It was in 2011 when I was employed by IBM that I was sent to work in Brisbane, Australia. By all accounts it was a pretty straight forward job helping transform and improve a customer help desk. Possibly not the most exciting job in the world, but it was a nice hotel to live in for a few months and the weather was balmy in October, as it is in Queensland at that time of year.
As luck would have it, I had the opportunity to take my trusty Nikon D5000 and 35mm f1.8 lens (it's been superseded now but was a fantastic camera to learn with). I was very new to photography and gravitated to 'street', or unposed photos and I loved the challenge and raw excitement of adventuring. This was a time before children. I may have even had hair!
My partner in crime in these wandering trips to Brisbane was my good friend and technology savant, Nathan Kelly, who introduced me to Google Plus (Googles now defunct social platform). Now I didn't know much about G+ but signed up for an account and started uploading photos and interacting with photography groups. After a few days I got my first follower and I was hooked!
I continued to upload images from my adventures around Brisbane each evening and made it to about 20 followers. That's the big time right? Hahahaha!
After a fantastic night out eating and drinking and soaking in Brisbane's mide-week night life I went off to sleep on a Tuesday night and woke up to 1000 new followers!
What on Earth was going on?!!
It just so happened that I was fortunate to make it on to a list of up and coming photographers by the sensational (and highly influential) Thomas Hawk leading to a rapid upswell in followers. I ended up with over 11,000 people all connected through G+. It was a fantastic community and I regularly participated in Chrysta Rae's Scavenger Hunts (which looks like it has a new home at https://scavengerhunt.photography/ as Google Plus shut down)
By 2015 I had been on Google Plus for a few years and was really enjoying photography, but was a little frustrated at my lack of progression. Through the G+ platform I was introduce to The Arcanum - A mentorship program for budding photographers with mentors being selected from top tier artists in lens craft. I entered my name into the pool and submitted my portfolio and waited with baited breath to see whether a) I had made the cut and b) who my mentor would be.
And that's when I was introduced to the genius that is Stephan Bollinger
The premise of the Arcanum was quite simple. A small group (cohort) of photographers would be mentored by Stephan through a series of 9 levels. Each level had a certain photography challenge and every few levels there would be a live critique through video chat by Stephan.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Arcanum and Stephan is a brilliant photographer, musician and comedian! He has a huge library of great photography content and I can highly recommend
I won't go into all of the detail, but here are some of my favourite photos from the Arcanum
Buy the amazing new Nikon D6500 with the link below and help me run the website! It's a win win!