I got the photography bug about three years ago after designing a product for use with a DSLR camera. I am the product designer for a company that makes equipment for the Television Broadcast Industry. The DSLR has become very popular for shooting video, so DSLR related products is a good market to be in.
When I bought my camera I added a Sigma 70-300mm lens to the kit as I really liked the idea of doing some wildlife photography. This lens was just about the cheapest lens that I could find that seemed like it would do the job. The bonus was it had a macro switch that allows you to focus close to a subject and fill the frame with very small objects.
Armed with my trusty Nikon D5000 I went for a walk with my dog in the local woods. In the woods there is a pond that is crawling with insects of all types so I switched the lens to macro pointed it at a Damselfly and that was it, I was hooked on macro photography.
I was shooting macro and some wildlife with this setup for about two years and posting my best results on Flickr.
I was amazed to one day to receive a flicker message from Steve Osborn, to ask me if I would like to give a talk to the Metropolitan Police Photographic Society at New Scotland Yard. He said he had been following my work and was impressed with the results I was getting from my basic entry level kit and that all all my shots were made in the local parks in a suburb of London. He was keen for his members to see that there are good shots everywhere even in the local park.
I had never given a talk on anything in my life before and I don't mind admitting I was a bit apprehensive about pulling this off.
I decided to give it a go, after all the worst that could happen was that I would spend a night in the cells for very poor public speaking.
I set to work and put together a 64 slide power point presentation that I called Photography in the Park. Steve kindly reviewed the talk with me before the night and said it would go down well.
The big day arrived and off I went to New Scotland Yard. The venue was fantastic as you can see in the picture. It has a massive screen and a superb sound system, it's like a small cinema. All I had to do was plug the laptop into the system and off I went. There was nothing to worry about, all the members were very friendly and had lots of questions and two hours had passed before I knew it.
Here's some of the messages I received after the talk;
It was an excellent talk, really inspiring with some great images, well presented.
Hi Mark I really enjoyed your talk and your pictures were very inspiring. Thanks for giving up your time to come and talk about your photos.
Hi Mark I used your 'formula' to get a photo of the moon. It worked a treat. Thank you.
Good job Mark - it was a pleasure hosting you at Scotland Yard. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of you.
Mark Thanks for sparing the time. It was great to see the results you get with relatively modest kit. You obviously know your locale well which must help but it was a great reminder that you don't have to go far for great images.
As you can see people really appreciate you making the effort and it's great fun.The word has spread and I have given the talk to three more clubs since then.
The Princess Risborough Photographic Society and the Malling Photographic Society in Kent. The month before the speaker at the Malling Society had been the now world famous Gavin Hoey a big act to follow, but it went over very well and I met lots more friendly photographers.
( Gavin Hoey is a photography educator, check out his website)
Last month I was invited to talk to the Leytara Club in Wilminton Kent, where 100 people turned up to hear the talk!!!
I would like to thank all the people that have attended the talks for making me so welcome and making the whole experience really enjoyable for me.
I still use this lens quite regularly but have upgraded to a Nikon D7000 body and for macro work I also use a Tamron 90 mm 1:1 macro lens. This Sigma 70-300mm lens in my opinion is an inexpensive way to start macro photography.
So if you are asked the question "Can you give a talk on Photography"
Say yes it's great fun and you get to meet some really nice people and share your work.
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