My Photography Story
This is the short-ish story of how I came to be a professional photographer ...
Waves of Progression
I did not realise it at the time, but as a child, I was always taking photographs. When on holiday, or camping trips with the scouts, I was usually the one with the camera. And when at home I was often trying to take a pictures of pets. Many times my holiday snaps were of waves crashing on rocks. Fortunately, I have progressed a bit since then.
Early Influences
I was a bit of swot at school. When I left, I was awarded the merit prize in the form of a book token. With it, I bought the ‘Fell Walking with Wainwright’. It was full stunning photographs of the Lake District by Derry Brabbs. These pictures started my love of the Lakes and a desire to be able to captures images that were just as good. At around the same time my father bought SLR. I would borrow it whenever I could, shooting whatever I could. It did not help my dad gain more access to his camera when I was taught about photography as part of my Design A-level. That was the first formal training I had in photography and from it I leant a little bit about darkroom processing, and what makes a good image.
Where Are The People?
As well as learning a lot about life, I picked more about photography when I when I took up skydiving in my twenties at parachute centre near Morecambe Bay. There were many photographers at the centre, both in the air and on the ground, so I was always picking up tips. When not jumping out of aeroplanes I often headed into the nearby Lake District to go hill walking. Never without a camera, I took many landscape pics, and when shown to people the comments were often the same: “Brilliant Views but Where Are the People”?
Changing Dimensions
Throughout my life, I have always had a connection with art, illustration and design. Maybe this was because of my excellent spacial awareness skills. Or maybe it helped developed them, who knows? But it certainly helps me see a scene and know how to photograph it. As part of engineering training and work, I drew technical plans and designed measurement tools, both on a drawing board and on computer. I had to turn a three dimensional idea into a 2D plan which would then be turned into a 3D product. Later when I stated my career at Perkins, I began as a technical illustrator. I produced 2D exploded diagrams of engine assemblies that were made to look like they were in 3D.

Through a hobby of drawing and watercolour painting I became a scenic artist for a local amateur theatre group. I would paint scenes on huge flat canvases to give them as a much depth as possible. When set together they would transform a plain stage into somewhere the theatregoer would believe was real.

In addition, when out on the hills leading walks for my friends, my special awareness skills help with my map reading. I study an area on a map and easily visualise how the terrain will be. Or I see the scene and find exactly where we are on the map.

All these are handy skills that have developed the way I view the world through a lens.
Taking It Seriously
I bought my first digital SLR camera in 2010 and began to study photography seriously and how to take professional pictures. I discovered that photographing people and plants is just as much fun and fulfilling as taking photographs of hills.

The camera is just a tool and although it helps to have great tools, a good camera on its own cannot take a good photograph. It takes many skills to be able to use that tool successfully. Without my previous influences I do not think I would be half as confident or competent with a camera as I am today.

After photographing waves as a teenager, to pictures of the Lake District for the almost 30 years, in 2011 I had the highlight of visiting Yosemite National Park in the US. Here I visited the gallery of Ansel Adams, arguably the most famous and the best landscape photographer to date. I was able to see not only his prints first hand from valley where many of them were shot but also I could also photograph the scenes myself.

And last year I had physical confirmation the decision to be a professional photographer was the right one: My entry for the Royal Horticultural Society's photography competition won first prize for the Abstract and Details class.