Diane Willey shares with us her passion for photography and her love for capturing nature’s special moments.
Where did your love affair with photography begin?
My first exposure to photography was as a five year old child seeing slides projected on the wall showing our sea voyage from the UK, pictures of the ruins in Athens and massive waves crashing over the ship’s bow. I couldn’t comprehend how memories were suddenly being brought to life on the living room wall. I think from that moment I wanted to learn how this was done. I craved a camera for years and finally was given a Kodak Colourburst 100 instant camera for my 16th birthday. During my 30s, I travelled throughout Europe, UK, Asia and the Pacific, and my passion for photography blossomed further. In 2007 we purchased a farm on the Barrington Coast/Forster hinterland, and I discovered the perfect recipe for a photographer’s dream, the whole area being rich with such a diverse range of events, cultures, stunning landscapes, and people with fabulous visions for our region.
What do you love to capture and why?
I love most forms of photography and enjoy exploring, experimenting and being creative. I particularly love capturing images of nature (flowers, raindrops, insects, the ocean, sunrise and sunset). I’m also keen on photographing vintage vehicles and architecture, especially old and abandoned buildings where I can add a creative touch to the images, often using a wide angle lens.
I’d like to put together a collection of old rural buildings in the area to capture them before the rugged beauty of these buildings, which transport us back to another time, disappear from the landscape.
You appear frequently on Chanel 10s Daily Bailey Weather Wall; how did this begin?
Back in 2007 I had taken a photograph of our Angus cows emerging through the early morning mist. At the time, Tim Bailey was running a competition to win a lovely DSLR camera. I called the image “cows in the mist”; Tim was so exuberant about it, and I thought I had it won – until the Pasha Bulker ship ran aground at Newcastle the same week; thus, an image of that naturally stole the show. Since then I send in photographs, and he seems to enjoy my images which portray a wee bit of humour, or my macro photos.
You love to use a macro lens. What are some of the benefits of this lens over others?
It leads me into a wonderful world of exquisite beauty and intricate, minute detail. The simplicity and clarity of raindrops/dewdrops, especially when reflecting their surrounds, the soft delicate detail of a flower, the complexity of insects and tiny creatures/organisms. I’m very passionate about the magical world of macro. My macro lens is definitely a favourite, as it’s so versatile and ideal for portrait photography too.
What is your favourite time of day to take pictures and why?
Oh, definitely mornings … The ever changing magic of sunrise, with its fabulous spectrum of colours and lighting. I particularly love misty mornings, where the early sun filters through the soft mist, creating a stunning golden glow over the landscape. Morning mist leaves behind a glistening dew on everything it has touched, enhancing the delicate beauty of a spider web and causing flowers to shimmer with tiny droplets of water. Then as the sun rises higher in the sky, casting shadows over the landscape, everything changes again.
I find evening is another extremely beautiful time for photography.
To create the perfect picture, what elements should you consider?
I don’t think there is or will ever be a perfect picture, as everyone’s perception of an image is different. But for me, endeavouring to capture my perfect image is about composition, lighting, technique and passion. Anyone can “snap” a “picture perfect” scene, but being able to harness the right lighting and placement of whatever it is you want to capture is the main ingredient.
However, the journey and constant learning is all important. Whether you are a car mechanic, school teacher, farmer or photographer, as long as you have the “passion” great things will “happen”. Will I ever take the perfect picture? Will any photographer ever take the “perfect picture”? I doubt it, as it is always going to be how one perceives the image.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
I wish I’d know that photography was going to become such a huge passion for me. I would have very likely studied photography formally straight out of school and perhaps forged a career from it.
Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why?
I have many favourites, and all for different reasons. However, I’d have to say “Sun kissed in the morning mist” would be high up there – a landscape depicting the morning sun filtering through the sheer mist to touch the grass and gum trees on the hill near our homestead. It was taken with a very basic camera, but I love the lighting and composition. It makes me want to step right into the picture whenever I look at it, and I’d like to think it makes others feel the same.
A very close favourite is “these boots were made for workn’”, a recent photograph which won “Photography Champion” at the 2018 Wallamba District Show. I love how the afternoon sun brings out the character and reveals their story.
What would you say to someone starting out?
Enjoy the journey and in turn, people will enjoy your photography. Learn from constructive criticism; don’t take it to heart or let it deflate you – think of it positively. Follow your dream and believe that every picture tells a story which can be interpreted differently by all who view it.
How can we find out more information about you and your work?
www.facebook.com/fotografsbydiane and instagram fotografs_by_diane
A web page will soon be available. I’m currently exhibiting some canvas prints of my images as part of a rolling exhibition by the artists of Wallamba at the Krambach Hotel restaurant alongside other local artists/photographers. Feel free to drop by and have a look.
Interview: Bronwyn Davis.