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Northern Irish Photographer - Ricky Parker
Ricky Parker is a photographer based in Bangor, Northern Ireland. After spending a summer in America in his early 20's he fell in love with taking photos of the day to day life passing him by. On his return he began a career in Marketing but the love of photography was too difficult to shake off. In 2013 he followed his dream and became a full-time photographer.
Ricky Parker Interview
- How did you get into photography?
- What equipment do you use?
- What are the ingredients for success within landscape photography?
- Where in Northern Ireland is your favourite place to shoot?
- What do you think makes Northern Ireland such a popular place to shoot landscape photography?
When I was at university I would spend my summers in the USA working and travelling. I bought my first digital camera out there and have never looked back. I loved photographing landscapes and cityscapes and decided to invest in a digital SLR when I go back home. The step up in equipment helped me understand more about photography as I had to learn how to shoot manual, and not rely on automatic. The results where dramatic...I had control over the light & movement within my shots and whilst most turned out great, I did get the odd one totally wrong. But that's when you learn most!
My progression in to professional photography was gradual...it stated as a hobby, very quickly became a passion, and then over time moved into a venture that is now my business. I had a lot of trusting and willing friends and family who let me photograph their children, family events, weddings etc to build up my portfolio and more importantly build up my confidence. At the same time I worked for a bank full-time…then a redundancy package was offered, and with one massive leap of faith…I took the step into the professional world of photography.
My first digital camera was a Nikon but I switched to Canon when upgrading to a digital SLR and have stuck with Canon ever since for no other reason than I know how to work it and changing it would mean replacing lenses as well which can be even more pricey.
I shoot with a Canon 5D MkIII, 24-70mm f2.8 Tamron lens, Canon 50mm f1.8 lens, & Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens.
For me it's getting out and about - you can't expect to stumble across a beautiful location that happens to be lit perfectly every time you go out so you need to do your research and planning. You also have to be patient and persevere. The number of times I've gone out and come back with very little…it can be discouraging but you have to stick at it. May be the next time you go back, you’ll see the shot differently, or the light will have changed dramatically etc.
In terms of technique you need to have a good understanding of composition - rule of thirds, lead in line, foreground interest etc. This is what makes a good landscape shot into a great landscape shot that people will take notice of. Then when you're confident with the rules, go and break them!!! We are always looking for a different angle, position, point of interest….find something that makes your photograph different to everyone elses!!
Equipment wise...a tripod should be one of the first things on your wish list especially for low-light shots, or slower shutter speeds. A wide angle lens can really emphasis the setting. And filters give you the option of changing the look and feel of your shots - deeper colours, darker skies, blurred movement etc.
I live on the North Down coast so am a little spoilt for choice when it comes to landscapes. We’ve a beautiful coastline with some stunning sunsets over Belfast Lough. There's harbours, old ancient ruins, plus Strangford Lough and the Mourne Mountains in the distance!
But my favourite place is the North Coast - the vast golden beaches, clifftops, sand dunes, rock pools and a real mix of weather (all in one day) can add up to give some amazing landscape shots.
It's relatively small so you can get to all four corners relatively easily. It has all the makings for any beautiful landscape shot - dramatic and rugged coastlines, sweeping mountains down to the sea, colourful scenery, friendly villages and towns, a real mix of weather and there's always a friendly local to show you the best spots, often undiscovered to the normal visitor!
See more of Ricky's work on his website: rickyparkerphotography.co.uk