Meet The Locals: Doug Bazley From Bluey’s Photography

February 9, 2024

For the past seven years, Doug Bazley has been giving us a bird’s eye view of the Sunshine Coast and western Queensland with his stunning aerial photos.

The Bluey’s Photography founder tells us how he left a career as a motor mechanic and became one of our most admired photographers.

So Doug, how did Bluey’s Photography come about?

I’ve always enjoyed travelling and taking photos. I had a small digital camera but when my partner Tina and I decided to do a motorcycle tour of Tassie in 2017, I knew the only way to capture the beauty of Tasmania was with a drone. The photos I got with the drone were amazing and when I put them on my personal Facebook page, people said: “You should be selling these.” So, I took their advice! I’ve gone from one tiny drone to four, and each one takes better photos than the last.

Was Bluey’s an instant success?

It grew slowly at first. We started a little pop-up at Baringa Markets once a week, where I sold prints and calendars. Then COVID came along and squashed that on the head.

I’ve got a great Facebook following. Most people will see something I’ve posted on my Facebook page and say: “Wow, can I get a print of that?” The business has grown from there!

I’ve been lucky to get work from the Council and different companies, so some of my prints are hanging in their offices. Probably my best print would be in the Gemini Resort at Golden Beach. It’s a photo of Caloundra and the passage. It’s five prints on a curved wall that makes up a single print about 4.5 metres by 2 metres. I’m very proud of it and it’s something that’ll probably be there long after I’m gone.

It’s quite the change from your former life, isn’t it?

Sure is! I’ve been a motor mechanic all my working life. I had to step back from that when I broke my back in a paragliding accident, but I got a job with Repco and have been with them for 20 years – I still work for them as a weekend manager.

I also had a business called Bluey’s Custom Alloys, making custom motorcycle parts, which I sold all over the world. I did that for about five years but then we moved away from the acreage and I didn’t have the machinery anymore. I was probably a bit lost for a while, but then I found photography. During the week, Tina and I travel around trying to find things that people will enjoy looking at.

We’ll pack up on a Sunday night or Monday morning and head out to western Queensland. We can do around 2,500 kilometres in a week. We’ll spend half the day on the road exploring areas and taking photos, and the other half editing them and putting stories together. I might take 500 photos at a time. I’ll narrow them down to 10 or 15 photos and then narrow them down again.

What do you look for when you’re taking photos?

We explore whatever we can find that’s different, things that people don’t see every day. I like bringing the outdoors to people that don’t get that opportunity. The drone means I can give people a view they wouldn’t be able to see except from a plane.

And sometimes my photos bring back memories for people. I have a lot of older followers, and they enjoy seeing what’s going on in the neighbourhood. There are some followers who grew up on the coast but have moved away, and the photos remind them of when they were here.

And there’s plenty of inspiration on the Sunshine Coast, right?

People always say how lucky I am living here and they’re right. I’ve been on the coast for over 40 years.

I love getting down to the water’s edge, having a look and putting the drone up. There’s always something going on that will put a smile on people’s faces, whether it’s a big fish ball out on the water or whales in close with babies.

There are a few community organisations that use your services too. Tell me about them?

I do photos for a local group that looks after the Pumicestone Passage. They’ve got concerns about erosion and how the passage has opened up. I also photograph algae blooms in the area for another group.

I recently did some photos for the local council. They installed new lighting in a car park near a turtle beach, so they could dim the lights during turtle season. They wanted some photos to show the new lighting effects at night, so I had to get accreditation to fly my drones at night. That’s given me the ability to do other night photography, like the fireworks.

You had a setback at the end of 2023 when your Facebook page was hacked. How did you bounce back from that?

It just crushed me. My customer base disappeared overnight. I felt like I’d lost my family. I have a really good relationship with my followers and to suddenly lose them all like that, it’s hard to explain how upset I was.

To make matters worse, it was in November, and I’d just released my 2024 calendars. I had about 250 pre-paid orders and all their contact information disappeared with the page.

I opened a new Bluey’s Photography Facebook page and did a post on what happened. Within a couple of days, about 3,000 people came back on board. As word got around, Channel Seven and the ABC did stories about it. It got a lot of publicity! An IT company contacted the ABC and said they wanted to help me get my original page back. I’ve got it all back now, fortunately.

I’m glad to hear it. Thanks for your time, Doug, and I look forward to seeing your next photos.

Caloundra City Realty

Article by Caloundra City Realty

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