Aviation Photographer James Lusher Flying High In Sydney

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When Sydney aviation photographer, James Lusher, was enjoying a father and son excursion to Perth Airport in the early-80s as a small child, he didn't realise the lasting affect it would have on his adult life.

"I remember being four or five years old and Dad, who also had the aviation bug, would take me to Perth Airport to watch planes. He and I would stand by the fence and watch the planes come in and out for six or seven hours per day," James explained.

"I think initially I didn't really understand it, but eventually it just became so normal and I would keep asking Dad to go back over and over.

"It really stayed with me for a long time and when I was 14 I took flying lessons at Jandakot airport. I spent 20-30 hours learning to fly the Cessna, but unfortunately I never completed it. But it left a long-lasting impression on me for the rest of my life."

While plane spotting in Sydney, James uses his Cannon 7D Mark2, taking up to 10 photos per second to capture that perfect moment. A self-taught photographer, James' tip is to just tinker with your settings and see what works.

"I spent a couple of years in the Northern Territory as a cattleman. The good thing there was I couldn't spend any money as we were at least 100 kilometres from the closest town. So I ordered a camera online one day as everything is so beautiful out there and I wanted to make sure I remembered it all," James said.

"I would work 14 hours per day but whether before sunrise or sunset, or even working during the day, I would always be taking photographs or trying out astrophotography. The scenery around the Northern Territory is so beautiful and I just loved it."


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James' favourite aircraft to photograph is the Airbus A380.

"While I don't think the [Airbus] A380 is a particularly good looking aircraft, it's an amazing feat of engineering. You need a wide-angle lens to get the whole aircraft in the shot and it always gets the highest rating on my Instagram page (@lush_aviation), so there is a huge audience who just love this thing.

"The double-decker look of it is so unique and when I photograph it, due to its immense size, I get a sense of being a child again as it really is amazing."

James loves the last two hours of daylight to plane spot and the way the sun just lingers and reflects off the aircraft.

When asked about his favourite aircraft to fly, James said he has a few but he misses the Boeing 767. "I miss the old 767. It was like a rocket ship and it was so overpowered and it would take off with an incredible climb rate. Such a great feeling.

"My first international flight was with British Airways when I was 17 to London, which was my first actual flight outside of the flying lessons. I remember the music they played when boarding and how emotional it was and it was the first time away from my family and it was just an amazing experience – I just loved everything about it."

James has worked with airlines on Instagram such as Qantas and Qatar. Follow James on Instagram at @lush_aviation for more amazing aviation images.


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Jason Dutton-Smith

I’m a passionate traveller and a first class nomad wannabe. I have a love for the written word and enjoy sharing stories that inspire travel. I like ordinary but love extraordinary. I’ll dance and sing karaoke to anything 80’s, will drink hot tea even if 40 degrees, love food and have a wicked sweet tooth. Architecture excites me, the window seat thrills me and anything aviation enamours me. I’m a perpetual dreamer who lives by Saint Augustine’s wise words – “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. My intention is to read War and Peace!