Linda, tell us about your creative journey and how you got into photography...
I have always been creative and over the years tried many different things, but nothing seemed to keep me engaged. I liked the end of that creative path but I never seemed to put much effort into one thing and quickly moved to something else. Maybe this was because it took too long to get there or simply, I was impatient.
My interest in photography started later in life with a new relationship and a partner that always had a camera wherever he went. At that time I had an old film camera that I only used for family photos and holiday snaps, without attempting to do anything else apart from having those memories recorded.
As I got better, my interest grew and I decided to take a course in basic photography. This was a pivotal moment which generated new momentum in my creative life, passing the imaginary point of no return, which moved me into a place where I would never get bored and could always learn.
What are you most passionate about capturing?
I read a quote by Jonathan Swift which translates exactly how I feel about photography - ‘Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.’
My love for travelling this wonderful country (New Zealand) and documenting the beauty of this diverse land drove me to landscape photography. By sharing it with others I hope it will stimulate their interest in visiting this jewel of the Pacific, or encourage my countrymen to discover all the remote corners of the land before they embrace overseas trips.
I use my macro photography to look deeper into a subject, to see the little world that you never saw before, the one we easily overlook by just glimpsing at things. This has taught me that life is not always what you see on the outside, there is always more to it. The image Gloxinia is an example of something that when explored closely, looked alien of sorts with multiple arms and lips that protruded from the stem.
Portraits are something else that I really love, one of those things that if done with a true heart can capture the true essence of a person, like looking into their soul. The result can make a person feel good about who they are and in some situations see themselves as never before. The image of Melissa is special as her very soulful eyes show the viewer part of her personality.
Tell us about your 'Birth of a Poppy' photo...
“Birth of a Poppy” was taken as part of a project for an international garden competition. The idea came while I was walking through the Pukekura Park in New Plymouth and noticed a bed of poppies growing in different stages of bloom. They reminded me of birth and I was fascinated how the poppy morphed into this beautiful delicate flower and decided to make it my project. I used my macro lens to take this shot, my camera mounted on a tripod which helped get the image as sharp as possible.
Any tips for capturing macro flower images?
One thing I have learnt while taking so many macro photos is that you should try to use a tripod or monopod if circumstances allow you to do so.
How do you continue to learn and improve your photography?
I watch tutorials on Youtube about different shooting techniques and intricacies of image processing. I find that this boosts my imagination and gets my creativity flowing which leaves me with more options to visually express ideas. When I think of an image at the edge of my technical expertise this is the path I use to get the result I want.
What has been your biggest learning curve in photography and how did you overcome it?
My biggest learning curve was exactly that, learning. Due to having a very knowledgeable photographer as a partner I found it much easier to ‘Google’ him on how to do something rather than learn myself, knowing that he was always on hand. It was not until he purposefully went ‘offline’ that I had to put the effort in myself. Due to never sticking to previous interests I found it really hard to learn from written information and had to push myself, to have the patience to go through the process. As this was my only option I started to learn on my own which empowered me, made me realise that photography was my love and something that I was willing to put the effort into. I had found a way to express myself.
How would you like to use your photography for good?
I love my country and would like to be an ambassador of its beauty. It would be a privilege and a wonderful responsibility to, through my photography promote it in the way I see it to the people who may come, or to the people who may never have the opportunity to visit this beautiful land.
I am in awe of its landscape and would like to enrich people with embedding that feeling of belonging to nature through my photography.
What are the main principles you follow in photography?
To be true to myself, my creativity and not be influenced by what is popular at the moment. I feel many photographers are caught up in what other people would like to see, instead of creating their own dreams. I want to share my perception of the scene and hopefully make others see it too.
Tell us about your win with your Wanaka Tree shot...
I enter competitions as I feel they help me move my photography forward and encourage me to do better. I have accomplished successes in a number of competitions but my most memorable one would be my image of yes, wait for it, that Wanaka Tree. This image made 3rd place in the National section of The Sony World Photography Awards 2017 and was chosen by National Geographic as 1 of 5 images which promoted their World Travel Photo competition. The image had huge coverage and was also purchased by National Geographic and consequently published in their book called ‘Spectacle, Rare and Astonishing Photographs’. The image has also found its way to a National Geographic calendar for 2020.
I was always drawn to this well-known tree and thought of the ways to photograph something that had been captured so many times before, while still remaining unique. While on holiday in the South Island I stayed in Wanaka for a couple of days. My first attempt was very difficult as there were so many other photographers around trying also to get that perfect shot. The next morning I went to the site before sunrise with the photography fairy on my shoulder to find the morning so still and peaceful. It was helped by an early sun which was spreading a beautiful golden glow on the tree. This was the vision I had in my mind for so long, my dream of this tree, the sense of destiny fulfilled.
See more of Linda's work: Excio