Getting To Know Mark Davey of MJD Photography

Hi Mark, why don't you introduce yourself and tell us about your journey with photography...

I live in the sunny Hawkes Bay, having moved from Pukekohe a few years ago after retirement.

"Fernhill Bridge" by Mark Davey, MJD Photography

I began photography at school in the 1960's as an excuse not to play cricket! A small group of us were fortunate to have a teacher who liked photography, and was enthusiastic about teaching us the skills of developing and printing black and white photos in a small darkroom at the school. We did very little colour in those days as the film and developing was more expensive where as black and white film came in 100 foot rolls so the cost could be shared among our group.

One of the jobs I had in my younger years was as a photographer for Christopher Bede in the King Country and Taranaki area. In those days we used large format black and white 120 roll film, these were sent to the processing centre in Auckland where the film was developed, photos produced then hand painted before being sent to the customer.

After marriage and kids photography took a back seat for a while, other than the usual family and holiday snaps, due to the expense in printing colour and making every shot count.

But then the digital era came along and everything changed - I could take heaps of photos, look at them straight away, discard those I didn’t like and take some more till I got it right! By this time my kids were doing their own thing so this allowed me more time to do the things I liked, namely photography and video.

My first digital camera was a Fujifilm A850 point and shoot, but boy did I take some photos – not necessarily good ones but plenty of shots, and I loved it. The nicest thing was the huge screen on the back so I could see the picture immediately. Wow. Only 8.1 megapixels but great photos and colours for its time.

Eventually, the A850 stopped working so I purchased a Canon 650D, followed by a 6D and most recently a 5DSr. The 6D I use for general photography, while the 5DSr is used for landscapes and photos where action type shots are not necessary. I have also taken an interest in drone photography and flying my DJI Mavic Pro is an activity in progress.

"Sea of hills" by Mark Davey, MJD Photography

What does photography mean to you?

I am very much an amateur and take photos because I enjoy doing so, I find it relaxing, and getting that top shot is enough for me. Selling and being ‘recognised’ is nowhere near the top of my list. I guess I look at my photography as a personal thing rather than work for general consumption however I do get a ‘tingle’ when others like one of my images.

I am really interested in photos taken by other photographers, amateur and professional, as they give me ideas on how to approach subjects and what settings etc to use to achieve great results. I can then try these and change them to suit my method. Some photos look superb and when you read about all the effort that went into getting that one great shot, you realise you are not alone in trying to perfect this craft.

Photography is no longer about producing great photos. It is the process to get to that stage. The digital age now means changes to the photo can be made in-camera, and post camera using different editing programs. It is quite an exciting time for all photographers, even those who only utilise a cell phone.

"Frigate Bird" by Mark Davey, MJD Photography

Tell us about your image 'Natures Jewellery'

This was a spur of the moment shot. It was early morning, we'd had a frost overnight, and it was just starting to warm up when I noticed this red flower with lovely semi-frozen drops of water clinging to it. I dashed inside, grabbed the camera and snapped some shots.

"Natures' Jewellery" by Mark Davey, MJD Photography

By the time I had reviewed them, the moment had passed and a wet, red flower was all that remained. It did impress upon me the need to make sure I have my camera with me at all times, so I don’t miss that special shot.

How do you continue to learn and push yourself?

Joining Excio and NZ Photographer enables me to further increase my knowledge base, and connect with other ‘like minds’. It also gives me a web presence.

I use YouTube a lot to learn about the many menu's on my cameras whilst picking up tips on how to get the most out of the camera. In addition, I have joined the Hawkes Bay Photographic club and find other members to be free with their information and tips plus, the workshop evenings add to my knowledge base.

See Mark's portfolio on Excio and follow his collections in the Excio app.

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