My Photographic Journey

Rob Walker

My Photographic Journey

What are your first photography memories? 

My father acquired a roll film camera when he was serving overseas during WWII. I remember him using it when I was child and when I was fourteen I was allowed to take it on a school trip to Austria. The camera film had a limited number of exposures - twelve I think, and I remember having to plan and ration the images that I took. There was no light meter, you just followed rule of thumb exposure guidance and the prints came out. I still have them!

A few years later I used the camera again for a college project.

How did your interest in photography start and how has it changed over the years?

Throughout my adult life I have had my own camera and until I retired this comprised two Olympus film units. When I retired I decided to get more serious with my photography and since then have owned a number of Canon cameras.

During the Olympus days my photography centred on family and recording the growing up of our children. On retirement in 2008, I purchased a Canon DSLR. Digital photography had a lot in common with my working life around the use of computers and how this enabled photography.

In 2009 I decided to attend the City and Guilds Level Two Photography Course at Bracknell and Wokingham College. It was based at their previous facility in Woodley.

The Level Three course followed a year later. This course lasted for two years and covered a wide range of aspects and practical projects which provided me with the basics to start work as a photographer. These projects included portraiture and the use of studio flash, developing film and an introduction to the use of Photoshop.

At the end of 2016 I went on a photographic workshop to Northumberland for landscape photography. This was a revelation to me and I learnt about techniques and the use of equipment for this type of photography. It sparked a long term interest in photographing landscape particularly for seascapes often using long exposures to flatten the sea movement. This interest requires a pair of wellington boots and waterproof trousers!

Away from landscapes I have found photographic project work very motivational, particularly related to producing panels of images. In developing this technique I produced a panel of ten images to become accepted as a Licentiate Member of the Royal Photographic Society in 2019 and a panel of fifteen images to become an Associate in 2021.

My Associate panel comprised images of very old unimproved churches in black and white and this type of photography has become an interest of mine. Initially I tried to use landscape photography techniques inside the churches but soon realised I had to develop a different technique.

To prepare my photography panel submissions I purchased a printer. This was a completely new experience and required learning about paper types and how to produce a screen image that would be close to representing what was to be printed.

So my real photographic journey started fifteen years ago in the digital age and has been one of learning and personal development which I plan to continue with.

Name three pieces of photographic equipment that you would not want to be without and why

Three pieces of photographic equipment is very limiting as I need a camera and lens just to take a picture. This would only leave me one other choice.

So I am going to assume that I could have three other pieces of kit beyond those necessary to take the image and for me that would be a tripod and set of filters for landscape photography and a Canon printer.

Where do you get your inspiration from for new ideas and new photographic work? 

I find this for me is always a challenge. I usually look on line, perhaps at Flikr or Pinterest. Magazines and the websites of other photographers are usually useful.

When did you join Wokingham Photography Club and what do you enjoy about it?

I joined the Club in 2012. I find the talks from visiting speakers really interesting and enjoy seeing the work of other Club photographers in competitions or at members evenings. The other Club members are very friendly as well as being interested in photography so I find the social aspects especially enjoyable.