WINNERPortfolio Prize - Australian geographic nature photographer of the year 2021
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ABOUT

ABOUT

Welcome to Tim Wrate Photography, an online collection of aerial and panoramic images by Tim Wrate. Tim Wrate is an Australian landscape photographer with an affinity for exploring and capturing the wild and rugged Great Southern Land with a special emphasis on remarkable light. Tim has an insatiable drive to capture, in the deepest sense, the beauty, the honesty and the unique character of the Australian landscape.

Please feel free to look through our collection and immerse yourself in the world of Tim Wrate Photography.

 

ARTIST'S STATEMENT

My aim is simple: to create enchanting, colour-laden photographs that transfix the viewer and evoke the same emotions, experience, thoughts and sensations that I felt when the image was captured.... those of awe and wonderment. Mother nature after all has an imagination far greater than that of any human.

Photography is just my way to capture, interpret and share it. In a modern world, so much is done superficially and so many million images are seen. I just want to capture that one image that speaks to you.... and stays with you.

TIM'S PHOTOGRAPHIC STORY

As a child my imagination run wild drawing fantastical landscape vistas of looming mountain ranges fringed by dark forests and framed by running rivers. My photography is merely an adult incarnation of a childhood obsession.

I first discovered enjoyment for landscape and documentary photography on an expedition to climb Mount Kenya, Africa’s second tallest mountain as a teenager in 2001. However, this newfound love was let buried under a mountain of university and post-graduate studies until I finally purchased my first camera in 2008.

I was swiftly and comprehensively seduced by the ability that photography allowed me to express my vision of the natural world and I was left enchanted by the colour-palette of the nature. I soon submersed himself in all things photographic in my spare time. It was during this time that I discovered a dedicated group of medium format panoramic photographers with their comparatively cumbersome film cameras, understanding of light and technical virtuosity created elegant colour-laden tableaux of nature. I was hooked.

I purchased a medium format slide film in late 2010, well after the digital revolution, and dedicated myself to a continual learning process to master the idiosyncrasies of shooting on temperamental slide film. From the first time I saw one of his transparencies on a light table glowing with great luminosity, I have been constantly striving to capture better images. The discipline of shooting on film taught me the importance of mastering exposure and the art of carefully considered compositions.

Several years later, lured by improving technology and ever-increasing megapixel counts, I let the film camera begin to collect dust and re-joined the digital age. In many respects it was like learning to ride a bike again but the skills I learned shooting on film accelerated the learning curve. Soon there was a growing diversity to my images, including images captured long into the night when other sane photographers would be in the comfort of bed.

In January 2018, during a family holiday in Western Australia, I gave myself the opportunity to charter a flight over Hutt Lagoon, a stunning salt lake well known for its array of pinks, magentas and reds. The minute the texture and colour of the lake was unveiled below me, I was immediately hooked. Even now, I recall the exhilarating feeling of take-off - a mixture of acceleration and weightlessness all at once. Beyond the physical experience of flying, the aerial view was a revelation to me - new vistas were revealed and new perspectives became available.

I have since travelled the width of Australia in following this new photographic pursuit.  I have been fortunate enjoy to bear witness to a stunning cloud inversion enveloping Australia’s highest mountain range in Kosciuszko National Park and the savage beauty of the highest tidal range in the southern hemisphere in the Kimberley. The experiences are as varied as the landscapes I have photographed - from dangerous winds in remote South Australia to minus fifteen degrees in the Snowy Mountains.

Flying over Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre was a terrific experience because I was there during the most significant flooding on the inland lake for over 60 years. I flew along the edge of the lake that was rapidly drying out leaving a patchwork of salt-crusted features that came to life allowing for me to marvel on them from above. From the ground I couldn’t fathom the scale of what was before me, from the air the inland sea unfurled as far as the eye could see.

Photographing from the air can be tricky, and not only is rewarding but hugely enjoyable. Working out of an open window of a light aircraft or a doorless helicopter means dealing with some serious wind buffeting, wash from the propeller, high frequency vibrations from the engines and sometimes severe aircraft movements. As I move through the air, I find myself multi-tasking; from grappling with my equipment, dialling in the best technical settings on my camera, working to shoot powerfully composed images and keeping up with the rapidly changing perspective, all while communicating with the pilot to orchestrate the best flight path.

Most of the images in the aerial colelction were shot of the window or door of various Cessna 172, 206 and 210 aircraft or R44 and Bell JetRanger helicopters I chartered in various locations. I have always been left astounded by the skill demonstrated by the pilots in finding the right line, orbit or elevation for me to photograph the just the right perspective or angle or even land an aircraft on  an outback airstrip with gusting 30 knot cross winds.

The essence of aerial photography - looking down from up high - is all about offering new insights into landscapes and surroundings, even from familiar scenes. For me, the most appealing aspect of aerial photography is the ability to look past the obvious and find interpretive meanings. On my flight over the remote Eastern Kimberley mudflats around Wyndham, the course of the river and result of the rise and fall of king tides leave tree branches left in the sediment - but it’s just dried mud. It’s the perfect harmony between my love of geography and my love of art.