When he’s not saving lives or surfing, Bondi lifeguard Anthony Glick can be found exploring Sydney’s famous coastline, camera in hand.
Around eight years ago, the Bondi Rescue star shared a photograph taken at Sculptures by the Sea on social media. People immediately began asking him how they could get a print. He realised his passion for photography could become more than a hobby. To his surprise, it soon became a full-time job.
In 2018, Glick launched a new business, Destination Towels featuring his stunning beachside images printed on quality beach towels. Less than a year after its launch, Destination Towels ships to 35 countries.
Glick doesn’t just photograph Sydney beach scenes. His photography has taken him everywhere from New Zealand to the Middle East. Last year, he embarked on a road trip from Melbourne to Darwin, encountering some stunning landscapes along the way – “like Mars”, he says. “Sometimes I still pinch myself and think, ‘This is my job!’”
Glick says he learned how to take photos by making mistakes. “I’ve stuffed up so many photos,” he says. “But you learn from them. I’ve learned to look for a unique take on a familiar location. I always hunt for the clearest, bluest water. That’s what gets me going. I love that stuff.”
Known for his aerial photography of beaches and landscapes, Glick prefers to take his shots from a helicopter rather than a drone. “[It] allows you to be immersed in the experience and take the shot from your point of view,” he says. But unlike this famous Bondi lifeguard, few budding photographers have access to a helicopter. So Glick is offering personal helicopter photography lessons as part of the Mastercard Priceless Cities program - you’ll learn photography techniques and board a helicopter to snap aerial photos of the Eastern Suburbs surrounding shores. Here are his secrets to capturing stunning coastal photographs.
Tools of the trade
Glick uses a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, a versatile professional-grade camera. “It’s not quite top of the range, but pretty high up there,” he says. “The lens is the expensive part. If you get a bad lens, it’s like looking through foggy glasses.”
For amateurs keen to invest in a reliable camera, Glick recommends a mid-range entry-level SLR like the Canon EOS 70D or 80D. Both are easy to use, he says.
If you’re going to invest in a quality camera, don’t do your images a disservice by skimping on printing. “You don’t want to be spending thousands on a camera and then printing it with bad photo paper,” he says.
Choosing the right time to go
Glick always has a close eye on climatic conditions. “I always watch the weather, the wind, the waves,” he says. “If you want to get clear water, you want no clouds and offshore winds, and if you want that rough, stormy look, obviously you’re going to wait for wind.”
That said, conditions don’t have to be perfect. “There’s always a way of adjusting the shutter speed,” he says. “The camera is like a paintbrush – you can capture the different movement and textures in the water.”
Dawn and dusk are busy times for photographers for a reason. “You get those warm images,” he says, adding it’s worth setting the alarm early in autumn when the sunrises are particularly spectacular. Long shadows are on show early and late in the day, but noon can serve up great shots too.
Find a focal point for your image rather than trying to capture the whole view, says Glick. A photograph “has more of an impact when it focuses on the good stuff,” he says. “If you have a good camera, I recommend that you shoot a bit wider and crop it later. “If I’m seeing a really good storm or sunset, I take vertical, horizontal and panoramic images so I’ve got all three covered.”
Finally, enjoy it. “There’s a community out there,” says Glick. “I see the same and new photographers every day. It’s healthy and you feel good after. You’ve created something.”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Mastercard Priceless Cities.