Interview With Snap The Planet Member: Tim Clay by

Posted in Photographer Spotlight

I thought it was fun to "sit down" with Joey Sandoval and get a peek inside his head that I would give it a go again, this time with our very entertaining( without trying to be) Tim Clay!

Tim tells me that he is born and bred from North East England and has been behind the lens for 30 some odd years. He doesn't seem to have a particular genre per se but tends to lean towards landscapes. Self-confessed World War 2 geek and loves trivia! The more trivia, the better.

1. What was your very first camera and how old were you when you received/bought it?
To be honest, I have no idea where my interest in photography came from, neither my parents nor grandparents had an interest, well apart from the usual holiday snaps.
Yet back in 1984 at 16, with my very first wage packet I went out and bought a Canon T80 and two lenses, the T80 was Canon’s first foray into the now almost universal autofocus system
I say with my first wage packet, in reality that just paid the deposit and I paid the rest off over the following year
By the time that year was over, I had converted the spare bedroom of my grandparents house into a darkroom

2. Whose photographic works inspire you? They can be contemporary or back in the day photographers?
I would actually struggle to name enough well known photographers as fingers on my hand, but anyone who can knock out a good photo gets my approval and admiration

3. What's your fave piece of camera equipment?
This varies over time, my current favourite bit of kit is my Canon 10-18mm lens, but if I had to choose overall I think it would be my Canon 20D, it was everything I had ever wanted in a camera, film or digital

4. Do you have a muse?
I think I would have to say no, I wish I did have someone to push me more

5. We all go through slumps. What are your best tips for getting back behind the camera?
The amount of ups & downs I go thru with my photography would make you think I had an answer to this, but alas no
I can only reiterate what others have said to me
Set yourself some goals
Start a projects, maybe shooting solely in B&W or limit yourself to a single lens
Look for inspiration or ideas in others work
Or even actually take a break and let the passion naturally return, it does with me
I find after a while, I start to crave the camera, I think I’m addicted lol

6. What's in your camera bag at the mo?
Pride and joy in my bag at the moment is my recent upgrade to a Canon 70D from my venerable 20D, which had been my workhorse for more than a decade
This is coupled with the aforementioned Canon 10-18mm, a Canon 50mm f1.8, Canon 18-55mm, Canon 28-135 IS, Sigma 105mm Macro, Sigma 135-400mm
A Sigma flashgun, a pair of Yongnuo flash triggers, a few ND filters, a 10-stopper and the usual plethora of bits and bobs

7. What do you want to be when you grow up?
I’m old enough already!!!

8. Film or Digital? Your preference...thoughts?
100% digital
A few years ago, while clearing out the attic, I came across the box of my 20D and inside was my old canon EOS 50e 35mm body and a handful of very expired rolls of film
In a fit of nostalgia, I decided to burn up a roll of Ilford XP2 B&W film, and I really must have been looking back with rose tinted spectacles, for me the instant feedback of digital is one of the wonders of modern photography
Having said all that, I will never say never

9. Have any good stories to tell about your outings when on a shoot?
A few years back I decided to go down the local beach to catch the sunrise, this necessitated a very early start as I wanted to be on location at least an hour before sun up
I arrived at the beach around 4.30am, walked down to the water’s edge and set the camera and tripod up in the dark. Shortly after I heard the soft tones of a guitar wafting across the dunes as it was still dark I couldn’t see where it was coming from
I took some shots over the next hour or so, moving along the tideline. When I packed up and walked back up the beach I came across the musician, sat on a bench, gentle strumming his guitar with a bottle of wine and smoking some ‘herbal tobacco’
We exchanged a few pleasantries and he introduced me to his girlfriend, who was asleep on the dunes behind him
Shortly she awoke, came over, bid me a good morning and proceeded to strip down to bra and panties and go for a morning paddle
Now I know this was mid-August, but it was 6am and it was the North Sea not the Med
I wished the music man a good morning and walked off utterly bewildered

10. What tips do you have for newbies who want to shoot night-time/slow shutter shots such as your Infinity Bridge series?
Scope out your location in daylight, even more so if you are off the beaten track
Get a half decent tripod, I’m not advocating spending a king’s ransom but please don’t go putting a mega bucks camera on top of something wobbly and flimsy. At best the results will suffer, at worst it could end up being a very expensive mistake
Familiarise yourself with your camera and kit, nothing worse than fumbling around in the dark trying to figure something out, take a torch too if there are no street lights etc
Don’t rely on the camera meter as it will often get fooled by the vast expanse of the dark night sky, try to use exposure compensation or shoot in manual to overcome any over exposure and view the results on the rea LCD and adjust accordingly
Almost every camera has a maximum built in shutter speed of 30sec, a cable release and bulb mode will overcome this limitation
Have fun, but stay safe

11. Have you ever suffered any injuries whilst on a shoot?
Thankfully not (touch wood), had the usually slips, trips and boots full of water etc

12. Are you self- taught or did you attend classes to learn photography?
Totally self-taught
Originally from books and magazines, and then with the advent of the internet, online articles and of course lots of trial and error
I often envy newcomers to this hobby, as digital makes such an accessible learning tool, with its instant results and EXIF data recording all the camera settings
I started out with a notebook and pencil, writing down frame numbers and settings and then tying them together with the prints when you got them back from the lab

13. Kerry Foster Brown wants to know if you have a really good technique that you could teach us? Her words..." something technical". 😋
Night photography
We’ve all seen night shots with spectacular stars around street light and while this can be done with the aid of a Starburst Filter, it can also be done entirely in-camera
Choose a small aperture (big f number) and magically those stars will appear
A not so well known fact is how to determine or predict just how many points those stars will have
The number of points is directly related to the number of aperture blades in the your lens, but as an added feature if the lens has an odd number of blades the points will be doubled in number
For example
5 blades – 10 points
6 blades – 6 points
7 blades – 14 points

14. Do your kids want to follow in your photographic footsteps?
They went thru phases of picking the camera up and going out with me, but it passed in due course they always know where the gear is if they ever do want to give it another go tho

15. This question comes from Bro Brian...Brian Chamberlain: What are the ups and downs of using a 35mm camera back in the day.
A definite downside when compared to digital is the often long wait to get your prints back, but this was somewhat offset by the sense of excitement upon viewing the results
One of the big upsides for me is that it was still somewhat of a niche/specialist hobby, whereas nowadays, everyone and his dog seems to have a digital camera of some description
There was also the constant monetary outlay for film and processing, back then a motordrive literally was a money eater

16. What's on your wish list for camera gear
I’m rather happy with my current setup, having just updated my camera body
Next thing I need to purchase is a new flashgun, as my 12yr old Sigma unit doesn’t play very nice with the new camera, will still work off-camera via the radio triggers tho

Tagged With: #photographer, #interview, #photographerpspotlight


Thanks, Kerry. I hope you like Tim technical lesson on star points.
Love it!
Thanks, Bro Brian. I hope you like the answer to your question.
Awesome interview guys.....intense...brilliantly put together sis Jan😉😊...