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A Conversation With Kununurra Sun

I had the pleasure recently of sitting down and having a chat with the team at Kununurra Sun, the snazzy new monthly magazine that showcases all things East Kimberley.

If you're around Kununurra be sure to get your hands on a copy of the magazine for local tips and insights into some of the things that make Kununurra and the East Kimberley such an amazing place to visit - or an amazing place to call home. A big thanks to Jess and Rosie for putting together such a great publication. Well done guys! Be sure to follow on Facebook/Instagram @ Kununurra Sun. You can find the full interview below.

Kununurra Sun | May 2022

As nature lovers we are in awe of Gary's photos, we're also pretty jealous he gets to watch Purnululu National Park come alive during the wet. Gary shares some advice for novice photographers and tells us his inspiration behind fundraising for the Royal Flying Doctor Service through his annual calendars.

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY? I bought my first digital camera for a trip to New York back in 2003 while I was still at uni, back when digital photography was first emerging. I was instantly hooked. Walking around New York I was captivated by the play of light within the city, silhouetted figures, highlights and shadows, and other architectural details. A few years later I was working as a photographer’s assistant in Melbourne, which ultimately led to a full-time gig working as an architectural and studio photographer. It wasn’t until I moved to Broome in 2013 that I fell in love with landscape photography and trying to capture the magic and the colours of the Kimberley. It’s a fun game.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR TIME CARETAKING IN PURNULULU. YOU GET TO SEE IT DURING THE WET, WHICH NOT MANY PEOPLE GET TO EXPERIENCE… In one word... Unforgettable! Spending 5 months in Purnululu over the Wet season has been one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities courtesy of APT and their Bungle Bungle Wilderness lodges. To see Cathedral Gorge and Piccaninny Creek flowing was definitely one of those bucket-list moments! But also to see the Wet season storms roll in - the thunder and lightning over the beehive domes - and to see the park transformed by water was just incredible. When the park is closed the wildlife and the birds become more obvious which adds a whole other layer of interest to the whole experience. I’ve really enjoyed dabbling with bird photography for the first time and making the most of having so many interesting birds around the lodge.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY THAT YOU LOVE? I admire anyone who takes the time to create anything. We’re all so busy with work and life that to slow down, to be inspired, and to create something is priceless. Photography helps me do exactly that - slow down, observe, be grateful, and try to capture some of it. It’s also really nice being able to share some of these experiences online with people who can't get here during the Wet season. My social media, as well as my photography calendars and fine art prints give me a nice opportunity to share the images with a wider audience.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE IMAGE THAT YOU'VE TAKEN? My favourite photo is usually a photo of the newest place I’ve just discovered - or getting to experience something new for the first time. My recent photo of Cathedral Gorge flowing reminds me of the excitement of walking in there, wading through the water, the anticipation, and seeing the waterfall flowing for the first time. It’s hard to put those moments into words. There’s something about the Kimberley that is humbling and inspiring in equal measure.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE TO FUNDRAISE FOR? A close friend of mine was injured pretty badly on the Gibb River Road during my first year working in the Kimberley and needed an emergency RFDS evacuation. He pulled up ok in the end but the whole incident highlighted just how invaluable the RFDS is in remote areas like the Kimberley. As a tour guide I have also seen first-hand just how essential the service is. It has been a real pleasure being able to use my photos, and my Kimberley calendars, to raise a few dollars for such an important service. It has been amazing to see the fundraiser supported by so many local businesses - and local people here in the Kimberley and elsewhere.

WHERE DO YOU GO FOR INSPIRATION? Less Instagram, more nature! Just being outside, being surrounded by nature, and taking the time to soak it up, generates all the inspiration I could ever need. The timeless landscapes, the colours, the birds. For me, it’s all about trying create images that capture a little bit of that Kimberley magic.

OTHER CREATIVES YOU FIND INSPIRING/MOTIVATING? There’s so many incredibly talented photographers around at the moment - all producing work that motivates me to be better. When I first fell in love with photography I was inspired by the work of an Israeli photographer, Gilad Benari, who has this incredible talent of seeing familiar places from a unique perspective. He can take a very ordinary location and find something fresh and interesting. His work has definitely inspired me over the years. But also Ken Duncan, one of Australia’s great landscape photographers. Endless inspiration!

FAVOURITE BOOK OR PODCAST? I’m enjoying reading John Muir’s ‘Wilderness Essays’ at the moment. It speaks to the power of wild places and our need to protect them. I’m also a bit of a romantic so I often listen to the podcast ‘Modern Love’, which touches on love, loss and the human condition. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy, and grateful to have such a amazing partner, Bec, sharing these adventures with me.

WHAT IS THE NEXT DESTINATION ON YOUR TRAVEL LIST AND WHY? After 6 months of living and working remotely I’m looking forward to being close to the ocean again in Broome. Having grown up in Belfast, in Northern Ireland, I’m also looking forward to getting back home to see friends and family for the first time in 2 and a half years. It’s great to see WA - and the Kimberley - opening up to the rest of the world again so that people can come and experience the place first-hand.

ADVICE TO NOVICE PHOTOGRAPHERS? Less time on social media, more time behind the camera. There’s no better way to learn than by doing. Forget about those fake HDR iPhone images - get out and chase the light instead! A day out bush is always better than a day on Facebook or Netflix!

-- Gary has raised more than $80,000 for the RFDS to date through selling his Kimberley calendars. $5 from every calendar sold goes to the RFDS to support the invaluable work they do. Visit his website to learn more.

The new 2023 Broome and Kimberley calendars will go on sale across the Kimberley and online in early June.


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