Are you a fan of Landscape and Travel Photography? Then check out this article. Continuing on with my Photographer Focus series, in this edition, I am placing the focus on Colm Keating, an Irish Photographer who currently resides in New Zealand.
I’m a self-taught photographer from Ireland, who now lives in New Zealand. I was studying for a doctorate in chemistry when I decided I had enough and quit to pursue photography full time. I loved chemistry, but I knew I didn’t want to spend my days inside a lab working on the same problem every day when I could be out with my camera instead. That was in Sept 2017 and my life has changed dramatically since then. In January 2018 I moved to New Zealand, and I now live in the Queenstown, surrounded by the southern Alps.
Presumably, people probably answer this question with a DSLR but the first camera that really sparked my interest in photography was the first-generation iPhone. This was the first phone I had with a camera and it is definitely the camera responsible for lighting the fire. However, after a few years of iPhone photography, I did eventually get a Canon 600D in the summer of 2013 which is where the traditional photography journey started.
Although it doesn’t earn me a large income, I will always likely be a landscape shooter over any other genre. Living near the sea, it was seascapes in particular that I mostly shot in the beginning, but photography opened up a whole new world of other interests with it, hiking being a huge one. Now I shoot more in the mountains than anywhere else. And I have fostered a love for adventure photography involving outdoor sports since becoming an avid hiker and camper myself. This is an area where I really want to steer my business over the next few years as it combines my love of landscape photography with outdoor sports. For professionals, I think this is the ultimate goal. Many begin shooting whatever photography jobs they can when they turn pro just to keep things rolling over, however, we all would love to just shoot the type of photography we love in return for an income. This isn’t always possible, but finding a niche where you can mold that genre into a profitable product for someone is the perfect compromise, for me anyway!
Its always been the power and beauty of nature for me. You can go to a gorgeous place over and over and it can look so different from one day to the next, all depending on the mood and atmosphere that the weather creates.
As soon as I was making dedicated trips out to take photos is when I consider a photographer to be a serious enthusiast. For me, this was about six months after picking up my first camera, so the bug really didn’t take long to manifest in me!
Meeting all the other amazing photographers I have had the pleasure of shooting with is by far the highlight. This is pretty much an ongoing thing, which is great as its something I can look forward to for as long as I am involved in photography. Many people reading will no doubt be able to relate to the friendship that can be formed with finding someone else who also has that “photography bug”. A lot of family and regular friends just cannot comprehend why we would stand for hours in the same spot, going back day after day just to catch the place at its best, but other photographers can, and I have been lucky enough to meet many I can now call very good friends.
Just get going sooner. I held myself back, convincing myself the stereotypical route of getting a stable career through my degree was the right choice for me. I now know it was not and I am glad I have made the jump to full-time photography. My only regret is that I did not do it sooner.
The hardest part will always be dragging yourself out of bed for sunrise. Whether the shoot was a success or not, I have never once regretted getting up for sunrise. However, that knowledge never seems to make it easier to leave the warmth of your bed when it’s still dark outside and it seems you only crawled into it 5 mins ago.
Nikon D750 and D7100. Nikon 14-24 F/2.8. Tamron 24-70 F/2.8. Sigma 70-200 F/2.8. Haida Filters CPL, 6 stop ND, 10 stop ND. 6 batteries. Peak design strap and capture pro clip. Cable release. Rollei tripod. And last but definitely not least, a shower cap!
To be honest I am very happy with the gear I have. My only complaint is how heavy it all is. As I do a lot of hiking, the weight can be somewhat problematic. Therefore I am considering swapping some of my fast aperture lenses for lighter variable aperture versions. I have not decided what I will do yet though. As regards GAS, I have it pretty well controlled (I think!). I have not bought anything photography related in well over a year, except for replacing a broken tripod head. Now I just have to ensure I keep telling myself that just because I have not bought anything in a year, that it does not allow me to justify a new purchase!
At the moment I have to say New Zealand. My second love is wild camping/hiking and so the setup for that here is just phenomenal. Of course, there are great places to be found for this back home in Ireland too but it is just on another level here in New Zealand. There is also the appeal of a new place, seeing something with fresh eyes. New Zealand most certainly still has for me as I have only been here for six months. I will always want to continue to explore new countries though, that is something I am confident that will never stop.
Recently I have begun to shoot more people in my photography, particularly with adventure-related sports. This is something I really want to move into more over the next year or so. That will entail me learning many new skills that come with the genre so there is another steep learning curve ahead. For me though, the learning is part of the fun. Dipping into other genres can open your mind to ideas that you wouldn’t have had if you stick in the one type of photography all the time. For that reason alone I really love giving every type of photography a go. Hoping it will bring something new to my staple genre that is landscape photography.
You can view more of Colm’s Photography over on his website at www.colmkeating.com and you can follow along with his adventures over on his Facebook Page www.fb.com/keatingcolm – and his Instagram Feed – www.instagram.com/keatingcolm