"In the Spotlight: John Coveney LIPF
Q: Which club are you a member of?
A: Offshoot Photography Society.
Q: Do you have any IPF / FIAP / RPS etc. distinctions?
A: I have a Licentiate from the IPF - my successful L panel in 2011 was a huge boost to my confidence in my photographic abilities. I've tried and failed once for an A with my moonscapes – I plan to try again on this or another topic in 2015.
Q: When did you take up photography & why?
A: The first time was in the 1980's for birds but I didn't stick at it, except for family & holiday snaps, due to the cost of long lenses on a student budget. I eventually sold my camera gear to help fund binoculars and telescopes for birding but I guess the photography bug stuck with me. When I was working as an environmental consultant from the late 90's I wanted a camera to record observations and I eventually bought a super zoom in 2001. My first exposure to serious photography was in my early teenage years was when Richard T. Mills used to visit our family farm in Cork for wildlife shots. He was also a staff photographer with the Irish Examiner – then the Cork Examiner – aka "De Paper". I was seriously impressed with his array of Nikon cameras, huge telephoto lenses, and lighting gear e.g. for shooting Barn Owls at night. He also used to give talks on his bird photography to the Cork Branch of BirdWatch Ireland (then the Irish Wildlbird Conservancy).
Once I got my first digital camera, an Olympus C2100 superzoom in 2001, I was seriously bitten by the bug again and I spent far too much time on the internet learning how to use it and to improve my shots!
Q: What genre of photography best describes your photography or are you a general interest photographer?
A: People, places, wildlife.
Q: What was the background to your most successful image?
A: My most successful image was the winner of the 2013/14 IPF's National Nature Competition "Crabs Might Fly". I had gone out early to get a shot of the crescent moon over Dalkey Island – an image that appeared in my L panel – and then onto Great South Wall in Poolbeg to get some shots of Black Guillemots. I was on my way home to Shankill and I stopped for a quick spot of birding at Bulloch Harbour. The winning image was a single grab shot shortly after I got out of the car – I was lucky because I still had the 100-400mm lens on the camera!
Q: Your own favourite image?
A: A breaching humpback whale – not in some distant ocean – but off Co. Wexford on 1st February 2010! Perhaps I could also mention "Mane in Motion" – this won Sony Ireland's "Life in Motion" competition in 2009 – and the prize was a trip for two to the Sony World Photography presentations which were then held in Cannes. As well as the opportunity for me to be inspired by the work of top class photographers – a booking mix up by the organizers resulted in our room being upgraded to a film star type suite on the seafront! This went down well with herself!
Q: Would you recommend joining a camera club? Why? What have you got out of it?
A: Absolutely – photographing wildlife and birds is necessarily gear obsessed but this can get in the way of developing your vision. Offshoot have a practical and friendly approach to showing a broad range of techniques to members. This was, and is, hugely important to broadening my photographic perspectives and developing my confidence. Without it, I doubt if I would be taking on large groups of children for my kids' school 2015 calendar, social events, or a vintage fashion shoot for the Irish Independent.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: Am I allowed say everything??
Q: What is your photographic dream?
A: To earn my living from photography.
To see more of John's work, please have a look here:
Website: John Coveney Photography
John is also on Flickr & Facebook