Arwen Dyer’s Top Tips for Aspiring Landscape Photographers
Arwen, what style of photography do you specialise in?
I am a landscape photographer with fervor for conservation photography. The visual image is a very powerful tool for raising awareness and for creating the change needed to protect our natural environment and its wildlife from human endeavour and climate change.
On a creative level, I love shooting broad landscapes but I am enthralled with taking macro and night photographs. The micro world (fungi, moss, tiny shells etc.) and the expansive celestial world are beyond our grasp in many ways, so capturing them and bringing them into people’s lives through photography is a real delight for me.
You are based in Tasmania, what are your favourite local locations to shoot?
Tasmania is amazing because there is such variety of natural landscapes to explore. Some of my favourite places are the Tarkine, Cradle Mountain, Flinders Island and the Western Ranges. The wilder and more remote the better really! The Tarkine is a huge area in Tasmania’s west. I keep returning to its dramatic coastline and beautiful rainforests. I also love the East Coast (including Flinders Island). It’s very different to the West Coast, with lots of granite and a milder climate. Tassie’s mountain areas, such as Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park, are a thrill to photograph during autumn when the Nothofagus Gunnii – our native deciduous tree – is turning.
What are some of the most breathtaking moments you have captured?
One of the most breathtaking moments was at Rupert Point in the Tarkine. The photo does not do the place justice in terms of scale and impact: the massive rocks and raging seas are incredibly dramatic. I was fortunate to have reasonable mild weather when I was there, it’s often very wet and cold. Another stunning moment was photographing Mount Cook in New Zealand. It’s an astonishing place!
A passion of mine is night photography and we are lucky in Tasmania to be able to view the Aurora Australis. Photographing Auroras under the Milky Way is one of the most delightful things I’ve done! I’ve also been lucky to photograph bioluminescent phytoplankton near my home: seeing a sea full of blue sparkles is phenomenal!
Do you have a bucket list of must-capture moments or places?
Top of my list is Lofoten in Norway. When I first saw images of this archipelago I knew I just had to go there! And my dream is finally coming true: I will spend four weeks there, as well as a week in Iceland, this month! These are two of the most scenic places on earth, Lofoten with its incredible fjords and Iceland with its glaciers, icebergs and mountains. Also on my must-visit list are Antarctica, Patagonia, the Canadian Rockies, Outback Australia and more of New Zealand. And there are natural phenomena I wish to photograph too, including lava, the northern lights (I should achieve this one on my Arctic trip!) and wildlife in places like Antarctica and Africa.
Arwen's top tips for adventurous aspiring landscape photographers
- Do everything to ensure you are living your passion. Let nothing hold you back from making your dreams happen!
- Invest in good equipment, but don’t get caught thinking you can’t succeed without it.
- Quality photography is the person behind the lens more than the equipment and the subject.
- Develop your eye and experiment.
- Make friends with your inner critic: be kind to yourself instead of giving yourself a hard time when things aren’t quite right.
- Learning is ongoing.
- Source mentors and make friends with other landscape photographers. You will learn a lot!
- Keep challenging yourself. Visit a new place or do something you’ve not done before (such as macro or black and white, for example).
Top photo: Rupert Point, Tarkine, Tasmania – The Tarkine is a spectacular part of Tasmania. Over 450,000 hectars of rainforest, coastline, button grass plains and mountains, and, ancient Aboriginal artifacts and sacred sites. Unfortunately much of the area is threatened by industry and insensitive recreational activities. This image was taken for a collaborative arts action project called Tarkine in Motion (coordinated by the Bob Brown Foundation), which aims to have the Tarkine protected as National Park by 2020. Over 70 artists spent 72 hours spread out over the region responding in various art modalities. The project has been represented in a film and in exhibitions across the country.
For more of Arwen's work you can go to her website: www.arwendyer.com
This article first appeared in issue 3 and has been edited for length.