WMLAMONT | Photographer

Parekareka, or Blue Shags, are just one of the 11 species of cormorant native to New Zealand. These ones, taken very early one morning in Kaikoura, are waiting on their fishing roost for the sun to rise, a mere 50 meters from the shoreline.

I've always been enamoured with photography; one of my favourite pass-times was flipping through National Geographic magazines over and over again, pouring over the colour and composition of the images, hour after hour.

My mother lent me her Minolta when I started a black and white photography class at school. I was hooked. The single-minded focus needed to understand what you're asking the camera to do, the analogue nature of the feedback in those beautiful manual aperture- and focus-rings, the shutter speed dial, the way the light-wand would tick and bounce in the viewfinder as you moved your metal and crystal eye over the scene. I loved the artistry of selective focus, and our ability to blur or reveal parts of the world that intrigued or disturbed us. Then, the wonderful tactile experience of developing in a dark room was there for us to tweak and experiment. I loved making contact sheets, peering through negatives, selecting images, and dodging out portions with my hands. It held that intangible mystery that only comes from the complete melding of science and art.

Two dedicated surfers make their way out to the beach break beneath New Brighton Pier on this Christchurch beach on a chilly July morning.

And then I stopped. Life got in the way. Digital technology was too expensive, I didn't understand the new workflow, there were all these options and bumps and hurdles to navigate. Plus we could just use our cell phones now, right? Where was the simplicity and singular focus on the process?

It wasn't until recently - when going through old photographs - that I realised something; Most of the photos of me as a teen or young man, I had a camera on my body or near at hand. When I travelled around the world in my youth, I also took a camera. My first digital; a decent but clearly point 'n' shoot Olympus. Afterwards, I had a ton of photographs that were just sitting in my hard-drive, doing nothing. When I tidied them up and edited them (thank you, Luminar!), people have been appreciative and enjoy my pictures. Heck, I've even been hired to do commercial headshots already. I just have to keep that momentum going.

Kaikoura, New Zealand. Known for its proximity to dolphin, humpback, and sperm whale feeding grounds, I personally love it for the vast wealth of fauna found anywhere you care to look. It's nearly impossible to take a bad photograph in Kaikoura!

So I've taken the plunge, and I've stepped back into the river to wash away those old excuses of having no time nor money. Now I meld my two passions - writing and photography - into a rewarding experience, if not a career in the dying art of photojournalism. I focus my time on providing value to my clients, and in the small number of hours left over, I document the rapidly changing city in which I live. Check out my Instagram, IGTV, or hire me.