Interview with a photographer
Each month I meet & discuss with different photographers about what makes them tick in the world of photography, their influences and how they came about doing what they do.
This month I am talking to Mathew Wheatherall of Newtownards, Co Down, Northern Ireland
I’m Matthew Weatherall, 25, living in Newtownards. I live with my partner Jack and I work as a Project Co-Ordinator in Health and Social Care.
Q1. What or who inspired you to do photography in the first place?
A1. My dad. I remember him having an 35mm Canon EOS when I was very young and I always enjoyed it when he let me take photos with it – that stopped when I ended up breaking the autofocus motor on one of his lenses! I’ve always had a camera of sorts, but it’s just within the last couple of years that I’ve gotten an SLR and taken a bigger interest in photography. Now my dad and I will regularly arrange to go out to different events and photograph to our heart’s content. Our most recent event we went to was the Royal International Air Tattoo in RAF Fairford, England – a brilliant weekend and a photographer’s dream!
Q2. What kind of gear do you use?
Camera body – EOS 500D
Lenses – Canon 18-55mm EF-S Kit Lens, Sigma 75-300mm DG Macro, Canon EF 50mm f1.8
Tripod – SLIK Sprint Pro II
Filters – Hoya UV Filters
Flash – Yongnuo YN565EX
Camera bag – Amazon Basics DSLR Backpack
Mention others, if any.
Q3.What inspires you generally when it comes to photography?
A3. I love witnessing unusual events, or things that don’t happen often that would make an interesting photo. Sometimes I like to experiment and try taking shots in a different way. I love seeing great photos that others have taken and that inspires me to get out and take pictures!
Q4.What does photography mean to you?
A4. Photography allows me to stretch my creative muscles – it lets me share my passion with my friends and others because you don’t need to be a photographer to appreciate a good photo. There’s nothing better than the satisfaction of editing your photos and finding a few real gems in your SD card! I also like being able to go through old photos I’ve taken and remind myself where I’ve been, what I’ve done and what I’ve seen.
Q5. Which is your favorite lens? Why?
A5. I think my favourite at the moment is my 50mm prime. The picture quality is a lot sharper than my other two lenses and its perfect for portrait photography, which I enjoy. Playing around with the very shallow DOF can be fun with this lens too.
Q6.What is your biggest accomplishment in this field?
A6. I’m a relatively new photographer, so I’ve not really done much to write about. I recently had a picture i’d taken of the Dark Hedges near Stranocum Tweeted by Discover NI which I was quite excited about! I’ve also had a number of my photos published in various newspapers in Northern Ireland as I would do photography for the organisation I work for.
Q7. Whose work has influenced you most?
A7. I don’t really follow any specific photographers so I can’t really answer that, I tend to get influenced and take ideas from the photos I see showcased by the people I follow on Twitter and sites like 500px.
Q8. Do you have a favorite time of year for photographing?
A8. Difficult to say… I would get out on more trips in the summer time because of the long days, and so I get more photography done in different places – however I enjoy it when it snows in the wintertime and you get those lovely alpine style shots. I can’t say I have a particular preference though I have always wanted to try and get shots of the stars/milky way on a crisp, clear winter’s night!
Q9. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
A9. I’m still starting really… But one thing I wish I had thought of from the start was to buy spare batteries and spare memory cards!! I used to always run out of power or space when I first started out and there’s nothing more annoying!
Q10. 35mm or Digital? And Why?
A10. Digital – purely because I’ve grown up with digital cameras and I like the instantaneous nature of it! As a person I’m rather impatient, so I can think of nothing worse than having to spend a long time developing a photograph. I like the fact that within a few minutes I can take a photo and edit it, ready for publishing.
Q11. Twitter or Facebook? Why?
A11. Twitter – Since starting on Twitter I’ve found a large community of photographers of all types and abilities. It’s been far easier to engage and connect with other photographers on Twitter by its very nature than Facebook.
Q12. Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why? (Please supply the photo in low resolution)
A12. My current favourite is a photo I took of the Dark Hedges near Stranocum. I took it over a year ago after being at a friend’s wedding up at the Galgorm the night before. I wanted to go there because I’d seen pictures of it online and thought it would make a cool dark/creepy photo. Unfortunately I took the photo during the day and the sun wasn’t at the best angle – sunrise/sunset would probably have been better. When I got home to edit the photos I fiddled about with it and couldn’t get it to look the way I wanted it to, so ended up giving up. Just last week I remembered I had it and thought i’d try a bit of HDR toning in Photoshop and voila! It’s not a technically brilliant photo, but I like the fact that it has that ‘haunting’ look about it which is what I was aiming for when I took the photo.