My parents bought me my first ever camera - a Kodak Instamatic 177. I honestly don't know what happened to that camera. I remember using it twice with film loaded - once whilst at the Farne Islands on a school trip, and again whilst in France on another school outing. The majority of the time I remember it, it had no film in. I used to click the button and wind it on as though I was David Bailey. As a kid, photography was, quite simply, a hobby I just couldn't afford.
My uncle was a very keen photographer and I remember looking through the viewfinder of his Olympus OM SLR. The view was all hazy, and I was informed by my uncle that I needed to focus it. I had no idea what that meant. He proceeded to show me how to twist the lens until the view became sharp. Wow! He then swapped the lens and replaced it with a zoom lens and I could see further. I so wanted some of this! I also remember that at the time it was an incredibly heavy piece of kit for me as a youngster to handle. I commented on this, to which my dad responded: 'If it's heavy that means it's expensive. Put it down or give it back to your uncle', which I obediently did.
That was almost 40 years ago now.
I bought my first digital SLR camera in 2006 - a brand new and only just announced Canon 30D. I was going to Scotland for a holiday with family and I had visions of taking some fantastic photographs of my trip. The first few I snapped were terrible, but I assumed that it must be the tiny screen on the back of the camera causing the problem, and so I persevered and took more. I got home and downloaded hundreds of images to my computer. Every single one was, quite frankly, crap. The camera was obviously faulty. I'd bought a dud one, no doubt about it.
My mission now was to make sense of it all. I bought magazines, joined websites and read a lot of books. I have to say that the first year or so was a very steep learning curve. The advice was so confusing: some people said to do one thing, others another. The more research I did, in many ways the worse it became, but it all changed for me when I began to give less weight to what others were trying to tell me and chose my own direction.
Photography has completely transformed the way I see things, and it is an incredible experience. I see light, shapes, colours, textures, trees, flowers, people, buildings and the landscape in a completely different way to how I used to. Everything around me looks different as a photographer. It is my Matrix moment. The most normal of things have suddenly become enriched with details that I had never noticed before. When I shoot, I become increasingly aware of everything that is around me at that moment. What I did at work yesterday, what I ate for tea last night, where I am going tomorrow - none of that matters. Photography absolutely focuses me on the moment - on the now. To me, that is incredibly valuable.
In my day job I am an IT guy, yup one of those sad geeks that sits in front of his computer all day and does ‘pooter stuff’. My passion for photography has never waned, if anything I am more passionate now than ever before. I am fortunate that I get to travel to many places to take pictures. I especially enjoy landscape photography, when the light is right and you get that picture you’ve been thinking of a while the reward is huge. I also really enjoy studio work and wedding photography, capturing your big day is something very special.
I use Canon DSLR cameras and all Canon L lenses, although I do shoot many pictures using the iPhone nowadays, it’s great fun and some of the apps for processing are very interesting and incredibly powerful. In the ‘Digital Darkroom’ I use Adobe Lightroom and of course Photoshop, Silver EFX Pro is my preferred B&W tool. I have also just acquired the Canon M5 mirrorless system, the weight saving being huge. I also have DJI drones that I use for aerial photography and scouting.
Please enjoy my site and if you like it please do use the Contact page and get in touch, I'd like that.
- Simon Palmer