• Fujifilm X-T5, 16-55mm f/2.8 lens @ 20mm. 1/60s @ f20, ISO 1600.
    Fujifilm X-T5, 16-55mm f/2.8 lens @ 20mm. 1/60s @ f20, ISO 1600.

Behind the Lens: The connection

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In the quiet stillness of 4am, I found myself lying awake, perched at 1,446 metres in Tasmania, contemplating how the relentless onslaught of three days of rain and storms had set our team back.

My body, worn from consecutive projects leading up to this moment, desperately needed a break.

Ahead lay the prospect of a 25km hike with a 40kg backpack for the next 4-5 days. However, I was determined not to let this moment slip away, nor disappoint the team, no matter how strongly the urge to quit tugged.

A few years earlier, at the age of twenty-one, I found myself in a job that had left me questioning where I had strayed from my dream of becoming a sports photographer. Seeking a change, I impulsively booked a trip to Tasmania, enticed by its reputation as a haven for adventure.

It was during this journey that I stumbled upon the world of Highlining, a sport where individuals traverse a one-inch-wide Nylon/ Polyester webbing suspended between two fixed points at an elevated height. Inspired by the work of my idol, Australian action sports photographer Krystle Wright, I discovered a newfound passion and purpose.

Fast forward six years, and I had returned to Southwest Tassie and the very place that had planted the seed of inspiration.

The essence of photography often lies in anticipation and meticulous planning. In the lead up to this shot I immersed myself in studying every available photograph of the location, researching potential shots, necessary gear (usually the last consideration in a project), and visualising every conceivable angle, lighting scenario, and the distinct styles of the athletes I’d be capturing.

Confident in my preparation, my focus shifted to contributing my part to the team and providing myself with the opportunity to bring my shots to life.

The beauty of being on challenging projects and enduring long hikes is the immersive connection you gain. Distractions fade away as you find yourself lost in thoughts of dream shots while traversing landscapes or listening to the calls of birds.

Fujifilm X-T5, 16-55mm f/2.8 lens @ 20mm. 1/60s @ f20, ISO 1600.
Fujifilm X-T5, 16-55mm f/2.8 lens @ 20mm. 1/60s @ f20, ISO 1600.

It's a far more engrossing distraction than pondering the 40kgs on your back, the rain-soaked shoes inducing blisters, or the seemingly never-ending ascent.

My plan here revolved around framing the shot with highliner Carmen Ator perfectly aligned against the awe-inspiring mountain range, just as the sun rose.

The golden rays would cascade like spotlights over her, capturing an image that echoed the first warmth of winter sunshine as she made her way along the line some 450m above the ground. And, when I awakened at 4am, everything was poised for execution – the rest was up to me.

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