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A Glimpse into the Career of Photojournalist Scott Mason

Meet Scott Mason, photojournalist and ex Editor of 4x4 Australia. Read on to get a glimpse into his incredible career so far.

How and when did you start out as a photographer?

I first picked up a camera in 1989. I was 13 years old. It was Dad’s Canon T70. He would drive me to the local airport so I could take photos of the planes as I was fascinated by flying back then. I had no idea what I was doing, and neither did my father, but eventually, I worked out how to get better pictures by playing around with the settings, reading the manual and via plenty of failures! There were no handy YouTube tutorials back then and opening up that packet of developed prints was always exciting.

Moving forward a few years, I was an avionics tech in the RAAF but I’d spend every available moment down at the airbase photo section, where I could borrow pretty much whatever I wanted, including one of the first Canon DSLRs in the country. I learnt from the photogs there how to properly shoot – it was fantastic and I ran with it.

Can you please provide a brief overview of your career?

After a string of roles after the RAAF, in and outside of photojournalism, I finally figured out that what made me happy was three things; remote Australia, photography and 4x4 touring – getting back to my roots. So, I threw away everything and followed my happiness, writing, shooting and trying to inspire others to see Australia with my words and images; it didn’t even seem like work, every day was a simple joy, and it was the perfect excuse to do what I love.

This path led me to be the Editor of Australia’s biggest 4x4 magazine and TV co-presenter in that same space. It was great but eventually, it was just too much in many ways. My mental and family health needed priority, so a few years ago I quit what I thought would be my dream job for the freedom (again) of freelance work.

Image of helicopter pilot taken by Scott Mason

Who do you currently work for and/or what project are you working on, or have you just completed?

I currently work freelance, still as a photojournalist, but mainly now as a photographer and solution provider. Twenty years of travelling remotely, 4x4 instruction and an incredible knowledge of Australia allow me to offer genuine and unique marketing solutions for adventure brands.

Today I work with many Australian and international brands from weeks-long campaigns to simple shoots, it’s great but I still love shooting those beautiful moments in nature, the ones that are fleeting, like a sunset or especially wildlife. That makes me very happy, to be able to capture those.

I have teamed up with cinematographer Shawn Peach, whom I spent two years with off-road, filming TV together and we now provide a complete client solution. He is like a brother though; we laugh and enjoy our work every day on the road. I think that is really important when you spend many weeks away from home on a shoot.

What I do has some unique challenges. I work very remotely for much of the year so I need everything I own to be as robust and reliable as possible, there ain’t no help when creating a new track across the Simpson Desert. Apart from the vehicle I built up, the tools of my trade have to cop dust, salt, rain, mud and sand, all with a good measure of wind gusts thrown in.

And I haven’t even started with the thousands of kays of corrugations, big hits and extreme off-roading that everything in my rig is subjected to. All of my gear gets hammered hard in every single way.

I have stuck with Canon as my tools of the trade for over 25 years because they simply have not let me down. They have proven to be solid and reliable companions and that, above all else, is what matters to me. Dependability.

I have actually been surprised many times that my gear has survived; I’ve had 4wds throw walls of flying mud onto remote strobes and bodies, and I’ve slipped more times than I like to recall on steep tracks with two bodies in-hand (trying to save them) and they have survived solid ground strikes, better than me. I have lost footing in deep river crossings and dunked the kit and still managed to keep shooting for the rest of the trip.

That is what I love, that is why I keep using Canon. It keeps going along with me. I am very hard on gear.

Image of desert camping taken by Scott Mason

What have been some of your career highlights to date?

For me, it is the simple things that make their mark and inspire me. Being quiet and observing is the biggest blessing and highlight I have in the outdoors. It has brought me so much joy to listen for birdsong, look for tracks and scats and generally just be a ‘part’ of nature. Just listening, watching and being absorbed in my surroundings has led me to the most amazing moments and afforded me the best images. I never underappreciate these small experiences, ever. In fact, I actively seek them now; if I get a shot, it’s a bonus, if not, I am thankful for that special moment.

What's in your everyday Canon kit?

My everyday carry is: two Canon EOS R5s (with battery grips), two speed lights, two tripods, RF 15-35, 24-70, 70-200 and EF 600 f/4.

Find out more about Scott and his work on Instagram or his website and explore the Canon EOS R5 that he uses.