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Interview with a photojournalist Scott Mason

Scott Mason is a photojournalist and a former 4WD magazine editor who is passionate about 4WDs and photography and you can get to know him better. 

How did you get into photography?

I first picked up my Dad’s camera at the age of 13 and with a love of aviation, I’d beg him to take me to Canberra airport to take photos of planes. Back then there weren't any Youtube videos (or youtube for that matter!) so I taught myself how to be a photographer. My love of aviation led me to join the airforce and I developed my craft during that period, learning a lot from aircraft photographers. Back then it was 35mm film and some medium format. 

How did you get into 4wdriving and landscape photography?

Both are passions of mine. Dad tells me I was six weeks old when I went on my first camping trip. Four-wheel drives were a part of my life growing up. I took a shine to the Nissan’s that were in the driveway at one stage or another. My vehicle mantra is reliability equals capability. Keep it simple and make sure your vehicle is reliable and capable. The same goes for the driver.    

What excites me is seeing Australia’s remote places and capturing those images which hopefully inspire people to get out there and do the same. This is why I own a 4wd, to get out there to remote places. Having worked as an editor and written for many 4WD Magazines, my goal is to provide people out there with a holistic view of owning a 4WD. It's not just about getting all the gear, it's to have a purpose for your travels. 

Favourite Places?

Simpson Desert. I love nothing more than being on remote tracks and not being able to pick up anyone on any channel on the two-way radio. The peace, the solitude, the beauty of the landscape, that’s my church! The colours are unbeatable too. It never ceases to amaze me how much wildlife lives in the Simpson Desert. To be able to capture the images and wildlife is the cherry on top for me. 

Scott Mason Simpson Desert

Photography, video and drones? 

I carry two drones, one as a backup. I’ve seen enough drone crashes to know it's going to happen one day and I don't want to be out of the game if it does. Drones give an amazing perspective of scale. When you hoist one up and see how insignificant your camp is compared to where you are. Not only desert country but for example Fraser Island (K’Gari). It is really big from the air.

Inspiring others

I’m collaborating to run photography tours. The objective is to cover all aspects of photography from landscapes, night shoots, star trails, macros, sunrise, sunsets, 4wdriving, and capturing vehicles. Having a wide range of shooting styles to learn on a trip is a great way to add value to a tour. I see being hands-on as the most valuable way to impart my knowledge and for tour participants to learn. 

What gear do you recommend for starters?

Firstly, a smartphone is a very powerful tool. Sharing video reels to social media is so easy with a smartphone. Looking at DSLRs, you don’t need anything too expensive to capture great shots. Learning the basics of photography is important. Shutter speed, ISO and aperture. Gaining an understanding can be challenging. If you start to manipulate those factors into your shooting, it helps develop your photographic style. 

You need to be creative too. Think about the shot and framing the shot. For example, when you are standing up, could the shot look better taken from ground level? Or from the roof of your vehicle. Little things like that can make a big difference. 

Scotts Everyday Camera Kit

Two Canon EOS R5s (with battery grips), two speed lights, two tripods, RF 15-35, 24-70, 70-200 (all F2.8) and EF 600 f/4.

Find more about Scott and his work on Instagram or his website.

Next steps

At Hema Maps, we strive to provide the most comprehensive and accurate maps and guides for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore Australia's natural wonders.

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