About Me

Paul Weston

Influences

Although born in Birmingham, I grew up in South Yorkshire, for the most part on the edge of the village of Thurnscoe, a quite prosperous little mining village until the local collieries were eventually closed in the early 90s.

This upbringing gave me a love of the outdoors and nature; often disappearing into the countryside early in the morning and not returning home until after sunset. They were healthy and often exciting days - long walks, scrumping, and sometimes being chased by farmers on tractors.

This is when my interest in birds began. It wasn't too long before we could identify most of the birds we saw on our walks. However, it was, and always has been, more a casual interest than an obsession. I certainly don't consider myself an expert.

Photography

A family friend got me interested in photography when I was a teenager. My first camera was the Soviet-made Zenith EM. I seem to remember it was £50, a small fortune at the time for a schoolboy. I used it mainly on trips to the Silverstone race circuit (we'd moved to Northampton at this point). The interest waned after leaving school.

I next picked up photography in my twenties, treating myself to an Olympus OM. This was my black-and-white phase. I was able to turn my kitchen into a darkroom, which wasn't at all practical, although I lived alone at the time, so only I suffered. I enjoyed spending hours in the dark developing and processing prints. A thing of the past now?

I remember I was in my forties when I tried to get a picture of a Yellow Wagtail using a Nikon point-and-shoot camera, but was left frustrated, as you might expect. I was suddenly excited at the thought of getting together the gear to do bird-photography properly.

At the time, it wasn't clear whether digital was the right way to go with SLR photography, so I agonised over that for a while. In the end I settled on the Canon EOS 10D and the EF 400mm f5.6L USM. I also bought a tripod and the two Canon extenders.

I did quite a lot of reading before deciding what equipment to buy and was very much influenced by Arthur Morris.

What Next?

I'm in one of my put-it-down phases currently, i.e., I'm not actively using my DSLR. I know the bug will bite again soon though, as it often has.

I tinker with my phone camera quite a lot - they're capable of producing great images now, although bird-photography is out of the question. I might add a section to the site for my phone images.

I'd also like to revisit black-and-white. There's something about black-and-white photography; it has drama and atmosphere that is hard to achieve with colour. Again, not suitable for bird-photography perhaps.

I've also been having thoughts about video. I've thought about researching the best Canon camera for video, that's compatible with my lenses. One for the future...