Interview with Ann Kilpatrick

"Reflection" by Ann Kilpatrick

Where and how did your photography journey start?

I started taking photographs on a little plastic Kodak camera when I was around 10 I think (decades ago). I was mostly photographing my sisters when we were out playing but of course it was relatively expensive to print photographs so I was never allowed to take too many. As I grew up I photographed friends, family, landscapes, and various locations on trips to the beach and overseas.

It is good to have those memories captured now many of the people are no longer here. Or, as the land and buildings themselves change or disappear as we are seeing in New Zealand after recent earthquakes and big weather events.

How did you learn photography, have you had any professional training and do you still consider yourself on the learning curve?

I am definitely on the learning curve, in fact I think I am addicted to learning, it has been a life time habit!

I am qualified as an accountant, project and change manager and have a Masters in Information Management. Qualifications that are all very different, and of very little relevance, to my interest in architecture, art and photography.

I am currently working my way through Photocourse 4 with James Gilberd of Photospace Gallery. I have also enjoyed a few one day courses and 4 day workshops with Richard Young of NZ Photography Workshops. James and Richard are patient people and great teachers. I am learning as much as I can at every opportunity. I use all the online courses or videos that I can but there is nothing like turning up to your first photo course with a real teacher and learning from their context and experience.

You have a great collection of landscape photographs ranging from snowy mountains to beaches and rivers. What drives your inspiration? How often do you travel?

"Lake Wakatipu" by Ann Kilpatrick

I am a 5th generation New Zealander and I am very fond of our country, the shape, the water ways, the light, and all the people who live here. But, do not get me started on caring for our fresh water!

When I was young, my twin and I spent a lot of time at our Aunties' farm and beach places. Being outside all the time, all holidays, gave me an appreciation of our land, the colours, the light, the weather, saving water, and how quickly things change.

We do not travel very often as my husband, Martin, is self employed so spare time is limited. We do tend to holiday around New Zealand though and our cameras are always close to hand. My camera goes out with me, I take photos if I am at a party, walking about the city, from the car as we travel, and/or from planes. I enjoy the photo walks that the Wellington Photographic Society and Excio organise.

Your photo "Spring Snow Jacks Point" is quite unique with the green trees, grass, plus snow! Can you tell us more about the photo?

"Spring Snow Jack Point" by Ann Kilpatrick

We go to Queenstown each spring for an annual meeting held down there. Jacks Point is a beautiful site, it's a relatively new golf course and it is good to visit each year to see how the trees are growing and to enjoy the developing landscape and the view over the lake from the cafe.

When I took this photo it was late September 2018 and Otago had received the biggest snowfall of 2018 while we were there. Lucky! The day after the snow it was a beautiful sunny day so of course every one was out with their cameras. We walked about town, photographed Lake Hayes and then headed to out to Jacks Point in the afternoon. Because the landscape feels so big and open I often take photos that I can merge into panoramas later on.

The "Spring Snow Jacks Point" photo is two photos merged together showing the Remarkables in the background beyond the golf course. I shot the photo on my Nikon D5500, hand held, 1/100 secs at f/16, 35mm ISO 400. My lens was a Nikon 35 mm f/1.8. I wouldn't say I planned the shot, the area around Queenstown is so beautiful it is hard to put a camera down. I do look for distinctive features that will enable the photos to merge in Lightroom though.

I've since bought a Nikon D850 so it will be fun to use that next time we visit Queenstown.

What advice would you give to other photographers who are trying our their cameras for the first time?

I don't know enough to be giving other photographers advice but I have encouraged my colleagues and family to learn from the professionals, or if that's not possible, to learn online. Personally, I am also definitely appreciating the benefits of a using a tripod.

I think it is important for people to practice with their camera and understand how to use it in order to create the types of photographs they imagine. Slow down, look for and compose your shot. Read about other photographers and see what you like about their photography - If we are talking landscapes I myself like the work of John Vodrazka and Peter Kurdulija. I am also interested in the creative photography of Esther Bunning whilst Ans Westra's work is another favourite.

You can find more of Ann's Photographs in her Excio albums.

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