“The Kimberley landscape is stunning,” says Nigel Gaunt, of Broome’s Red Dirt Photography. There is the classic contrast of red pindan earth and turquoise ocean, and the massive horizons.
And it’s stunning to photograph. “It’s just the quality and the clarity of the light,” says Nigel, who runs photographic tours around Broome to help visitors take better pictures.
Perhaps even more than this, he aims to help them see differently.
“If you can’t see it, you can’t photograph it,” he says. “If you are out with a professional looking at locations, you see it differently. It’s a different way of looking.”And becoming more visually aware helps travellers to tune into the movement of the day. To the rhythm of the place.
Generally, Nigel says, amateur photographers find the light difficult, “but I talk a lot about the position of the light”.
And to do that, he takes them on Red Dirt Photographic Tours — whether they have a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera or a little “point and shoot” digital. There is the two-hour Staircase to the Moon (learn how to capture the Staircase to the Moon, as light pools across Roebuck Bay, $90), half-day Broome and Sunset (camera techniques, creative tips, capturing the sights of Broome and Cable Beach, $170) and full day of Broome and Surrounds (a day of locations, camera technique, composition, lighting, filters, fill-in flash, with morning tea and lunch, $295).
Nigel aims to give them confidence, talking about aperture priority, point of focus, light direction, quality of light and exposure compensation.
“The majority of people I deal with are travellers. They just want to produce a good visual diary and blog,” he says.
“But this afternoon, I am taking out an 11-year-old. A couple of years ago, I took out her sister and she’s winning local photographic competitions now. It’s the reward for me.”
His three-day Cape Leveque and Lombadina, seven-day Bungle Bungle and Kununurra, 10-day Gibb River Road and specialised tours will resume in 2014.
Nigel says he rather hates the phrase “to follow your passion”, but he has done well not only to follow his passion for photography, but also the type of photography he wants to pursue, and make a living out of it.
He was in Broome on holiday when he saw visitors with DSLRs over their shoulder and postcards in their hands. He wondered why they couldn’t take their own great photographs, and thought he could teach them.
Red Dirt Photography has a gallery in Broome’s Chinatown, selling prints of some of Nigel’s best photographs, in addition to the Red Dirt Photographic Tours.
Nigel grew up in the rather different landscape and light of Somerset, England, and first started taking photographs when he was eight and his dad gave him a camera. “It was an Ilford Sporty with 120 film,” he recalls. “It did ‘sunny and cloudy’ and ‘close-up and infinity’.
“But it got me on the road.”9192 2334 and reddirtphoto.com.au