News and Events

Interview with Australian Photography Magazine


1. What’s the idea behind your Pinetrees photo tours

Lord Howe Island is a dramatically beautiful place. The pristine lagoon, vibrant coral, big mountains, subtropical forests and untouched beaches make it ideal for landscape photography. Add to the landscape two daily sessions of soft morning light and saturated evening light, and you have the criteria for some exceptional photographs. Our Walking and Photography Weeks are designed to put guests in the right place at the right time to take high quality fine art landscape photos. In practice, guests take photos that they didn’t think they were capable of.

2. What will people experience and get out of on one of your photo tours

Over 5 days, guests will discover the very best walking destinations on Lord Howe. Some of the walks are exposed and challenging, but produce dramatic photos. Other walks are leisurely and slow to allow time to explore composition, changing light and learn new techniques from the instructors. Some days we jump on a boat to view the coral and then have a BBQ lunch. Guests are stimulated by 5 full days of photography and thrive on the kind of group atmosphere that’s generated with 12 like-minded photographers in a perfect photographic destination. It’s not often you see people “frothing” to take more photos.

3. What support to clients receive on a trip

In each group of 12 photographers, we have two professional photographers and a local guide. Each morning after breakfast, we have a 30 minute workshop on the technical theme of the day and then set the brief for daily competition. It’s not really competitive, though, it’s just a way to get guests to concentrate on a technical theme, and have a bit of fun. Over the week, we work on scale, tone, composition, emotion, movement and colour, and the photographers work one-on-one with each of the guests during our walks. Every night we have a debrief and show our top 2 photos of the day. It’s always a revelation for each guest to see how many different perspectives there are from the same location – some see the macro world, some are shooting at 200mm and some have wide angle sharpness from the foreground to the horizon.

4. What’s a typical day like on a photo tour

Some guests are up early for the sunrise light and a swim in the lagoon, but most come together at breakfast. Our food is fresh, light and healthy. After the morning workshop, we’ll walk and take photos and maybe have lunch on a high ridge with a stunning view – normally surrounded by hundreds of breeding seabirds. We try to cover a few different landscape types each day, so there’s good variety of walking terrain. We always return to Pinetrees for an afternoon tea of fresh scones, biscuits or muffins, and then guests wander to the boatshed deck to watch the sun set over the lagoon with a cold drink. Some have put their cameras away by now, but most have time lapses clicking away in the background. We then convene for a daily debrief and award a bottle of wine to the winner for the day, only on condition that they share it around the group. The rest of the day seals the deal – a lovely 4 course dinner, great wine, new friends and a comfortable bed.

5. What is it about Lord Howe that attracts photographers

Lord Howe is amazing for photography because all bases are covered - delicate ferns and fungi in the forest, a dramatic gradient of blue in the lagoon and ocean, 800 vertical metre cliffs rising above coral reef, extremely rare seabirds literally at your toes, and ever changing light. There’s always patchy cloud about which makes for great tonal contrast and saturation, and in any given week, guests will see rainbows, passing storms and sunsets – sometimes all together.

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