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Nature photography tips

We chat to renowned photographer David Oliver about capturing nature on film

AIPP Grand Master of Photography and Nikon Ambassador, David Oliver captures magical moments in our natural landscapes with a skillful eye. From knowing when you’ve got the shot to learning how to manipulate the sun’s rays, David shares a few expert insights into taking great pictures.

Key elements to a winning photo?

I would say emotion is the most important element to any photo, which moves people to look at your work in the first place. This is followed by strong composition and great lighting. I also love working in the early morning mist, which is found quite often in the Hunter Valley, NSW where I live.

How do you know when you’ve got the shot?

I have to be honest, sometimes you don’t know. You think you have a great shot but it might be in an image that you took earlier or later for that matter… So you have to continue shooting and explore further elements.

Were you always naturally good at photography?

I was always interested in photography, I wouldn’t say that I was naturally good at it. I have worked very hard over the years and still study the great photographers from all over the world. And they are always a great source of inspiration.

How do you work with sunshine in landscape photography?

It’s about using the sun to create mood in your images – the first two hours in the day and the last two hours in the evening are the best times. Avoid the hot midday sun between 11am and 2pm, as that creates shadowless, flat lighting in landscape and action.

Best assignments you’ve worked on?

I would have to say Rwanda was my best assignment. I was commissioned to photograph 100 days of hope a few years ago, where people from all over the world gave their time and expertise to help Rwanda. It was a great experience, one I will never forget.

Where would you love to photograph that you haven’t had the chance to yet?

The Himalayas is on the bucket list, but I know I would need a lot of time – obviously I would love to photograph Mt Everest, but also the journey there and back is where most people I have spoken to have captured their best images.

What gear are you shooting with right now?

I’m currently shooting with the Nikon D810 and a few of my favourite primes, the AF-S 24mm f1.4G ED, AF-S

See more of David’s work at davidoliver.com.au

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