I have been image making since my schooldays. My first SLR camera was partly funded by myself, while the rest was provided as a birthday present from my parents. I became an accomplished darkroom technician at school exploring both B&W prints as well as colour transparency. Unfortunately photography took a back seat while I studied for my BSc Chemical Engineering.
Taking advice from my father, I started to get back into photography in my late twenties and used the opportunity to blend my passion for scuba diving with raw forays into underwater photography primarily led by reading basic guidebooks. In fact the log book that records my early diving career is illustrated with many hand drawn images in pencil and ink, inspired by Andy Cobb (www.adventurescuba.co.za), in addition to being unable to afford an underwater camera.
After 11 years of scuba diving and achieving Dive Master status there was a decision to be taken. Having dived most commercial dive sites in South Africa many times there were three futures which needed to be selected from. Technical diving, underwater photography or a gradual decline to infrequent pleasure diving. I chose underwater photography and expanded into taking photos of what I saw underwater to others. The whole spectrum of creatures and water's unique effects with light, allow magical photographs to be captured in the last frontier on the planet, the oceans. I enjoy pushing the limits with models, activities and special effects.
I have specialized in wide angle imagery after seeing that most underwater photographers were developing skills in macro based imagery. I have identified unique and specialized species and places around South Africa, and more recently around the world to find and interact with big animals. Sharks, whales, and people in water are the current flavour for the basis of my work. My relationship with Clara has also lead to new interests in photographing people and yoga (www.yogawarrior.co.za) in unique settings to inspire a connection between man and the planet. I was an original founder of Liquipix (www.liquipix.net), my first foray into displaying my work on the web before building WildWoodburn.
I explore photography of extreme sports and places (Red Bull BASE jump photographer Brixton tower 2004), rock climbing and travel photography as well as dabbling in wildlife photography from time to time. My active participation across many activities allow me to catch imagery in an engaging and unique manner. Free diving, scuba diving, mountain biking and road cycling are some of my passions, just a pity that time is the limiting factor. I have been rock climbing since 1989 when I was attending WITS University in Johannesburg, South Africa
The publications I have been lucky enough to have features in are www.xray-mag.com a leading global online dive magazine, Tauken Magazine and Duiken Magazine in the EU, Divestyle - Africa's only dive magazine (www.divestyle.co.za) , Africa Geographic, Africa Geographic Traveller, Travel Africa, Food and Home, Men's Health, Marie Claire, The Sunday Times and Business Day Newspapers, SHAPE women's magazine and Explore Magazine.
My images are available for advertising commercials, web sites, magazines and online sites. Feature and travel article services are also available. I have been privileged to receive a number of awards in the Agfa awards and Fuji photographer of the year competitions over the last few years and two consecutive first places in the Sodwana shootout, as well as winning international competitions such as 2004 World Champion, www.underwaterphotography.com/Competition/WorldChampions/2004.asp or�www.underwaterphotography.com .
What currently keeps me busy is leading unique and adventurous expeditions to capture specialist images such as Tuna and Mako sharks, Tiger sharks and Whales. My preference is to lead workshops and travel tours rather than teach in a class room and in order help other photographers to achieve their goals and promote underwater conservation. I have held positions on the Gauteng Underwater Photographic Society committee (www.gups.co.za). Andrew judges regularly for CCJ , the sodwana shootout and most recently on the Panel for the SONY Pro photo awards.
Many thanks and appreciation must be attributed to the following people who have all played key roles in assisting me to reach my dreams.
Avril and Trevor Woodburn ( mom and dad) for never ending support and concern
Clara Woodburn for joining me in the ocean and modeling
Laurence Woodburn for being an early diving buddy
Rhys Couzyn, Cheryl & Eugene Couzyn, Sean Couzyn
Scubapro South Africa
Bradley Kidd the nelspruit legend
David and Jenny-lynne Gray
Greg De valle Sodwana bay underwater photo expert
Mark Addison, Gail, Brent and Wayne Addison of Blue Wilderness
Martin and Les Prest
James Fraser, Diving legend
David Frank, Jean Marx, Cormac Mcreesh
Camera Club Johannesburg CCJ Melrose Arch