Tales from the Trail
Up Close With Daimon Schwalger Of Nomad Audio & Video

Daimon Schwalger and his wife Prue made the move from Wellington to Westport around six years ago, to set up his new venture – an audio and video production company.

Having previously worked as a Dj & Music Producer for about 30 years, Daimon ran an independent record label and recorded albums under the name The Nomad. Keen to shift his career in a new direction, the plan was to try his hand at video production.

Moving to the West Coast proved to be the best move, not only in terms of lifestyle choice, but also for establishing the new business. Known as Nomad Audio & Video, the venture has gone from strength to strength, building strong relationships with clients in the Buller region and beyond.

Having recently captured the Official Opening of the Waitakere Section of the Trail, we asked Daimon to tell us a little more about what goes into the planning of such events, what he loves about watching the Trail build unfold, and of course where he and Prue will be adventuring next.

Photo Credit: Nomad Audio & Video – Pūwaha Section Boardwalk from above

Tell us about the photography element of your business.

I’ve always had a keen interest in photography. Much of that came from the music industry side of my business, as a touring artist. Once I got into video, that side of my business also grew – after all, video is just moving images.

Living on the West Coast has provided many opportunities to venture out and take photographs of beautiful, local, iconic spots, and experiment with filters and long exposure techniques.

Photo Credit: Nomad Audio & Video – Cape Foulwind sunset

I also love time-lapse photography. It’s a special part of my business which I can offer to corporate and non-corporate organisations, as well as infrastructure projects, like the Toki Poutangata Bridge.

Photo Credit: Nomad Audio & Video – Toki Poutangata Bridge

You recently captured the Official Opening of the Waitakere Section from the Nile River Bridge to Charleston. What’s involved for you to cover the Event? And what memory will stay with you most?

Generally the first thing I look at is the weather when doing an outdoor shoot. The weather wasn’t looking good, so my wife Prue had a big umbrella on standby. Luckily the weather held off until just after the event.

Overcast cloudy days are great for taking photos! Quite a bit of planning goes into being at the right place, at the right time. I was lucky to have Prue helping with scheduling and ensuring I got all the shots I wanted.

The most memorable moments were taking some shots heading back to the Charleston end of the Trail, and running into an old fella with a gold pan. He had two people looking curiously at what he was doing, and I managed to capture the moment.

Another moment was seeing a Ruru (Owl) in a tree on the walkway. It just sat there looking at me. I wondered if it was a good omen. The train ride at the Upper Nile River Station with all the families and a couple of dogs was a real joy too. I love taking photos of people in the moment and capturing the natural vibe.

Photo Credit: Nomad Audio & Video – Pawsing for a rest

Which parts of the Trail have you ridden or walked, and what is it you love most so far?

I’ve biked the Westport to Carters Beach Section most. I love how it changes so much throughout, from the bridge to flat terrain, then into beautiful bush. I recently took a drone shot of the Martins Creek suspension bridge, which you can see outside Gibby’s Café here in Westport. It’s a great way to head to Carters Beach and grab a bite to eat at Donaldo’s Café.

Do you have a favourite Section of the Trail, and why?

I don’t really have a favourite Section. I thought I did, but each time a new Section opens I go for a walk or bike ride and fall in love with them all. They are all so unique and beautiful.

Photo Credit: Nomad Audio & Video – Omau Section

What is it for you that makes the Kawatiri Coastal Trail unique?

The fact that it links Westport to Charleston, and throughout the journey it keeps changing. Not only with the landscape, but also the local history across many years on the West Coast. The Trail is Grade 2, which allows for all levels of fitness and is great for the whole family to enjoy.

What benefits do you believe the Trail will bring to your business, Westport and the region as a whole?

The Trail has already been an amazing asset to the West Coast, New Zealand and beyond. It’s part of the many amazing walking and cycle trails that New Zealand has to offer. It’s been very beneficial for local contractors and local business also. It encourages people of all ages to get out and enjoy our great outdoors, and all the Coast has to offer.

Photo Credit: Nomad Audio & Video – Waitakere Section Official Opening 

I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Kawatiri Coastal Trail team on many media aspects of promotion with video, drone flights and photography. I enjoy that part of my business and making the most of the great outdoors.

Where are you hoping to adventure next?

I love New Zealand, and we travel quite often for work as well as pleasure. Next month we head North for a little holiday with family around the Coromandel, and then on to Wellington for a long weekend too. Prue and I also have our sights set for a holiday in Thailand, maybe around Winter next year.

What other projects are on the horizon?

I have a few exciting projects on the go and coming up. The great thing about my job is the diversity. At any given time, I’m working on a photoshoot, producing a video, flying the drone for a cinematic project, or putting on live stream music events.

I just produced a video for the DHB about smoke free cars. This involved an original backing track with the very talented Jaydin Shingleton. A few videos for NIWA and Buller Flood Recovery around the science of the Westport July 2021 floods. I also just finished a video for Flowers Of Eden. Emily who runs the business won a $2000.00 video voucher at last year’s EPIC Westport Co-Starters event. There’s also an awesome video campaign with Marlborough Vintners and Antmore wines in Blenheim, and work for Buller District Council and TVNZ One News.

A recent music project was a free live stream workshop at the NBS theatre here in Westport. It gave eight Buller participants over the age of 16 a chance to blend livestream learning, with music production, video capture, lighting, visuals and stage design. Musicians Dub Terminator, Jaydin Shingleton and Laura Sonneveldt each performed a 30-minute set, leaving with a recording of their performance produced by workshop participants.

This was a rare opportunity to learn live-streaming from some of the South Island’s best. Tim Budgen, one of my best mates came to teach the projection video side of the workshop. Tim teaches at Ara in Christchurch and is the Shapeshifter VJ as well.

What’s next for Nomad Audio & Video?

With my business, I just keep on pushing the boundaries, buying more gear, learning new skills, keep up to date, and build more bridges. I’ve really put my heart and soul into the business, and have been slowly expanding around Buller and beyond.

It’s amazing to think my job all started from a hobby. Even the music side of the business and working for myself is the best feeling. I get so much satisfaction from my work. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s real. I love that I get to drive to jobs along the Coast Road. It certainly beats driving for hours in the city!


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