From a young age, I have always had an interest in looking at photographs and taking snaps when away on family holidays and so on but whilst I knew what I thought worked and didn’t work, I had no idea WHY.
Whilst being very time-poor, I felt that I needed a hobby that I could get my teeth into without committing to giving up hours on end at a time. I thought photography was something I could do without too much time, effort and money having to be invested into it……. how wrong was I….. on ALL accounts!?!?!
Many hours spent online later and I found I had gear envy with just about every photographer out there and my “point and shoot” was nowhere near flexible enough to achieve the images I thought I could create. I needed STUFF! I felt I had an eye for composition and I just needed a decent DSLR to get the results I wanted – Simple!
Obviously, this was far from the case (the phrase “all the gear and no idea” springs to mind). However, after many more hours spent on YouTube, I came across an English guy - Mike Browne - that I could understand. He used simple terminology and explained things such as shutter speed, ISO, Aperture and so on, in in a way that I could grasp. There were a lot of professional photographers whom I follow(ed) and that I subscribed to (I even did a couple of workshops with one or two at the beginning) but few gave this level of detail without getting bogged down in the technicalities of it all.
Fast forward two years or so and I still have very little time to spend on my hobby, but I now have such a passion for photography and strive to spend as much time taking and then editing photographs as my work and family will allow.
I enjoy a number of areas of photography and whilst I seem to migrate to street/ documentary type photography and architecture, I have experimented a bit here and there with Macro, Astro, Landscape and even a bit of portraiture (currently, my nemesis – need to watch a few more of Mikes videos on this!).
After some persuasion from a local pro photographer, I built up the courage to enter one of my “holiday snaps” into the International Photography Awards in 2019 and was AMAZED to receive an Honourable Mention in the “Non-pro Architecture : Buildings” category. A real WOW moment for me!
In early 2020, I signed up for Mikes “Camera’s Don’t Take Pictures” seminar (having not been able to justify the cost of a trip to Vietnam with him!) but the seminar unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, as a really pleasant gesture, Mike arranged a few of us to meet for a more hands-on photo walk/ workshop in London instead. This day took place in September and was a fantastic day out. Mike was – as expected – great company and a relaxed tutor but also extremely patient and interested in other people’s stories/ photography journeys. He clearly has a real passion for photography and for passing on his knowledge and experience to others, helping them develop and progress their talent.
Having tried not to bore Mike on the day with some pictures I had previously taken, he was very complimentary about a number of the images that I showed him and this in itself inspired me further and gave me a real confidence in my ability, something which I suspect we all doubt at times.
Whilst I am still not a technical photographer (I cringe to even describe myself as a photographer in any sense other than a very amateur hobbyist), I DO now understand many of the basic principles around photography and with people – including professionals like Mike - giving me the positive encouragement to show more people my images, I am looking forward to seeing how I progress in the future.