What camera and lenses do you use?
I get this question more than any other. I don’t actually believe that the camera and lenses that you use make you a better photographer. You can have the most expensive camera in the world, but without knowledge, creativity, passion and a good eye, you may as well be using a disposable Kodak camera. But, for the record, I use a Pentax k3 and my most used lenses are:
*Pentax 16-50mm f2.8. * Pentax 77mm f1.8 * Pentax 200mm f2.8 * Pentax 35mm f2.8
I also use a variety of Pentax manual lenses kept from my old film camera days. All my lenses are used on manual focus.
You crop your photos don’t you?
No. Never. Cropping my images in photoshop is cheating for me. If I can’t create an image within my camera I wont use it….ever.
How much photoshop do you use?
My use of photoshop is very limited. I basically use it to increase the brightness or darkness of an image and to add my watermark.
What is your photography background.
I studied photography in year 11 and 12 in ’94/’95 and loved it. My teacher told me I had “a good eye” and “to pursue photography”. After high school, I went to photography college called P.I.C. for two years and that was two years spent in the darkroom perfecting my darkroom skills that I no longer need dammit! After those two years, I managed a photographic lab and then went and studied for my fine art photography degree at RMIT which I gained with high distinction. I have been involved in countless group exhibitions and had three solo exhibitions. My work has always been animal welfare,rights based.
Animals are my passion. I have loved animals from as early as I can remember.
Can you photograph my wedding or baby?
Sorry, I’m probably not the person for the job. I have shot babies before, but my animal images are always 1,000 times better. It’s all about passion.
Can I bring my animals for you to shoot in a studio?
No, sorry, I don’t use studios. Animals in natural light and connecting to the earth is more my style.
Do you have some animal photographing tips?
Time, light and patience are so important. Knowing about the animal you are shooting and how that particular species behaves also gives you a great advantage. Food treats and toys sometimes really help. Knowing your camera inside out is also a must. Study about f-stops, lighting, shutter speed and shoot on a manual setting for a while. You have to work fast with animals and you need to change settings fast and focus fast. Other than that, developing your own style and way of photographing animals comes from shooting and shooting and shooting. Never copy anyone. Find your own creative style.
Do you run an animal sanctuary?
Yes, a very small one called, “Lefty’s Place” in North East Victoria. It is full of animals who I find need help and rescue when photographing at farms etc. Due to size constraints, I concentrate mainly on ex-commercial hens and sheep.
Can we visit Lefty’s Place?
Sadly, at this stage, visitors are not something I can allow. Because of the work I do visiting farms, I am not the most loved individual amongst the animal agricultural community. I have received death threats and am often harassed due to the work I do. I am therefore not particularly comfortable putting the address of the sanctuary out in to the world. The safety of the residents (and us) is incredibly important. Perhaps one day, when the hate towards me calms down, I can open up the sanctuary to visitors.
What do you do with all the eggs that the chickens lay?
The ducks and chickens are fed back all of the eggs. They absolutely love them and it replaces essential vitamins and minerals they lose laying one egg a day.
What do you do with the wool from your sheep?
It depends on the year and the shearer we have, but often we give it away to people who have asked for it. Often the shearer takes it with him. Often the wool will sit in a shed for a year or so until we decide what to do with it.
Why do you spend so much money on your chickens when you could be using the money to rescue so many more?
I understand where you are coming from, I really do, and there is no-one in the world who wants to rescue more girls than me, but when I took the girls in my care out of those cages I promised to care for them until the end. I promised to help them live their lives as long as they wanted to live. I will not let the hens in my care die when they so desperately want to live just so I can rescue more with that vet bill money. I won’t.
Where do all the donations go?
Donations are spent solely on the resident animals and some donations (where specified by the donator) are spent during farmed animal rescue missions. All donations go towards our weekly feed bill and monthly vet bill.
Can you donate to our charity fundraiser?
I love helping causes in any way that I can, but truth be told, my finances can often be particularly stretched with feed and vet bills. If I have limited funds at the time you ask me, I have to decline. It’s not because I am awful or don’t like your charity, it’s just because I can’t afford it at the time.
Are you vegan?
Why do you block people on your facebook page who don’t agree with you?
Quite frankly, because I (and my community) don’t need the negativity on my page because it’s my page and we have a lovely community there full of animal lovers. I have never gone to a farming page and started an argument even though I completely disagree with everything they stand for. That is their space and I respect that. I don’t get that same respect, so I create a safe space for myself and the community on my facebook page by banning people who are only there to pick a fight.
Can we meet for a coffee?
It’s a sad fact that my time is quite limited. As much as I’d love to meet you all and have coffee, I just often find these things very difficult to fit in to my schedule. I barely get to see the few friends I have very often at all. I’m more than happy to chat to you via email or on facebook though and then met you at events like World Vegan Day where I always have a stall. I really appreciate your support, kindness and online friendship and one day, when I have more time, I’m sure I can meet you all.
Can I use your images?
I’m always happy to give animal organisations my images free of charge. Individuals can also contact me to discuss the terms and conditions of use of my images. I am also open to discussing selling images and also open to discussing project collaboration.
Do you work for a big animal organisation?
Thanks so much for reading! Tamara x