I got my first digital SLR camera back in December 2008, I had been interested in photography from an early age but had never been able to justify the expense of an SLR. With a little gentle persuasion from my boss' son, who is a talented professional photographer in London, I bought a Canon 40D and a 24-105 f/4 L lens. I had no preconceived ideas about what made a good shot and so happily and naively snapped away in auto mode photographing everything that moved and stood still.
After just a few months of SLR ownership I entered a photograph into The York Press' landscape photograph competition. It came second, I got some photographs into the local rag and a Jessops voucher for £70. I entered the same shot into the Sewerby Hall photograph competition and won. A few more months on and I entered some more images into 'The International Sharrow Photograph Competition' and got a commendation. I thought I was the 'nuts'.
Then something 'happened', after these successes I became 'frightened' of venturing out to take photographs just in case they failed to be as successful as the ones I had taken earlier in the year. I still took photographs but never with the same amount of enthusiasm and commitment that was required. My line of work provided an opportunity to explore architectural photography and through this I picked up an odd paid commission and had some images published in trade literature, I rarely shot 'for fun'.
Earlier this year I made a mental decision to make a proper attempt to improve the quality and regain the enthusiasm I once had for photography. The thing that held me back was serious motivation. After a trip to London, I had become disappointed with the results from my compact Canon G11. I loved the camera but the low light quality was poor and the zoom function operated by a small lever infuriated me. I subsequently purchased a Canon EOS M from WEX which was intended to be my travel camera. The camera arrived and inside the box was a leaflet advertising their 'Photographer of the Year' competition, a shot from London was entered the following Monday and shortly after this my motivation gradually returned.
It wasn't long before I realised I wasn't quite the 'nuts' that I thought I was, the other competition entries were stunning! It was initially clear to me that there were a couple of photographers who stood out from the rest, Lee Acaster and Justin Minns. I really admired, and still do, their work. I love the diversity of Lee's images, it appears to me that no shot is a slight replica of the one that went before and Justin's early morning sunrise landscapes are equally as stunning. It was these two chaps who gave me inspiration to improve my work and WEX was the motivation for me to get out a couple of times a week with the camera.
As the weeks went on other photographer's work drew my eye; Matthew Dartford, Paul Shears, Dylan Nardini, Lewis Fackrell to name a few. It was obvious to me that a #WexMondays win would be a huge challenge. I knew I wasn't in their league but if all I did was improve my work I would be happy. I believe my work has improved and it is all down to #WexMondays and the competing entrants, I'd like to thank them all, I have thoroughly enjoyed this competition. The banter which was generated between everyone who took part was also a joy to be part of. I didn't get a win this year but I did manage a runner's up place which I am thrilled with.
Below is each of my #Wexmondays entries for 2014, looking forward to 2015!