Tell us a bit about yourself.
'Black Mount Sunrise' by Bill33
My name is Bill Brown. I am a 57 year old Motor Engineer and Master Technician. I am happily married with two grown up children. I live in Scotland where most of my photography takes place. I am also a qualified master diver, and from time-to-time I indulge in underwater photography.
How did you get into photography?
I was introduced into photography about age 12 by my father, and can still remember the cupboard under the stairs that was converted into a darkroom and the smell of the developer and fixer chemicals. Many very happy hours were spent there, trying hard to understand the magic of black and white photography, from the basic contact prints to enlargements. Later on in life after I was married, I re- discovered photography and once again I set up my own darkroom in the converted loft of our one bedroom flat. This was the start once again.
'Lindisfarne Holy Isle' by Bill33
About six years ago I started using Olympus digital cameras, this was a huge step from the old Olympus OM SLR. The E510 was the stepping stone, and with the basic kit lenses I thought I was in Heaven. It was a steep learning curve for me being used to film cameras and chemicals, but now it was the digital darkroom. I eventually upgraded to The Olympus E3 and Zuiko Digital lenses, which I still use today, the 12-60mm f/2.8 being my favourite.
The main reason for staying with Olympus after all these years was reliability and image quality. The E3 has a magnesium alloy body, it is water and dust sealed and has a wonderful feel when using it as a working tool. Sometime in the future I hope to upgrade again to the E5, and maybe the new E7 if it eventually appears. The Olympus lenses speak for themselves with regards to top class images, and I am sure other photographers would love the quality and reliability of Olympus.
Why does landscape photography appeal to you so much?
One of the main reasons landscape photography appeals to me is for the freedom it gives me. To get up very early in the morning is difficult at times, but when you are at your favourite location and you see some of the animals and hear the birds singing, it is something you would not normally see or hear on your way to work. The changing of the seasons is another reason, you can photograph the same scene or location through out the year and it is never the same twice, plus they all bring their own challenges.
Talk us through how you set up and take a shot.
'Glencoe (The Glen of Weeping)' by Bill33
Before going to a location I would normally check out the weather forecast and if necessary the tide times the day before. On arriving I will walk around the area, looking for the best vantage points and angles that will work for me. As I am normally on the road at 3-4am a good head torch and sun compass are always in my bag. With the camera set up on the tripod, and the remote shutter release fitted a few test shots are fired and then I decide on what Lee filters I wish to use. After that, you just have to wait for the sunrise and hope it works out. 75% preparation and 25% Luck but sometimes it's the other way around.
Do you have any favourite locations?
My favourite locations have to be Glencoe and the Isle of Skye. The beauty and ruggedness of the landscape and with the serenity of the lochs, the Castles, the Glens, and the warm friendliness of the locals I think it is equal to anywhere in the world.