An Interview with the Intrepid Oliver Gaspar.
Swedish born Oli is one of the great adventure travel photographers we’re collaborating with. He currently lives on the Central Coast of Australia and is studying International Business in Sydney, but has his fair share of exciting travels lined up. Having just taken a year out to backpack Europe, he now has plans to sail the Australian East Coast in a boat built by himself and his dad. With a deep found passion for travelling, adventure, and landscape and nature photography, Oli’s journeys are definitely ones you want to keep an eye out for.
1. So I hear you’re pretty newly into this photography stuff? What’s got you inspired to start taking photos?
Um, I think I was around 14 or 15 when I first started taking photos and I’ve always been pretty into technology, like gadgets and that sort of stuff, and I guess I was pretty into the idea of photography as well, outdoor stuff especially! So I just decided to invest in a camera. Another major motivation for me was the area that I live, which to me is just really beautiful and it has so much variety and potential for great shots.
2. Where is it that you live?
In Umina on the Central Coast, Australia.
3. And you’re travelling at the moment. How’s that been going for you?
Good! I’ve been travelling now for about 7 ½ months. I started in Greece, enjoyed some time in the Mediterranean and then backpacked Europe for the remainder of the year. Unfortunately though my camera and gear did get stolen in Barcelona, but with travel insurance I was lucky enough to get a new one. It was pretty handy actually, because I’d been looking for an excuse to upgrade.
4. Oh, so how long were you without a camera?
Err, like 4 weeks or so. But it wasn’t the end of the world as I was preoccupied with Octoberfest most of the time.
5. What are your plans when you get back to Australia?
Well I still have to finish Uni unfortunately. But I’m planning a trip to Tasmania for a few weeks with my friend in the Uni holidays. Hopefully doing a bike trip for a couple of weeks, camping and taking photos. Really wanted to capture some shots of the remainder of the rainforests and with the flexibility of a bike we could get some exposure into the destruction of the deforestation going on. After that though, finish Uni and then plan another trip, but we’ll see… I definitely have plans to do some long distance sailing in the future, so far it’s looking like it’s going to be the Pacific.
6. And what’s this I hear about you building a boat?
Well basically when I was 10 my dad got the crazy idea to start building a 15-metre sailing boat from scratch, because his other crazy Hungarian friend was building one and he was like, “oh it’ll only take 2 or 3 years”. But, it took 11. So I spent a lot of my youth helping him with the project in the backyard. So now it’s been in the water for a little while and the sails have gone up and everything is ready to go, so I’m ready to do some serious sailing when I get home.
7. Do you have any photographers or travellers or general role models that have inspired you?
Not really specifically. I’ve never been too interested in searching for inspiration in other photographers. I guess I just find more inspiration in what I see in the real world. I think photography is a good extension of what you see in a moment, and being able to capture that is what gives me inspiration. Photography in general has also given me a new outlook on how I see scenes or landscapes. But magazines like National Geographic and online sources like Instagram or 500px are great, because they give you insight into how other people view and capture moments.
8. Are you travelling alone?
At the moment I am. I started off travelling with my girlfriend, right now she’s in Dublin. It’s been really good; we’ve been able to do whatever we feel like. If she wants to travel somewhere else, she’ll go there, and we’ll go our different ways for a bit. It’s worked out pretty well so far. It’s good not being tied down to having to do what the other person wants to do but still getting to enjoy travelling with someone.
9. So, my next question was going to be, ‘what do you prefer, travelling alone or with people?’ But I guess you’ve kind of got the best of both worlds.
Well it’s a completely different atmosphere I guess. So travelling alone for extended periods of time, I get kind of lonely and bored, especially when I’m on long distance trains and buses without a chance to speak to anyone. But then again, travelling alone can be great as well because you get your freedom to do whatever you like and you are never held back from meeting new people.
10. What sort of processes do you put your photos through? Do you tend to edit your photos or are you more into capturing the perfect shot there and then?
Um, for most of my landscape stuff I use Lightroom. Just basically because the camera doesn’t always capture it the way I see it, especially with colours and things like that. I try and get it to look as natural as possible, but also that might mean I need to enhance the colours and contrast to make it look like it was originally in the moment. Sometimes I do put a little more work into my processing though, I like being able to take an idea or a story and if the photo turned out dull, still being able to convey the emotion you’re trying to create.
11. What camera have you brought travelling with you?
At the start I had a 550D which was quite old. But I’ve always wanted to go full frame, so I bought the cheapest full frame you can get; a canon 6D, just because I wanted to invest more in some quality full frame lenses for the future. It’s a great camera and it’s served me very well so far.
12. And is it different from the stuff you’d use at home? Basically, if you had more space would you use other equipment?
At the moment I’ve got 3 lenses and a tripod. But the tripods quite small and the lenses really don’t weigh that much. I’d love to have a telephoto with me, but it’s just not practical when you’re travelling, cause they can weigh up to like 2 kilos. But I think the kit I’ve got at the moment is a really good mix of quality and weight, especially for the things I’m looking to capture.
13. Do you plan to expand with your photography? Would you consider starting up a proper website or selling your stuff or your services?
It’s always been hobby based, but, especially now that I’ve actually invested a decent amount of money into my camera and equipment, and some of the shots I’ve been taking I really like, it’d be great to start sharing that with other people. But at the moment, it’s just kind of going with the flow and learning. I do have a photography based Instagram account, which I share with some friends; @allexplore. It’s all our own work and we post quite often these days. I do also write some articles, mostly just as a way of thinking clearly about things that I think are important to me and I’m slowly starting to integrate some of my articles with my photography, so we will see what happens.