• The Lens Blog

Nî Hao from China

Lujiazui Traffic - Shanghai, China

Howdy followers, and welcome to the beginning of my blogging journey! Some of you may already know my voyage so far, and for those that don’t … here goes nothing! I suppose you could say it all started back at university, where I thought it would be an excellent idea to purchase a DSLR camera with my student loan in February 2012. At the time, my housemate Steve was studying TV and Production, and I remember sitting there being totally mesmerised by the footage he was producing, in both pre and post-production. Simultaneously, it was also at this time that I had just secured my university placement in Sydney, Australia. I remember thinking, so clearly … “what a great opportunity to learn and capture some photos that I can look back at for a lifetime”. So, there I found myself, six years ago (roughly to the date in writing this) sitting with my iMac, watching Superbowl 46 in the early hours of the morning, searching the internet for my first ever set up - a Canon 550d, with a 18-55mm kit lens. Cheap and cheerful, but it was a starting point, right?!

My first ever photo with the Canon 550d

Considering the little time I had to bring my skills up to an acceptable standard, prior to my departure in the September I ended up capturing some incredible memories when travelling around New Zealand and the east coast of Australia with friends; some of which are still amongst my favourite images to date. So, here I am six years later, and I never even think of leaving the house without a fully charged battery and blank memory card now.

Lost Lake - Whistler, Canada
Sunset - Sutton Park, Birmingham

To bring you up to speed with my more recent pursuits. After graduating from the bubble that students often find themselves living in at university, I entered the ‘real world’. Soon to find myself at a stumbling block with my mental health a mere three years ago now. Now, you could be Mother Teresa and you would still be lying that we don’t all encounter some cloudy thoughts post-university. Heavily enhanced by the excessive working demands of today's large corporations, ‘real working life’ is often a shock to anyone’s system (let alone a vulnerable twenty-one year old’s). It was at this point, with the addition of some rather difficult personal circumstances, that my perceptions on a lot of things started to change. The things in which I valued, the friendships I embraced, and how I would begin to prioritise my time accordingly to name a few.

Dudley Golf Course - Birmingham, UK
Kanya Bay - Ibiza, Spain

Whilst the majority would believe the transition period to be difficult. One cold November afternoon in 2016, I grabbed my camera bag and car keys and headed towards the Shropshire Hills; the one place I knew I could gain some clarity from those cloudy thoughts. Once I reached the peak of The Wrekin, with my camera set on the tripod, I took the opportunity to take a step back and just appreciate all that was around me. The crisp, cold, winter air; the colours of the leaves falling on the trail, and moreover the like-minded people I was able to enjoy that moment with. It was at that moment where the idea of TheLensBlog was born! My thought process being, “they say a picture paints a thousand words … so why don’t people give that kind of detail anymore?”. Now I can’t say I haven’t been guilty of it in the past, posting absolute dribble to my personal Instagram, but each image holds a story behind it. Something from as simple as the weather we experienced that day, or on a much deeper level the emotions it made us feel during that time. So, from this, I set myself the goal of creating a page that made people look further into an image, than just the picture itself as we’ve all been there, mindlessly scrolling through our timelines double-tapping a photo for the sake of it without even looking at a caption. With photography a forever growing passion of mine, I wanted to change those habits!

Symonds Yat Rock - Wyre Valley, Wales
Harbour Bridge - Sydney, Australia

So that’s where I began my adventure, (and on the contrary to my comment above), on Instagram, which is what I still believe, to this day, to be an incredible tool to help achieve me achieve my goal. At any opportunity I had, I found myself exploring the outdoors; watching YouTube till the early hours of every morning, finding the next thing to try with my camera, or editing images, anything to ensure I was continually pushing both my hobby and personal development at any given point. Simultaneously, posting my images each day from the previous weekends escapade, when I would instinctively decide to jump in the car and drive to the other end of Wales. Numerous times I would tell close friends and family and they would think I was mad - but the reception received from posting on a daily basis, massively outweighed those long, cold, and wet British outings or the negative opinions from others. Added to that, the following I gained so quickly provided me with a real sense of achievement and really began to have a significant positive effect on my mental health. TheLensBlog has, and still is enabling me to clear those once cloudy thoughts, and channel my energy back into aspects of my life which I am truly passionate for.

Big Ben - London, UK
London Eye - London, UK

And that brings you to where I am today, writing this post from the lobby of a hostel in China. Two months ago, I decided to quit the rat race and focus my energy entirely towards creating a stream of higher quality content. As I embark on my travels around south east Asia, I want to share with you not only the amazing opportunities I am able to photograph along the way, but the stories in which those photos will show too. Through a combination of both Instagram and blog posts, I am excited to share with you the much deeper meaning behind my photography. So with this first blog post marking the initial milestone of beginning the next step in my photography career; I look forward to seeing what the future holds for me.

World Financial Tower Observatory Deck - Shanghai, China
The Bund - Shanghai, China