Stunning images of the Australian landscape serve to inspire and amaze, and you can find iconic Aussie beaches, bushland and outback imagery adorning everything from wall calendars to stubby coolers in souvenir shops all over the country.
However, when it comes to capturing the true spirit of the land and connecting with your senses of touch, feel, sense and smell in a simple photograph, nobody does it like Adam Edwards.
The New South Wales-based photographer has spent decades living amongst the beautiful savagery of the Australian outback, making countless trips to some of the country’s most remote regions almost exclusively atop Open Country 4x4 tyres.
He’s in the middle of building a brand new Ranger Raptor - the latest in a long list of Raptors he’s traveled in in the past - a vehicle that will serve as the base for his incredibly popular Outback Photography Workshops, as well as his own personal commuter.
We sat down with Adam to discuss his unique style of photography, what draws him back to some of the most remote and desolate locations the country has to offer and his unique relationship with the Toyo Tyres brand.
What came first - the photography or the 4x4?
Probably the photography. I got the bug in 2003 and tried shooting everything from birds to architecture and landscapes. That’s probably how most people start their photography journey. I’d traveled about as far as my Commodore at the time could take me shooting landscapes, so I bought a D22 Navara to explore a little further and ended up heavily modifying that to take me all over south eastern Australia!
Your style is so unique - does that stem from exploring places others won't?
Establishing a style is important, and the one thing I try to teach new photographers is that you’ve got to trust the way you see things. Landscape photography is so prevalent these days and it’s easy for people to fall into the habit of replicating a style they’ve seen on social media, but it's far more honest to try and capture a snapshot of how you see the world.
I try to get students to think about more than just the visual - try to capture the things you’re hearing and feeling, as well as seeing.
COVID really helped me with this. We obviously couldn’t travel so I spent time re-learning how I saw things around my home and immediate surroundings. This exploration translates into my outback photography - some people struggle in the outback because there’s so much space, but I’ve learned to see it differently.
And you run photography workshops for budding photographers?
Everyone from those just starting out to guys who I consider better than me! Photography is such a broad topic, you can always teach someone something. Some experienced photographers just tag along because they want access to the beautiful spots that I know!
What’s your best piece of advice for someone looking to take better photos?
Get out as much as you can, and become insanely familiar with your camera. Learn it so well that you can use it in the dark! When you’re chasing the best light you’re usually there before the sun rises or when the sun is setting, so making all the adjustments to perfect your lighting and composition should be second nature. If you remove the challenges with the technical side, that’s when you can look at the artistic side
You’ve just upgraded your Ranger Raptor to the latest generation. What keeps you coming back to the Ranger Raptor?
I was blown away by how good the last Raptor was, so there was never any doubt I’d get the new Raptor. I reached out to my local dealer and asked them to find me any colour but black! I usually go for white cars because they’re easier to maintain, but I ended up with the gray this time.
Ford has an arrangement with ARB which makes it easy to use their bullbar and canopy. The only other mod is the Ultra Vision lights. We’ll fit some ROH Assault wheels for some more offset and then fit it out to support the photography workshops - fridge, storage and power. It becomes the hub for the workshops when we do them.
And some Toyo tyres, too! Do you remember your first set of Toyo tyres?
I had a set of Toyo all-terrains on my D22 way back in 2005 or 2006! I’d tried a couple of other tyres at the time that weren’t suited to what I was doing, but I was blown away with the Toyos at the time! I didn’t have any punctures and they were quiet enough to drive on the road.
I had a set of Highway Terrains on my Toyota Prado, and then when I got my 200 Series Landcruiser I had it fitted with Open Country A/T II. They were brilliant. They had a really well behaved tyre on the road and had a good, aggressive look. From memory they were 285/70R17.
After that was my white Ranger Raptor and I put on the Open Country R/T, which was followed by a set of Open Country A/T III.
I’d rate them as the best tyres I’ve ever run on any 4x4. They do everything so well - they look aggressive but have amazing on road manners and no chips, cuts or punctures. That’s super important to me. Some of the places we travel to might have a track that hasn’t been driven on for three or six months! A lot of the tracks might not be hard technically, but it’s hard on the tyres and reliability is paramount for us.
Adam’s stunning photography will take you on a visual tour through some of the country’s least-seen locations. Follow his social channels here: