Spotlight on John Mc Gowan

This months featured

photographer is John Mc Gowan.

We take a time out to ask him a

few questions about his

photographic journey.

Probably better known by

his online presence as 'Pixbyjohn'

John is a founding member

of Greystones Camera Club

and a very active photographer in the Greystones community.

If it's on in Greystones, John is probably there!

Q1. Tell us a bout yourself and what made you join GCC...

John: I am retired now with plenty of time to spend at my hobbies. Over my 41 years working for Dun Laoghaire VEC I always had a serious hobby of some sort. Amateur Radio, Golf, Lawn Bowls and a bit of photography. When I retired in 2009 I took photography a little more seriously timewise. I posted regularly on the photography section of and on Margaret Traynor of the local Greystones Guide website saw my local event photos and asked could she use them on which gave me another outlet for my photos of local events such as St. Patrick's Day Parades, Gourmet Greystones and the various festival & fun days in Greystones. When I saw James Griffin's post on in the Greystones & Charlesland forum asking for interested photographers who wished to form a camera club I readily got in contact and everyone knows what happened after that when several people met up and a club was formed. I joined the club to become more knowledgeable about taking photos.

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

John: My preferred photography is documentary style covering the happenings and events locally. I have taken photos of several parties of all sorts and weddings at this stage which I enjoy. I love capturing people with a smile. I like landscape, sunrise and sunset photography also. I love taking photos of my grandchildren most of all, simple candid snaps are my favorite.

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

John: I have lots of photos which I love so it is difficult for me to pick a favourite. After much searching I will nominate this one Devil's Glen as it was a jpg straight from the camera 26-10-2014.

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

John: I read a lot of manuals and search online for the latest tips & tricks, I don't think I am a very creative person in photography but so far I am satisfied with my shots. I am always interested in other club members photography and I try to learn from them.

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

John: When I am out shooting outdoor events without flash I generally use aperture priority.I shoot RAW & JPG fine. For landscapes I use manual setting of shutter speed & aperture. I use various ISO such as 64 and 160. For indoor shoots I generally use TTL flash, manual setting of shutter & aperture auto WB and ISO 200 and 320. I seldom use manual focus of my lens.

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

John: I have Photoshop & Lightroom on my PC which I use.

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

John: In recent times the people who influence me most are my fellow club members. When I started posting my photos online I really thought I was the best photographer in the world but I soon learned that for every shot of Glendalough I posted there were Zillions of far better photos posted by so many other more proficient users of a camera than I.

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

John: I take 1 camera with a 24-70 lens, 5 camera batteries and my flashgun with spare batteries for it. I find the 24-70 is a great walk around lens, heavy but I am used to carrying it at this stage. A large capacity CF & SD card.

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

John: A Manfrotto monopod, because I cannot hold it and use the camera for obvious reasons 2 things in life I cannot do, above is one and the second is I cannot hold a knife & fork whilst having a meal, but there is always someone to help out with the latter in cutting the meat etc. on my plate.

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

John: The one thing I wish I knew was how expensive this photography lark was going to be once I was hooked.

You can see many more of John's photo's over on his Flickr Photostream. Click here to visit John's photostream.

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