Gallery Member Spotlight - Tootsie

In a brand new series, we cast the spotlight on members of the PhotographyBLOG Gallery and ask them about their photography. The first member to sit in the interview chair is Tootsie.

What do you enjoy most about the Gallery?

I enjoy and have enjoyed being part of the gallery because it's a place you can share and enjoy a common interest. The gallery seems to have improved since I have returned it no longer seems that people view it as some sort of competition as to who is better than who, or who get the highest ratings, which is not at all what it's supposed to be about.

Do you think being a Gallery member has helped improve your photography?

Being together with like minded people certainly gives a budding photographer a chance to learn, I certainly did, the more criticism and advice I got the more determined I was to improve. I wanted to master the technique of the camera which I am far from still doing, it's a trial and error thing all the time.

Nature is obviously your favourite topic - what is it that interests you so much?

I started off with a cheap supermarket special, a 4 megapixel camera. Basically I bought it because I was recovering from a long illness, had to retire from work and wanted something to do with my time. I had been teaching environmental sciences at our university so I figured I would go out with the camera and take photos of what I really love in life, and that's nature.

I concentrate on nature because that is my passion, conservation of our wildlife and the rest of the natural world is at a critical point. Most people probably would not realise that in the last 30 years we have lost close to 40% of our butterfly and insect population worldwide, and the same goes for most species on our planet. So my hope through my photography and many more like me, is that we will spark more awareness of this problem to the younger generation.

Have you sold any of your Gallery photographs? If so, what has been your biggest sale?

I have sold numerous photos from the Gallery to publishers, these are going into books which will be coming out this year into the North American and South East Asian market. I have also a bird article plus many photos which just came out in the latest Russian digital photography magazine, the same as the English and American version. At the moment I am working on another article for them which will be on macro insect photography, which will be out in September.

I really don't like to discuss a figure when it comes to sales, but I will say the biggest sale I have had was enough to pay for all my new equipment, and I am now also in the position where it pays for my travel.

What kind of equipment do you use now?

I am now using the Cannon 20D which I absolutely love, I have basically all the lenses that go with it, the lens I use most is the 100-400mm together with the 2x extension which makes it an 80mm0 lens, and my very favourite macro lens which is the 65mm macro lens along with the ring flash.

What is the one piece of advice that you would give to other budding photographers?

The one piece of advice I would give to budding photographers is keep at it and be your own worst critic, the minute you think of yourself as great is when you may as well give it up. Don't get despondent if on a site like PhotographyBLOG people give you low ratings or are critical of your work. Remember, everyone sees things differently and we all like different things. But good photographic sites are a fabulous place to learn about equipment and also to learn to see with different eyes.

You can see more of Tootsie's photographs in this User Gallery.

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