Sharlene Laskey / Member Interview
Nelson, New Zealand
What inspired you to become a photographer?
I love to go hiking, and get away to remote places in the wilderness. Living in New Zealand my hiking takes me to some incredible places, and seeing these places has made me passionate about capturing beautiful images of them.
Tell us about your first photo that really validated your interest as a photographer.
In 2015 I took a year off work to travel with my fiancée and it was at this time I purchased my first DSLR camera. I couldn’t pick one photo, but it was the photos from this trip that really solidified my interest in photography. Since then I’ve been learning non-stop in an effort to better my images and also experimenting to find my style.
What do you enjoy photographing the most?
Landscapes, wilderness, mountainscapes, and travel images.
What has been your proudest moment as a photographer?
Being recognized and receiving positive feedback in any form is always amazing, but I think selling my first set of images was a real feel good moment. When someone is willing to pay you for your work for the first time then you know that you must be on the right track.
What is your best photography related tip?
Take your learning step by step. When you first begin learning photography it can be daunting, and it’s clearly a lifetime pursuit if you are driven to create great images and for continuous improvement. I found that for me, largely ignoring the technical details of exposure as such and sticking to automatic mode while learning how to compose a good shot first was a perfect way to start. Composure is vital to a good picture and without it the technical exposure aspects won’t mean much. Once you get your composures right you’ll be able to move on to getting out of automatic mode much easier. Also, I just have to add – don’t be afraid to make mistakes! The times you make mistakes will often be the times you make headway with your photography skills and I genuinely believe this is key to the learning process. Just go shoot!
What would you like for people take away from your work?
I’d like people to see my work and have it inspire them to capture great images too. I’d like for people to recognize that anyone can do this. Everyone has to start from the beginning and all it takes is to pick up a camera and start – it really is this simple!
What are some ‘must have’ items in your camera bag?
As a largely outdoors and hiking photographer my must haves are actually keeping my kit to an absolute minimum as weight is critical when you are sometimes carrying it along with other gear for days at a time. My camera itself and my zoom lens (12-50mm) is actually my only must have. I’ll use a rock as a tripod if necessary! I actively resist acquiring more gear for this very reason, although this gear will most definitely include a variable ND filter next!
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what is the ONE photography book you would want to have with you?
We have an incredible long distance trail here called Te Araroa, much like the PCT or the Appalachian in USA. I’ve walked about two thirds of it to date and it passes through the most amazing landscapes. There’s a New Zealand photographer who has put together a book containing a collection of images from his journey on the trail. The book is called Te Araroa by Mark Watson, and like any photography book on the wilderness or backcountry I’m really looking forward to seeing it.
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