A bet with a co-worker is all it took to catapult Destin Sparks into a highly successful career as a multiple award-winning landscape photographer.
Now he’s earning six figures from his incredible images. Check them out, and the stories behind those stunning shots…
“Sometimes the beauty of nature is most apparent when it’s in transition,” explains Destin. “Take autumn, for instance. It’s arguably the most beautiful of the seasons with its transcendental visual symphony of rich golds, ruddy oranges, and juicy scarlets.
“The golds are the first to make their appearance and can be among the most magical of these hues. If enough golden leaves fall across a path or a clearing in just the right way at the start of autumn, they can look exactly like flakes of the precious metal itself.”
“Fool’s Gold was taken in Arrowtown in the Queenstown Lakes District of Otago. The crisp autumn breeze gently ruffled the pristine surface of a perfect creek as it ambled into the distance. The first leaves of that year’s autumn decorated the ground in shades of gold, russet, and lemon, giving passers-by a mere glimpse of the majesty that would be blooming all around them in the months to come. A makeshift bridge someone left behind, connecting the way to town with the walking trails at the base of the nearby mountains, seemed to echo the theme of transition that permeated the very air.”
“The world has a way of showing you the most fantastic, otherworldly things when it’s transitioning from day to night,” says Destin. “Sunset – the most magical of times and sometimes the most surprising as well. The day is done. Whether you spent your time working or playing, you’re now ready to stretch your tired limbs, enjoy a good meal, and bask in the glow of another wonderful 24 hours well spent. Then as the sun sets, the sky positively comes alive, blooming into a breathtaking parade of yellows, lilacs, and crimsons.”
“Bay of Fire depicts just such a sunset at Queensland’s Closehaven Marina. I was just getting ready to pack up my things and head back to camp for the night when a crack in the sky gave way to the most wonderful outpouring of vermillion, gold, and orange. The coloured light spread gracefully from one cloud to the next, as if the sky itself were being set ablaze with heavenly fire – the perfect send-off to a wonderful day.”
“Occasionally you get the feeling that Mother Nature has been expecting you,” explains Destin. “She knew you were going to come calling today and being the perfect hostess that she is, she took the time to get her humble abode ready for visitors. Every piece of décor is in place, every element on point. If her sitting room is hard to find, she may even set things up in such a way that you know exactly where you’re going regardless.”
“That’s exactly the impression I had when I visited Cape Tribulation in search of the shore. On the way there, I passed through this beautiful forest of mangroves. It was so eerily silent at the time that I could hear my own footsteps echoing into the quiet as my shoes hit the boardwalk. The edges of the path were perfectly decorated with bright orange leaves from above. The leaves stood out vibrantly against the scene in front of me, almost as if they were placed there to help me find my way to my destination.”
“Locations like Brisbane are particularly beautiful when the sun grows golden and honey-like in the autumn,” Destin explains. “The way it paints the buildings with accents of mellow gold, spicy saffron, and velvety russet makes them look brand new and incredibly alive – different from the way they look under a higher, cooler sun, but just as beautiful.”
“Urban Melody was taken on a beautifully temperate autumn day near Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge. The way the autumn sunlight danced across the bridge’s graceful lines and highlighted the steadfast majesty of the buildings contrasted perfectly with the gentle stillness of the surrounding water. The way the buildings themselves cast muted, ghostly reflections across the water’s surface was almost musical. Observing this scene really was like listening to a symphony being played – a symphony made up of aquatic melodies and concrete chords. The nearby yachts seemed to be the very thread that successfully bound the tune together.”
“Natural light can be such an incredible entity,” explains Destin. “Depending on the time of day or where we are in the procession of the calendar year, the unique light that is inseparably married to each new collection of hours has the power to dress even the most familiar locations in brand new clothes.”
“I experienced this phenomenon first hand during a visit to The Spit, one of the Australian Gold Coast’s most famous beaches. I’d been here quite a few times in the past, but the light on this particular spring day made me feel as if I were seeing it for the first time.”
“The sun kissed the sky in a way that gave rise to a fantasy parade of a million cherry blossom-esque hues – candy rose, dusty lilac, and gentle periwinkle to name just a few. The ocean was calm that day, allowing the very sea itself to echo this incredibly majestic sky to perfection and magnify its beauty – a one-of-a-kind double work of art that I felt truly blessed to witness.”
“An afternoon at North Stradbroke Island’s magical Point Lookout brought me face to face with these regal and majestic sentinels,” remembers Destin. “They populated one portion of a small clearing in what was a lush and very dense coastal jungle. They were more than just strong, steadfast trees that were beautiful and noteworthy for their qualities as such. In that magical moment on that unforgettable afternoon, they were also members of a sentient army – guardians of that beautiful, life-filled place.”
“One tree stands at the centre of the group, clearly exuding an air of leadership, regality, and pomp. This being is the king to which the other entities in the group bow and pay homage. The glade itself is their meeting place. I found myself wondering what they were conversing about and planning for in their private language – a war, a revolution, or maybe just a celebration. Flourished is a record of my moment as a silent witness… a moment spent as a curious and fascinated member of a foreign court.”
“No type of scene is more strongly married to the concepts of peace, tranquility, and relaxation than a seaside vista complete with foamy waves and swaying palm trees,” Destin declares. “Just the sight of a palm arcing its way toward the crystalline ocean can stimulate soothing waves of mental peace in the human mind. Relax for a moment, picture a secluded tropical beach, and you can almost hear the duet between the waves and the wind.”
“Tropical Chorus came about when I visited Palm Beach Cove in search of my own personal piece of paradise to photograph. It took me much longer than I expected to finally locate one of the beach’s famous palm trees, but the search was well worth it. This palm almost appeared sentient, as if it was watching the sun cast its caramel glow on the feathery cloud formations above as the ocean itself sang us that siren song that all of us know so well somewhere deep in our souls.”
“The act of breathing in the heady scent of lush, green foliage on a warm summer’s day can honestly be a lot like breathing in life itself,” explains Destin. “The air itself even smells green and it positively vibrates with the promise of new possibilities on the horizon. At times like that, absolutely anything in the world seems possible in the most wonderful way.”
“Viridis was taken on just such a day at Queensland’s beautiful Tamborine Mountain. As I followed this winding path through the lush forest with the warm, velvety earth under my feet, I could hear the gentle midday breezes stirring the leaves over my head. To my left, the roots of a large strangler fig caught my eye. The tree itself seemed to be guarding the way to Curtis Falls in all its viridian majesty. I couldn’t help but feel as if I were about to embark on a grand adventure of the most wonderful kind.”
“There’s nothing like a sunset over the water to make you marvel at the boundless beauty of this wonderful planet we live on,” recalls Destin. “The colours are so true and pure at that particular time of day. The air is so still. It always feels as if an otherworldly concert of the most amazing kind is about to begin. A hush falls over the world. Every creature pauses, listens, and watches as the symphony tunes its instruments. Grab your places! Another show is about to begin.”
“This piece was shot on a whim one day as I passed this pier on North Stradbroke Island. To this day, I have no idea if it was located on private property or not. However, I knew I had to capture the scene regardless. The sea was a gossamer carpet of the finest lilac while the sky dusted it in gentle shades of strawberry, peach, and dusty lavender. A lone onlooker stopped to marvel at the sight, providing the perfect focal point to a most peaceful scene.”
“Nature has a way of surprising us again and again when it comes to how rich and how very expansive it really is,” says Destin. “You may think that you have a given place all figured out only to see it in a different light on a chillier day and realize that there was so much more to it than you previously thought.”
“This shot was taken after following an idyllic, but windy road that meanders peacefully along the edge of New Zealand’s picturesque Lake Wakatipu. It was a brisk spring night at the time and having never travelled this road before at that point, I had no idea what I would find at the end of it come morning, but I welcomed the chance to find out. As the next day’s newborn sun cast tendrils of blossoming dawn over the crystalline surface of the lake and the surrounding mountains, I was rewarded with a truly magical sight.”
“At the end of the road was the sleepy, idyllic town of Glenorchy, nestled like fairy’s treasure amidst the mountains and the rolling countryside. You’d never have known such a place would be found here, a little jewel of manmade charm in a natural setting that complimented it perfectly.”
Destin Sparks into a highly successful career as a multiple award-winning landscape photographer. Destin had no interest in photography when he started as a graphic designer and salesperson at a camera store. Surrounded by photography and camera enthusiasts, Destin was a fish out of water. When he quipped to a colleague that he could do better than his latest photograph, the bet started his career journey.
With an established website that turns over six figures a year, Destin can safely say that he has made it. He sells his work both nationally and internationally and creates images for corporates, government and the media. He also runs regular Queensland-based workshops to share his craft with aspiring photographers. Unbelievably, Destin is largely self-taught and takes an ‘old school’ approach to his work. He still uses film – a Fujifilm GX617 with one single 90mm lens – and does not use any photoshop or filters. See more at www.destinsparks.com.