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Snapper strikes in region’s iconic moments


When David Diehm braved a ferocious Newcastle storm to line up alongside fellow photographers on the Anzac Walk in November, he never dreamt the image he’d capture on his Nikon would attract more than a million people’s attention.

The hobby snapper was too engrossed in mother nature’s beauty to consider its followers, or its dangers.

As lightning forked across the coastline, the shy chiropractor adjusted his lens and shutter speed, knowing he had limited time before the heavens opened.

“It was such a once in a lifetime shot,” he said.

Chiropractor David Diehm is gaining attention for his photos of iconic Newcastle landscapes.

“I knew I’d probably never capture something like this again.

“It was so quick. The storm was so close and so powerful.

“I got five or six shots off before it absolutely pelted down with rain.

“I didn’t know what I’d captured until I got home.”

Diehm’s photo of two bolts of lightning striking Bar Beach on 25 November, 2019, became one of Newcastle’s most talked about pictures, gaining global attention and 1.3 million views across his social media platforms.

He soon followed this success with a photo of surfers in monstrous waves at Merewether on what has become colloquially termed ‘Super Swell Saturday’, 23 May 2020.

Diehm’s big wave images gained national attention during ‘Super Swell Saturday’ last month.

The father-of-three from Griffith says Newcastle has plenty of picturesque locations.

“I moved to Newcastle in late 2006,” he said.

“It has everything you could possibly need here. It has the country feel which makes for a great lifestyle and the coastline is magical.”

For Diehm, photography is in the blood.

His father Dennis also dabbled in hobby snapping, taking any opportunity to share his slides with the family.

“Dad took photos whenever he went on trips so I grew up with him sharing the slides from his many trips any chance he could,” he said.

“For me, it started in 2012, that’s when I first picked up the camera. That’s when we went on our honeymoon and my dad lent me his camera.

“It was a slow progression but it’s become a passion, I really enjoy capturing events in nature.” David Diehm with two of his three daughters.

“It was a slow progression but it’s become a passion, I really enjoy capturing events in nature.”

In late 2015, Diehm’s father passed away, he and wife Kathryn had their first child, and he launched his first Facebook page to share images with people who’d shown an interest in his photos.

“It took off from there really,” he said.

“People identified with the work and that page started to grow.

“It was a crazy time with everything going on but I guess there was a sense of dad’s legacy in there too.”

Diehm’s favourite location to photograph is the Newcastle Ocean Baths at sunrise.

Diehm has produced two calendars featuring iconic Newcastle locations, as well as launching a website in 2019.

After feedback from his many followers he is hoping to release a coffee table book in 2021.

His favourite spot to photograph is the Newcastle Ocean Baths in the early morning.

“I don’t know why,” he said.

“I find myself there a lot. I guess it’s the rusted, rustic, dated look of it, especially at sunrise.”

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