As a boy of 10 years old, my dad gave me my first SLR camera – an Olympus OM-10. A keen photographer himself, he took me to places such as Oulton Park, Donington Park and Silverstone to practice panning and pre-focusing, then he would take my film to be developed. I still remember the anticipation, waiting for him to return from work with my prints, which were often riddled with quality control stickers. Every so often though there would be a shot that I would be so proud of, and this feeling only served to motivate me further.
My earliest experiences of powerboat racing were at Bristol Docks. I was too young to remember the first time, but my second visit to Bristol came at the age of 7. I remember standing with my face pressed against the fencing, looking down on the water below as the boats raced by. My senses were overwhelmed, I was hooked. But it would be almost 20 years before I would be back around powerboats.
As I grew older my fascination with chasing ‘the shot’ grew, and I returned time and time again to race circuits around the country, and occasionally abroad. I began to provide my services to some smaller teams at events and then in 2004 my dad and I rediscovered powerboat racing at our local venue, Carr Mill Dam, the home of Lancashire Powerboat Racing Club. Shortly after this I got my first DSLR, a Nikon D70s. I haven’t moved away from Nikon cameras since, nor have I left the powerboat racing scene. At this time I was working in retail and having to fit race days into my schedule whenever possible, and this was not always easy. I stuck at it though, and in 2011 took an opportunity to take some time out and then switch from retail to education, all of which allowed me to devote more time to photography (including my first experience of modern F1 powerboats at the Grand Prix of Portimao, Portugal).
A few years and kit upgrades later and here I am, currently in my fifth year working with Powerboat GP, and having branched out into the realms of portrait and wedding photography.
Working at boat races has helped me a lot, because for 95% of the weekend the nature of the work dictates that you have to look for the shot as it happens rather than create it through posing and positioning. The remaining 5% though, during prize giving, is where I do find I have to position people where I want them to get the best shot or make best use of the light.