I’m probably best described as a keen amateur photographer. I work a regular job as an IT Manager in Kaiapoi just north of Christchurch, and live on a lifestyle block in Oxford, North Canterbury with a menagerie of horses, dogs, chickens etc.. All this keeps me fairly busy, so I don’t get a lot of time to pursue my hobby!
I’m married to a professional photographer, so this helps a lot. It’s good to have someone who understands how I really DO need to spend all that money on yet another lens! It’s also great to have someone to go on road trips with whenever the mood arises, to help set up shots and to offer critique and encouragement.
My first camera was an Agfa Agfamatic 126 camera that I got for christmas when I was about 8. I imagine everyone who was a youngster in those days remembers going through a few films and then having to save up the pocket money to get them developed! Photographs were certainly more valued back then and people took more care to get them right, because they were so expensive to produce! I grew up in Arthurs Pass, so I had plenty of natural beauty around me to inspire me, and I’m sure I took a lot more photographs than ever ended up being developed.
When I went to boarding school at St Bedes College in Christchurch, they had a darkroom between the science labs, and a photography club which I joined. I also invested in my first ‘real’ camera, a russian Lubitel 2 twin lens reflex camera. Before too long I was rolling my own film, taking more photographs and developing the results. I wasn’t overly successful with the film developing, but there is nothing like watching a blank piece of paper suddenly come alive with one of your images.
After leaving school I often borrowed my father's’ Praktica SLR camera when I needed a camera, but then moved up to Auckland for work and it wasn’t until about 15 years later that I got around to getting another decent camera other than a series of cheap point and shoot cameras. This was about the time my wife also became interested in photography again and she started a course at AUT. We each invested in a camera - hers a Pentax K1000 and mine a Pentax ME. Back then the focus was predominantly around the young family growing up, and general holiday snaps, but the interest continued through the end of the film era, with various Pentax cameras until we purchased an early Fujifilm digital camera and then a Pentax K100d. Suddenly the cost of getting films developed was no longer a barrier, and we could take pictures whenever we felt like it! We also moved back down to Canterbury and settled in Oxford.
With the children getting older, my wife decided to take her photography hobby further and enrolled in more courses, while I helped her with some of them and also started to spend more time taking photographs of things that interested me, rather than just cataloging life events for distant grandparents that only see their grandchildren once or twice a year!
I soon developed a preference for landscape photography and the Pentax was replaced with a Nikon D50.
We were now able to take off for the weekend when ever we felt like it, and with family bachs in Arthurs Pass and Lake Ohau, we had easy access to some of the countries most beautiful scenery which we took full advantage of. We both joined the Rangiora Photographic Society and I found that the enthusiasm of the club members gave me a huge boost as well, and the encouragement to enter competitions and the feedback given by the judges has been invaluable in improving the quality of my photography.