Saltwater & Light
Ming NomchongWe're so happy to kick off our Saltwater & Light series today! What better way to launch the project than to feature one of our favorite photographers, Ming Nomchong. Ming's use of a subtle color palette, wide open Australian spaces, and the obvious rapport she has with her subjects keeps us coming back to view her work over and over again. When you're done reading this interview and scrolling through her images below, remember to jump on over to Ming's amazing blog--The Drifter.
JettyGirl: What was your first camera? Ming Nomchong: My first camera was my mum's old Nikon FE. She gave it to me when I was in school and I still had it up to a few years ago.
Do you have a favorite lens that never leaves your bag? My 35mm. It never leaves my bag. It’s my go-to lens for reportage stuff as you can get in close and still capture what’s going on around your subject. I shoot so much with that lens! For in water surf stuff though I usually shoot with my trusty 50mm. I’ll sometimes use the 35 if I want to get cool perspectives but usually I find that my subjects are a little too far away.
What originally drew you to the subject matter you specialize in? I’m a people person. They fascinate me and I’ve always loved photographing them. When I first shot in the water I realised that I loved shooting surfing because I wasn’t just shooting people, I was capturing an emotion in the act of surfing, the stoke which I think transcends into my images.
Do you get a chance to surf much yourself? I used to surf a lot more before I got so busy with work. I try to get in the water at least once or twice a week for a surf. Three times if I’m lucky. I’m in the ocean a lot but I’ve usually got a camera strapped to my wrist.
One piece of advice for a young photographer starting out: Focus on what inspires you and try to find your niche.
Who inspires you? So many! I’m inspired by people who don’t follow trends but make them. People who are doing things and living their lives for the love of it. And Women. I’m totally inspired by their strength and softness, especially in the water.
Aside from your local spots, what is your favorite travel destination and why? Oh this is a hard one! I love Fiji. The people are so beautiful, there are lots of empty waves, the water is clear and warm and there are so many islands to explore! I’m a sucker for a tropical destination...
Do you have an all-time favorite surf shoot? Yes, I do. I did a shoot last year with Lauren Hill, Chrystal Fitzgerald, Courtney Webb and Charlotte Hand at sunrise in Byron for a Surfline article on women’s surfing. We got the most amazing light that morning, the water was glassy and a deep aqua blue, and the waves were pretty damn good too! The shots turned out so great. Definitely one of my favourite surf shoots to date. All the elements aligned that morning.
If you were stuck on an island with one book, one album, and one meal, what would they be? Book - Shantaram - I’ve read it three times over the past ten years and could read it again and again. Album - The Best of Fleetwood Mac - It’s been my favourite album for 15 years. I could never get sick of it. Meal - Zucchini Fritters. Who doesn’t love fritters!Website: mingnomchong.com | Instagram: @thedrifterblog | Facebook: facebook.com/mingnomchongphotography | Pinterest: pinterest.com/thedrifter
Byron Bay Surf Festival Corona Party Wave - © Ming Nomchong Chrystal Dawn Fitzgerald - Far North Coast NSW- © Ming Nomchong Cloudy Rhodes - Sydney - © Ming Nomchong Molly O’Neil, Leanna Rack, Kath Moore & Taryn Wilson - Far North Coast NSW - © Ming Nomchong Maddie Gross - Far North Coast NSW - © Ming Nomchong Kath Moore - Far North Coast NSW - © Ming Nomchong Lauren L. Hill - Far North Coast NSW - © Ming Nomchong Lauren L. Hill - Far North Coast NSW - © Ming Nomchong Lauren L. Hill - Far North Coast NSW - © Ming Nomchong Charlotte Hand - Far North Coast NSW - © Ming Nomchong Charlotte Hand - Far North Coast NSW - © Ming Nomchong Unknown Surfer - Far North Coast NSW - © Ming Nomchong Josie Prendergast - Far North Coast NSW - © Ming Nomchong Josie Prendergast - Far North Coast NSW - © Ming Nomchong