Beautiful beaches, awesome waves and stunning skies mark @_markfitz as a photographer to watch. The talented shutterbug captures eye-catching shots of Queensland’s laid-back coastal lifestyle and has the amazing ability to make every place he visits look mighty alluring. He has lived in Gladstone in sunny Central Queensland for the last five years and loves it so much it’s he calls it home. We caught up with him for the inside scoop on where to hang out in the Sunshine State.
Are you a professional photographer?
I started getting into photography around 18 months ago shortly after we moved to Gladstone. I’m an accountant here but any spare time I get I love to get out with the camera.
We like to do a lot of weekend getaways to the beach and islands so it’s the perfect opportunity to take photos.
My main photography passion is the ocean, whether it’s at the beach, snorkelling out on the reef or in the surf. Any chance I can get in the water with the camera basically!
Where have you been in Queensland?
I’ve travelled from Coolangatta in the south to Cape Tribulation in Far North Queensland.
When I moved to Queensland back in 2010 I travelled for around six months checking out a lot of the coastal areas and loved it.
Have you been involved in Instagram campaigns in Queensland?
I attended my first Instameet late last year in Mackay as a part of Queensland’s World’s Biggest Instameet and I had a great time meeting fellow Instagrammers and learning from the pro’s like Garry Norris.
I was then asked to guest host @queensland’s Instagram account for three days in February and share my Instastory from the Gladstone region which was awesome.
What was your most memorable trip in Queensland?
My most recent trip was to Heron Island. We flew from Gladstone in a seaplane over the amazing Southern Great Barrier Reef and all the incredible little islands dotted along the way.
We then spent a couple of days snorkelling, watching baby turtles hatch, lazing on the beach and having the most amazing weekend.
There’s nothing quite like being out on a coral cay in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef and walking straight off the beach and into the most stunning blue water teeming with thousands of fish, brightly coloured coral, and sea turtles absolutely everywhere.
We can’t wait for our next trip back!
Where have you been recently?
Our last trip was to the Whitsundays at Easter. We drove up to Airlie Beach for the long weekend and did day trips out to the islands.
We had a fantastic time snorkelling at Lovers Cove on Daydream Island and checking out lots of hidden little beaches!
You have some fantastic underwater shots. We’d love some tips.
Thanks very much! I like to do a lot of snorkelling and use my GoPro Hero 3+ to capture my underwater shots.
It’s a fantastic camera and great for shooting under/over shots (showing fish swimming below the surface and islands and or boats above the surface in the same photo), you get to see the best of both worlds!
Lady Musgrave Island is one of my favourite places to snorkel, the water out there is crystal clear and the underwater life has to be seen to be believed.
We’re very lucky here in Gladstone that we can just drive down to Agnes Water and 1770 in the morning and do the day trips out to Lady Musgrave from there.
What was your most memorable underwater experience?
Snorkelling with turtles at Lady Musgrave Island for the first time would have to be at the top of the list.
We’d heard Lady Musgrave was a fantastic spot to see them so we organised a day trip and headed out there. Shortly after lunch we went snorkelling and hung out at the turtle cleaning station.
We were there for around 10 minutes before one appeared. For the next little while she hovered there as the fish cleaned her shell and I swam down to take a few photos and just enjoy the moment.
She didn’t have a care in the world and it was quite surreal to be a part of and experience her tranquil underwater world.
Finally she moved off and slowly swam through the lagoon with us just snorkelling nearby until she came up for some air, had a look around and then dived into the depths.
It was an amazing experience and everything I’d hoped it’d be and even more!
Where would you take your Mum?
Mum is a huge fan of baby turtles so I’d definitely take her to Mon Repos to see the baby turtles hatch!
Do you prefer the beach or the desert?
My partner Emi-Jai organised a surprise birthday evening for me with a gondola dinner cruise on the Gold Coast. We cruised the canals during sunset with amazing views and delicious food, it was fantastic!
Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays. The sand is just incredible and the water is ridiculously blue!
Airlie Beach, it’s a fun spot with so many day trips available from there and it’s where I met my partner Emi-Jai!
If you had to move where would you choose to live?
Most romantic place you’ve been to?
Sunset picnic on the beach at Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island
When things get too much where do you go to get away from it all?
Agnes Water. It’s such a chilled out and relaxing place, we love going there for weekend getaways.
I haven’t been to any spas here yet, will have to add that to the “to do” list
What’s on your bucket list?
1. I’d love to go sailing in the Whitsundays for a week and visit a few of the islands and reefs I haven’t been to yet like Langford Reef and camp out on Whitehaven Beach.
2. Lady Elliot Island as the snorkelling there looks amazing!
3. Spend some more time up north in Cairns and visit Fitzroy Island and Green Island