First Blog – My Photographic Journey

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I…. I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference”  –  Robert Frost

Seamans Hut Full Retouched

I Love Photography. I can’t exactly explain why. I guess its something that taps into my creative right brain. Its something I was drawn to as early as primary school, in the early 70’s, when my parents bought me a kodak instamatic camera with black and white film. I brought back pictures of a week long camp in Sydney’s Royal National Park and comments were made on how well the pictures were composed – I was hooked!

A Sense of Adventure

I also love travelling and have an affinity for being in natural environments, particularly in the high alpine in winter. The sense of adventure around exploring new places fills my entire being with excitement and wonder. Throughout my informative years and into my 20’s I travelled to Nepal and the U.S and continued to adventure around the greater Sydney area, particularly the Blue Mountains, using photography as a means of recording my adventures rather than exploring photography as an art form.

Thanks Mum & Dad

My parents had been great travellers (and still are in their 80’s!). My mother left Australia in the 1950’s and rode a motor scooter around Europe with a friend, returning to Australia three years later after also working in the UK and Canada as a teacher. She shot 35mm slide film on a Baida camera with a Schneider lens which today takes pride of place displayed in my bookshelf. I was absolutely enthralled with the regular slide shows of her adventures. My father was in the British army and tells great tales of his experiences in the Sudan and Germany following the second world war. His 2 ¼“ X 2 ¼” format Zeiss Ikon camera is right next to my mothers.

A Journey of Enlightenment

I inherited this wanderlust and through my late teens and early twenties began planning and researching the many adventures I longed to have. I spent hours poring over maps of exotic far away places, planning trips down to the finest detail. I always knew I would have a camera with me, just as my mother had, to record my experiences. I left Australia with a one way ticket to Kathmandu in 1987 and returned in 1993. To say that was a journey of enlightenment is an understatement. Those years changed me as a person, for the better – I became more independent and spent four seasons honing my skills on Telemark skis so I could travel through the mountains in winter. Again the photography was a means to capture my experiences rather than the reason I travelled. Although I captured many good images my photography was being held back by my thirst for adventure.

Getting Paid for the first time

My first paid photography job was a commissioned series of articles for an Australian travel magazine, which I would photograph and write, on a three month backpacking trip around South America in 1995. From this trip I had enough great shots to also exhibit 25 photographs at the Bondi South American Festival and subsequently in two Latin themed restaurants in Sydney. The small travel publication market in Sydney meant that it was unlikely I would be able to make a living from travel photography so I decided to explore another passion of mine, Sport, embarking on a Physical Education Teaching degree.

Working as a Semi-Pro

Photography still took up space in my head but took a back seat while I studied. A subsequent tertiary lecturing position following my degree and a two year foray into owning and running a city café saw my camera gathering dust. While back working in Tertiary education I started semi-professional photography work as a Wedding, Portrait  and Real Estate photographer through a friend of mine. It was 2007 and although I shot the real estate work on my new digital SLR I still shot weddings on 35mm film as the reproduction of prints had a much better feel than those from digital capture. In fact I was still shooting film as late as 2010 before the digital explosion meant more photographers were doing it for less money with better digital equipment.

The Beauty of the Panoramic Film Format

In 2010 I bought my first panoramic landscape film camera and have been amazed at the size of the transparency (6 X 17 cms)and how wonderfully sharp and vibrant the images are when viewed on a light box. This type of photography really makes you slow down and think deeply about technique and personal vision. I really love the versatility and possibilities of the digital medium but nothing can beat the beauty of panoramic film. My aim is to develop a portfolio of Limited edition fine art prints from the images I capture with my panoramic film camera.

Digital & Film – both are worthy

I embrace digital technology and use digital cameras from little point and shoot’s to SLR’s, using Adobe Photoshop for my post processing workflow. I am excited about the supersonic development of digital cameras and what they might offer in 2, 5, 10 years time. There will come a time when the technology is such that shooting film for professionals will become obsolete and I’ll happily make that jump. But in the meantime I find great pleasure in shooting on film.

Commitment

Now I have come full circle. I look back fondly on those first images with my Kodak instamatic, still enjoying the compositional elements of landscape photography and the capture of light. Last year I made a commitment to fully immerse myself in landscape photography. I have extensively researched current trends online, purchased more equipment and dedicated a lot of my spare time  to shooting and learning all I can (bringing up three young kids makes finding time a challenge!). I can happily say my photography is now at a level that I can be proud of and the images I have produced in the last year have enabled me to become fully accredited as a Professional Landscape Photographer with the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP).

Please connect with me on:

Website: http://www.artefotografica.com.au

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArteFotograficaLandscapePhotography?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/artefotograf

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116876635297431352856?tab=mX#116876635297431352856/posts?tab=mX

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=3875509&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjbanks/

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