Shane Chalker

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You may have heard of the name Shane Chalker – the local photographer who spends most of his time behind the camera lens. This month Focus asks him about his ocean photography … and why photos will last forever.

Name: Shane Chalker.

Age: 35.

Lives: Tuncurry.

Star sign: Virgo.

Years behind the lens:

I have been shooting for more than 13 years but have been a full time photographer for more than 10 years.

I spend my week days:

Mainly shooting and editing photos. I keep a close eye on the weather to try and plan my week out, so that the most can be made of any given opportunity.

If there are some clear sunny days coming up, I will plan to shoot real estate assignments, local landscapes to add to my photo library and portraits sittings later in the afternoon, when the sun is not so intense. If the forecast shows good conditions for surf photography, I try and plan my time so that I am available to shoot the swell when it’s at its best – keeping in mind the time that the tides, winds and  light are at their best for photography.

For the past 2 years I have had my wife Rhonda on board full time, which has freed up my time in the office, enabling me to get out and shoot the photos when the conditions are at their best.

long barrel

long barrel

I spend my weekends:

Working mainly; this is generally the busiest part of the week for me. Shooting around 30 weddings a year keeps a lot of my Saturdays wrapped up. But I really like to make time to get the family together and maybe take the boat up the lake and find our own island to have a picnic lunch on.

Something people may not know about photography:

Is the time that professional photographers spend editing their photos. For example, a wedding shoot may take 5 or so hours, but then anywhere from 15 to 20 hours may be spent editing these photos and planning and placing them into an album.

Why waves and surfers make great shooting subjects:

true surfers

true surfers

The ocean is as close to another world as we may ever get to see. It is unpredictable, moody and a physically challenging environment to take photos in, but the rewards are well worth it. You might be shooting a photo looking into a barrel at one of your mates one minute, have dolphins surfing down a wave at you the next and then a beautiful unridden wave may break over the top of you, making for many amazing and unique images in a very short period of time. Even when the waves are small, they can still be amazing.

Another type of wave I love to shoot photos of is when two waves collide; this is called a ‘backwash’. When this happens, beautiful water sculptures form and disappear in a split second. One way to capture and see the complex details of this event is to capture a photo of it.

Why photography and photographs will last forever:

Each photo is a frozen moment in time which gives us a glimpse of the past. Every image is a piece of captured history that can be revisited.

My 5 other favourite things to do:

Spending time camping with my amazing family and watching my 2 children grow up is priceless. Surfing, diving, fishing and visiting new destinations.

Where will you find me in 5 years:

Here in Forster Tuncurry; this place is so beautiful and pristine. It’s definitely world class in my book. Why would you want to live anywhere else?

Thank you Shane.

Plenty of Shane’s photography can be seen on his website at

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