My sister and I were presented with a hand-me-down Kodak 127 Brownie when we were about 10 and 8 respectively. It may have been one between the two of us or one each, I don’t recall. But I do recall the generous “click” noise as the shutter button was pressed. It took some effort too as the thing was nearly as wide as I was then!
As I got older, part-time jobs allowed me to indulge yet further with cameras of varying quality, until one Christmas my parents bought me my first Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) camera. Heaven. I also discovered something called the Photographer’s Workshop in Cowley where they had banks of equipment to develop your own black and white pictures. And over the next 3 years I was a frequent visitor, despite the limited success and varying quality of photographs, it spurred me on to take more and more pictures, some of which I still have today
As you get older the cliché (there’s more to life than work) resonated after a childhood friend of mine asked if he could have one of my pictures (a monochrome close-focus view of the ironwork of New College gates), as he had always admired it and said I had an eye for a picture. The motivation (and funds) kicked me back into action and 15 years on I have my own website and now sell on a regular basis, often featured in the Banbury Guardian and sometimes on the BBC website in England's Big Picture
But what is it that drags me out with some pretty damn heavy camera equipment? No matter where I am, nature will change what I see. My focus isn’t entirely landscapes but it makes up the vast majority of my shots. I can be at the top of the same hill 3 days running and end up with 3 sets of differing views. Mother Weather is a fickle friend and she has left me soaked on more than one occasion where I have believed the BBC weather forecast only for it to rapidly turn into a downpour
Why do I do it? At 6am when no-one else is around, no-one, absolutely no-one, can see what I am seeing at that time and if I think it is a great picture, I want to share that view. From the stark contrasts as the sun hits trees and buildings in summer to the same view where mist shrouds the subject to such a degree, it could be anywhere.
I was asked recently what made up my palette and my answer was “It depends!!” as nature and weather can throw the most surprising changes to enhance pictures (or have me run for shelter out of the rain)
Born in Oxford, and never having left the county, unsurprisingly many of my pictures are local. However now I am not far from the very top of the county I am on the edge of the Cotswolds, close to Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire each with their own charm and distinct character and I have been out regularly to capture some of their offerings unfound in my home county. The huge windmill at Chesterton, the mill at Lower Slaughter, the fabulous Broadway Tower are all favourites of mine.