Brides & Birds
If a bit of shameless self promotion offends you then please look away.
Actually you could just look at the pictures if you like?
Ok so something amazing happened last weekend
I’m really quite excited and still can’t quite believe it!
It’s one thing, but its also lots of things that have led up to this that make it even more special to me.
The story really starts a few years ago….
I’ve been a professional photographer for a fair while now and have always loved it.
Its always been what I know I should be doing with my life ever since I finished my Visual Arts degree back in 1991.
It took a few years to get into (and to get any good) but thanks to the tutelage of Tony Warrilow (the founder of Society)
I flowed into a job that I love.
I’ve had friends in the industry but always kept a pretty low profile.
I don’t know what changed in me a few years ago, but I knew I needed new challenges.
The desire for new inspiration and to rekindle the creative in me became a priority.
So I rejoined the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography), reconnected with some old friends and made some new ones,
and started entering the print awards, which was daunting and exciting but most of all challenging and inspiring.
Then the WEOA (Wedding Events Of Australia) organisation was born and we felt this was a great thing to be involved in as something that united our wedding industry.
Once again it was inspiring and motivating.
Winning the WEOA Wedding Photographer of the Year for Sydney in 2013 was incredibly special.
Winning the WEOA Wedding Photographer of the Year again in 2014 was simply mindblowing!
(Ok so we tied with another studio in 2014 but I’m fine with that.)
Reward enough was making it as a finalists again, so to be seen once again by our wedding industry peers at being at the top of our game was humbling indeed.
I genuinely love photographing weddings.
the joy, the excitement, the love …
I even enjoy the pressure of being an important part of that most special of days, creating images that couples will treasure forever.
Making people happy is the best reward in a job ever, and I will always love it.
But there is another side to me that yearns for “nowhere”
That place in the outback of Australia that most would fly over rather than drive into.
“Nowhere” is where i find that extra sense of peace,
that even closer connection with God and his creation.
Birds and wildlife are my favourite non-people subjects to photograph.
Some people might call me a little bit crazy but I will travel quite a distance to see and photograph a rare or especially beautiful bird.
Ok so I have also been known to travel a long way to see a boring looking brown pigeon but hey!
Last November I drove 3000km in 4 days to see a particularly rare and especially beautiful bird.
(The vibrancy of the colours of a male Scarlet-chested Parrot seriously have to be seen to be believed!)
Yes it was crazy but also inspiring.
That inspiration flows back into wanting to make every couple and family that we photograph as happy as possible with the best images that we are capable of creating.
That love of both weddings and wildlife is who I am.
So it was extra special to be rewarded for those nowhere times as well.
In 2014 I was awarded the AIPP NSW Science, Nature & Environment Photographer of the Year.
One of the images I entered was of a Bearded Dragon photographed a long way from anywhere with a couple of mates.
A trip I will never forget
(a trip where we also saw heaps of those boring brown pigeons – except they were awesome.)
Later as you would know, we moved from our old home on Military Road, Mosman
to new digs in the gorgeous peaceful surroundings of Headland Park towards Middle Head.
Finally I feel like our wedding space beats in time with my heart.
Birds sing at our front door and trees surround.
Brides and Birds coexist in one space!
Then at the NSW AIPP Print Awards in May I was awarded the 2015 “Science, Wildlife & Wild Places Photographer of the Year”!
I didn’t think that anything could be better in 2015.
I certainly didn’t need any more awards to be happy with my life or my profession.
I’ve been on a high, relishing the recognition of a couple of decades of hard work, all the while being humbled by so many other photographers around me – many of whom are close friends – whose incredible work inspires me.
And then last Friday happened.
Probably one of the biggest highlights of my photographic career.
In terms of wildlife photography in Australia there really is only one competition to enter.
Run by the South Australian Museum and Australian Geographic, ANZANG is an acronym for Australia, New Zealand, Antartica & New Guinea.
ANZANG Nature Photographer of the Year is our most prestigious competition for natural history images photographed within our bioregion.
I still remember entering in its inaugural year 12 years ago.
I’ve entered many times and often had images make it into the final selection for the exhibition, but never taken out a category.
The closest was in 2013 when my image of a Little Egret catching a fish was chosen as the People’s Choice Award from the exhibition.
But on Friday night they read out the overall winner.
The 2015 Australian Geographic ANZANG Nature Photographer of the Year….
….and it was me.
I have an amazing, loving, supportive wife who lets me get away when I need to, and two beautiful daughters who make my heart melt every single day.
Having Amy next to me on Friday night was like the icing on the cake…
…and also the bits inside that keep it from falling apart.
I have been incredibly blessed to be able to do what I love for over 20 years.
Brides and Birds.
the story of my life.
some hopefully interesting links – who doesn’t love an acronym?
David Stowe Photography : my bird and nature photography
ANZANG : South Australian Museum
AIPP : Australian Institute of Professional Photography
WEOA : Wedding Events Of Australia