The 2017 Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition is now open for entries, and we'll be catching up with our final category winners from the 2016 competition during this year's event. In this instalment, we talk to the winner of the 2016 Monochrome category, Louise Savage, about what she's been working on since her win last year.
D-Photo: What made you decide to enter the 2016 D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition?
Louise Savage: I was a ‘returning photographer’ this time last year, having had a very long break, since film days in fact. Having made the leap to digital I was hooked, taking photographs every day, so I had plenty to chose from and thought I’d have a go.
What was it like to have such a positive outcome in winning your category of the competition?
It was a lovely and unexpected surprise! It gave me the confidence to try my hand at other competitions.
Can you tell us the story behind your winning image?
I was out cloud chasing the day I took the image. At this time of the year the equinoctial winds whip clouds into extraordinary shapes here on the East Coast.
What gear did you use to capture your image? Are you using the same gear now or have you changed your preferred equipment?
I’m still using my original digital camera gear — after all it’s not yet two years old: an Olympus OMD EM-5. As a teenager I bought a second-hand Olympus OM1. It was my dream camera at the time, and as I have kept all my ’70s and ’80s lenses I am able to use them on my EM-5. I absolutely love the old lenses and have collected more since, including Helios and Tokina primes and a lovely heavy old Tefnon zoom, bought for $20 from the Hospice Shop, which I use for macro.
What projects are you currently working on at the moment?
I’m going to submit for each round of Canon Online this year — I had a third place last year and I’d love to try to better that. I also submitted a portfolio to the Honours Board of the Photographic Society of New Zealand and was delighted to receive my Licentiate (LPSNZ). That means considering the next step (Associateship), I guess! I also had five images accepted into NATEX (the National Photography Exhibition), so I hope I can come up with some more to submit for 2018. Gisborne Camera Club has monthly competitions, which I really enjoy entering, especially the set topics, which often put me out of my comfort zone.
What inspired you to pick up a camera for the first time, and how long have you been shooting?
I have always been a science-oriented person, but I love art. Photography always seemed to me the perfect melding of science, technology, and art. I was right into photography from the age of about 14, developing and printing my own black-and-whites, and experience I’m so lucky to have had. I didn't have another ‘proper’ camera though, until 2015.
What would you say to someone considering entering the competition, but who are a little hesitant in clicking the ‘submit’ button?
Be brave — you may receive a huge surprise, as I did!