Get to know Daygin Prescott, a 22-year-old adventure photographer from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, as he talks us through his five favourite surf photographs and answers a few questions!
Q: How did you get into photography? And how did you find your niche as an adventure photographer?
Photography started for me with a Gopro Hero 3 in hand, swimming around with my friends in the shorebreaks around home. I got my first DSLR and water housing when I was 14, after saving up for a year, while working at a fish and chip store.
I spent my school years shooting in the ocean as much as I could, with many trips down to Northern NSW, NSW South Coast and South Aus. Selling prints has, until recently, been my main income from photography, complemented with a few small surf brands here and there. The adventure work came at a much later stage, really only in the last 2 years. It started with wanting to separate ‘work’ from my passion for the ocean. I also found greater success commercially in the adventure space, which has led to me spending more time in the mountains and I’ve built up so much psych for the outdoors through that.
Q: Did you have a mentor or how did you learn your skills?
I’ve never really had a mentor or teacher. It does make the process much longer, but I believe that you develop a deeper understanding of your craft when lessons are often learned through mistakes. I’m 22 now, so it’s been 8 years so far of consistent learning everytime I pick up the camera. I will say mostly self taught – but using resources like youtube, online workshops, books etc provide a lot of invaluable information which you can then take and learn to apply yourself.
The ocean is an incredible place to learn to shoot. Refining your craft in such a dynamic environment is really valuable (And frustrating at times haha).
Q: Where is your favourite place to shoot surfing in Queensland?
The Groyne at Kings Beach. It’s where I first shot in the water and I have spent 100’s of days out there. From shooting 99% out of focus and blurry images while I was learning, to creating private print collections and images for tourism. It’s also where I have met most of my life-long friends, surfing has an incredible ability to make these places feel like home.
Q: Working with adventure brands like The North Face is pretty cool and must have provided you with some incredible opportunities. Where is the most exciting place you’ve travelled to shoot as an adventure photographer?
The past year has really been a dream come true, working alongside some of my favourite brands. We spent a couple months last winter working throughout Kosciuszko National Park on a backcountry ski film. It was my first time exploring our alpine region in Australia, it was a whole lot of fun and I learnt so much throughout the film process.
Q: What inspires your work?
There’s so many things that inspire me, from people and places, to other art forms and experiences. At the moment, it is new experiences which inspire me. Pushing myself to do things I haven’t done before or going to hard to reach places. Not only for the experience itself, but I always have a camera in hand and I love sharing those, often unique, moments with others.
Q: What’s your favourite part about your job?
Really, the only reason I pursue this is because it’s just a whole lot of fun.
Enjoying the process right from the beginning and seeing the potential for really cool things in the future.
Daygin talks us through five of his favourite surf photographs below.
“This image was taken at ‘The Groyne’ – Kings Beach. I shot this at the start of 2015, when I was 14. It was just a standard 1-2ft morning before heading to school all zinced up. The photo was probably the first actual ‘good’ photo I ever took in the water. The photo has ended up being pretty timeless to me, not only because of the nostalgia it gives me, but it’s actually been my most profitable image and I still sell prints of it to this day.”
“I love this one. The way it feels two-dimensional and the abstract nature of it. Out for a morning walk about 100m from my house, along the pumicestone passage, there was a thick layer of fog through the whole town and out into the ocean. It was bizarre and I still have never seen it like that in my 11 years living here. I knew I needed a subject, but given it was 9am on a weekday, everyone was at work. I managed to convince my mate Jake to turn around on his way to work. Really, the conditions made it easy to shoot something cool on this day, but I was still running around like crazy trying to find the best possible composition.”
“Just a quintessential South Oz tube! It really doesn’t get much more perfect than this. The whole day was just consistent 4-6ft tubes. It was my first proper experience with how good it really gets down there. This day was shared with a few bodyboarders who I’d gone down with to film, as well as Craig Ando, Ryan Callinan and Dave Fox shooting in the water. Even with a handful of talented wave riders, there were too many of these empties to count. I love the side-on angle of these places, looking deep into a blue tube, contrasted against the barren desert landscapes.”
“Russel Bierke scooping into a South Coast bomb. Kicking out into the middle of the ocean at dark with nothing but my flippers and my camera. Arriving out there to see, what at the time was, the biggest waves I’ve been amongst. Whilst it was fairly tame for this place, there is so much water moving around, with currents pulling you straight onto the inside and rogue sets which are called out by all the skis in the channel. Harsh morning light and backlit waves can be tough to shoot surfers, they’re often left as just dark silhouettes.”
“My all time favourite wave image. A well-known spot on the South Coast, especially for surf photographers. So much energy focused onto a shallow slab just a few metres away from some big boulders. You really want to be confident swimming in waves out here – especially when you’re ‘in the zone’. Incredible morning light mixed with a picture-perfect slab is just a recipe for a great image.”