Chapter 1: How I started

I vaguely remember taking my first ever camera on Guide Camp when I was about 11 and taking pictures of Arundel Castle and ducks in a bird sanctuary.  That was back in the day when you had to send your rolls of film off to be developed and wait weeks to see the prints! Since then I have generated boxes upon boxes of photos I took as a kid, now sitting in albums in the loft. The inspiration to take photos came from Dad because he always carried his precious Praktica SLR, in it’s sturdy square carry box, on every family holiday.

Every time I learn something new I realise how little I already know and how much more there is still to learn!

At secondary school I took a short photography course, involving taking photos with an SLR on black & white film and processing them ourselves in a dark room, which I really enjoyed. Off the back of that, my parents gave me my first ever SLR camera for my 15th birthday and I carried that camera with me wherever I went… and twenty years & a few cameras later, I am as snap-happy as I have ever been!

Since then I’ve done a few odd day courses, but nothing particularly serious and no formal training, so I am largely self-taught.  I get huge pleasure when pictures evoke some emotional response in me.  Consequently I am forever looking at photos in shops, cafes, websites and photography exhibitions and thinking “how did they do that?” and then “how can I take shots like that?”  That intrigue and drive to replicate the photos of others is what has helped develop my photography skills… but like most amateur photographers, every time I learn something new I realise how little I already know and how much more there is still to learn!

I am forever looking at photos in shops, cafes, websites and photography exhibitions and thinking “how did they do that?” and then “how can I take shots like that?”

I developed a penchant for a good sunset shot when I lived 5 minutes from the sea in Southampton, and as my hobbies involve a lot of motorsport I also have gigabytes of photos of cars on rallies, autotests, track days, races and touring events. I also seem to take a number of wildlife shots, particularly of the macro variety, and – in a non-creepy way – I like surreptitiously taking pictures of people, particularly when they don’t know I am, as that’s when they’re at their most natural and relaxed.

Like most amateur photographers, I was very firmly in the camp that aims to take the ‘final’ shot in-camera.  I had no time to fiddle with images after-the-event, be that processing RAW images or tarting them up in Photoshop, so what you saw from me initially is largely exactly as it came out of the camera.

However, events took a dramatic turn a couple of years back…

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Walk with me on my journey of photographic exploration

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