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Thread: "MEET A MEMBER" #1 Richard Hall

  1. #1
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    Default "MEET A MEMBER" #1 Richard Hall

    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

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    Thanks Paul.

    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 wrong…. unless it’s 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 he’d painted and sketched birds that he had observed on The Wash in England. I’d 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 I’m 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 don’t really count. I think the first birds I photographed ‘properly’ were Superb Fairy-wrens at Mount Lofty, South Australia. Yep, I knew what they were and they’re 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 I’m always trying to improve my technique and skills. I’m never 100% satisfied with any image I take and I guess I’m 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 I’ve never really looked at the works of the ‘famous’ nature photographers. In fact, I’d 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 I’ve 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 it’s 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?
    That’d 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 it’s 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 don’t often use a tripod unless I’m 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 light’s better than in the morning (that’s my excuse). I’m not really a morning person.

    When the light turns bad do you end the session?

    No, I just grumble constantly about how terrible the light’s 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 it’s more to capture an environment to document where the birds I’ve 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! I’ve 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 it’s 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 I’d love to visit, I couldn’t 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. It’s a good spot for semi-arid and mallee species without having to travel too far from Adelaide. It’s usually quite productive for birds too which is always a bonus. There’s still a lot of species there I’m 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 I’d like, perhaps once a fortnight to once a month if I’m lucky.

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

    Messing around with hardware and software takes up a lot of my time, I’m 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 I’d 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.

  3. #3
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    Fantastic interview! I think it's a really great idea, helps to get to know people better. Good to know some more about the the "behind the scenes" man.
    Reposts welcome =)

    Blog- Close Encounters of the Bird Kind. Updated 28/05/2014 "Courting Cuckoos"

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    great interview. I think this is a fantastic idea. I'm looking forward to learning more about the people on here.

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    Great idea, was interesting to read, glad I am not the only one with the 40D. Thanks for the background work, I have dabbled in web design and currently to a bit of work for a fishing club/website so can understand the time and frustration of the behind the scenes work. Regards, Duade.
    View my latest review of the Canon EF400 5.6L View my trip report to Auckland Islands, NZ
    Follow me on Facebook. Australian List: 350 (Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross 26/07/14 Wollongong Pelagic, NSW)

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    Great interview, it will be good to find out more about some of our members.
    Cheers, Owen.

    Flickr

    Aus life list: 472 (Southern Royal Albatross, Port Fairy Pelagic, Victoria)

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    Great interview! Thanks again for everything you do behind the scenes.
    Aus list 632 (Powerful Owl, Callala Bay, NSW, 01-05-2014, finally thanks Matt!)
    Year list 159 (Powerful Owl, Callala Bay, NSW, 01-05-2014)

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    Great idea. Although I have already met you, Rich, it's nice to meet you again! Thanks so much for all the effort you put in - this is such a great site, but it must take an awful lot of behind the scenes work to keep it viable. I am most grateful. I look forward to "meeting" other members.

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    Great work by all involved. I now feel I know Rich although we have never met. ( maybe it will happen in on our way around Aus this year). Well done on the time you spend keeping the site ticking over for us members.
    The voices in my head may not be real, but they come up with some great ideas..

    Cheers Rev.

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    Excellent reading. Well done Chris & Rich.

    I hope this gave the members insights into how much time Rich puts in behind the scenes.
    Cheers,
    Geoff


    reposts welcome

  11. #11
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    Yep, a big thank you again to both Rich and Chris for their efforts. Without Rich, the move from the now defunct "BirdingOz" to the current (awesome) format/software would simply not have happened and we would all be the poorer for having lost a great community and resource

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    Thanks to both of you, and to the people behind the idea. It's great to learn more about the people who contribute, especially those behind the scenes, as many of us have no idea how these things work, so special thanks to Rich for the daily time and effort involved.

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    It reads well. Great to get to know you Richard from a couple of thousand miles away. Never knew you played guitar....

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    Excellent idea - great work Chris and Rich! We have an awesome little community on here and even though many of us have never met, we all share a friendship through our mutual love of birds, photography or both. I have met 4 members now - hopefully many more over the next few years!
    Aust. Life List (IOC) - 315 (Rufous Owl- 11/09/2014)
    Dale Mengel Photography - a work in progress!
    Follow me on Facebook
    Check out my Birding Blog

  15. #15
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    Hi Rich, nice to get to know you properly Great interview, well done to Rich and Chris! I echo all the sentiments expressed by everyone on here - this is a great site, built on the tight-knit community of members. So all the better if these interviews make it an even tighter group of great people

    And once again, thanks Rich for all the work you've done for the site
    Familiarity breeds contempt; don't neglect the common birds
    --\\
    ---\\_(j*)>.........Aus Life List: 534 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ----\___)................NSW List: 428 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ------\ \..............o..2014 List: 348 (Southern Giant Petrel - 6/9/14)

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