Living the dream – Dietmar Kahles (photographer), Tasmania

Living the dream – Dietmar Kahles (photographer), Tasmania


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hobart tasmania
Sparkling Hobart lights

When he moved to Sydney 20 years ago, Dietmar Kahles never would have guessed he’d end up living in Hobart in Tasmania. Dietmar grew up in the Tyrol region of Austria, fell in love in Perugia in Italy and followed his heart (and girlfriend) to Australia. Now, living in Tassie reminds him of mountainous Austria and Tasmania is also the perfect place to fill his growing Instagram account @lake_of_tranquility with stunning photography. Meet Dietmar and find out why he finds Tasmania inspiring.

living the dream
May is a great time to photograph the Derwent River. This is one of my favourite city images. I shot this long exposure on a calm May evening. There was a wonderful orange glow on the horizon which reflected beautifully in the still waters of the Derwent River.

Why Tasmania?

After mostly living and working in Sydney, I moved to Hobart early last year with my family.

It had always been our dream to live in Tasmania one day as whenever I visited I felt immediately at home.

There is something about this place that feels so familiar to me. I guess I’m a cold climate and mountain guy at heart.

I love the distinctive seasons of Tasmania, the fresh air, clear night skies and stunning scenery here in Tasmania.

Describe a typical day in your life

living the dream
Dietmar on Maria Island.

I am very lucky to be able to work from home.

I’m a self-employed business consultant.

After moving from Sydney to beautiful Hobart, my work life balance has improved dramatically.

I now have the luxury to pick the jobs I really want to do and make sure that I have plenty of time for my photography.

I tend to post two shots a day on Instagram (morning and evening) and always try to respond to my followers’ comments and also check what the people I follow are up to and give them positive feedback.

Are you a professional photographer?

living the dream
Yachts at Sandy Bay long exposure.

I have had my Instagram account since mid-2014, but only really started posting shots to the account about a year ago.

For the first few months I only posted iPhone shots but after I purchased a full-frame DSLR (a Canon 6D) my photography really started to develop in leaps and bounds.

I am a self-taught photographer but have since done a few courses to develop my technical skills and I am always looking to improve and add to my skills.

Do you have a photography philosophy?

I am passionate about capturing the incredibly beauty of the landscape and wildlife here in Tasmania and sharing it with other Australians and the rest of the world.

I am so lucky that I am able to live in such an amazing place and with that privilege comes a responsibility to look after our precious environment and preserve it for future generations.

It gives me immense pleasure whenever people comment that they want to visit or return to Tasmania when looking at my images.

That for me is “mission accomplished”.

Where have you travelled to in Tasmania?

maria island
Dove Lake long exposure

I have seen a fair bit of Tasmania, especially around Hobart. But I’ve also explored the East Coast, Central Plateau, Cradle Mountain area, part of the South West wilderness and Tasmania’s West Coast.

There are still so many places I yet have to visit and photograph, including the North West coast, the Tarkine wilderness and the Tasmania’s north east coast (Bay of Fires).

See more of Dietmar’s photos of Tasmania here.

What was your most memorable trip?  

maria islandThat is a difficult question! I have had so many wonderful experiences.

If I had to pick one experience, I would have to say a recent three-day photography workshop on Maria Island has really opened my mind to the incredible wild beauty of Tasmania.

We were able to shoot a beautiful sunrise at the Fossil Cliffs, the Milky Way (and even an Aurora) and the amazing beauty of the Painted Cliffs and multi-coloured sandstone on Maria Island bathed in the golden afternoon light.

The abundant wildlife on the island was fantastic to observe and photograph.

What parts of Tasmania would you show off to friends and relatives?   

I would definitely take relatives on a drive up the East Coast to Freycinet National Park.

The beaches on Tasmania’s East Coast are stunning and the sunrises and sunsets at Freycinet (when the sun lights up the Hazards) are unbeatable.

What’s your favourite spot and why?

I would have to say Cradle Mountain. It is beautiful in all four seasons.

The magic of this World Heritage area gets me every time I visit.

There are so many walks as well as lakes and waterfalls to explore. Cradle Mountain itself is just majestic.

Beach or mountains?

I love the beaches here but I would have to say the mountains are closer to my heart.

I grew up in the mountains in Austria and have an ongoing love affair with summits and jagged peaks.

Favourite restaurant?  

This is another difficult question.

There are so many great places to choose from. In Hobart I love Frank, Smolt and Glasshouse and just outside Hobart Frogmore Creek is such a great place for a meal and a glass of wine or two.

Favourite beach?   

At the moment I would have to say Crescent Bay south of Port Arthur.

It ticks all the boxes for me: crystal clear water, huge sand dunes for exercising and dune boarding, a stunning location and, best of all, very few people as it is only accessible by foot.

Favourite town?  

hobart tasmania
Winters day in Hobart

Hobart hands down.

It has everything I love, views from so many places, in particular from the summit of Mt Wellington, great restaurants, and a fantastic artistic community with the best modern art museum in Australia, if not the southern hemisphere.

If you had to move to somewhere else in Tasmania where would you choose to live?

Somewhere on the East Coast maybe?

Tasmania’s East Coast has one beautiful spot after another and it’s a great place to be in summer.

Most romantic place?

It’s difficult to beat the sunsets at Freycinet.

Richardson’s Beach or Honeymoon Beach on a mild summer night are just magical places.   

When things get too much where do you go to get away?

There is no danger of things getting too hectic here in Tasmania but a great spot to escape to is Hartz Mountains National Park.

The views from Hartz Peak on a clear day is unbeatable.

Do you have any advice for photographers visiting Tasmania?

Every season has its charms but my favourite season is autumn.

The coloured leaves provide an extra layer of beauty to the already stunning scenery and the turning of the fagus (Australia’s only native deciduous shrub) at Mt Field National Park is a natural wonder not to be missed by any photographer. And then there is the Aurora Australis.

I would strongly recommend joining the Aurora Australis Facebook community for some tips on where to go to experience this miracle of nature if you are lucky enough to be here at the right time.

3 places on your bucket list

1- The South West Wilderness Camp at Melaleuca is number one on my bucket list. You fly down there with Par Avion and spend three nights in the most stunning and remote area you can imagine.

2- The Tarkine wilderness – I have yet to experience the raw, wild beauty of this area I have heard so much about and seen stunning photos.

3- Bay of Fires – I will spend a week there in January. I can’t wait!

Dietmar Kahles is a photographer who lives in Hobart.

 Dietmar Kahles


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