• Outdoor photographer. Thom Holmes/Unsplash
    Outdoor photographer. Thom Holmes/Unsplash

We spoke to one of last year’s Wilderness Photographer of the Year winners, Craig Ford, on his photo tips and tricks.

Do you have any habits that allow you to be creative photographically?

Perhaps the most important habit is preparation. I always carry an assortment of lenses, my Lee 100 filter system and a sturdy tripod which gives me maximum creative control in the field from utilising polarising filters to reduce reflections and enhance colour depth, to allowing greater control over exposure time by using neutral density filters. You never know what the light may do so it pays to be prepared. The Lee 100 system allows me to stack up to three filters at one time which allows for great flexibility and excellent creative control.

Craig Ford, 'Taft Point Sunset'. Winner, People category, Wilderness Photographer of the Year 2023.
Craig Ford, 'Taft Point Sunset'. Winner, People category, Wilderness Photographer of the Year 2023.

What tips would you offer anyone wanting to enter our Wilderness Photographer of the Year?

Try to photograph “multi-dimensional” images with more than just one point of interest. You may have hiked to an amazing outlook over a beautiful landscape scene but try to incorporate other elements in your composition such as dramatic lighting, foreground interest or a human element. My most successful images, particularly in the Wilderness Photographer of the Year 2022 and 2023 competitions, were those that I consider to be “multi-dimensional”. Importantly, don’t be afraid to experiment in the field with different compositions, focal lengths and to switch between landscape and portrait orientations.

What’s your favourite camera and why?

I have always been a Nikon fan, so I exclusively use Nikon equipment. At the moment I’m using a full frame Nikon D850 which is easily my favourite camera to date. It’s just so versatile and allows for a wide range of user creativity.

Do you prefer using zoom lenses or multiple fixed lenses and why?

For landscape photography I prefer to use zoom lenses with my favourite being the Nikon 24-70mm. In the wilderness you often find yourself in tight areas on trails or cliff tops which don’t easily allow you to move closer to or further away from a scene. A zoom lens gives you the flexibility to change composition without necessarily changing your location.

What’s your favourite part of Australia to photograph and why?

That’s a tough question but I would have to say the outback (Northern Territory), particularly Uluṟu - Kata Tjuṯa National Park. This is due to the vast and isolated nature of the desert landscape there, the unique flora and fauna and, of course, the iconic and spectacular rock formations such as Uluṟu.

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