Photographer Rodd Owen captures Port Stephens' natural beauty for Stinker’s new book, The Outer Light

Stunning images showcasing the natural wonders of Port Stephens have been included in a book written by fishing identity John “Stinker” Clarke.

The images, taken by award-winning photographer Rodd Owen, serve to illustrate the tale Mr Clarke weaves in his latest book, The Outer Light, which will be launched in Soldiers Point and Fingal Bay this week.

Mr Owen, who has been a professional surf photographer for the past 20 years, said it was by pure chance that he ran into Mr Clarke in Final Bay a few years ago – a meeting that would be the catalyst for their publishing relationship.

“One of the photos in the book, it’s the back cover actually, is of commercial fishermen crossing the spit on dark and it was a really high tide,” Mr Owen said. “He was really really lucky to get across. His car nearly got swamped a couple of times. 

“I shot that photo and the next day I ran into Stinker randomly at Fingal Beach and he was telling me about it.

“I told him I was there and got the shot and he was blown away. It was complete randomness. It was meant to be, I guess.”

CROSSING: A commercial fisherman runs the gauntlet at Fingal Spit on last light only narrowly avoiding losing his car to the sea. Picture: Rodd Owen

CROSSING: A commercial fisherman runs the gauntlet at Fingal Spit on last light only narrowly avoiding losing his car to the sea. Picture: Rodd Owen

Mr Clarke commissioned Mr Owen, who last week won fine art photographer of the year at the International Photography Awards in New York for a series of images of waves crashing against rocks, to take photos for The Outer Light.

The book, which is number eight from Mr Clarke, is part of his popular series that documents the Port’s fascinating history, people and events.

“Stinker commissioned me to do all the photography he required for the book,” Mr Owen said. “We set out about a year ago roughly.

“When I was in town, I had time and conditions were right we had a few little missions fishing and we’d do some shooting in between. 

“There was definitely some good stories told in between that, let me tell you. He's one of the greatest storytellers I've met.

“Stinker had areas he wanted me to focus on but he left the angles, condition, lighting to me.

HEART: Rodd Owen said it was "random luck" to take this photo of a group of eagle rays in a love heart shape at Fingal Bay. Picture: Rodd Owen

HEART: Rodd Owen said it was "random luck" to take this photo of a group of eagle rays in a love heart shape at Fingal Bay. Picture: Rodd Owen

“A few of the shots just naturally happened. 

“The shot of all the eagle rays at Fingal that created a heart shape, that was just random luck.

“I was there just at the moment and it’s a crazy photo. Right place, right time.”

The Outer Light will be launched at Soldiers Point Bowling Club on Thursday and Fingal Bay Sports Club on Friday.

The Outer Light is priced at $30 and can be purchased at stinker.com.au

More of Mr Owen’s images are available to see and purchase on his website: owenphoto.com.au.

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