Mastering the waiting game Mastering the waiting game

Mastering the waiting game
Thoughts from artworker turned photography hobbyist, Stephen.

An eye for composition, being clear about the subject, and above all patience, has led me deeper into photography. I’m relatively new to this and in one sense it all started off very simply – I just wanted a beautiful shot of a kingfisher. Now I’m hooked, and the stillness and eye I’ve been developing have helped me to notice the world around me in a deeper way.

I’d have to say that my dad planted the seeds of this hobby when I was a kid. I probably didn’t show much interest at the time, but he would point out different birds if we were out and about and was always able to recognise bird calls. Back then, I was much more interested in a kick-about or just playing out. His enthusiasm for birdsong and birdwatching sort of hibernated in me for about twenty years – now it’s definitely kicked in. I’m still learning about both the craft of photography and the world of birds – I always have my camera manual and the RSPB handbook out on my desk. There’s a bit of the child collector left in me and, in a sense, getting a good shot of a new bird gives me the same thrill that getting a new footie sticker did when I was little. And occasionally I’ll get approval from professional photographers – that’s really satisfying and definitely keeps me motivated.

I’ve been trying hard since autumn 2019 to get quality shots. Over two weeks confined to the house after getting knocked off my bike earlier this year put even more emphasis on appreciating what’s on my doorstep. Shooting the amazing range of birds that come to my garden feeders still holds my attention. I’ve also spent many hours at Daisy Nook Country Park – that’s where my ever-growing set of kingfisher pictures come from, and it’s still one of my favourite spots.

Moving into spring is really exciting; this will be my first year of spring morning light and all the busyness in the life of birds.

Time is pretty limited for me, so the opportunities within twenty minutes of my house are important. My wife and children were quite long-suffering at first, but there’s been a change now and they have become keen spotters themselves. My ambitions are to get a shot published in a magazine and to get a great shot of a puffin. When I’m able to, I’d like to take a family trip to Skomer or the Farne Islands for this. Hopefully that’s going to be possible again soon.

If I had any advantages it’s probably that I’ve spent over twenty years working as an artworker in ad agencies. And the last few years have been spent working with Rohan imagery. Over time I think I’ve gained a sense of what makes a shot or a piece of design work, and I have learned to understand the importance of clarity and composition.

I’m hoping the thrill of documenting nature close-up will never fade for me, and my next lens is going to be macro – very exciting.

I seem to be building a following on Instagram, which I have to admit feels really good.

“My two favourite bits of Rohan kit are Fjell Trousers and a Troggings Jacket. They’re soft, stretchy and water repellent; they’re in natural colours and, critically, because the fabric is softshell, there are no annoying rustling noises at crucial times.”

Stephen Powers

Amateur wildlife photographer

1. Close-up of a kingfisher’s feathers.

2. Buzzard riding the thermals, Dukinfield, Cheshire.

3. Swan cygnet coming in to land, Daisy Nook Country Park, Oldham.

4. Close-up of a male chaffinch, Cwm Penmachno, Snowdonia.

All shot on: Nikon D500, and the lens that unlocked an incredible new view of the world is a Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E.