Wayne Harris

Wayne Harris has been a member of Corio Bay Camera Club since 2004. While he now lives and works in Central Australia, he still regularly contributes work to our monthly competitions. Prior to heading outback, Wayne was the club competition secretary for five years. We had a conversation with Wayne about his photography …

How did you get into photography?

I’ve always had some interest in photography. At school I found the images in magazines such as National Geographic full of intrigue, showing the way people lived and the splendour of scenery from around the world. However at that stage, I had neither the opportunity nor the availability of photographic equipment to pursue it – schools back then didn’t teach photography or supply cameras like they do nowadays. I did eventually buy a Kodak Instamatic camera that I used to take black and white film photos or colour slides. My parents in law were both quite keen photographers; they had SLR cameras and produced great slides of their many trips around Australia and overseas. Nine years ago, Colin Klein invited me to join the camera club. Since then, my photography has improved with the valuable help and inspiration I have received from club members.

What are your favourite subjects and/or locations?

I’m interested in all aspects of photography, but my favourite subjects are landscapes and seascapes. I just love to go “Outback” and try to photograph this wide brown land. I particularly love the red of the earth and blue of the sky interspersed with the many shades of green vegetation associated with Central Australia – a place I have visited many times and still find beautiful and inspiring. I also enjoy travelling to many of our beautiful and spectacular coastal regions, especially at sunrise or sunset.

Who or what inspires you to go out and take photographs?

I’ve always enjoyed going out on club activities and group outings, learning from some of the leading photographers in the club. I also enjoy the solitude of being out in a beautiful location, absorbing the tranquillity and beauty of the place, trying to capture it as well I can and coming away feeling that I haven’t quite achieved it. Then over time, the image does bring back the memory of the place and I am more satisfied with the result.

What do you like to communicate through your photography?

I try to communicate the beauty and remoteness of our landscape; the colours, the light and its features and a feeling of being part of the landscape.

What sort of gear do you use/have you used in the past?

My first SLR camera was a Practika, a very basic camera but good to learn on. This was followed by a fully manual Minolta SRT, a “hand-me-down” from my in laws when they upgraded to a new Automatic Minolta – something they always regretted. I used this camera for many years until it started overexposing slides. Then a visit to Colin Klein to identify the problem led me to the club and the digital age. I tried a couple of compact digitals with some success before going to a digital SLR with a Canon EOS 350D.

The camera equipment I now use is all Canon; an EOS 50D with various lenses, and flash unit. I also have two Sigma lenses; a 10-20 wide angle and a 50-500 zoom. I use a Manfrotto tripod with a ball head, and I have various types and styles of filters.

What’s your favourite piece of kit?

At the moment my favourite piece of equipment would be my EOS 50D mounted with a Canon 18 – 200mm Image Stabiliser lens. I guess I would probably shoot eighty per cent of my images with this combination. It suits my purpose for the moment – until I can afford a full frame camera!!!

Which of your images is/are your favourite(s)?

My favourite images change quite frequently, depending on my mood, or the memory of a shoot when I view the images again after a period of time. However I think one of my two “most favourite” is my image of Uluru after a massive storm. Unfortunately there was no lightning about at the time I shot, but the colours and atmosphere really brought the place alive. My other “most favourite” is the image of the anchor at Moonlight Head on the Great Ocean Road. We were coming home from a weekend at Port Campbell, when I decided to go and have look at the anchors. Luckily the tide was low and there was some mist to give atmosphere. I spent far too long there trying different angles and settings. The long walk there and back to the car meant I had left my family waiting for over two hours, not knowing what had happened to me. I was very happy with the shots  – although my family weren’t happy with me and we were very late home.

What do you think is your greatest photographic achievement?

My greatest photographic achievement has grown over time – from my first merit at the club to my first winning image in competitions and then winning a merit in a VAPS competition for one of my slides and more recently, the honour of winning Image of the Year for “Small Prints” and “Projected Images”. I have also been fortunate to have wins in many interclub comps, but I think my greatest achievement was winning first place for Projected Images in the recent inter-club competition against Geelong Camera Club.

Is there anything that you’d like to improve in your photography?

I think there are a lot of opportunities to improve my photography. There are so many different aspects of photography where I have only just scratched the surface. I would love to spend time trying macro work. It is something that I admire in other peoples’ work. When I try it, the bug or butterfly disappears before I am ready. I would also like to improve my portrait work. The images that the members are producing at the portrait night sessions are nothing short of brilliant. I also find that every time I read a magazine or talk with someone about photography you can pick up tips that can help you improve your work.

Do you have any favourite photographic books and/or websites?

As I said earlier, I love reading National Geographic for its stories and photography. I also read Australian Geographic and Digital Photo magazine. I have a few books by Steve Parish and Ken Duncan, whom I believe are amongst the best landscape photographers in Australia. As far as websites, I think the f11 digital magazine is well worth a read. I also visit camera club websites from around the world for look and often check out websites of photographers that I meet or find on Facebook or Redbubble. There are many places to get inspiration or information it is only a matter of finding them.

Is there a photographer that you particularly admire? Why?

When I joined the club nine years ago I was in awe of what I saw, however to me there was one person that stood out above the rest because his work was mainly landscapes. Barry Feldman’s work has inspired me from the very start. He was good enough to take me aside and give me lessons on how to use my “new digital SLR” in manual modes – getting away from the “P” function. Barry continues to drive me to improve and I’ve been privileged to go on many road trips with Barry and another local photographer I admire, Peter Marin.

Any final thoughts?

I think I have been very fortunate to have a family that has supported my photography. We have travelled quite extensively throughout Australia, and this has meant that I’ve had to make the most of whatever time and conditions are available.

I believe being a part of a camera club or photographic group is significant. It’s good to have like-minded people to share ideas, inspiration and help. It doesn’t matter where you are, if you see someone with a camera, there is a fair chance that he or she will be more than happy to advise and discuss photography with you.

Below is a selection of images that Wayne has chosen (click on the images to see a larger version)…

Across the Bay – This shot was taken at sunset on a winter’s day from Western Beach towards Pt. Henry. The large cloud absorbing the suns last rays reflecting on the water makes a bright backdrop for the yachts in the foreground.

 

Anchors at Rest – This is one of my favourite images, a spot well worth a visit and only an hour or so out of Geelong. I like the composition and the atmosphere and I guess I was lucky to get the tide and weather conditions in my favour. The image won best “Projected Image” against Geelong Camera Club.

 

Bay Sunset – This image was chosen as part of an exhibition highlighting the Usage of Corio Bay shown at the Geelong Wool Museum. It was taken at Easter while camping at Rosebud, I like the impression it gives that the Kayaker is striding for the finish line.

 

Coming Home – this was taken later the same evening as “Across the Bay”. It shows Greg and his seaplane with Smorgy’s in the background, returning to dry dock after a day’s work. I believe the plane has taken a dunking recently, I hope all is well for him.

Glory of the Past – I was fortunate to win “Small Print of the Year” with this image taken in the King‘s Canyon National Park in Central Australia. It was at about 10am on a 40˚ November day. I like the harshness of the place and the strong colours, it always amazes me when I see trees growing in what is virtually just rock but still manage to obtain enough water and nutrients to survive, but not forever.

 

Low Tide Barwon Heads – This shot came about because I had a badly infected big toe from playing cricket that needed a soak in salt water; I was a bit concerned about the quality of the bay so headed to Barwon Heads. With camera in hand, I walked around to Raf’s beach and this was the result.

Mandrill – I took this shot at the Melbourne Zoo with the “Geelong Throng” RedBubble group members. I used my Sigma 50 – 500 zoom through glass. I was pleased with the Mandrill’s expressions not wanting to make eye contact but wary of my presence. The light was low but even, which helped bring out the striking colours in his face.

Misty Morning – Uluru -Liz and I were travelling in Central Australia when I heard that Lisa, Cathy, Debbie and Ria were going to Uluru, so we made a detour to spend some time with them. I told the girls that I was getting up early to be out at The Rock well before sunrise, they opted for their bed. The result was this shot. There had been a lot of rain here the weeks before we arrived, which caused clouds of mist to rise up the face of Uluru as the sun rose and warmed the atmosphere, sorry Lisa. This image won best “Projected Image” against Ballarat YMCA Camera Club.

Mornington Island Sunset – Travelling again, this time to Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria, we stayed at an aboriginal settlement with friends. We saw many beautiful sunsets; this one typifies a tropical sunset with the sun setting over water with pandamas palms silhouetted against the sky and water.

 

Namatjira Gums – This shot, though not spectacular shows the two gums and ridge that Albert Namatjira painted back in the 1940’s. I took the shot in the middle of last year without knowing the significance of it, until I found out that the trees were destroyed in a scrub fire on Christmas Eve. They had survived many fires and the ravages of life for so long and were not as spectacular as when Albert painted them.

Reed Reflections – This is another image that has won “Small Print of the Year” it was taken at Dog Rocks near Batesford, usually my concentration is on the rock formations, however this time there was water in the dam at the base of the hill. With the sunset reflecting on the water, it silhouetted a small group of reeds in an abstract formation.

Shell Reflections – This shot was taken on a cold, still May morning after the fog had risen, and it is from the Grammar School jetty across to the Shell refinery. The reflections and placement of the channel markers add to the atmosphere of the image. It is a shot that makes heavy industry look more attractive.

 

Uluru After The Rain – This is another of my “most favourite” images. The storm earlier in the evening dumped about 100mm of rain in half an hour in the area. The colour in the sky from the storm and the sun setting make a strong combination of colours. This image has won “Projected Image of the Year”.