Spotlight on Local Photographer Thomas Busby

Celebrated landscape photographer Thomas Busby started out an adventurer. His passion for the outdoors required smaller, lightweight gear that would allow him to travel and capture nature’s most precious gifts.

Six months into owning his first Fujifilm Digital Camera (the X-M1), he had hardly touched his larger DSLR gear. Thanks to his convenient, more compact gear, his photographic passion grew, and so did his business.

In 2014, Thomas said goodbye to his day job and fully surrendered to photography.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Well, I’m a pretty passionate landscape photographer from Taranaki. I do a bit of portrait and wedding work as well but my love is for the outdoors and adventure. Earlier in 2016 I was named NZIPP Landscape Photographer of the Year which was a pretty massive goal for me as it is something I had been working on for about 7 years.

What got you into photography? How did you develop your style?

I started out working in film and TV, and while I still have a lot of love for that industry, I made the change to photography because I loved what I could achieve just working on my own. Getting out and exploring is always a rewarding experience and being able to make a living from that combined with photography was just too much fun to consider anything else.
My style has really changed over the last few years (and might continue to change) from heavy composite work (which I still do a little of) through to a far more natural style with minimal post production work (which is how I do far more of my work now).

Why did you choose FUJIFILM camera?

Like nearly everyone I started out with a SLR, and don't get me wrong I got some fantastic shots with it, but I found that more and more I was leaving my SLR at home when doing some of the more adventurous / fun things in my life, So I got myself a X-M1. After having owned it for only 6 months I had taken more photos with that then I had with my SLR and sold far more prints from that little Fuji that I decided to sell all my SLR gear and switch to just a few key (Fuji) items and try to take it with me everywhere i go.

What/who inspires your photography?

I get most of my inspiration from outside photography actually, music, friends, food, books but mostly movies. Getting inspiration from things like food as a mostly landscape photography may sound a little odd (haha and I guess it is) but thinking outside the box I feel is a pretty big key to success. Watching movies you get to see some pretty amazing, sometimes CGI landscape and that has always inspired me to get out and find my own cinematic landscape.

What’s in your camera bag?

So I keep my bag pretty light. If I start leaving an item at home more and more then I usually sell it on. I am currently using an X-T2 and I keep my X-T1 in the car just as a back up, but have never needed a back up so far thankfully. And I carry only 2-3 lenses with me, the 10-24mm F/4 and the 50-140mm F/2.8. I also sometimes take the 16mm F/1.4 for low light stuff or if I think I might get caught in the rain, but those first two and my main work horses. Love them to bits.

Best advice/tip you’ve ever received for photography?

It’s actually some advice for anyone creative, but still to this day I think it is the best advice I have ever heard. It’s part of an interview with Ira Glass on storytelling. And no matter what stage of photography you are currently at, this is well worth hearing, at least once.

What’s next for you?

Haha you have no idea how much I have been thinking this over lately, I have always wanted to be a sponsored photographer and one day dreamed of winning Landscape Photographer of the year. Like so many of us I was still working a day job just over a year ago, so to push that job aside and focus on what I love was a big step for me. But to knock off those two achievements in my first year was a little mind blowing so I'm currently building up the confidence to set the next goal as something HUGE. I would love to mix my photography in with a major film project in some way but also I love the time I get to go out hiking and exploring. But I guess one of the great things about photography is you never know what will be around the next corner.

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