“Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination” – Drake
The passion for your subject or the genre simply has to come before the love of physically taking a photograph. It’s this passion which will keep you going when things get tough out there in the field. If you don’t like people, your love of photography won’t help you be a good portrait photographer. Studying wildlife, with birdwatching, in particular, was my launch platform to get me into wildlife photography. Twenty years after that, it kicked on again into street and travel photography which I love to shoot.
At the age of twelve, I’d grab every wildlife photo or magazine poster that I could get my hands on. All these photos were then plastered, edge-to-edge, on my bedroom wall creating my own wild wallpaper. The images documented the wildlife journeys of the giants who were already working in the genre at the time. And so they inspired me, teaching me composition and exposure through sheer visual absorption.
My Ricoh KR-5 alongside my Canon 1Dx. 35 years between them to document the journey
I was fortunate to live on a farm which was blessed with many wild critters not found in the cities. After I recovered from the original shock of not being able to photograph wild birds with a 50mm lens, I went about focusing on other subjects. However, because we had over 120 resident bird species, the dream of photographing them never faded, it only focussed my passion.
I also loved to read as a kid, because it allowed me to escape to exciting wildernesses and exotic places on the planet. Clearly, the love of writing and travel photography developed out of that reading, all fostered by relatives and friends. So, it was inevitable that I would love shooting in faraway places as my photographic journey continued.
People don’t always find their right careers because society and our education systems lead us to believe that there is no future in pursuing a creative life. Many people simply follow their passions as hobby’s and watch others with envy as they courageously make their passion a full-time career. My passion for photographing and writing about the urban and natural world has led me to this creative point in my life. Thirty-five years on from that first photograph I took of a distant kingfisher on the farm dam.
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