I have two addictions in my life. Food. That's number one. And light.
Even when I was a kid, my mum tells me I was always talking about it.
Photographers. We're all just a bunch of light junkies.
There are two times of day when we can get a good fix. We call it the magic hour - one in the morning right near dawn, and another in the evening just as the sun starts to dip.
Magic hour at the Newcastle Ocean Baths is the moment the later afternoon light hits that blue wall and the diving blocks.
It was a quiet afternoon at work and I could see some nice cloud out over the coast. The light was getting nice, so I headed down to the Ocean Baths.
I liked how that late afternoon sun was just kissing the surface of the water. This photo appears like two distinct parts of the same place. There was the rough water on the right and then on the left, the still pool - like a lagoon - and the one bronzed swimmer. The guy who I had to imagine had come down here every day for years just for a swim in the sun.
On assignment with Simone De Peak: 100 photos in 2019 by the Herald's renowned head photographer
I'm not a technical photographer. When people ask about the technical gadgety side of photography, I glaze over. But I like the rule of thirds.
It is the composition technique where you divide the frame on three equidistant horizontal lines and three more vertical lines and arrange the subject matter either on the line, or in the space between the intersections.
I do think it makes a photograph more visually interesting, but it is also a big part of a press photographer's training.
When I'm taking a photo, I'm often thinking about whether it will appear on an odd or even page in the paper, on the inside or outside edge of the page. I'm composing to have my subject matter looking into the centre of the newspaper, not out of it.
Those things are important, but I don't like to get too hung up on whether I'm breaking the rules on a shoot. I do get a bit particular about making sure horizons are straight, but I've never thought of having strict rules for shooting an assignment.
I like the rule of thirds because I find a picture grabs my attention more when the subject matter is not just sitting in the centre of the frame.
But for me, the most important thing is getting as clean an image as I can possibly get - it's about getting the image that has the least amount of distraction.
When I shot this photo, I wanted the image to be in focus all the way through the frame, from the water, to the swimmer, the diving blocks, the cloud, and that way that blue wall glows in the afternoon light.
Some rules are important - and the techical stuff can be important too - but most often it's just finding the right moment and being able to capture it as cleanly as you possibly can.
- Simone De Peak
HOW I SHOT IT: Canon EOS 1D X, 16-35mm II lens at 19mm, f/10, 1/2000 sec. Available light.