Five Questions with Ray Mackey, author of Chasing Newfoundland.
1. How long have you been chasing Newfoundland with your camera?
I have been really chasing Newfoundland with a camera my whole life. It seems I was never travelling here unless a camera was with me. When digital photography began to take off, like many others, I jumped in full time so it has been about 12 years now. Today's media and online world just makes it easier to share with everyone. I am super pleased so many folks enjoy my work.
2. What is the hardest you ever worked to get a perfect shot?
Well, I'm not so sure about a perfect shot. I think I can look at any image and find ways it could be improved so I guess that is very subjective. That said, I'm not sure I could pin it down to a single shot but when I find a composition I like and it requires long travel time and multiple visits to capture it, it sure challenges your resolve. For example, I have driven 5,000 kilometres over two days and stayed up 48 hours straight to get an iceberg shot, only to find it was so foggy I could not see it and had to wait two more days for a shot. It can be exhausting and rewarding at the same time.
3. The lighting in your photographs is incredible. Do you ever use flashes or is it all natural light?
So, short answer is no, I never use flashes for landscapes. Light painting is an option if I am unable to get the exposure for a composition I want but virtually never use it. The goal at all times is to us the available light sources for my compositions. My preference is for natural light first but often I combine it with local ambient and man-made sources such as street and home lighting for blue hour and nighttime compositions. The play of light in all cases adds so many different dimensions to a composition, and for me makes or breaks an image.
4. Is there a Newfoundland photo you're still hunting for? A subject you haven't captured yet?
As always, it's never about a single image for me but a body of work. However, the remote south coast of the province is an area that I have not spent much time in yet. It has a wonderful presence and its unique coastline fjords and landscape are captivating. It is on my Must Do list for sure.
5. What is it about Newfoundland that keeps drawing you back to photograph it?
Newfoundland of course is my home so I have a natural bias toward it. However, in my opinion, it seems to never sleep; by that I mean it is always changing. Newfoundland has so many changes in atmospheric conditions, largely because of our geographic location in the North Atlantic. Those changes produce new lighting conditions seemingly every hour, allowing me to shoot frequently and sometimes even the same scene many times over. With lighting being the goal for many of my compositions, it's a natural advantage. The province also has an appealing landscape and culture with a variety of subjects, including the visuals of seasonal events such as icebergs, whales, and other wildlife visitors.