I have two great kids, an amazing wife, I'm a charity trustee, and I work as a banking & finance lawyer in the City (of London). And because that leaves me with so much spare time (...), I thought I'd pick up photography (to stop me from getting bored).
I first picked up a camera shortly after our second son was born. I didn't like the idea of having all their childhood snaps taken on low- to medium-quality smartphone cameras, and so I decided to splash out on a "proper camera". About a month into shooting with my mirrorless Fuji I realised that this was unlike other hobbies that come and go - there's something about photography which just resonated with me, and these days every excursion involves a lot of camera clicks.
About Armed With A Paint Box
Not long after I bought my Fuji, we went on a weekend outing the Chertwell, Winston Churchill's home in rural Kent. I had known of Churchill's love of amateur painting, but I didn't realise quite how deep that affection ran.
I found it encouranging that a person of words and politics could also find such enjoyment in a creative art form - and indeed to excel at it! That evening I ordered his book Painting as a Pastime, which is a brilliant little volume. It is this that inspired me to get serious about amateur photography.
In Painting as a Pastime, Churchill wrote: "Obviously, then, armed with a paint-box, one cannot be bored, one cannot be left at a loose end, one cannot ‘have several days on one’s hands.’ Good gracious! what there is to admire and how little time there is to see it in!".
I personally am completely inept at anything that has anything to do with drawing, but I am pretty good with technical fiddly stuff, and I love a good gadget. So my paint box will be filled with silicone and metal, not oil and pigment.
About my kit
After about nine months on the Fuji XT1 I realised that I wanted to explore the world of full frame cameras.
Many experienced photographer friends have moved from full frame to APS-C now that the quality of the latter systems is actually pretty incredible (and certainly much easier to travel with!). Nevertheless, as someone entirely new to photography I wanted to experience full frame for myself.
I also looked at the various mirrorless full frame systems (in particular Sony). Whilst they have some incredible characteristics, I didn't get the impression that I was looking at a perfected technology - they felt a little clumsy, to be honest. I definitely agree with the view that full frame mirror systems will not be around for ever (there is some really interesting stuff online about how that technology has peaked), but after a lot of thought I found it hard to argue against getting a full frame mirror system which is at the top of its game; hence the Canon 5D Mark IV.
Today I mostly I shoot with my 5D Mark IV, with the Canon 70-200 II f2.8 lens. I also have a Sigma Art 20mm and a Canon "nifty-fifty" f1.4 50m; but to be honest the 70-200 is just such an amazing lens I find it hard to take it off!
I still have and cherish my Fujifilm X-T1 (with a 35mm and 16mm lens), and we take it along if it's a short trip or space is limited.
Sometimes I may also snap the odd shot on my iPhone 6 Plus, but that's becoming increasingly rare. I've recently started using the SnapSeed app, which is pretty great for tarting up smartphone shots.