Spotlight on Jenny Coughlan

This months featured photographer is Jenny Coughlan, we took a time out to ask her a few questions about her photographic journey. Jenny is currently in her second year as the Chairperson for Greystones Camera Club so we thought it only fitting to put her in the spotlight first...

Q1. Tell us about yourself and what made you join GCC...

Jenny: A long time ago 55 years ago to be precise, my Dad gave me a camera and a roll of film and I went and took the whole roll in about 10 minutes! We then went into the dark room and magic began, I was fascinated with the images that appeared in the tray...none of them were any good but the whole process had me hooked.

So I have always owned a camera and it came out on holidays and when my children were born, the usual. Then for my 50th birthday my hubby bought my first proper camera, it was a Sony a100 and I loved it, I had been introduced to digital a few years before that and owned Fuji point and shoot, but this was different. It really got my creative juices flowing.

I tried to find a camera club nearby but there wasn't any until GCC, so off I went and met the nicest bunch of people you could wish to meet. I guess I joined to make like minded friends and also to learn more about what this camera could do. My second visit to GCC was the competition night and the theme was Transport, and what do you know I won it! I was hooked!

Q2. What type of photography do you do most? What do you enjoy most and why?

Jenny: I like most genres of photography, nature, landscape, macro etc but what I most enjoy is making up picture stories using my many "props" some might call them toys! But they are definitely props. There is nothing quite as satisfying as getting up at an ungodly hour and to be out and about while most people are still tucked up in their beds, then seeing some of the amazing wildlife that has started their day. I tend to do more nature/landscape during the summer months, and then macro and table top during the long winter months.

Q3. Among all the images you have taken, do you have a favourite? Why?

Jenny: I have many favourites, but if I had to pick one it would be an image I got of a young Barn Owl, birds of prey are such beautiful birds and owls in particular are my favourite. I love the Barn Owl image as it was pure luck that I saw it sitting in the grass very early one morning. It was chosen by IPF/MS Ireland for their 2016 Calendar for The month of October.

Q4. How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

Jenny: I love to view images, and would spend a fair amount of time researching "how to" tutorials on the Internet, there is a wealth of information online, but there is nothing to compare to just getting out there and taking pictures, barely a day goes by when I don't pick up the camera, if not to take a picture then to discover what this button or switch does. Still a long way to go, I don't think you ever stop learning.

Q5. In the field, do you have a preferred shooting mode?

Jenny: The majority of the time it would be Aperture priority, or if shutter speed was crucial then Shutter priority, Nine times out of ten it would be Raw files. Auto focus and auto white balance. Manual mode for night shoots.

Q6. What kind of tools do you use for post processing?

Jenny: I have a Mac mini and a mediocre screen, I hope to be able to get a decent set up in the future, but at the moment I am ok with what I have. I use Lightroom for 95% of my post processing, still learning and a long way to go but I found it a lot easier than Photoshop, I would go to photoshop for layers and composites which I don't do a lot of at the moment. I have a Intuos tablet which is good, and I tend to use that all the time.

Q7. Whose work has influenced you most in recent times?

Jenny: I am ashamed to say that I don't know of many photographers by name, if I find something I like I would try to find more but my memory for names is appalling and I wouldn't remember them!

Q8. When you go away on holiday, what camera gear do you bring with you? Why?

Jenny: My Nikon D750 and Nikon 24-70 f2.8 it is all I need, unless I know it will be a wildlife type of holiday then I would bring my 300 f2.8 + teleconverters. Polariser and tripod.

Q9. Among the photography gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn't bought? Why?

Jenny: Oh yes, it was called a Gorilla Pod and it was the most useless thing I have ever bought. It is a disc with a tripod mount on it and the base is like "magic putty" and is supposed to stick to anything, and in reality it sticks to nothing!

Q10. Finally, What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

Jenny: Don't try to learn too much too soon, take time to properly know your camera so that it is instinctive and your fingers find the buttons and switches without thinking about it. And don't get precious about your images, there is always a better one to take tomorrow.


Our thanks to Jenny for her feedback and sharing with us.

If you would like to see more of Jenny's work please check out her Photostream over on Flickr Click here to view her images and follow her work.

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