For as long as I can remember I have always loved being behind the camera. I think it came from my parents, they both had a love for taking pictures, but it was my Mum who was never without a camera in her hand and it’s her that inspired me to pick one up. My whole childhood was catalogued in photo albums that she would spend hours and hours putting together. Sticking the photographs in with those little corner stickers and writing comments on every picture. I’m so glad she did that!
I lost my Mum when I was 17, well I didn’t lose her, I know exactly where she is, but you know what I mean! When she died, I held on to all the camera equipment that she had. There wasn’t much. A little Olympus XA 35mm point and shoot and an OM10 that she got from my Dad when he left.
I loved the OM10.
I loved everything about it! I loved the noise it made when you pressed the shutter, the little button that wound on the film and the fact you had to change the lenses. I loved how I felt carrying it around. It acted as a barrier between me and the world and I could look through the viewfinder and concentrate on what I was going to create and forget about the rest of the world going on around me. To this day I think I still feel that way.
Over the years I’ve moved around the country, got married, settled down, had children, but the one thing that has remained a constant is that I have never been without a camera. My love for all things photography has grown and evolved with me and now its not just photographs of my family, but my love for landscapes that has really evolved over the years. What I hadn’t realised though, was just how much of a coping mechanism photography was for me.
Fast forward 24 years later and who could have predicted was 2020 was going to have in store for us all!.
As the rumours of a potential lockdown were stirring and the realisation that I was going to have to home school my two children and have both myself and my husband working from home, meant that our lives were going to change quite a bit, and all of a sudden my wonderful hobby of capturing and exploring landscapes was going to stop.
So with this in mind I dashed out just before the lockdown, traded in some old gear and bought myself an Olympus M.Zuiko 30mm f3.5 Macro lens for my OMD EM1 MKii. I may be having to stay at home, but that didn’t mean my creativity had to stop!
My initial plan was to use the macro lens in my garden, photographing the daily life of the bugs, spiders and insects that I could find, but as the lockdown started and the days began to all merge in to one I had to try and do something else.
I decided to have a go at creating a little lockdown project using some railway figures to keep myself entertained. I’d always admired and been inspired by the amazing work of other artists who create such wonderful images using little figures such as Slinkachu and Paul Towse (Tuff World), so I thought I would give it a go.
Little did I know how much fun it would be!
Most of the inspiration for the ideas and images came from the situations we found our selves in during lockdown.
Images like this one, which I called ‘Essential Shopping’ came from the fact that finding home delivery slots for our food deliveries was getting harder and harder! I was gazing at a receipt and suddenly realized how similar the barcode looked to a pedestrian crossing! Finding a figure to look like she was going shopping was the easy part.
I didn’t restrict myself to things just in my home, I also ventured in to the garden and every now and then, out on to the street outside my home. Just because we were stuck at home didn’t mean that I couldn’t have fun creating some images that would remind me of this moment in history for the rest of my days!
Shooting out in the garden required a little bit more kit, that’s where a good tripod comes in. I currently use a Benbo Trekker tripod and a Benbo mini Trekker which is ideal for shooting macro images.
When the flowers in the garden started to bloom they provided a perfect stage setting for some of my pictures, again taking inspiration from the fact that we were blessed with having days of beautiful sunshine and the time to sit and read and enjoy the simple things again.
Shooting with a macro lens opens up the world to a view you would never normally see. You can create your own world, or get lost in the one you are shooting either way it certainly became a wonderful way of escaping the troubles and stresses I was going through.
As I mentioned earlier, what I hadn’t realised before was just how important photography had actually become to me. Over the years I’ve seen a fair bit of change, parents divorced, losing my Mum, relocating across the country, a cancer diagnosis and all that comes with it, so having this wonderful hobby meant that for brief periods of time the only thing that I was thinking about was ‘what would make a great photo’ and how to capture that perfect shot. I would sit watching the birds in my garden and lose track of time, I walk through the forest and take in the surroundings, the noises, the birds and the creatures. It has been a sort of therapy for me for all these years and I hadn’t even realised!
The addition of a macro lens to my kit just opened up the world that little bit more. From my Little People project, to finding the perfect daisy, macro photography can and does bring so much fun! It doesn’t always have to be insects though. I had great fun one morning creating patterns using a glass bowl, water, oil and an iPad! Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t need to leave you home to have fun and get creative using a macro lens!
As I mentioned earlier, I love shooting landscapes and cityscapes and that was the one thing I was missing during lockdown. So after watching an Olympus live session on creative Macro Photography ideas, I decided to see if I could create my own ‘Little’ landscape. A few hours later and utilising all of my patience I created my own city skyline using staples! I printed off one of my own sunset images to use as the backdrop, found a rock from my garden and gave my little photographer the perfect viewpoint to shoot ‘Staple City’ at sunset! I really enjoyed this one!
Photography has been such a wonderful support for me over the years, and I can honestly say that through it, I have met some amazing people, both online and in person. The joy and delight you can get some photographing an image and being so thrilled with the outcome, is fantastic! So if you are thinking about trying to finding a new hobby, I can whole heartedly recommend getting out there and taking pictures, oh and if you were possibly thinking about adding a macro lens to your kit, then I can definitely recommend it!
Although lockdown has now lifted and I am back taking in the amazing scenery of our wonderful little island, I still carry my macro lens wherever I go. Well, you never know what you might come across!