Tell us about your photography journey, how and when did it start?

My interest in photography started in high school in the mid-1980s when I was 16. Back then, it was an extracurricular class, and I did not have an SLR camera to be able to partake in the class, but the desire was there. I ended up leaving school that year and went into the workforce, managing to buy my first SLR camera and doing a few night courses at my old high school. After that, in 1990, I decided to become an adult student (aged 20) to further my education and completed 6 form photography, learning how to develop and print black and white film. My teacher Tony Bridge was a great inspiration and, to this day, remains a friend.

I continued taking photos over the years, but they were mainly family-orientated shots using film, which was expensive to develop, especially as a single mother studying for a bachelor's degree in Teaching and Learning Early Childhood Education, which I completed aged 39.

When digital cameras came out, I bought a cheap point-and-shoot Fuji camera and played around with that until I bought my first DSLR entry Canon 1100D in 2012. When my position as a teacher ended, I decided to look at other options. Photography was still a passion of mine, so I started thinking about combining my love of photography and my knowledge of working with children and started learning how to use Photoshop Elements.

I have now upgraded to the Canon 80D and 6Dii and have a number of lenses to play with. I also now subscribe to the full version of Photoshop. I completed a Diploma of Photography through SIT (Southern Institute of Technology) in 2018 when I was 48 because I believe you can never stop learning.

Photography has been a passion of mine for so long, it's like an addiction! I think about photography and edit photos in Photoshop pretty much every day! Picking up my camera is my happy place, it keeps me sane. As an artist, I love the creative process of taking photos and then bringing them into Photoshop to edit, as I have full control over what and how I shoot and edit my images.

Tell us about starting your business, Faerietastic Photography

About 8 years ago, I was inspired while watching the NZIPP IRIS Awards Creative category. This led me to research how to create composites, and I started following and becoming friends with fairy photographers from different countries.

Fairy photographers capture the innocence of childhood and the magic in life. Bringing to life dreams and wishes, leaving imprints in the minds of the children and capturing a moment in time that is never forgotten. Although it is mainly aimed at children aged 3 and up, I would also like to photograph women of all ages.

Tell us about your fine art bird images…

It’s funny because if anyone had said to me 10 years ago that I would be stalking and photographing birds, I would have laughed! Not that I did not like birds, I have always loved them, but I never thought I would go out just to photograph them.

I started becoming more serious about bird photography after I got my Sigma 150mm-600mm lens in August 2020, a present to myself for my 50th birthday.

The aim of my bird photography is to show off the uniqueness and beauty of our wildlife here in Christchurch. Recently, I have been working on a project called Alone, so called because we all, at times, feel alone.

The series is about a local White Heron/Kōtuku who winters close to where I live and touches on mental health with the first image being dark and the final image being light and free.

The final image in the series won the Gold medal and overall champion winner in the 2022 North Shore Salon, while two of my other photos won Silver and Bronze awards in the NZIPP Sony IRIS awards.

What's next for you on your journey?

At this stage, I would like to get my name out there a bit more, grow my Faerietastic Photography business by getting regular clients, and continue with my artistic bird photography work, possibly having an exhibition one day.  I also want to make my work available for sale; currently, I am selling 2023 bird calendars.

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