Photography

colorado storm tree

One of the earliest photos I took of a bristlecone pine in Colorado, USA circa 1987

I have been taking photos since I was 12 years old, when my father taught me to shoot on his Nikon F1 SLR. Since then I have been on and off photography. My interest in photography was rekindled in my early 20’s when I bought my first digital SLR (EOS 1D) in 2001, and digital photography grew to obsession when I emigrated to New Zealand in 2002. During the time of my arrival to New Zealand, my output exploded as there was simply so much beautiful to photograph. In 2005, when I was regularly updating my work, this site was getting getting 50,000 visitors a month! The traffic is much more humble number these days as there has been so many great New Zealand photographers who have found there voice online. I was simply an earlier adapter online.

In 2007, I was invited to go to Poland by a really good friend to do a photo exhibition in Warsaw. It was great fun – I travelled to many different countries including Italy, Britain, Ireland, Portugal, Denmark and Austria. However, half way through this tour of Europe, I just became completedly burned out by taking photos. I just put my camera in the bag and put in a box when I arrived home. None of the photos I took in Europe every made it too my website and and are still sitting on an old hard drive somewhere.

first polaroid picture

my first polaroid photo in 2008

After nearly a year of no photography, I read the news that Polaroid was going out business. I felt saddened and intrigued at the time.  On whim, I bought 3 packs of 779 film off ebay and then a $50 Polaroid One step camera off Trademe. I took a 2 hour trip to a small farm near Tauranga to pick up the camera and then headed back to Auckland. On the way back, I saw some proverbial chickens crossing the road. I popped in the film and was startled by the sudden expulsion of the black cardboard used to cover the unexposed film. I saw the chickens in the grass and took my first shot since I was in Europe over a year ago.

Then I became hooked on photography all over again. I joined Flickr.com and Polanoid.net to try to learn as much as I could about instant analogue photography. I bought heaps (and sold heaps) of different analogue cameras. Not just polaroid cameras, but 120 film cameras, 35mm cameras, 4×5 Cameras, as well as oddities such as the Polaprinters and Polaroid ColorShot Printers. I started to learn how to develop negatives for both and colour and black & white films. I seemed that I got a second wind at photography.

Sowa's Soup

One of my first miniature photos

One of the things I’ve really had a lot of fun with recently was shoot minature models against New Zealand landscapes. It started out by simply shooting a few ‘G.I. Joe’ type figures when I had bought cheaply online and putting in different landcapes or situations. Other times I had bought minature HO train scale models and shot them with close up lens.  These shots are quite challenging as I never shot them with a ground glass (taking a tripod is too cumbersome) and had to measure the the exact distances with measuring tapes to get the correct depth of field. I would be embarrassed to say how many ‘rookie’ mistakes and expensive film I’ve wasted – however, knowing that people spend countless dollars on cigarettes, I think buying film is a much healthier hobby!

A question I get asked a lot is if I still shoot digital – the answer is a resounding yes! I have countless snap shots of friends, sillie selfies and panoramas that I shot on my mobile. I still occasionally snap a few on a DLSR. I am fairly agnostic whether one medium is better than the other, it depends on the situation.  I have tons of digital backups as well as negatives that I’ve taken. I would definitely recommend anyone who has only shot digital to try film, the process slows you down and helps compose shots better.

Below are a few links regarding my photography which you may enjoy