SA heaps good photographers #001 – Rowan Summerfield

Welcome to SA heaps good photographers! One night I was laying in bed and had the idea to interview some South Australian photographers and try to understand what makes them tick – what drives them, inspires them and motivates them to make photographs.

It’s a subject I find very interesting, and I hope you do too. Furthermore, I wanted to showcase our state and the fabulous work of the photographers who document it.

First cab off the rank is Rowan Summerfield, otherwise known as @row_an_james on Instagram. Rowan’s feed is a joy to look through. He has a knack for using strong, uncluttered compositions to really drag you into the scene, making you feel like you were there with him.

It is clear through his work and speaking to him privately that he really lives for the moment. That it shows in his photographs is a testament to his vision and intention.

I also appreciate Rowan’s hustle, he makes the most of his limited free time and opportunities. Something we can all draw inspiration from I think!

1) Describe your style, are you inspired by any type of photography or specific photographers?

Starting out as a photographer I didn’t know what kind of images or types of photos I wanted to capture. My main ambition was to capture images to create a calendar for my mum. I started out shooting landscape images and soon it became a real passion. I started you-tubing different techniques and styles to help capture different images.

Finding a style that’s individual has been somewhat challenging. People like Daniel Kordan and Chris Burkard have been the two main photographers that inspire me to create the images I produce today. My style I’d think is quite vivid and colourful and my main subject of each image is to accentuate the feeling in the photo.

Whether it’s the stars, the sunset or the fog, I try to boost the detail and colour of those aspects to make that really come to life.

2) What message do you want people to come away with when they look at your images?

Seeing the main subject of each image and getting a feeling of amazement or beauty is what I try to capture when out shooting. Looking at everyday landscape photos and seeing from a different perspective and style is super satisfying and unique to each photographer.

I hope to give people that inspiration to get out and start taking pics and trying new things.

3) What motivates you to continue taking photographs, even when you’re unmotivated?

My biggest motivator is passion. I can get up at 2 am and drive 4 hours for sunrise then drive home because I really enjoy the satisfaction and tranquillity of being there in the moment. If all images were perfect the first time then photography would become boring and predictable.

Sometimes I’ll get to a spot and it’ll look a lot different to what I would picture it (or what the internet or Google Earth would show), so being able to find different angles and images from what you can is just as much fun as the adventure.

I often work 7 days a week for 8-8.5 hours a day, but I always try to find time to get out and capture something. When family and friends see my work they are filled with amazement which keeps me motivated to get out and take photos.

4) What is your favourite location/image and why?

My favourite location would be Second Valley and the Fleurieu Peninsula. It has so much to photograph and explore no matter what the conditions are. I’ve shot sunrise, sunset, astro and aerial drone shots all from there and every time I’ll find something different.

I don’t have one particular image I love most or is my favourite. As my skills and techniques grow, each new image I take becomes a favourite.

5) What is one piece of your kit that you couldn’t do without?

My most used piece of kit I own and make sure I’ve always got is my wireless trigger for my camera.

I bought a Hahnel Captur IR remote which can work up to 200 metres away from the camera which I absolutely love. Whether it is long exposures or taking distant selfies, it’s a must have piece of kit.

6) What is the worst thing about photography?

The downside to photography would be the cost and travel. A lot of camera equipment can certainly put a hold on spending money once you start investing in new equipment.

In saying that, the image is only as good as what you visualise it to be when capturing it. Then you have to be able to show someone else what you saw.

Most phones these days capture amazing images and detail so as long as you can capture that special moment with what you have then that’s all you need.

Travel is often a costly time factor for me. I often find myself now working out how far I can drive in a day and get home before work the next day.

7) What advice do you have for fellow aspiring photographers?

My biggest advice would be to inspire yourself and give yourself a go. So many people say to me that they can’t take photos and they’d be hopeless but it’s not true. Don’t fill your mind with negativity and try.

All of my skills and knowledge comes from Google and Youtube. There’s not one thing you can’t learn from the internet but you need to be positive and start by getting out there.

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