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Hi, I'm Ben...

I'm a commercial photographer based near Ruthin, North Wales. Photography has been my main passion in life for a couple of years now, first as a hobby and now as a career! I'm lucky to say I love my job. Whether I'm photographing timber products on a Tuesday morning, or wandering through the forest on my day off, I greet every photographic challenge with the same zeal.

I'm not the best photographer in the world, and probably never will be. I just capture what reaches out to me, those colours and shapes you can't help but stop in your tracks to gaze at for a moment - that's the moment in time I aim to capture, whether on a digital camera, 35mm film or my mobile phone. The best camera in the world is the one you have with you at any given time, and I'm never without one!

The Path Less Traveled...

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The path that lead me into the craft of photography is probably unlike that of most. Many professional photographers knew that they wanted to make a living behind the lens from an early age, going through college and university to gain the qualifications needed to hopefully secure work in the media industry.

I'd been interested in the media arts since my early teens, though apparently I wasn't "allowed" to choose Media Studies in school. (WHAT!?) With this I followed the scientific route, studying Biology, Chemistry & Geology through to university level in Bangor, North Wales.

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I dropped out of university in my second year - the whole academia thing wasn't for me at all. I needed a sense of regime and soon found my way into the world of commercial kitchens. The blood, sweat and tears I literally toiled away in these hot, stressful environments saw me losing most aspects of the social life I'd gained at university. My "weekends" were generally early weekdays, which I'd use to recover from the busy weekend and find ways to entertain myself as all of my friends were working in their Monday to Friday 9-5 jobs.

I've always loved exploring Snowdonia & Anglesey, which is why I stayed in the area even having dropped out of Bangor university. I'd spend whatever time I could roaming the hills and beaches of N.W. Wales. The peace and tranquility I found while exploring these landscapes on the quieter days of the week, often by myself, put my mind and body at ease before the next onslaught of turbulent kitchen services.

This is where I first ventured into the world of digital photography...

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In a dazed state I got home from work one Sunday night and made the dangerous mistake of trawling through eBay... Two days later, my first digital camera arrived in the post! I quickly set to work joining forums and cycling through YouTube videos, learning how to use my new device. The camera, a Nikon D3300, felt instantly like an extension of my own arm. It fitted perfectly in hand and after a few short weeks I was already pretty competent using it in full manual and aperture priority modes.

I was already eyeing up my next lens, and had started to gain interest in my photography on social media and among friends and colleagues - I even sold a few prints and had features in local papers! It didn't take long before I was upgrading my camera gear and setting myself tougher projects.

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From this point I knew I'd found something I was truly passionate about. I enjoyed cooking, but not being a chef. The accumulation of unsociable hours, rubbish wages and stressful working conditions took their toll and I eventually had enough. I quit my job and immediately started reaching out to local photographers for tips and advice - some were even good enough to invite me along to shoots! From here I started some second-shooting work at weddings, and found myself becoming more interested in product photography. I started practicing at home with make-shift desk-top studio set-ups, using masking tape and felt tip pens to create different lighting conditions.

One of the best moves I made was to join my local camera club in Ruthin. For the sake of only £30 for a year's membership I've been able to mingle with like-minded amateurs and professionals, attending inspiring presentations from guest speakers and best of all - I started getting my images printed for display. Seeing your work in print gives a whole new dimension to the image. A modern phone or laptop's back-lit screen can make almost any image look good, but with ink on paper you need to get your image right to properly convey the meaning in your photograph. Having people you know and trust to critique your work is invaluable. What you may have thought is your best work may not sit well at all with others, while those you quickly skimmed over in Lightroom may peak interest among a selection of prints.