My journey into photography really started in 2000. Although I owned an SLR for around 6 years, I rarely took it out of full auto mode. In fact, I was at a loss as to what aperture priority mode was. It was when honeymooning in Australia in 2000 that I came across the Australian photographer Peter Lik. Peter has some truly stunning panoramic images. His book was the first book of photographic images I ever purchased.
During the trip I managed to take some interesting snaps without really understanding the mechanics of it. I entered some of the images into our local village flower show competition and much to my surprise won two cups. This spurred me on to replace my old Minolta film body with the Minolta Dynax 7. At around the same time, I joined a local camera club and started to do quite well in the club competitions.
For Christmas 2002, my wife kindly arranged a photographic weekend with landscape photographer Lee Frost up in Northumberland, England. This location was particularly appealing, as not only do I originate from the North East, but my family still live there. My plan was to put what I had learnt from Lee to good use in subsequent visits.
That first Lee Frost weekend proved to be a lot more expensive than I had bargained for. I had little appreciation for different cameras, and had only heard about medium format let alone having seen a camera. A couple of people were shooting with Xpan, a camera I had never heard of. Since that visit I bought a secondhand Bronica medium format camera and an Xpan. The only downside was the weight of the back pack.
Time has now moved on and now I have fully embraced digital. It started with the Minolta Dynax 7D. A fine 6 mega-pixel DSLR, but I was never really comfortable with the switch, and would shoot both digital and film. I was using film mainly for landscape. In 2006 I took the ultimate plunge and swapped Minolta for Canon. Moving to the Canon EOS 5D proved to be a revelation. Now I shoot with the Canon EOS 5D mk-III and have never looked back.
Photography still holds many surprises. I got into Holga cameras (cheap plastic cameras that take 110 roll film), digital infrared (I bought a second hand Canon 20D and had it converted) and now extreme exposure photography using a 10-stop filter. Even the iPhone has held many surprises particular with Hipstamatic.
Photography has become a real passion of mine, particularly landscape and coastal photography, where nature never stands still. I can visit the same location time and time again and come away with different images – water and sky interacting with each other. Isn’t Mother Nature wonderful!