• "MEET A MEMBER" #1 Richard Hall

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Randall View Post
    This is an idea we've had on the back burner for some time now so when Chris M volunteered his time and interview skills we jumped at the chance for him to start conducting some Q and A with our member base. I really love the sense of community we've achieved on here and relish the chance to get to know our members better so a big thanks goes out to Chris for his effort and hopefully this will be the first of many member interviews.

    Take it away Chris
    I thought to start things off we might get to know a little more about Richard Hall. Rich is not quite as "vocal" as the rest of the Admin team but he is the man behind the scenes, working ever diligently to maintain the site and keep things running smoothly.

    What is the first thing you think of in the morning?

    I hope that my alarm has got it wrongÖ. unless itís a birding day!

    What attracted you to avian photography?

    I've always been interested in wildlife and birds for as long as I can remember. My eldest brother would show me his old diaries in which heíd painted and sketched birds that he had observed on The Wash in England. Iíd also leaf through all his guides and books on birds and I was hooked! He also worked as a taxidermist at the Australian Museum in Sydney (where he did many birds) when I was growing up and when we'd go bush his enthusiasm for wildlife rubbed off onto me.

    I dabbled in photography a bit pre-digital and dreamt of photographing birds, but the expense of film and gear prevented me from really considering photographing birds seriously. So once DSLRs became more affordable and thus the cost of film vanished too, I jumped at the chance of being able to photograph the subjects Iím most passionate about.

    What was the first bird you photographed? Did you know what species it was?

    I took a few photos of birds with a point and shoot, but they donít really count. I think the first birds I photographed Ďproperlyí were Superb Fairy-wrens at Mount Lofty, South Australia. Yep, I knew what they were and theyíre still a real favourite of mine.

    What is it about avian photography that keeps you coming back for more?

    I enjoy the challenge involved in bird photography and Iím always trying to improve my technique and skills. Iím never 100% satisfied with any image I take and I guess Iím my own worst critic, but it really just drives me to do better.

    Being able to see birds through the lens up-close and to observe the intricacies of their feathers and form in minute detail is also something I feel is very special and intimate. Capturing that detail for myself and other people to enjoy is something that keeps me coming back time and again.

    Which nature photographers are you most inspired by? Why are they such an inspiration?

    It might sound strange, but Iíve never really looked at the works of the Ďfamousí nature photographers. In fact, Iíd struggle to name any of them! I can honestly say I take most of my inspiration from the photographers here on Feathers and Photos.

    We have such a talented bunch of photographers that just about everyone has posted an image at some point that Iíve been inspired by and has further bolstered my enthusiasm for avian photography.

    If you could choose anyone to join you on a shoot, who would that someone be?

    Someone that could loan me a nice BIG super-tele for the session, just to get a taste of what itís like! Seriously though, there are several guys on the forum that it would be cool to hook up with for a shoot.

    What was the first camera (& lens combo) you used for avian photography?
    Thatíd be a Canon 350D with the 75-300mm kit lens that came with it. It was a good combo for learning and in truth, I probably never got the best out of the lens, even though it was quite awful.

    I still use the 350D as a backup body and itís also taken some of my favourite bird images coupled with my 100-400mm.

    What is your current kit?

    Very modest! I use a Canon 40D, Canon 100-400mm L lens and a Canon 430EX Flash. I donít often use a tripod unless Iím in a hide as I find it cumbersome and a bit unnecessary with this set-up. I often use a monopod for a bit of extra stability though.

    Do you prefer to shoot in the morning or afternoon? Why do you prefer this time portion of the day.

    Afternoon! I think the lightís better than in the morning (thatís my excuse). Iím not really a morning person.

    When the light turns bad do you end the session?

    No, I just grumble constantly about how terrible the lightís become.

    Have you any interests beside birds when it comes to photography?

    I enjoy photographing a variety of subjects but I never really go out of my way to photograph them too often. Aircraft are fun, though Adelaide airport is lacking in variety almost as much as SA is in birds! Wildflowers and flora in general can grab my attention and I spent some time photographing orchids last year which was fun.

    I do the odd landscape too but itís more to capture an environment to document where the birds Iíve photographed live, rather than anything of artistic merit.

    Do you have a dream location where you would love to spend a week(or longer) photographing the native animals?

    Gluepot Reserve! Iíve been there twice now and both times the weather was dreadful and I missed pretty much all of the specials the reserve is renowned for!
    OK, so itís not particularly exotic, granted, but I love mallee country and would be chuffed to spend a lot more time there. Although, there are tons of locations around Australia Iíd love to visit, I couldnít even contemplate going overseas with so much we have on offer here in Australia.

    Do you have a favourite location? If so, where about is it?

    Hmmm, I really enjoy spending time at Brookfield Conservation Park. Itís a good spot for semi-arid and mallee species without having to travel too far from Adelaide. Itís usually quite productive for birds too which is always a bonus. Thereís still a lot of species there Iím yet to come home with a solid capture of, which is probably another one of the reasons I enjoy returning there.

    How often do you get out to photograph birds?

    Not as often as Iíd like, perhaps once a fortnight to once a month if Iím lucky.

    When youíre not photographing birds how else do you spend your time?

    Messing around with hardware and software takes up a lot of my time, Iím always building, tweaking and customising stuff. I love listening to music (metal) and playing guitar too.

    As the resident "Tech Guru" of F&P how much time do you spend maintaining and improving the site?

    It varies quite a bit, but Iíd say I spend an hour a day on average on the site tinkering or performing maintenance. Most of the stuff is likely to go completely unnoticed to members.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: "MEET A MEMBER" #1 Richard Hall started by Paul Randall View original post