20 years with a camera by the sea…
Looking back, it’s clear that photography really started for me in 1996 when I bought what I considered to be quite an advanced camera for about £30…it even had ‘Advanced’ in the name! Armed with my impressive Kodak Advantix APS (Advanced Photo System) camera I spent a few months travelling around New Zealand in a small, yellow van adorned with lovely silver dolphins. I remember this was the first time I really started to take note of my surroundings, changing light, contrasting colours and, above all, the ocean…hard not to notice these things in New Zealand!
3 years later I found myself in North Wales where adventures with photography and the ocean continued for another 5 years. I found myself working as a web developer, an unplanned move but one which has served me well. I also had a second ‘job’ co-running a marine conservation group through which I met a bunch of divers who took me under their wing and let me join them on many of their trips (I’d learnt to dive a few years previously but didn’t dive in the UK until 2000).
Around this time somebody sold me a Nikon F60 – a fairly cheap film camera which I thought was the absolute business. This was a few years before digital and due to the cost of film and developing, and my lack of cash, I never ventured out of auto mode. I did get a few decent shots now & again, some of my finest taken on a cycle trip in Cambodia, all of which I’ve managed to lose over the years.
In 2004 the digital era had well & truly kicked off and I became the proud owner of a Nikon D70. I also finally had enough cash to buy an underwater housing, although I never actually got around to using it in North Wales.
In 2005, for various reasons, I left North Wales and moved to the Seychelles (as you do) where bizarrely I ended up, for a short time, running a tropical island nature reserve (as you do) with my now wife, without having much of a clue what I was doing. I started to think cheap medications no prescription that some of the photos I’d taken weren’t too bad, although to be honest it’s almost impossible to take a bad photo in the Seychelles. I also started to think that a life working in the tropics was for me.
After nearly another year in New Zealand, where I worked as a computer repair guy behind a launderette and also a glorified toilet cleaner on an active volcano, I moved to Newcastle and took a Masters, did quite well, then moved to Honduras for nearly 2 years where, somehow, I got a job as a coral reef ecologist. This obviously gave me some great opportunities for underwater photography in the Caribbean and also opened my eyes to the potential of conservation photography.
For the next 7 years I worked on boats, big and small, all over the place doing all sorts of marine environmental ‘stuff’ (some of these trips you can read about on my projects pages). During this time I moved to North Yorkshire and, in between trips overseas, I spent a lot of time photographing sunrises on the coast as well as running workshops explaining how to take photographs of sunrises on the coast and giving talks about…guess what! I also started experimenting with video, bought a drone and started the Diomedea project with my long-suffering friend Richard Shucksmith.
Fast forward a couple of years and I’ve recently made short films for the Smithsonian Institution, Glenmorangie Distillery, Scottish Natural Heritage, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and had a few appearances on the BBC. I’ve written some articles, sold some photos, done pretty well in some competitions and I’m now continuing to work on various projects for the Smithsonian, including a documentary in Myanmar which I’ll be shooting later this year. There’s a few other irons in the fire as well which will hopefully make it onto this site at some point.
I’m not a big fan of trumpet blowing but if results in competitions interest you then there’s more about this in my sporadic blog, although it’s probably worth mentioning here that I was the overall winner of the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016, which I’m quite pleased about.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading.