Photographer of the Month Interview: Rod Thomas

Featured Photographer, June 2011:   Rod Thomas

This month, our featured guest is Rod Thomas.

We want to thank Rod for answering our questions, and sharing some of his insights and experiences with us! Please visit his site links to see more of his incredible work, and to let him know you enjoyed this interview.

:: How did you get your start in photography? What pushed you towards panoramas?

I got my first camera when I was 15, seems like forever ago. It was an OLYMPUS OM 10. We lived on the beach and I wanted to take pictures of my mates surfing, that's why I got a camera. That old girl would probably be a good doorstop rite now I reckon.

What got me leading towards panoramas? My brother was building a house and started collecting a few Ken Duncans photos and I loved the format so I thought I would give it a go, but with digital getting so damn good these days, I am finding myself shooting a bit of both (panos and normal 35mm shots).

:: Do you think there is any difference in landscape photography philosophy between the photographers from Australia, as opposed to those from the U.S.?

Not at all. It does not matter where you are from, we're always pushing ourselves to be better every time we go out shooting. I know a lot of photographers from Australia look at American photographers for ideas and inspiration and I am sure it is the same for American photographers with Australians.

:: Which location in Australia is your favorite and why?

Mate, I have seen more of the rest of the world than I have of my own country. But if I had to pick a location to say is my favourite that I have been to, it would be Karijini in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is an amazing area and one I hope to get back to some time soon. I also really want to do some work in the NSW outback, as well as country Victoria during autumn (fall) and also the south west of Western Australia. We have so many nice places here in Australia, I could travel for the rest of my life and not see them all I reckon, but it's like that in the USA as well.

:: Give us a story of the scariest thing that has happened to you while photographing.

Um, not much scary has happened to me really, but on a recent trip to New Zealand, I was walking in the snow when I suddenly fell up to my waist, I had to get my mate to help me out... that's about the scariest thing.

:: How do you juggle the family and photography aspect of the business?

I am lucky I have a wife who is pretty easy going and lets me travel as much as I do, as my kids are only fairly young and a bit of a handful. She helps me out lots. I think as long as she can see it being rewarding, she is ok with it.

:: Do you consider yourself a rugged outdoor photographer or comforts type of guy? How long can you stay out in the wilds before you need to reconnect with life?

I could quite easily say a bit of both. I love camping and getting out there amongst it, but I could just as easy stay in a motel every night I am away. I have a trip to the USA in October this year, with a mate of mine, and we are camping 90% of the time, so I am really looking forward to it. If I could talk to my kids from anywhere in the world while shooting, that is all the connection with life I would need.

:: What aspect of photography do you find most challenging these days?

Trying to come up with my own style I guess, and I am not sure I have even nailed that yet!!!

:: What was the best piece of advice you received from another photographer while you were learning photography?

I had a photographer tell me once that if you want to know something, just ask. I have asked so many questions from other photographers and read a lot of stuff from the web it's not funny, but it's good, because a lot of people I have spoken with, are now mates, and even if I was to stop taking photos, I can still catch up with them and have a few beers....

:: What piece of advice would you pass on to another photographer who is just learning?

As above... ASK QUESTIONS! Search the net and ask questions, and keep asking!! Every bit of info you get, take it and put it into use on your next shoot, and your photos will improve in no time at all.

:: What locations do you want to visit the most in the next year?

I have got a three week trip to South West USA in OCT going through Zion, Page, Monument Valley, Arches, Canyonlands etc.... Apart from that, I have no plans set in stone, but as always, I am sure something will pop up. I'd love to see the Seychelles and The Maldives, back up to The Great Barrier Reef and do the whole coast of Australia, from The South Coast of NSW all the way across to Perth.

:: What is your favorite piece of gear you own and use with your photography?

My Fstop Tilopa backpack...... they are the best bag I have ever used!!

:: Which image of yours is your favorite, and why?

For me it's really hard to pick one, so I let my wife pick this one. It's the one with the lake scene from NZ with the mountains in the background, the fast moving clouds and the yellow trees off to the right hand side.

Rod Thomas

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