Will Eades

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If you live on the north shore, you will know will from travelling to and from home on the ferry,but did you know ? He is a nature lover and talented photographer?…

Hi Will. Tell us about your connection with our beautiful region…?
Hi. Well, I’ve lived in Port Macquarie for most of my life – on the Hastings River growing up, and now over at Eastport. I currently manage the Hastings Council’s vehicular ferries at Settlement Point and Hibbard, and on weekends you might see me out with my camera.

Where did your passion for photography come about?
I suppose the seed was planted when I was 18 and began work on the Hibbard Ferry. I realize that doesn’t seem to have any connection to photography at all, but if you’ve had the good fortune of travelling across the Hastings river during a sunset, you’ll agree that it offers up a terrific view. It was this outlook that first sparked my interest. I would spend up to 8 hours a day keeping a lookout as I made my crossings, and during that time you can’t help but see all kinds of rare and interesting things – stingrays jumping, sea turtles coming up for a look, birds of prey plucking fish from the shallows etc. The pivotal moment was when I witnessed a shag struggling with an octopus wrapped around its face. I reached for my camera phone to capture the moment, but was left frustrated with a blurry, tiny image. I bought a second hand Nikon DSLR soon afterward, and I haven’t looked back.

What was the first image you shot in your photography journey, and how far have you come?
I couldn’t pin point my first image, though there were many blown out sunsets, clouds and out of focus magpies. These were all great subjects for someone learning the ropes, but far from something you would frame. After I learnt my way around the camera, I grew happily obsessed with photographing Port’s local birds of prey. They’re fast and they dislike people, so getting close enough to capture anything is a considerable challenge. I’m still striving for that elusive shot of a sea eagle catching a fi sh, but I’ve been unsuccessful to date. They must see me coming. My friend actually got me a “ghillie suit” as a joke, which is an extreme type of camouflage that snipers wear to blend into the jungle. I’m not that desperate yet, but if you do see me creeping around in the bush, don’t worry; I’m more than likely there for the wildlife. In regard to how far I have come, I can say I’m happy with my progress, though I’m under no illusion as to how far I still have to go – especially seeing some of the high quality images coming from other local photographers. Their work drives me to keep improving my technique and to keep experimenting with the seemingly limitless variety of ways to photograph a given scene or subject. My most recent success was an image of a severe thunderstorm over Lighthouse Beach that I licensed to the Bureau of Meteorology. They have used it for a national project that has given me some great exposure, so that’s exciting.

It’s clear that you love photographing nature; what is it that draws you in?
When you’re dealing with nature, it has to be preparation. If you know where your subject is going to be, then you can prepare and show up early. I should premise this by saying there are never guarantees with this sort of thing, but take wildlife for example; many animals are creatures of habit, so learning their routines, their routes and their favourite places to hang out will increase your chances of getting a good photograph. Maybe a local eagle has a favourite spot to hunt? Or maybe you saw a pod of dolphins cruising up the river on the high tide? I would encourage anyone interested in this kind of photography to take notice of these things, do some research, and then time your outings so that you aren’t standing around for hours at the wrong time of day, in the wrong part of town. Most of this you learn through trial and error, but a lot of research can be done from home, which is handy for predicting things like storms. I try to monitor weather reports and prepare ahead of time where I can, but thunder is always a good bet. Storms move quickly and quite often bring rain, so timing your shoot and getting to a nice open vantage point prior to the storm hitting is the best chance at getting a great photo and avoiding shooting in the rain and lightning.

What are your future plans for your photography?b>
At the moment I’m just happy shooting in my spare time and sharing my work with others, though falling short of a career with National Geographic, I’ve thought about running outdoor workshops for people wanting to learn better techniques for photographing nature and wildlife.

Where can our readers view your images and find out more about your work?
My favourite images can be found at http://will_eades.500px.com, but also follow me on Facebook at Will Eades Photography, or on Instagram under my alter ego -‘Huxcam’.
Thanks Will.

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