I’m Ralph Mayhew and I live on the Gold Coast, Australia, where the scenery is spectacular. Photography has always captivated me since getting my first camera when I was six. Since then I’ve been struck with the wonder that a unique and beautiful moment in time could be captured forever.
It all became more serious after an inquiry from a friend to purchase a landscape print I had taken. I was stoked and all of a sudden, a world of possibility opened up. Game on!
I started to share my landscape work more widely, I went out more often, I found a crew of like-minded friends and creatives to share the journey with, created a website, designed and sold some calendars. The commercial work began to roll in and then I broke my camera.
We were on holiday when it happened and my heart sank as the local camera store operator informed me it was a wreck. After that ill-fated camera injury, I replaced my Nikon D70 with the Nikon D7200 and committed myself to know that camera inside and out.
Once I’d achieved that feat, I’d saved enough money to purchase the Nikon Z6, which I shoot with now and just love! Yep, another Nikon. I favour the Nikon system because its layout and functionality seem more intuitive to me.
I purchased the Nikon Z6 because I was super keen to move into the mirrorless range, while not having to replace all of my old lenses and having at my disposal a still camera that wasn’t too shabby with video either.
The Nikon Z6 fulfilled these requirements for me and since the third firmware update, has impressed me no end.
Oscar is the name of my drone, a DJI Mavic Pro Platinum, who brings me enormous joy. Once I started capturing images with him, an entire world of creative perspective opened up.
I’ve since added some DJI Cinematic ND filters to my bag to give me more options when the sun is very bright and I want to slow my shutter speed down to film or timelapse.
Plan as you do, it’s impossible to predict what opportunities are going to present themselves on a landscape shoot, so I carry a number of lenses in my Lowpro ProTactic 450 AW II.
Attached to my Nikon Z6 is the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4, which is a wonderfully diverse lens and is very compact. On the full frame body, the f/4 isn’t really a limitation, especially with landscapes. To utilise all of my other lenses, I use the FTZ mount adapter.
Complimenting my kit and fulfilling telephoto requirements, I use the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8. Often people assume landscape photographers just need a wide lens, but I have found using the zoom actually opens up composition opportunities otherwise unobtainable.
My wide lens is a Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 which delivers on the quality as well as the budget. It is a large lens to carry around but the aperture and wideness of it are amazing, with little distortion. This lens also helps me fulfill a number of other commercial needs that arise.
When shooting the surf, I resort to the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 G2, nicknamed The Beast, for its monstrous size, which enables me to catch closeup images otherwise out of reach.
Astro landscape photography is also a passion of mine and to do that well I shoot with a prime Nikon 20mm f/1.8 lens which is extremely sharp, small and light. I often attach a Nisi Natural Light filter to this lens to decrease the amount of yellow (light in the sky), which makes the images more vivid.
I use a Leofoto LS-324C Tripod which is heavy but stable, with extendable legs and an additional height attachment, an interchangeable spike and soft feet for outdoor/indoor work. It attaches to the side of my bag nicely.
The Zelda L Bracket, from 3 Legged Thing, which lives on the camera and makes the attachment of a camera strap and change of orientation on the tripod an absolute breeze.
A set of Nisi filters to get the most out of sunrises and sunsets, especially when there’s moving water you want to slow while keeping the sky colours bright.
A Nikon MC-DC2. Get one, they are so handy!
Water absorbent packets from shipping parcels, to safe-guard against moisture, fungus and mold. Free and epic!
Lens cloth tied to a carabiner, so I can attach it to accessible points during a shoot.
Photography offers me a wonderfully creative outlet, where I meet amazing people and get to see the world from a brilliant and beautiful perspective. I feel blessed to have been swept up into it and look forward to the many more wonderful opportunities it has in store for me.
I recently started up a YouTube channel, Ralph Mayhew Photography, to help people who used to be where I was, continue to learn and enjoy photography.