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Neville Madsen – Community Photographer

Neville Madsen, News Photographer of the Year nominee and winner of the Best Regional and Community Photography award at the 2011 Walkleys, talks about photography and his winning image.

NEVILLE MADSEN
is an award winning photographer. He lives in Toowoomba and is on staff at The Chronicle.

What are the essential elements for capturing a great shot?
Being prepared for circumstances to change and adapting to or taking advantage of that change. Always be aware of light conditions.

What advice would you give someone wanting to enter the photojournalism biz?
Hone your technique so you are confident in any situation. Sport is a great training ground for reacting quickly and learning to position yourself in the best spot at the right time by anticipating what will happen. People skills are important, simply be yourself and be honest with your subjects.

What top tips could you give the amateur photographer to shoot better pics?
Don’t become a camera collector for the reason of having the latest and greatest. Cameras are simply tools to create images with. Fully understand the one you own now before moving on. Learn from your mistakes by shooting often and evaluating the results. Study photographs from every source available, the great masters of photography, magazines and pictures taken by your friends. Light is the most important element in photography; you don’t even need a camera in your hand to be able to study the way it falls on people’s faces in different conditions. With people photography, once your technique has become second nature it is all about how you react with your subjects. Last and most important is learning to ‘see’.

You were a winner at the Walkley Awards this year – could you give us the story behind your shot?

While at home on a day off, listening to the torrential rainfall I soon realised there would be more serious flooding than normal. On leaving my house I heard the first report of 2 metres of water in the CBD which I found hard to believe, until I attempted to get there. A vantage point from a car park gave a view of cars, water tanks and other debris being washed downstream. Then a mother and daughter found themselves trapped on top of a car and a rescue attempt has begun by the QFRS. The water kept rapidly rising, eventually breaking their hold on the rescue line. Thankfully they made their way to shallower waters and a safe rescue.

Photojournalists often document history in the making. What are the challenges in capturing these moments?
You are photographing people and events during the good and bad times of their lives. Not always easy but it is important not to affect the situation, you are merely telling the story.

You’re packing for an assignment, what’s in the camera bag?
NIKON D300S (NOW THERE WILL BE A D700 AS WELL), NIKKOR 70-200MM, NIKKOR 17-55MM, NIKKOR 85MM F/1.4, SB700 FLASH. ALSO A RØDE MICROPHONE AND IPHONE FOR AUDIO. 

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