Interview with Lee Hawkins Sports Photographer

An Interview with Lee Hawkins Sports Photographer

Meet Lee Hawkins a UK photographer specializing in Football/Soccer Sports Photography.       

He is the Official Photographer for the Blue Square North team, Worcester City FC.

In addition Lee’s work can regularly be seen in many UK publications such as local and National newspapers.

His work is poignant, and raw. You feel as if you’re down on the field where the action is happening.

His rapid rise into the Professional world of Sports Photography is a testament to his courage, determination, skill, and passion for his craft. He knows the face of adversity and has come back stronger. His story and body of work are inspiring.

Q. Give us a bit about your background, a mini biography where you were born or grew up.

[Lee]  I was born near London in 1970 but moved away to a small town called Tewkesbury at 1-year-old.  Tewkesbury is a lovely town in the picturesque Gloucestershire.  I moved to Worcester in 1993, where I now live with my wife Joanne and children Thomas and Lauren.  After leaving School in 1987 I went straight into work as a designer in a drawing office but continued at college for 5-years getting my ONC / HNC in Construction Studies through part-time study.  This served me well in my job and allowed me to progress nicely before starting my own Design Consultancy in 1995.  I eventually employed about 16 people and sold the business to a Swedish company in 2003, at which time I worked for a Canadian Company operating their UK Engineering office.  I also enrolled to Bath University and studied for my MSc Façade engineering degree.  Photography always ran alongside my main career as a Facade Engineer, although always as a hobby.
Q. How would you describe yourself as a photographer, and what sparked your interest in photography?

[Lee]  In 2005 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and became very ill forcing me to re-evaluate my whole life.  I was in hospital for 9-months between June 2006 and Sept 2008 and was unable to go out or function properly.  On several occasions I was very close to dying, but pulled through after some quite extreme surgeries.  September 2008 was the turning point and since then I have gone from strength to strength.  Photography for me was a big part of the recovery process and has enabled me to get out, build my strength and engage in things I enjoyed.  It was a year before I had the physical ability to pursue sports photography.

Q. How did you get your start in the Sports field of photography?

[Lee]  I have always been a believer that in life we have to work hard and create opportunities for ourselves.  Photography is no exception and I contacted all the local newspapers and asked if they needed help with covering local events and teams.  The Worcester Standard did, and asked me to cover a Worcester City FC game.  This level of football (The Football Conference) is a popular training ground for sports photographers so it was a big opportunity.  I did it and the paper asked me to continue.  Within several months I was the Club’s Official Photographer, had full accreditation with the league and supplied a few more local papers.  It snowballed very quickly because it all came naturally to me. I know the game and I know cameras.  A perfect combination.

Q. What is your favorite kind of sports photography, and what is it about that sport that interests you so much?

[Lee] Football (Soccer) has always been my passion where photography is concerned.  As a sport it offers so many opportunities for great shots.  Tackles, Goals, Celebrations, and Fan Passion.  I have never come away from a game without a really good shot. 

Q. Describe to us the first game you shot as a “Sports Professional Photographer” what was it like, what was the match, what you were feeling, who you were with, etc?

[Lee] The first game for the Agency as a paid semi-professional sports photographer was in League 2 (the 4th tier of English Football).  It was between Hereford United and Port Vale, both clubs with long histories.  It was the first time I flashed my League Accreditation ID Card and it was such a buzz.  I think the adrenalin kicked in for the whole day

Q. Who’s your favorite Sports photographer, and who do you draw inspiration from?

[Lee]  Ian Hodgson is probably the most published football photographer in the UK and I see his work after most big games in the national newspapers.  Unknowingly, I sat next to him twice at games and only realised afterwards who he was when I noticed his name on his laptop pitch side.

Q. When you started what was your biggest dream? And have you accomplished that?

[Lee] When I started, my dream, like most other football photographers was to shoot in the English Premier League.  It’s the pinnacle of the football photography and the most demanding too.  It’s a very difficult league to get into and the Football Association are very strict on who can shoot in the league and have high insurance requirements.  There are two ways to get in; one is to get employed by an Agency or by you (selling 30 shots to National newspapers in the year prior to the application).  My First Premier League game was 13-months after my very first football shoot.  Most people take years, I took 13-months. 
Q. What has been your favorite shoot so far?

[Lee] My favourite shoot was my first Premier League game.  Aston Villa v Blackpool played at night with 44,000 people in the crowd.  It was the pivotal ‘I have made it’ moment.  It was just brilliant and proud moment for me.  I had come a very long way since lying in hospital beds, unable to eat, walk or function. 

Q. In your opinion what are the 5 tools a photographer must always have in his/her photography kit?

[Lee] Based on Sports Photography:

A fast long lens (minimum 300mm f2.8).

Two to Three camera bodies.

A good seat / stall

Wet Weather clothing

A good quality Mono-pod

Q. What’s on the horizon for Lee Hawkins?

[Lee]Next season I intend to renew my contract with the Agency so I get the accreditation to the Premier League and do one game a week for them.  I will also look to support my local team in the 6th tier of English Football by acting as their Official Photographer.  That’s my plan but I have to remain versatile so never say never.

 To see more of Lee’s photography work visit his website at:

…and find him on flickr here:

All photographs are Copyright © Facade Photography, and are being used with permission for this article.

Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac.  All Rights Reserved.

Nikon D800 delayed until October 2011

Nikon Rumors reports the D700 replacement is rumored to be announced in October 2011. The delay due to the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. This is a better outlook than I had hoped for. I’ve been looking forward to this upgrade for awhile now. Read the whole thing here:

H/T Nikon Rumors

D5R a Nikon Concept Camera w/ a twist

This Nikon D5R camera is a designer’s concept created by Ned Mulka. The idea is to include the mirror, prism and sensor into a rotating element that can reduce the camera size and weight.

Senior thesis design project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
H/T Nikon Rumors

Feeling Blue

Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac.  All Rights Reserved.

Sundial Bridge, Redding,California

The first time I photographed this bridge at night was in 2009, but I only had my monopod with me at the time so, the image wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. I’ve wanted to get up here to do another Night image since then. I love this period of Twilight and am so happy to have had another opportunity to photograph this bridge in this special time of day.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 17-35mm @ 17mm| f8| 4.0 sec.| ISO 200| Manual Mode| Tripod|Remote Release Cable

For the Historians:

The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay crosses the Sacramento River in the heart of Redding, California. Opened July 4, 2004, the bridge links the north and south campuses of Turtle Bay Exploration Park and serves as a new downtown entrance for Redding’s extensive Sacramento River Trail system.

The bridge celebrates human creativity and ingenuity, important themes of the 300 acre Turtle Bay Exploration Park. The steel, glass, and granite span evokes a sense of weightlessness and the translucent, non-skid decking provides for spectacular viewing at night. The bridge is also environmentally sensitive to its river setting. The tall pylon and cable stays allow the bridge to avoid the nearby salmon-spawning habitat there are no supports in the water while encouraging public appreciation for the river. Plazas are situated at both ends of the bridge for public use; the north-side plaza stretches to the water allowing patrons to sit at the river’s edge.

In addition to being a functional work of art, the Sundial Bridge is a technical marvel as well. The cable-stayed structure has an inclined, 217 foot pylon constructed of 580 tons of steel. The deck is made up of 200 tons of glass and granite and is supported by more than 4,300 feet of cable. The structure is stabilized by a steel truss, and rests on a foundation of more than 115 tons of steel and 1,900 cubic yards of concrete. The McConnell Foundation, a private, independent foundation established in Redding in 1964, funded the majority of the bridge’s $23 million cost.

World renowned Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava conceived the Sundial Bridge’s unusual design, his first free-standing bridge in the United States. Calatrava has built bridges, airports, rail terminals, stadiums, and other structures around the world. His notable designs include the new PATH transportation terminal at the World Trade Center site in New York City and several projects at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, including the main stadium where opening and closing ceremonies were held.

~Turtle Bay Exploration Park

More to come…

Prized $5.00 tool in my Camera Bag

This little tool makes a HUGE difference. What is it?

A Filter Wrench!

How many times have you found your filter “stuck” to your lens, or have you turned it one too many turns making it so hard to get off? It happened to me so often that I bought this set of wrenches about 6 months ago. I have been thrilled with this little wrench. Knock on wood it’s worked every time I’ve needed it, and it’s worked with ease!

This tool has found a permanent place in my camera bag.

Interview with Rummy Makmur Beauty and Fashion Photographer

Meet Rummy Makmur,  a Beauty and Fashion photographer, and good friend based in Santa Clara, CA., a little hamlet in the middle of Silicon Valley.

I met Rummy (pronounced roomy), nearly 3 yrs ago at a Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk.

Rummy is a prolific and passionate photographer, balancing both a career in the electronics industry, and his passion for photography.

Rummy says he’s still working to define and refine his style, but whether he’s shooting edgy, new age, Gothic, or romantic scenes he leaves his mark with his innate sense of style, beauty, and creativity.

CircadianReflections-  Give us a little bit about your background, where you were born or,  grew up, and when you came to this country?

[Rummy]- I was born and raised in North Sumatra in Indonesia. I came here to the States to attend university and studied chemical engineering.

CircadianReflections- How would you describe yourself as a photographer and describe for us your signature look?

[Rummy] My main interest is shooting beauty and fashion, perhaps more on beauty. I feel beauty is simple to shoot but yet at the same time is challenging. When it’s done right, it is very satisfying. I don’t think I have a signature look even though some people who look at my work may feel I have one. I am still experimenting and trying to define and refine my style.

CircadianReflections- Describe to us how all this began for you?

[Rummy] To be honest, before I bought my first DSLR, I had no interest in photography. I owned a very cheap point and shoot and I rarely used it if any at all. One day, I was in a Cosplay conference and helped my wife take some photos of the Cosplayers. Suffice to say that most of the photos turned out not so good and blurry due to the lighting condition in the conference area. Challenged by that, I started to have more interest in finding out why the images were so bad. I thought having a better camera would give better result so I went and purchased my first DSLR. To my surprise at that time, it did not improve at all. From there, it’s been a journey in learning and finding out about lighting, about color and about what makes a great image. And I am still learning.

CicadianReflections- Describe to us your first “real shoot” where were you, what you were doing, and who you were with?

[Rummy] I tried a lot of genres when I first started: landscape, architecture, street photography, people, etc. I found that shooting portrait was most satisfying and for some reason, I had better eyes for portrait. My first “real shoot” was when I participated in local San Francisco meet up group for Strobist to learn about off camera lighting. That was the first time I shot a model. Having a first shoot was quite exciting and I definitely learned a lot in how to work with a model.

CircadianReflections- What has been your most rewarding achievement as a portrait/beauty artist?

[Rummy] I think that is still to come! Although, I find all my projects rewarding… my goal is to continue to make my shoots more dynamic, and compelling.

CircadianReflections- When you first started what was your biggest dream?  And have you accomplished that?

[Rummy] I actually didn’t expect a lot when I first started. I just wanted to take better pictures and learned all things related to photography. My goal right now is to get more publications for beauty and fashion. It’s hard, but I am working on that.

CircadianReflections- Who’s your favorite beauty portrait photographer, and who do you draw inspiration from?

[Rummy] There are a lot of beauty photographers that I admire. I try to browse and look around for inspirations, not just from one photographer. So I don’t have a favorite photographer, per se. However, if I need to name somebody, I really like the work of Gavin O’Neill for beauty and skin work.

CircadianReflections- What is it that you like the most about shooting Portrait/Beauty aside from other types of photography?

[Rummy] As we all know, lighting is important in photography. I feel that I have more control of the lighting when I shoot portrait/ beauty. The lighting will be however I want it to be, even for outdoor. In addition, being able to interact with the subject makes it a bit easier and maybe more interesting.

CircadianReflections- In your opinion what are the tools a photographer must always have in his/her photography kit?

[Rummy] I’d say, from portrait standpoint (I assume these are items that you always carry around):

1. Decent camera (entry level is fine and any brand)

2. good lens

3. Color checker (to adjust white balance and color correction in post)

4. External lighting (minimal should have external flash/ strobes) and its modifiers

Hmm, those are the items that I always carry around.

CircadianReflections- Currently you’re working on your photography business “part-time”, and holding down a regular 8-to-5 job in the Electronics Industry. Do you have aspirations of turning your Photography work into a “full-time” business?

[Rummy] No, not at all. My current goal is not necessarily making this into a business. My dream is to shoot for beauty ad campaigns some day.

CircadianReflections- What’s on the horizon for Rummy Makmur?

[Rummy] I’m hoping for more publications this year.

CircadianReflections- What advice would you give a new photographer who would like to start a business as a Portrait/Beauty Photographer?

[Rummy] I won’t give any advice from business standpoint as I am still learning. But, for any new photographers who are just starting shooting portrait, my advice is to keep shooting and shoot often. That’s the only way to learn.

All photographs Copyright © Rummy Makmur and used with permission for this blog

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac.  All Rights Reserved