WATCH: Flinders Island, Bass Strait, Tasmania, Australia
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Photo Escapades Founder
and Photography Mentor
" Professional photographers are instilled with a perfectionist attitude from the very beginning”.
My study of photography at RMIT, at the time the best photography course in the southern hemisphere, involved such subjects as – sensitometry – the study of light sensitive materials - tone curves and emulsion structures etc. chemistry, optics and the physics of light, large format photography, studio lighting as well as the creative subjects.
This knowledge was later invaluable in adapting to the digital world, as the digital process was based on the same principals but electronic rather than physical. The tone curves and optics were the same and electronic chips share much in common with light sensitive film.
This is not to say that the technical side will carry you through but it helps a lot if you want to express yourself through any medium, in the same way a painter must learn about how to use oil paint and study the way light falls on his or her subject.
After absorbing this information the trick was to combine the creative with the technical and it’s here that my real learning began, culminating, eventually, in an epiphany where the two came together to produce an understanding allowing me to really express myself using the medium of photography.
I could then visualise a picture and in turn produce a corresponding photograph.
Along the way, through attending exhibitions, absorbing magazines and any other good input I could get, I realised that it’s all about expressing a feeling.
I learned the importance of spending time absorbing my surroundings before even thinking about getting out the camera.
This might seem silly, but it was a good formula and I went on to forge a successful career where I was paid to shoot high end advertising campaigns for such names as Kodak, NAB, Myer, Patons, Cleckheaton, Vogue Living, Just Jeans and Bonds which often involved solving tricky technical problems – always learning.
So photography is about combining technique and creativity to convey a feeling.
I lived and breathed photography – still do, shooting in fashion, advertising and the arts with my pictures being published in magazines, on billboards and newspapers. At one stage I shot almost every international star who came to town – often once in the morning for one magazine, then in the afternoon for another. Not long ago I was shooting one kilometre down a mine in Western Australia one week and fashion in the studio the next.
Over 20 years ago I learned to fly.
I have always had a passion for flying and I started flying light planes around Australia discovering many beautiful and remote places that weren’t inundated with tourists.
I fell in love with landscape photography through my need to record these amazing, sometimes lonely, places. I felt so privileged to be there, as I knew the struggle most people have to get there without using a plane.
So I combined my passions for photography and flying into Photo Escapades, teaming up with an experienced air charter operator, which owns a variety of aircraft and specialises in outback flying.
Today, we take small groups of people on trips to remote places that create unique opportunities for guests to learn. Each guest gets one-on-one mentorship while working on location, instead of boring old classrooms. Our trips are in truly beautiful and remote parts of the world, providing unique opportunities to capture wonderful pictures…
Ric is energetic and enthusiastic, and pushed us to take better and better photos. However he is a relaxed, patient and humorous teacher and guide, so the photography was always fun and never stressful. When not out photographing the amazing Flinders Island landscapes and seascapes, we enjoyed great meals in the beautiful, comfortable and hospitable Mountain Seas lodge. Joining Ric on another photoescapade is something I would love to do.
It was all it had promised to be and a great deal more. Thank you for your organisation and leadership. Your thorough preparation, thoughtful planning, and ongoing drive made the weekend amazing. Having the time to listen, attempt, learn, adjust, absorb and repeat was profoundly encouraging. I learned a tremendous amount about people as well as photography, from your tailored coaching of individuals and the way you harnessed the group dynamic to teach us even more. To be built up both individually and collectively was remarkable. It was a delight to learn under the eye of such an experienced professional and capable teacher, and share time with such a generous and kind person.
I just wanted to thank you again for a wonderful weekend, exploring Flinders Island. Everything about the weekend was wonderful, from the company, accommodation, meals, location, VIEWS! I look forward to joining you again on another escapade, somewhere in this great country of ours.”
Some feedback for you…. I attended a someone else’s photography workshop for six hours on Saturday and came away with learning nothing - only one of the presenters touched on technical details – similar to what you spoke about while on Flinders Island… the other three were very artistic in expression / rational etc., I just wanted to say thank you again, I learnt more in 2 days with you, than in the past 4 – 5 years, so I definitely want to do another...
This is the second photography trip I have done with Ric Wallis and I have thoroughly enjoyed both and learnt a lot about shooting great landscapes. Ric is a person who is passionate about photography and is willing to share his knowledge. As you are in a small group Ric takes time with one on one instruction to make sure you understand your camera and the best way to compose the photos for the rewarding results, but at the end of the day it is your photo. During the weekend you are shown how your photos can simply be enhanced by using computer software packages. The flights out of Lilydale with Johnno at the joystick are great as he makes you feel relaxed and as the plane is an eight seater everyone gets to know one another every quickly. I give Flinders Island and Lake Mungo/ Arkaroola both 10 out of 10.
Hi Ric, thanks for a great weekend. everything so well planned and executed. (pity you couldn't control the clouds as well ;-)
I'm confident I have a few keepers from the weekend, but I'm extremely frustrated that I haven't had a chance to review the weekends capture yet, as my hard disk is playing up so the PC is out of action. Fingers crossed that i will get it working by tomorrow,
Landscapes are a challenge for me as I like to 'get in close' and have a dark feel to my images. Forcing myself to step back is just foreign, but when the scenery is as good as Flinders island I was at least able to look wider and appreciate that seeing less of more has a different appeal.
Thanks again, and I'm looking forward to seeing what other exotic locations you're visiting in the future.
I went on Ric Wallis' Flinders Island weekend in January 2016 and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I would recommend it to any one that loves outdoor landscape photography and the opportunity learn the art of landscape photography from a professional like Ric Wallis.
We were given the opportunity to expand the boundaries of our photography skills with Ric’s guidance and his teaching skills in pushing you to improve your photography. The weather was ever changing and his motivation and humour in getting the group to experiment in difficult weather conditions with the light and use of histograms was always fun.
The organisation from the airport in Melbourne for the flight over to Flinders Island, the accommodation was as comfortable as the food was delicious, the touring and knowledge of the ideal locations for time of the day was perfection.
I would highly recommend the experience to someone interested in lifting their photography skills or just visit a beautiful Island.
Next trip Birdsville weekend.
The trip was really a gift for my husband who is a mad photographer - I was just going for the serenity. The accommodation was amazing. Everyone had their own rooms, the food was delightful (starting with fresh scones and home made jams when we first arrived having flown on a small plane to get to the island (as I don't think you can get there any other way?! Our guide/photography mentor was Ric Wallis who was brilliant and made us all feel very comfortable as he knew the locals and every spot on the island. I wondered how it would go with my ability being so different my husband's but Ric was able to adjust to the level of every single guest. Gave me just the basics (thank goodness) while pushing my husband further than where he's ever been able to go before. He was blown away by what he learned and I had the time of my life...
The weekend was a great photo experience for me, giving me more confidence handling my camera, especially histograms, I had read·about using histograms, but having first hand tuition on it made them easier to understand. I would recommend one of your trips to anyone interested in going further with their photography.
Thanks for organising such a wonderful weekend away. You've made such a good impression with amazing knowledge, enthusiasm & passion for photography Well done Ric.