Goat Tracks: An Introduction
I used to think of myself as a walker/hiker who makes pictures along the way. Nowadays I'm essentially a foot-powered photographer...
Hi and welcome. This page is rather long & indulgent, so feel free to skip the words & just scroll through the pictures! My walking accomplishments page is a straightforward list - if that’s what you’re interested in, it’s right here.
I’m an outdoor photographer with a passion for art, nature, wildlife & landscapes of all kinds. I’m also an obsessive walker. Big hikes of several weeks or even months, many overseas, have provided my recreation of choice for many years, but it’s my daily strolls around the edge of Moreton Bay, Brisbane, that provide most of my ambulatory sustenance - & images.
In my PORTFOLIO & GALLERIES, you'll find scenes from my favourite local stamping grounds: the waterfront & mudflats, creek banks, mangrove forests, parks & tree-lined suburban streets of the Northside & the plants & animals living in these special environments.
You'll also find a wide selection of images from harder, longer walks on foreign shores - not a lot of places, but deep immersions in each. In fact the “Goat” in my website title began with my trail name on some fondly recalled big hikes in the United States - the Appalachian, Long & Pacific Crest Trails, where few hardcore hikers use their birth names.
But it was while living in Japan from 2000 to 2003 that I first got hooked on walking & mountain hiking, initially as a way to escape the noise & crowds of Tokyo, then as a gateway to an exciting new world.
Over three years the mountain hikes, often alone, got longer & tougher while I got braver/more foolhardy. Almost from the start I was photographing those trips, mainly to document my adventures - I used to get a free A4 enlargement of one print with every roll I got processed, soon accumulating a collection of OK images of gnarly peaks, forest trails, temples, shrines & snow-fringed lakes. I was actually obsessed with mountains in those days, but my pictures weren’t especially creative. I didn’t understand many of the principles of photography & relied on automatic settings for the most part.
I wasn’t back home in Australia long before I took off again in 2004 for the greatest adventure of my life: America’s 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail, snaking north-east from steamy Georgia to the lakes & mountains of Maine. I was injured halfway, came home, worked, saved, learned & returned in 2006 for the 2nd thousand miles. Along the way I did a side-trip up to the Canadian border on Vermont’s Long Trail. Numerous rolls of film, developed along the way on that first leg, resulted in a few pictures I still like. By the 2nd half, I’d moved to digital, a cheap Olympus from Walmart. I was trying harder but still largely bluffing & hoping for the best.
A three-month winter stay in Switzerland in 2010 was when I resolved to start studying exposure & the workings of my little point-&-shoot camera. The staggeringly beautiful surrounds were so new & inspiring. I walked all over the place, snow & extreme cold permitting, and really worked on my composition. I made a lot of terrible pictures but I was beginning to think of the image frame as a canvas. I still enjoy composition more than any other aspect of photography.
A couple of years later I found myself teaching English in Korea for two long, sometimes trying years. Resourcefulness can really thrive in times of isolation & hardship. I had no friends, nobody to speak natural English with, nothing to do in my free time but roam - & teach myself more about the art & craft of making pictures.
I’d bought one of the early Sony mirror-less cameras before leaving Australia; small, lightweight, with lots of lens options, they’re still a mainstay of my kit. Mobility is a key part of my style - I need to be able to lug my gear around in a backpack all day. My first “real” lens (a Zeiss 24mm) arrived at my school one day & changed everything - I’d still rather spend my money on a great lens than a new camera.
I made thousands of images in Korea & read or watched online tutorials about photography at every opportunity. I began to feel more control over how I captured a scene, and much of my free time was spent in learning the craft of post-processing, mainly using Apple’s Aperture software. Nowadays I use Lightroom & enjoy the editing of pictures almost as much as capturing the information via shutter, sensor & of course feet.
What else? I spent much of my first year after Korea in Upstate New York. The first half of that year was a highlight of my life. My winter there was so cold it made Switzerland seem balmy. I still walked regularly, long rambling road-walks when the temperature might be as low as minus 24C, or show-shoeing hikes in the Adirondacks with my then-partner, but at last I felt like I had the skills to complement my vision.
I’ve been back to Japan several times for long walks with a laptop & two or three cameras in my backpack, plus all the electronics & camping gear. It’s tough at times but addictive & rewarding. I’ve done a lot more mountain hiking & the 1,200km Shikoku 88-Temple Pilgrimage twice.
ABOVE: Shameless selfie-promotion in some favourite locales.
Through all this wandering around, the joy & satisfaction of making images along the way have not diminished. I still wake up in the morning, whether at home in bed, in a tent or under a bridge somewhere, thinking (groggily) “Right, what am I shooting this morning?” Photography has only intensified my love of nature and the outdoors; they’re symbiotic obsessions/addictions & they keep me calm and centred, awake to the wonders of the cosmos.
But that’s more than enough about me. I’m a lot more comfortable letting the pictures do the talking.
If you’d like to purchase any images or have any questions whatsoever, please send a message right here via my CONTACT page.