My serious interest in photography began several years ago during a trip ‘home’ to South Africa. I had always taken photos, mostly with assorted ‘point and shoot’ cameras, the easiest option when travelling and exploring with young kids in tow, but was often disappointed with the lack of control over the end results. This time round I was able to borrow a DSLR and had some time to play and practise. The photography bug bit hard and soon I was the proud owner of a shiny new Nikon camera and a couple of kit lenses.
Since then, I have been learning and practising as much as possible. I have also acquired more gear but I do try to avoid GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) as much as possible. For those who care, I currently use a Lumix G9 with the Leica 100-400mm lens for birding. I did love my beast of a Sigma 150-600 Sport for birding, but it got a bit too heavy and I switched to a lighter mirrorless sytem. I still shoot with a Nikon camera (D7200) for flowers and bugs, usually with my Nikon 105 mm Macro and a speedlight with Cygnustech diffuser. I have a few other lenses for landscapes etc, mostly purchased second-hand.
I’ve been encouraged along the way by positive feedback, from friends and family, and from online forums. I have had some success in competitions, both at my camera club and more open competitions. The critique and feedback from the judges at club competition nights is an invaluable tool for improvement; I would encourage any aspiring photographer to join their local club.