Heading West has always been an inevitable destination for me as an ocean photographer and when my good mate and fellow photog Matt Blakers presented the opportunity to make it happen I was as quick as a bee to honey to lock in my ticket. A road trip like this requires a lot of energy and expense, tens of thousands actually. Firstly, a solid and reliable 4WD with an equally if not more so reliable and quality Jetski in tow, is something that costs a lot to obtain and maintain! Secondly, the gear.. Cameras, lenses, housings, bags, drones, GoPros, tripods, gimbals, wetsuits, boards, fins, the list keeps growing, just like your plane ticket when you add how many extra bags you actually need..! Oh! The actual life of a photographer... Thirdly, if you are to venture into the remote parts of Australia, a myriad of extremely essential items are required.. Pack expecting to get lost, bogged, stranded, drenched, attacked by insects, put in a vast array of dangerous circumstances, fall in mud pits, and pretty much anything else that classifies as uncomfortable. You're on the road and things get real, real quick.. And things can go wrong real quick too, especially when you're interacting with the ocean! Prepare for the worst, hope for the best they say, it's good advice!
Our trip was awesome though, we did experience our fair share of less than ideal scenarios that involved killer march flies, sharks, mud pits, gnarly storms and flying bull ants! (Yes. Flying Bull Ants!) But overall we got ridiculously lucky, or as I like to refer to it; blessed. Back to back swells from day one greeted us, accompanied with crispy offshore winds that provided opportune conditions for documenting some of the heaviest and photogenic waves in the world. With full cards and satisfied memories of exploding liquid mountains, our lay days consisted of fishing for the seasonal salmon and wake skating behind the ski. Every day however had plenty of laughter, positive vibes and enthusiasm for the moment, even when the moment was challenging. A trip like this requires good companionship and the simple ability to be present in the moment and appreciate what you've got. The above video is just the highlight reel, as you're watching this, we are both back at work, working hard, the dream that's projected involves a lot of work behind the highlights, just like everyone else. It's the choices we make with what we have that empowers us to create what looks like a dream lifestyle.
I hope this short clip inspires you to set a goal, treat each day as a stepping stone and don't lose heart in reaching what you really wish to achieve. Life is not a race, don't have a burdened thought space by thinking someone else is getting ahead of you. Stay in your lane and know you only have to win against yourself, not others. Be encouraged to envision your own adventure, it doesn't have to be to the great south west, it can be as simple as exploring your own backyard, just like a kid, the adventure is within you, not beyond you.
A huge thanks to Canon Australia who made it a little easier to capture such a diverse amount of angles and images from the trip. Also thanks to Aquatech Imaging Solutions, who make bullet proof housings that seamlessly enable you to photograph the ocean confidently and functionally. Agent Eighteen Wetsuits for keeping us toasty warm during the long hours on the ski and in the ocean. Manfrotto for providing the sturdy legs on the time lapse and landscape shots that feature in the clip as well. GoPro, the legends that re-invented convenient POV (Point Of View) so that the in between and crazy moments get documented effortlessly and Surf Ears for protecting the hearing canals so we can enjoy listening to classic rock adventure beats like Little River Band :)
Check out the new ocean print additions from the trip available in a variety of fine art mediums.