Born and raised in South Africa, Francois Fourie fulfilled his ambition to travel the world early on in life. Fresh from school, he backpacked for eight years before settling in Tasmania with his family. He is happiest with a camera in his hand and has an amazing collection of photographs shot around Tasmania posted on his Instagram account @ffourie. Find out why Francois is inspired by Tasmania.
Describe a typical day in your life?
Having four kids (2×7 and 2×6) does make life interesting. Mornings can be crazy to get everyone ready and out the door. I then go to work and tell people to turn their computer off and on again (I work in IT, where I provide training and technical support on a software application developed for medical specialists).
I might try and squeeze in a 20-minute gym session and then it’s back to school to pick up the brood and get everyone to friends and after-school activities. It’s a real test of my time management and logistical skills. On the weekends we like to get out of the house if the weather is nice and go to the beach, park or anything “fun” really.
When do you find time for photography?
I like to get out whenever I can to take photos, especially at night, but having a family means I cannot always go to exotic locations when the conditions are perfect.
I do however make sure I keep my camera with me at all times, so that I don’t miss those magical photo opportunities when they present themselves.
Instagram is such a great platform. It’s easy for me to bury my nose in my phone for a few minutes during the day to double tap here, comment there or upload a pic whenever I can (I keep a stash of pictures ready-to-go in a Dropbox folder called social media). Here are a few of the pictures I’ve taken while taking the kids to the beach or park.
According to my Instagram, account the first photo I uploaded was 116 weeks ago…making it July 30, 2013 (and yes, I scrolled all the way to the bottom to find that out).
Do you have a photography philosophy?
Philosophy? Well, I always say to myself, “do what you can while you can”(meaning now is probably the best time).
Whenever I feel a little bit lazy, I tell myself “good photos won’t take themselves” (in other words…get out of bed now, even if it is 3am and freezing cold and you are tired). Also, my motto is “photography is my therapy”. It’s what makes me happy and ‘fixes’ me when I’m feeling down or in a bad mood.
What was your most memorable experience in Tasmania?
Walking the 85km South Coast Track was pretty special. It was my first multi-day walk. Prior to that, I had very little bushwalking experience, so it was pretty challenging at times…but so worth it! I took a ton of photos, some of which I am still processing now.
Where would you take your Mum?
Well my mum is not very mobile as she just had both her knees replaced. I might just take her for a long drive along some scenic routes around our beautiful state (everywhere). There’s plenty to see. I could stick her in a wheelchair and push her to Russell Falls in Mount Field National Park. It’s a magnificent waterfall to experience, and it’s a wheelchair accessible walk through beautiful fern forests, with some of the world’s tallest trees.
We could drive to Tasmania’s East Coast and take a scenic flight over Wineglass Bay, or drive to the West Coast, and take a cruise on the Gordon River through Macquarie Harbour and the World Heritage Wilderness. Perhaps we could even step back in history and get on a restored steam train with West Coast Wilderness Railway, and explore the King River Gorge and old-growth rainforest.
I better start planning! My mum will be reading this and have expectations.
What’s your favourite spot?
That’s an unfair question, because there are so many! But one of them would have to be Lion Rock. It’s a big lump of rock near South Cape Bay, in the Southwest National Park, part of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area. It’s a two-hour walk from Cockle Creek. Did you know that Cockle Creek is the most southerly point you can drive to?
I better take my mum there too!
Beach or mountains?
I prefer to visit both in one day if I can, and in Tasmania you definitely can.
My partner will probably kill me for saying this, so I’ll name one of her many favourite restaurants. Smolt in Salamanca Square, Hobart. They do all kinds of fancy and tasty food. I’ve even been there a few times myself.
In Tasmania everyone can pretty much have their own personal beach. A couple that come to mind are Cloudy Bay Beach on Bruny Island and Clifton Beach along South Arm, which is not far from where I live. If it looks crowded (I mean when there are more than two people) I can always go somewhere else in just a few minutes.
Bicheno. It’s on the East Coast of Tasmania. I have a bit of a thing for that town and it’s usually sunny there.
If you had to move to somewhere else in Tasmania where would you choose to live?
Not Bicheno (it’s complicated). I’d probably like to stay in the south, close to Hobart. It’s a pretty cool place. Okay, okay, I’m dodging questions again. I’ll pick a town on the East Coast, like Swansea, or Coles Bay close to Bicheno.
Most romantic place?
[Shouting out to partner to answer this question] Oh no, I got it! Sitting barefoot and cross-legged on massive white sand dunes, sipping sparkling wine and watching the sun dip below the ocean on the West Coast.
Where do you go to get away from it all?
Like when I’m sitting in a dentist chair? My happy place is somewhere deep in a rainforest, high up on a mountain in the South West or in the wild and rugged Tarkine on the West Coast. I have many happy places. But honestly, people in Tasmania have no need to get away from anything. Most people come to Tasmania to get away from it all!
Best places to photograph in Tasmania?
South Cape Bay is a two-hour walk from Cockle Creek. This place is remote and beautiful, but not hard to get to. It’s great to photography at any time of the year. At the end of the walk on the Three Capes Track, you will be rewarded with this view. Tasman Island from the Blade on Cape Pillar (see main photo).
It’s not an easy walk, but the four to five-day journey will be one of the best experiences you have ever undertaken.
The wild and rugged Tarkine on the West Coast of Tasmania – this area is called Rupert Point, and as a seascapes photographer there is no better place to be.
Iconic Cradle Mountain is easily accessible. There are plenty of short or long walks. It’s a must-do for every visitor to Tasmania
With a 25-minute drive from the CBD of Hobart, you can stand on top of Mount Wellington and get great views of the city below. The observatory provides shelter from the cold and wind and offers some interesting information about the views you see.
Do you have any advice for photographers visiting Tasmania?
1–Tasmania is a photographer’s paradise so bring lots of batteries and memory cards! And don’t forget your tripod.
2-Bring your walking boots, you will use them. Be prepared for all types of weather conditions any time of the year.
3-Tasmania is much bigger than it looks so allow enough time to travel between destinations. You will be stopping frequently for pictures.
4-There are plenty of landscape photographers in Tasmania and we are all a friendly bunch. So jump onto the social media networks and ask questions before going to a new spot. I’m sure people will be happy to help out and share local knowledge.
5-If you’re out at night, look to the south. You might just see the Aurora Australis.
Name three places or things on your bucket list
1-Walk to Lake Oberon
2-Walk to Walls of Jerusalem
Francois Fourie lives in Tasmania.