'Getting Back into Photography' By Simone Slater
Recent retirement has allowed me the time to ‘get back into photography’, I’ve always had a camera and been happy to take a few snaps but a U3A photographic course and a new mirrorless digital camera has opened up a whole new world of photography. Canberra and its surrounds offer many opportunities to experiment with a wide variety of photographic styles and subjects and there’s so many sources of inspiration!
One of my first major outings with my new camera was with a NatureArt Lab (NAL) trip to Montague Island where I got a crash course in bird photography, in particular birds in flight and specifically crested terns. It was a fabulous experience.
However, whilst I have some passable photographs of local birds and I’m a very average landscape photographer what I’m enjoying most at the moment is examining and photographing Australian flora. I’m certainly no botanist, but I am fascinated by the variety, structure and detail of our flora, it’s so incredibly different from what I grew up with in the north of England.
My current favourite location is the Australian National Botanic Gardens, every month of the year there’s something interesting to photograph. Even on the coldest, wettest days there’s colour and I like colour. Most of the images I submitted for the recent NAL students and tutors exhibition were taken at the ANBG. All were taken with my Olympus E-M5III camera and Olympus 30mm macro lens. For many of the images I used the in-camera stacking function to get the depth of field I wanted.
Entering the exhibition was an interesting experience and fantastic opportunity. I was encouraged by friends and their positive comments, so though I’d try it out. I was nervous as I’d never exhibited anything before but I enjoyed the challenge, including choosing the images, having them professionally developed and framed –a steep learning curve.
For my next challenge … I’d like to do the macro photography course run by NAL as I’m keen to improve and experiment photographing smaller things such as insects and fungi.
Simone Slater was the winner of the NatureArt Lab Overall Award for Excellence with Nature Photography for her stunning photographs of banksia flowers at our 2023 'Nature in Focus' Exhibition, with a prize sponsored by Lucent Imaging, Canberra.
Image: Simone Slater with Shane Rattenbury at the official opening of the 2023 'Nature in Focus' exhibition.