Fishy photos: Stu Hastie
Being in NZ fly-fishing photographer Stu Hastie doesn't have a shortage of subjects.
Stu Hastie is a New Zealand photographer whose work first came to my attention through his images in our user's picture galleries. When I started using Facebook I also noted Stu's image posts.
The quality was top notch, and being in NZ he didn't seem to have a shortage of subjects. I dropped Stu a message on FB, and soon he was answering our usual set of Fishy Photographer questions. Here's what he replied.
How did you start photographing - and what made you choose fishing related photos in particular?
Some of my earliest childhood memories were running around with a Hanimex 110 pocket camera, and as a child I read a lot of books on photography. I always sought out the likes of National Geographic magazine, and was constantly in awe of the stunning images within. Growing up, I always had an SLR camera, but never studied or did the darkroom thing, and in my early 20's a saltwater incident killed my Canon T80, and with that, my photographic journey was put on ice for a while.
My interest in photography was re-kindled in 2005 when I got my first DSLR. Since joining the local camera club a couple of years ago, I have built on that basic childhood grounding and my skills and creativity have forged ahead in leaps and bounds. With the collision of my two passions, the transition to fly-fishing photography was inevitable. On the river we find ourselves constantly surrounded by such beauty; the places, the people, the bugs, gear, fish, water, action and adventure - it's all there. It's essentially why we fish, and to be able to capture that beauty and then share it with the world is a great thing.
Do you have a particular subject, region or a style of pictures that you mainly shoot or are you more all-round?
I don't know if I have a particular style or not. I still consider myself to be very much a learner, and take great pleasure in exploring different techniques and angles. I beat myself up a bit if I come home from the river and haven't done something different, and try and learn from that.
Recently I completed a "365 challenge", taking a photo a day for a whole year, and found it to be such a rewarding learning experience that I have taken up the challenge once again. Some days it was a real drag to have to produce an image, but it really stretched my imagination, and forced me to explore my camera more than I would have otherwise. It's great to be able to look back on how I developed over that year, but it also serves as a mute reminder of how little time I spent on the water! I'm starting to explore the digital darkroom a little more now, and also like tinkering around in a studio situation.
Where are your photos used? Books, magazines, brochures, ads, web sites, prints, gallery exhibits or other places?
I haven't been particularly proactive in pushing my work, and up until this point in time have only supplied one magazine down here in little old NZ, NZ Fish and Game Magazine. I get a lot of enjoyment in seeing my work published and would like to reach out to the world, but haven't quite figured out how the best way to do that is yet. I have plans of exhibiting some of my work in local galleries, and will be sure to include some trouty images along with some more conventional "fine art" prints.
I recently gained the honour of "Licentiate of the Photographic Society of New Zealand".
Along with the magazine publishing, I've helped out friends with web sites, online magazines and also a book in the pipeline.
Is photography your main source of income - if at all a source of income - and do you do other jobs as a supplement?
No, my photography is still just a hobby for me. I earn a little through the magazine work, certainly not enough to fill the gas tank for a season though. Who knows what the future holds for us? Maybe one day I'll be able to give up my day job and have a change of lifestyle, but in the meantime I'm just happy to be shooting for my portfolio.
Can people buy your pictures, and if so, then in which form and where?
Sure! Help fuel a trout-bum's adventure! I think the greatest compliment an artist can have is to have someone willing to dip into their pocket, buy their work, and ultimately display that work. At this point in time I don't have my own website, but for now you're more than welcome to check out my Flickr page, and if there's anything there that interests you, just get in touch with me so we can discuss what it is you require. It's a bit of a drag to be sending prints across the globe, but that is what I would prefer to do, as that would give me full control over the quality of the product. Also, I'm keen to serve editorial or advertising clientel.
Where do you currently live and work?
I work fulltime as a Telecommunications Technician, and have 3 young sons to fill in my spare time, so there isn't a lot of time left over to spend on the water. Fishing trips are much anticipated and usually planned well in advance with friends. Gone is the spontaneity of my youth, and sometimes we just have to take whatever the weather has to throw at us which sometimes produces some fantastic images. I am truely blessed with the water I have in my home region of Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, and enjoy what is in my opinion some phenomenal fishing.
What's in your bag? Preferred cameras, bodies, lenses and other gear?
I use Canon gear and I'm currently using a 40D, which I love to bits, but have my eye on the 7D mainly for the bigger file and faster burst.
On the river I usually carry the 17-55mm f2.8, EFS 10-22mm and EF100mm f2.8 macro. What little gaps there are left in my hard pelican case are filled with spare battery, wireless remote, cards and a good dollop of Silica gel.
I'm also very fortunate to have the monstrous EF 70-200 f2.8L and EF 50 1.2L, but I'm a bit nervous about walking up creeks with them on board, as we all know accidents can happen.
I suffered quite a bit of down time this last season with a broken ankle I got down a boisterous wee creek that was stacked full of hungry browns and rainbows.