A Brief History of My Time
"Once upon a time there was a little kid who liked playing with little toy cars and got very intrigued by a fancy photographic device that his brother occasionally took out to take pictures of people, farm animals, crops, landscapes and sometimes of him too. Eventually that little kid got his hands on that fancy camera and never let go. Over 30 years have passed and he is still playing with cars and cameras..."
Marta the hen with her numerous family!
That camera was a 1971 Nikkormat Ftn equipped with a 50 mm f2 Nikkor lens. I learnt all that I could about focus, shutter speed, aperture, ISO with my brother's guide and from the camera handbook, and soon I was out immortalising farm animals, crops, the landscape surrounding the farm and the machines at work in the fields.
In time my interest in photography expanded and so did my equipment too. Firstly a second hand 300 mm telephoto lens arrived. Then I bought an extension bellow to couple with the 50 mm lens. The great world of close up photography opened up and within the confines of my courtyard countless subjects for photography could be found! The sky was the limit... together with the budget to develop and print photographs! Here are some of my earliest shots. Life on the farm was at the centre of attention!
Harvesting barley on the home farm in the mid 80s
Hornets nest inside a mulberry tree
Harvesting wheat in 1989
As far back in time as I can remember motorsport has always been on my mind. Some of the earliest memories I have as a child are watching Formula One with my brother when Niki Lauda was driving in a Ferrari... that is the mid 70s! In 1988 the first opportunity to attend a Formula One event at Monza finally came. The Nikkormat was of course in my bag, firmly attached to the 300 mm telephoto lens! Those were the days of the turbocharged cars and of the pre-qualifying sessions on Friday morning, with over 40 cars lapping the circuit. No restrictions on tyres or engines meant that action was very well underway from the start of Friday morning at 9.00 am.
Up to that point the fastest moving object I had ever photographed was a combine harvester! It was then quite a shock trying to chase those cars going past in front of me as fast as speeding bullets before I could figure out the right focus. On the top of all that, the sound of turbocharged engines was absolutely deafening, and I was torn between using the camera or shutting my ears... In the end I went through a couple of films but I went home thinking I had wasted 72 exposures... However, much to my surprise, the results were not bad at all. OK, in some cases I did indeed frame a few rear wings out of focus disappearing from the right hand side of the pictures, but the majority of the results were very good!
Since that day I have been to many more motorsport events, and framed some of the best drivers in the world in Formula One, Rallies, Sport cars and Touring cars. I have walked miles and miles along circuits and rally stages looking for the best viewing position, and I have endured wet and cold weather waiting to cheer and photograph my driving heroes. Eventually, with a fair amount of work and dedication, plus some good luck and the trust of some good people in the business I got to work in Formula One. Which means I can be really close to racing cars, but the opportunities to take the camera out whilst the cars are running are very slim now!!
Jean-Louis Schlesser at Monza in 1988
Alain Prost drives for Ferrari in 1991
Rally legend Richard Burns testing in 1999
Sebastian Loeb at the 2004 Rally Finalnd
My photography world started very small, taking pictures of hens and cats within the borders of our family farm, but it eventually expanded more and more and in the last 20 years I have been very fortunate to visit quite a few places around the globe. Firstly my studies and my work took me to Holland, England and Germany. Eventually I took on a performance engineering job with a major Formula One outfit and I followed the F1 circus all over the world for a few years.
Castle de Haar, Holland (1995)
For a long time the Nikkormat Ftn was my tool to record the memories of all the wonderful things that I have seen. Eventually, though, it was time to move on and in 2006 it passed the testimony to a worthy, digital successor, the Nikon D200. But technology now moves on quickly, and the D200 has already left the place to the D700, also paired to a D5100. And now the D810 is on the horizon... Since I switched to digital my passion for photography has moved up another gear. I have learnt much and experimented even more. I have tried to refine my style; I love strong colours, high contrast pictures, I love super wide angle lenses... I do not use Photoshop, I try to keep processing to a minimum and I do not clone, chop, delete objects or mangle pictures for the sake of creating a stunning image. What I see through the lens is what you get in my pictures. But above all I do not specialise in one thing. The beauty of photography is that eveything can be turned into an image worth looking at. The search for the next great shot never ends. Watch this space!
Sunset over Elliot Lake, Canada (2000)
The beautiful Nyhavn in Copenhagen (1996)