Stories from the Lens of a Nomadic Photographer
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When I first met Dom Ryan, he’d just spilt a coffee on his most expensive lens. But instead of getting annoyed about it, he just said “yeah, well, I like the smell of coffee, so it’s all good.” That ‘it’s all good’ attitude pretty well sums up Dom, one of the nicest, most positive and easy-going people I’ve met. And he is also an incredibly talented photographer. I was lucky enough to join him on a sunrise shoot recently at Maroubra Beach, where he told me some of his story.
Dom was given his first camera for Christmas when he was just eleven years old, which he carried everywhere and taught himself how to use. “As I’ve progressively upgraded over the years I’ve added on to that knowledge what new features and capabilities more advanced technology brings. I’m always learning and discovering new techniques and places to point a lens at. That’s the fun of it, the possibilities are endless.” Fast forward to now, and you’ll see Dom has an incredibly impressive collection of photos under his belt. His instagram and website showcase beautifully-taken soft pastel-coloured images from the best beaches, mountains, surf breaks and wildlife from Australia, New Zealand and Bali.
“I love shooting the outdoors, anything that gets me out of the house. I’ve always grown up around the ocean so coastal life is really important to me and I love to incorporate that into my shots. Sunrise is always the best time to shoot as the light and colours they produce are so ideal. Ocean wildlife always fascinates me and whale season is my favourite time of year. I love sitting on the headland and watching them cruise past, always hoping to snap a few breaches. Whenever I’m not near the coast, I love mountains and other natural formations, especially if there’s a hike involved to get to them.”
With so many amazing locations on the east coast of Australia alone, I asked Dom which one was his favourite. “I’ve grown up close to Maroubra Beach pretty much all my life so it’s generally the go-to. But the entire east coast of Australia is a photographer’s haven. I’m going to keep my all-time favourite spot to myself though… but no, it’s not Byron Bay! I also love New Zealand and have been lucky enough to visit three times. It has everything – beaches, mountains; all within mere hours of each other. The landscapes in that country are unbelievable, I’d move over there in a heartbeat.”
When Dom lost his job in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he bought a van, kitted it out, and is about to embark on an epic road trip in search of the east coast’s best beach sunrises. So what technology will Dom be taking on the road? “I currently shoot with a Sony A7RIII (it’s an amazing camera, the image quality is unreal) and a few lenses including a 100-400mm, 35mm, 50mm, 24-105mm and a 16-35mm all for a variety of situations. My favourite would have to be the 100-400mm (the bazooka lens) – I can zoom from an incredible distance to capture things people wouldn’t normally see or notice from that perspective. It’s a lot of fun! All my aerial images are shot on a DJI Mavic Air 2 which is an amazing bit of kit, everything looks better from a drone, as they say.” You’ve seen his incredible photos – but which one is Dom’s personal favourite?
“I haven’t taken it yet! Every photograph I work on takes time... whether that’s two minutes or two hours, the more time and effort I put into a specific shot the more I get attached to it. Sometimes I’ll take a shot and want nothing to do with it, then a year later I’ll go through the old hard drives and work with it again and end up loving it! So that's a tough one – ask me again in twenty years!” Right, well I know what I’ll be doing in 2040. Check out Dom’s website to purchase prints (a great Christmas gift idea, it’s already on my wish list – to me, from me):