Busiest time of the year and I'm procrastinating trying to headbutt a GoPro.
There's something about my semi transient sense of life that's stoking me out. I'm back in Sydney in between shoots, literally lurking on the beach or a carpark working on another Ocean film and sauntering out during sunrise and sunsets; never have felt more alive in the past while.
Vague? You betcha.
I see numerous vanlife members on their way up the coast or hanging around but the difference is I can't sit still. Bondi is full of them, if you've been, you know, the Police were hard on the case of an abandoned (suspected) campervan today, it's owners upped and left for somewhere else, the mentality of 'meh' is actually hard to adopt with the amount of buzz around the place. The Shades of Morning series was a reflection of that, and one I'm most stoked on, although winter is here and the numbers have dropped the hype remains.
I've shifted from sunrise to sunset, there's more people around after the 'heat' of the day (it reached 24 degrees and it's the middle of winter). Even still, some people-less scenes reflect my current hype reel levels. Or maybe that's the sugar, winning yet again.
I have a few friends who confuse me at times. It could be the incessant need to hunt and kill fish, or the incessant need to hunt, kill, and attack each other in the process with offal from said catch, or all of the above when the weather is less than ideal.
But, I had a few things to test with a new camera setup, so I donned an old wetsuit and went along for the ride.
Tourism North Queensland's 'One Day In Paradise' campaign
Shooting underwater is weird.
After four years of working on the underwater series I thought I had dealt with a fair few problems, from infections to reef cuts to White Sharks, so when Tourism North Queensland approached me to make a short film doing what I do on the Great Barrier Reef I said 'No problem'.
Add a late season tropical storm and an Irukandji (Box jellyfish) restriction; I was stumped.
The showcase film we went to make wasn't going to happen, and while reflecting on this in the interview we decided to focus on the challenges we tend to go through while pursuing our chosen career paths.
Even with the problems and copious amounts of stress I'm more stoked on this film than one I pitched, huge thanks goes to my crew for sticking it out.
DOP: Brad Halstead
Model: Holly Alifraco
Stills/Edit: Mark Tipple
Music: Rhian Sheehan
Stills: Canon 5D MkII
Aquatech DC-5 v2
Aquatech LP-3 8" Dome port
Aquatech 50mm extension ring
Video/Audio: GoPro Hero3 (requirement from the client)
Steadicam Smoothie for GoPro
Rode NTG3 & Zoom H4n
I spent February on Bondi Beach, working on a series of photographs that capture the essence of the beach culture along Sydney's Eastern Beaches. At sunrise every morning you'll find hundreds of people exercising, swimming, photographing, just enjoying the morning - only to disappear at 9am when the tourist buses roll in. It's a magical time of morning, and I tried a variation of the Thirty Minute technique to find the spirit amongst the morning people.
See the series here - www.marktipple.com/shades
2012 was about rolling with the hits and misses, learning and adapting, while staying true to what I believe. No compromise.
See the review here - www.marktipple.com/twelve
My collaboration calendar with UK based environmental org Surfers Against Sewage has just been launched, featuring 12 photos from the underwater series. I'm stoked to use what I've focused on for the past three years to help organisations who are actively looking after the ocean. Priced at £15 with postage, funds will go towards their Protect our Waves campaign.
"I'm done bro, I'm done."
With those few words Mike rose to his feet in ankle deep water and began the 10 minute walk towards shore, dodging thick black urchins and sharp reef outcrops while assessing his wounds. Even from behind the waves I could see a stream of blood run down his arm, and t-shirt turn red across his shoulders.
This was in the first hour of a 10 day shoot.
We both knew the reefs on the island were shallow; we'd been there before and surfed the waves, but shooting The Underwater Project dictates no boards and definitely no wetsuits - meaning the danger of losing skin was increased tenfold.
With a wary eye watching for rogue waves I watched as Mike left the water, he stumbled on a few urchin spines adding insult to injury; and I wondered if there was something else that I could shoot underwater.
After a few technical adjustments (read : complete confusion with new gear); the Mare Vida series found me.
See the whole series here - www.marktipple.com/marevida
In June I spent time at the Kigamboni Community Centre in Tanzania, working to showcase the positive impact they've had in rising up talents of the local youth.
We held an exhibition in Sydney last weekend to raise funds for next year's education programs which went pretty well; I'm super stoked to be involved in helping people help others.
Jackson is one of the standout stories from the centre, see his story below, and the rest of the stories at www.marktipple.com/risingup
Summer 2012 was tough.
With the amount of rain and storms marching
through Sydney I was hanging out for April, last year April proved worth
the wait with crystal clear bath warm water all along the beaches in
Being lazy as I am, I focused on Bronte beach, having moved a few blocks away to a larger apartment at the start of the year my shooting consistency dropped as the books proved more work than anticipated, plus the added distance meant I had to battle traffic and trigger happy parking rangers….my pet hate.
However, April didn't let me down. I was working on a few underwater film shoots with scuba and a tripod, sometimes much to the surprise of the swimmers when I surfaced in full scuba right next to them, had some weird looks and comments as it was only 4 foot deep. Even so I managed to shoot some stills in the lay days.
Dark Paradise was shot on one of those lay days, when the water looked clear from above but wasn't totally free of sediment and weed below. I was going to pass on it but I had a few hours to kill, and needed a salt fix. The waves were a playful 2-3 foot, big enough to produce the plumes of whitewater but not big enough to stop swimmers from coming out further to where they were breaking. I was a little out of position as a wave started to form, and thought of shooting right behind through the breaking water and maybe seeing the beach through the glassy wall, but a touch of sea-breeze made the lip crumble and the face bumpy.
One of the luxuries of this digital generation is the ability to shoot regardless of the wave or my position; I'd rather have to delete a bunch of 'nothings' than run the risk of missing the moment by simply being conservative and not pressing the button.
As the wave was breaking and moving away from me I saw the splash and shadow of a swimmer start to dive under, for some reason he angled himself across the wave and not straight through, as my camera buffered out and the fps slowed considerably I was left with the last image on the display keeping me stoked.
I try to be as close to swimmers as I can to show as much detail and expression as possible, although this was shot from more than twice as far away as usual it just seems to work.
See more from Summer 2012 here - http://
This summer was tough.
I lost count after 10 consecutive days of rain earlier in January, then when the clouds finally parted allowing the sun to shine the water was filled with sediment and muck for the following week - which would coincide perfectly for the next spell of rain. Frustrating to say the least.
While Sydney suffered under El Niño's grasp I spent a fair bit of time in South Australia, wanting to focus on the Ocean films I've been working on I teamed up with good friends Mike and Luke to produce West Away, a film about why we do what we do. Personally it was an epic time as I've been away from that sort of searching trip since moving to Sydney a few years ago. Even though the Underwater Project was put aside to focus on pre and post of West Away I'm stoked on the outcome, it seemed all the more fitting to feature Mike in the film having started the Underwater Project with him on a dusty trip to the desert almost two and a half years ago.
As winter creeps a little closer every day, the Summer 2012 Gallery is somewhat of a reportage of the past 8 months with some good days in amongst the bad - while also paying homage to some of the selects from years past. In the coming months I'll be focusing on another Ocean film and a humanitarian project, until sometime in September when the clouds disappear giving way to warmer water and sunny skies and the underwater series will start up again.
In the meantime, I've added an acrylic panel print option along with the standard matte/gloss/canvas options - acrylics look amazing as the waves are almost 3D - check the window on the right hand side of each gallery for more information, and the books are still finding their way to homes around the world. I'm still humbled on the reception of the series.