• "MEET A MEMBER" #7 Geoff Longford

    Geoff is a very passionate photographer with a history of both film photography and cinematography. One of Geoff's current objectives is to create special images while using some of the more common and sometimes overlooked species of bird. Geoff also strives to present the habitat that his subjects are found in a creative and aesthetically pleasing manor.

    Some would think that to successfully photograph birds especially birds in flight one would need the latest auto focus technology available but you just have to looks at Geoff's work to see manual focus nature photography at its finest.

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

    Is it six o'clock already?

    What attracted you to avian photography?

    We lived on five acres in a bushland setting and we were free to wander as long as we got home in time for tea. Dad kept finches and I wanted to take photos of them.

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

    The first bird from memory was either a Double-barred Finch or a Red-browed Finch in Dad's aviary.

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

    The challenge of pitting my wits against an animal far smarter than me and the buzz I get after achieving a decent shot.

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

    Some inspirational photographers would be Graeme Chapman who's stalking, natural light photos I admire. Norman Chaffer who was a pioneer of Australian bird photography and just got out there and did it. Martin Colbeck a BBC cameraman who has shot some of the most remarkable footage in the most difficult conditions. There are just too many to mention. Frans Lanting, Thomas Mangelson, John Shaw...................

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

    My best friend Paul Daniels.

    What was the first camera & lens combo you used for avian photography?

    My first camera was given to me by my parents when I was about thirteen after much pestering. It was a Pentax K1000 with a whopping 50mm standard lens. Needless to say that the shots of birds that seemed to fill the frame on return from the chemist were disappointing little dots. A pentax 200mm was followed by a 400mm Takumar then Leitz 560mm's.

    What is your current kit? Why did you upgrade?

    My current kit is a Nikon D700 and Manual focus 600mm F4 old banger. I went to Nikon years ago in the film days and got rid of a heap of Leica gear. I could buy three Nikkors for the price of one Leitz lens and the magazine work I was doing. You couldn't tell any difference in the resolution on the printed page.

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

    I probably prefer the morning but afternoons are just more practical and achievable at present.

    When the light turns bad do you end the session?

    I am just as happy shooting in dull light as good sunlight. Beggars can't be choosers.

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

    I prefer birds any day but also like macro, mainly insects. Time lapse has always been fun and landscapes.

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

    I would really like to go back to Alaska or Costa Rica. In Australia it would have to be Iron Range and the surrounding area in far northern QLD.

    How often do you get out to photograph birds?

    Nowhere near enough. About five or six hours every third Saturday. I am lucky though to work at a really cool place and lunchtime is productive.

    Has your experience as a cinematographer influenced you avian photography? If so what impact has it made?

    My background was in stills so in a way that influenced the cine work. The same basics apply. Frame up the subject and hit the go button. Shooting movie film was very expensive and that taught me to be very conservative and efficient. Even now I don't take that many shots of any one scene or subject. I just don't find it necessary to get the shot and if I don't, well it doesn't really matter. I like to get shots that show habitat and ones that are a bit wider than usual. That goes back to getting establishing shots wide, mid and close-ups. I try to tell stories using different shots of the one subject if I get the chance. Nothing will probably ever come out of doing this but as all my work it is totally for me anyway.

    What are you trying to portray in your work?

    Not much really. I just want some other people to have a look at some nice photographs that I am proud of.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: "MEET A MEMBER" #7 Geoff Longford started by Chris M View original post