand to being on a boat exploring the Kimberly's, bare footed wearing the same pair of boardies for the last two weeks - its meant to be.
Hard to even justify this one as a job, I was truly inspired by Matt and Paul's view on life, putting everything you have into a vision of complete uncertainty, to put it bluntly - f'ckn going for it, no plan B's. I ask "what's your plans for the boat"? All we want to do is go on a journey, no set plans or destinations and have people come onboard to experience letting go.
I tend not venture to far from the surf, don't get me wrong I have been in some incredible environments and met amazing people because of the surf photography, but now and then opportunities present themselves which bring other challenges, adventures and really just another way at looking at the big picture.
Cheers: Captain Matt, Big Paulie, Nat, Dutchy and Andre Rerekura for the trip and allowing me to create content on your maiden voyage.
I will be putting new images from the trip in my print gallery: Water Is Freedom (please contact me if you see anything from this blog as a print, the coloured textures shot in medium format will look incredible ).
I was pretty happy shooting alongside Andre Rurukura for the latest Ocean Grown Abalone campaign, what an amazing experience photo wise but more so the education I received over the three days, thank you to Brad and his incredible team for the opportunity.
From The Ocean Grown Abalone Website: An exciting new Western Australian innovation. We build our own artificial abalone reefs on our leases in the pristine waters of Flinders Bay. We then place hatchery reared juvenile abalone on them – then let nature (with a little help from our divers) do the rest to produce this marine delicacy. A totally natural ‘wild-harvest’ product. Because we have some control of the process we can harvest to market demand to whatever size the market requires.
Photos By Russell Ord & Andre Rurukura.
Great trip the other week, we managed not to donate a car to the Indian Ocean (just), avoided colliding with any dinosaur size marsupials (a touch overstated), the odd engine trouble, a tyre that was determined to come away from the rim, fresh fish for lunch, no humans in sight, jump started the ski, one or two bottles of Margaret Rivers finest and bush t.v, life is good, f'n good.
These are a few photos of the lads going about there incredible work with the odd empty thrown in for good measure.
Darren McCagh (pronounced ma_kay) on video from Farm House Films.
Andrew Semark driver + stills photographer: (website)
More empty wave images can be seen in the print gallery - click on this link not only to view but to purchase an image for every member of your family, ok half of them is fine....
In the surf photography world, Russell Ord is probably best known for his hard charging approach. You see, Russ has a penchant for putting himself in positions that quite simply, no reasonable person should ever find themselves in, E.g. shooting fish-eye just metres from one of the heaviest lips on the planet at The Right.
Honing his photography in the powerful waves of West Australia, Russ was always comfortable swimming in the big stuff. What he is not comfortable with however are crowds. Disillusioned with increasingly packed local lineups, Russ set himself a new challenge, one he could only satisfy by shooting the many unimaginably heavy and isolated offshore bombies that litter the Southern coastline of West Oz.
“The last few years I’ve kind of gone away from capturing every single moment, and now I’m just trying to get that one moment that’s challenging to myself, Says Russ.
“So that means swimming right into the thick of things and seeing what I can do! Your whole life revolves around that; what you eat, how you breathe and how you train.”
Russell has now dedicated himself to dancing with these monsters, looking for that unique image to satisfy his quest. Tracks caught up with Russ to get an insight into the equipment needed to do so. This is Russell Ord’s Heavy Water Shooting Kit.
1: Helmet – Going over the falls at the Right is not that pleasant, your limbs go uncontrollably everywhere, the helmets there not for the reef (its pretty deep) its there for the water-housing which can become a deadly weapon. I have eyes painted on the back to fool the sharks or to fool myself in believing that actually works.
2: Water Housings – The essential piece of equipment from Aquatech allowing me to shoot from the water. I have a 16mm fisheye setup for up close and personal and also a 50mm just in case I am feeling not that brave, my first option is always the 16mm because that’s what I love to do and it makes me feel like I have caught a few waves myself.
3: Safety Vest – I am only ever going to pull the get out of trouble cords if I feel like I am beyond my limits, I spend the whole off season training with One Ocean International to make sure I can be as ready as I can be for an extended period of no fresh air.
4: Westsuit – 4mm Patagonia, warm and toasty, I cant afford to waste energy from being cold, it’s a hard enough swim as it is and over the years I have become a lot better in managing my energy levels.
5: Jetski – I purchased my first ski 12 years or so ago because I nearly drowned when paddling out to the Margaret River bombie which decided to closeout on my arrival (pre breathe hold training) my latest driver has been my son Kalani which is great because I can get him for a cheap rate like a day off school.
6: Fins – I use Dafins and find these to be best for comfort and also when I get dry docked on the reefs around West Oz (nasty) they then become a source of protection, they have a nice hard bottom for legging it across the sharp reef.
7: Fuji Cameras / lenses – I love using the Fuji equipment, great quality, light for travel and couldn’t be happier from the results.
8: Computer / Hardrives – Apple Mac for working on the go with G-Technology hard-drives to back up all my work, which does not seem to many images these days because I am more focused on getting one or two good shots more than capturing every moment of every session.
9: Bag – F-stop bag, best designed bag on the market in my opinion and rugged.
SALT Surf Photography Awards - Get your entries in now for a chance to share in AU$9000.00 in prizes.
Firstly I would like to thank Kevin Cooper (incredible FujiFilm -X photographer ), FujiFilm Australia and FujiFilm for selecting me to trial the new Fuji XT2, I really appreciate the chance to put the new camera through its paces.
This is not a technical review because there is so many great articles already covering the specifications, new features, comparisons etc. etc. check out Ken Rockwell's website for his comprehensive review of the new Fuji camera, one of the best in the business regarding a large range of camera equipment.
The basic brief from Fujifilm: "We would love for you to supply FujiFilm surf images taken with the new XT2". My first thoughts were no problem at all however I wanted to give them a few images shot from a ski ( no water housing from Aquatech at this stage) so I packed the camera (supplied by Fujifilm) along with my 50-140mm in a water proof case and headed out to sea. Conditions were terrible on arrival with lots of spray, side-wash, waves sucking us into the impact zone, normally I wouldn't even risk taking it out of the case but the job had to get done and this camera and lens copped an absolute hammering, I drowned the set up a number of times and I thought to myself there is no way the equipment will get through this, surprisingly everything is working fine today.
The camera performed incredibly well, the focus was fast, image files are very very nice, its the type of camera you can pick up and just get straight into it with all the dials and everything you need right there in front of you, a pocket battle ship ( a little slang for something small and very tough).
If anyone has some direct questions regarding the XT2 feel free to flick them through and I will be happy to give you a honest answer / opinion, below are some images taken from the ski and land with the XT2 camera along with the 50-140mm / 100-400mm ( love this lens ) and it fits nicely into the FujiFilm lineup I already use which includes the X Pro 2 plus a number of quality lenses.
On a side note, if anyone is in Perth on the 24th of July get down to the Photolive Expo...... I will be doing a small talk along with a number of others that I am looking forward to listening to while trying not to spend to much money on all the amazing equipment on display.
Fuji X Pro 2
Having only used Nikon for the last 16 years to shoot all my photography work (surf, weddings, commercial) its a little daunting to say the least changing over the complete camera system.
I have had the Fuji X Pro 2 for a few weeks along with a small selection of lenses: Zeiss Touit 12mm F2.8 | Fuji XF 56mm F1.2 | Fuji XF 27mm F2.8 pancake lens - its a slow process of selling off my unwanted gear and buying new bodies and glass, believe me I will only be doing this once.
Before I shoot my first wedding or commercial job, I want to get completely used to the camera so I put it through its paces at my sons boxing gym "The Onshore Gym" named by the coach Nathan Brooks because if the wind is blowing in that direction its open for business which suits 99% of the boxers that train there, being surfers themselves. Low light sports photography and to be honest I didn't have any problems at all, I am more than confident with making the full transition and having a number of Fuji bodies and lenses for all my work, I am not about to go into technical jargon, the lenses (see above) are incredible, sharp, great colour, well built. Note For a detailed to review I would suggest Ken Rockwell, that goes for all brands and equipment.
Why! I have always dabbled with the idea of going mirrorless, light to travel with, light to swim and shoot with, very unassuming around people, easily blending into the environment, no one seems to care about pointing such a small setup in their direction, plus I shouldn't have been sucked in and picked it up in the shop, the camera felt great, very well built, so reading review after review of the pros and cons and what suits me as a photographer, the time was now...I love it. This setup is going to be perfect for our future travel plans through the Pacific, I will post a number of other reasons when I have the material to back up the quotes.
Great day free diving around the Busselton Jetty with Joe Knight and Talina Tapia from One Ocean International and also Tom Pearsall from Driftwood Photography.
Zeiss 25mm Batis / Sony A7r II / Aquatech Waterhousing.
Buy a camera, open up a facebook / insta page and in the very next breath calling yourself a photographer / videographer is not a very good start to the new found career, it’s a bit like going to the hardware purchasing a mitre saw, a few other tools and calling yourself a carpenter, yes you have the tools but no skills to back up your claim. Not taking the time to learn your new found craft but standing on the beach close to the professional who has dedicated his life to his skill set, earning himself a solid reputation for his photo business attitude, shooting for a label/company/magazine only to have “the new guy” poach away (poaching in photography terms can basically be described as showing up, taking photos, and passing them on as a shoot that you set up, bringing nothing to a party is a great old term) with no concerns or communication at all, the seasoned pro is always happy to help out and send some tips to Mr. Sparkling New Camera set to auto but he/she never asks, I need to get “the shot” so I can then give it away for free to see my name in print (I have made it, my name is now out there). I myself could have made this same mistake, I remember well a conversation I had with the Regnard’s about how they can charge so much because of their well earned reputations and that no body new me so I had to get my name out there in the world anyway I could before earning any income. Lucky I took their friendly forth coming advice, I started concentrating more on my work and far less on the fact that I was an unknown, of course I was an unknown, that was never going to change until I started to shoot quality images, taking time to learn the trade including the business / etiquette side of the industry and basically do an apprenticeship, asking questions, carrying camera bags in return for advice, constantly learning which is an on going process, the name and reputation will then follow the quality work, not the reverse. What’s happened now with so many people working for credit, which by the way is their right as the photographer? The general public which includes business owners / newspapers etc etc send emails asking for images with the opening lines “I love that photo you took last week can we please run that image and we will make sure your are credited so people know who you are and you can sell prints” what the f**k are you are charity because I don’t mind giving away images for non-profit organizations? Does everyone in your office work for free? The standard has been set from the above new comer, the Joe Blogg general public are now used to having images given to them which includes all types of usage from advertising to web use. Just a quick side story: last year a want to be photographer (I should name them but wont) told me they were giving away all their images for free to a major corporation that were using images for billboard advertising so people will see his name in lights and from there he can charge for prints and the next big job, that same guy has now sold his gear and works a brain numbing job paying off his camera gear loan, I recently sent him a message all ready knowing the results “Hey mate hope all is well, how did you go with print sales from the billboards” not one email or request – bingo. Quality people, quality, keep striving for it and the results will follow, cheers to Erick and Ian Regnard for their advice over the years – legends.
See the Regnards work here: website.
One Ocean International - Specialist Watermanship
Instructor: Joe Knight (Click here for more information about Joe.)
Students: Gordon Becker | Kristoff Ecker | Russell Ord
Location: Margaret River / Yallingup / Dunsborough
Its been a great couple of weeks in the Solomon Islands with my eldest son Kalani.
Accommodation: Papatura Island Retreat
Surfing: Week 1 - Small but really fun setups all over the place, nothing better than surfing six hours a day and according to Kalani that equals roughly 100 waves. Week 2 - The swell dropped, so it became a diving and fishing week, we left two days before a decent swell that was predicated and I could only imagine the spots that would light up.
Fishing: I am not a fisherman's lunch box and I could even catch amazing fish, plenty to go around for the camp for dinner and even more released back to the sea.
Diving: Incredible water clarity, we spent days swimming around the blue holes and reefs with plenty of sea life to explore.
I travelled pretty light photography wise: Nikon D4 / 24-70mm / 70-200mm and a fisheye. Aquatech housing to suit the lot.
Overall it was an amazing trip, great food, fantastic people in and around the islands, looking forward to getting a bomb swell there one day.