Outdoor education graduate Nick Covelli focuses on life’s silver linings; on the break of a wave, the edge of a sunset, in the moments others may deem a downer.
Once, when the nature photographer and filmmaker was shooting a commercial for Queensland Tourism, one of his kayaking talents had to be taken to hospital. He seized the moment.
“I needed some trusting folk to fill a raft,” he says on the next day’s filming. “We had spent the night trying to convince the free-spirited backpackers at a Cairns hostel to commit to a 9am pick up, but to no avail.
“After a visit to the hospital, we ended up with four nurses volunteering for the job, proving the logic that everything always works out.”
For Nick, life itself is working out beautifully. He graduated from the La Trobe Bendigo course three years ago and has since spent his days as “a very happy camper”.
“Somehow, with a lot of support from the Outdoor Ed community, I’ve made a life out of freelance videography and photography,” he says, modestly.
“After graduating I lingered around The Ironbark Centre with those barefoot hippies making my first attempts at outdoor filmmaking. With immense support from the lecturers I worked on various practical trips that the students experience, participate in and lead. It resulted in a series of short documentaries about the Outdoor and Environmental Education courses offered at La Trobe.”
Nick has since gone on to document other outdoor education programs around the country, beautifully blurring the boundaries between work and play. “It continues to be a lifestyle that nourishes many of my passions,” he says. “I’m comfortable being cliché and saying that the course has a life beyond those three years, being influential on my life, on the daily.”
Nick’s interest in photography started young, but his skills really developed alongside his studies.
“My father often had a 35mm camera in his daypack during our family travels,” he says. “I learnt a few basics, enough to find photographing the cultures and colours of Asia engaging. I enjoyed the process of taking an image and the life it can have afterwards.
“The shift towards nature-based content happened at university. During the course I was learning and seeing more of my own country than I ever had, so I slipped in the occasional assignment consisting of photos or film. I think it makes sense to convey ideas, learning and experiences through images.”
Nick’s pictures convey a deep love for and connection with Australian landscapes. From the forests to the rivers, the mountains to the sea, it’s a life well lived for sure.
Enjoy these remarkable images by Nick, and view his favourite La Trobe film so far here.