Growing up in a family of ten, my earliest memories of photography are at the front of a Box Brownie looking into the sun with my father saying, “Stop squinting Terry. Open your eyes!” I still have that old camera, though I never actually used it. Although I didn’t like being the subject of photographs, my love affair with photography grew with our regular family slide-nights and through visiting the photographic section at the Mackay Show each year. One of my first major purchases when I started work, was a camera. A look at my old albums show that right from this beginning I tended to take more nature and landscape shots than people shots – it was sunrises, waterfalls, creeks, possums, birds etc. interspersed with a few photos of family, friends and events. The arrival of fatherhood 22 years ago resulted in a very distinct change in my subject choice but although I took endless photos of my kids, most were snapshots of moments and memories rather than portraits. All the while however, my love of nature and landscapes continued to show its head in my albums. Limited time and money, which were the natural consequences of having one wage and a bunch of kids, meant that I never really got into photography seriously.
This was to all change with the advent of digital! I recall very clearly a chance meeting of some members of the Cairns Photographic Society at Davies Creek about seven years ago where one gentleman was more than happy to show me his digital camera and allowed me to pick his brains at length. I was hooked! I began saving earnestly and within six months purchased of my first digital camera, an Olympus Camedia C760 Ultra Zoom. This 3.2 megapixel, 10X optical zoom point and shoot opened up a whole new world for me! In fact I still have this camera and use it as it is so versatile and its images are often better than many 10 megapixel point and shot cameras available today.
As an avid and regular bushwalker, the other bonus of my digital camera was that I could take as many photos as I wished and relive the wonders of nature again and again at my leisure. I have long been a regular library borrower of books and magazines on photography and in more recent years photography websites have served to increase my interest, knowledge and passion. I particularly enjoy simply viewing photographs and find that my mind is quick to analyse the aspects that make a good capture and those that would have made it even more special.
The purchase of a Canon DSLR five years ago was the logical response to my wanting to have more control over my photography and I have enjoyed the challenge of getting to really know his camera. I have always found it somewhat intriguing though, that as someone who is told by family and friends that I can manage to see colours and compositions which lend themselves to capturing appealing photographs, I still have trouble matching what shorts and shirt go together! I guess it’s all about where your passions lie.
As any photographer knows, there are always new photographic opportunities that call you - places, things, people; there are always new challenges and skills that offer new possibilities and creativity, and there is always something else that you want to buy – better zoom, macro, filters, software, tripod ... and so I am very much aware of the ongoing journey of becoming a better photographer and I will always dream of my next ‘best photo’!