This week we’re getting to know community member, Glenn Smith. Glenn is a photographer based in Southwest Sydney Australia. He mainly photographs nature and wildlife within the Australian Botanic Gardens at Mount Annan.

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How did you get started in photography?

“I started when I was ten, my father was interested in photography and my mother’s laundry at night, use to get converted into a dark room for Black and White film processing. Back then it was all full manual there was no Auto anything back then, my First Camera didn’t even have a light meter built in so you had to use a light meter to meter the scene before you applied your settings and then take your shot, wait till you filled up the roll of film could sometimes take several months, then develop and be surprised when you remember what you had taken as you usually forgot the first few shots by then.

I didn’t really get serious about photography till I got my second DSLR, the Canon 60D, its then, I thought I have spent some money on this camera, I better learn to use it and get the most out of it. I enrolled in a series of Workshops at my local Botanic Gardens, now several years later I now teach those workshops in the same gardens.”


What was your first camera?

“My First camera in 1976 was a Beirette 35mm film camera. I mainly used it with black and white film and the occasional slide film, from there I progressed to a Minolta X700, Still no Auto Focus back then but the start of Aperture and Shutter priority modes, though I still mainly shot in manual mode, as I still mainly do today.”

Who is one photographer that inspires you and why?

Steve Parish would have to be that guy. He may not be so well-known outside of Australia, but probably one of the pioneers of Australian Photography. Steve has been photographing Australian landscapes, wildlife, flora and its people for 50 years now. At one stage he had 125 employees and then floods came to Brisbane and the business was gone. Steve has rebuilt now and is still going.

“He has a great eye for what to shoot and when to shoot it. He’s also a friend and I’ve done a few trips in Australia now with Steve.”

What’s the first thing you look for in composing your image?

“The first thing I look for when composing an image is light, shadow and texture. Where’s the light coming from, what are the shadows doing and how best to bring out the texture. For my fungi and botanical work I often use speedlights. One or two to create the light and shadows. But, that’s the first thing I think about when approaching a scene, what is the light doing and how can I get a shot using light natural or created light in order to get an image that’s not just a snapshot like someone walking up with a phone. Not that you can’t do the same with a phone at times, but in general when you watch people, walk up, hold the phone at eye level take the first shot and walk away.”

“I try and see the light, change the perspective from eye level, try and create an image the eye can’t see, either by the use of light, slow shutter speeds or in the case of water. To make an image stand out it’s got to be something that people don’t see every day, something to make them stop and think differently about that. In this day of thousands of images a minute being produced, how do you get eyes to linger on your image compared to everyone else’s and how do you make it stand out from the crowd.”

Join Glenn and others in the Photofocus Community!

If you’d like the opportunity to be featured like Glenn, join the community here. More than that though, it’s a great place to meet other photographers, share images and talk about all things photography.