May 9, 2022

Ep 36 – Darren J Spoonley captures stunning landscapes of Ireland even during the roughest weather

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The Art of Photography
The Art of Photography
Ep 36 - Darren J Spoonley captures stunning landscapes of Ireland even during the roughest weather

“Seasoned, creative, and authentically Irish – that’s me, and that’s my photography.”      


No one photographs the same river twice. Darren specialises in landscapes and seascapes for precisely this reason – the ever-changing, never predictable, but always dependable beauty that abounds provides an endless feast for his photographer’s eyes.


His goal is to capture that beauty and share it with the world.

When he’s not crouched midstream praying, my nonslip soles hold true or hiking steep rocky inclines for that perfect aerial view.


You can find on the Irish Photography Podcast talking about everything photography with guests from around the globe.


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Darren J Spoonley  0:00  
that then can start creating and fueling, as you said, the imposter syndrome because they’re thinking I’ll never be as good as this other person, but an actual fact they shouldn’t be aspiring to be as good as anybody else other than being better than who they were themselves yesterday

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  0:19  
Hey, weekenders Welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast, where we share photographers journey and how photography has given hope, purpose and happiness. And today we have Darren all the way from Ireland. How

Darren J Spoonley  0:33  
to kid me to fall chickadee are so Irish for how are you? And you’re very welcome from Ireland.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  0:40  
Fantastic. Yeah. Man, I always love the Irish accent. I wish I have the Irish accent to be honest. But welcome, welcome. And how are you doing?

Darren J Spoonley  0:53  
I’m very good. Thanks. Very good standing. Yeah, good to finally you know, see your face. I know we’ve been chatting, you know, as we’ve kind of reminisce, go for over a year, I suppose you’re good now to come on to your podcasts and have a chat about subject I’m passionate about. It’s a subject I think that is very rewarding, very frustrating, very entertaining, can be all different seasons in just one day. So I love the outdoors. And I love photography. So yeah, you’d be hard pressed to stop me talking. Let’s put it that way.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:19  
That’s fantastic. That’s why we have you here. And I know, it’s five o’clock here in five o’clock in the morning here in Bali. And it’s 11pm. So it was hard to find time. But when we find the time that could make you work. But before we get started, can you give the listeners a quick introduction of who you are, you know, whether you do photography for a full time or as a as a just as a hobby, and just a little bit about yourself and who you are in this world.

Darren J Spoonley  1:47  
Sure, yeah, Darren is my name. I’m from Ireland, I’m a, I suppose a semi pro, semi amateur semi passionate photographer, it’s something that I use on a day to day basis to kind of keep me sane in a world that’s going a million miles an hour. Photography, for me is something that I use as a tool to be able to help me to be able to kind of keep a balance, you know, most people can have sports or different types of hobbies. For me, outdoor photography is both because I’m out I’m walking and hiking, I’m out for long, extended periods of time in the fresh air, and you want the bonus of all that is I have my camera with me. So I can take a photograph. And it’s something I think that a lot of people get into. But it’s not really something very good at very fast either. It’s a long journey. And I’m in Journey, enjoying every part of that journey as I’ve gone through it all for years, and I keep evolving. And every time you go with the cameras, the school, everything you do with the camera, keep practising and you’ll always get better, and you’ll learn from your mistakes, and it’s okay to make mistakes. And that’s where photography, for me is such a fascinating subject. I mean, as I say, I’m mature hobbyist, but it’s all consuming, you know, I not only take photographs, I’ve got my YouTube channel, I’ve got a podcast myself, which is called the Irish photography podcast, I have a number of Facebook groups that I’ve created over the years to help people in their journey, and to really get more involved in the whole aspect of how beneficial photography can be. So that’s a quick intro, I suppose really, I know, we’ll probably expand on a few doors as the conversation will go. But it is definitely a great topic and a great subject and a great thing to be able to have a great skill set to be able to have in your bag.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  3:20  
Now Wow, that’s crazy. Like you do all that well, you know, doing a full time job or running a business as you say that. And so what is it that got you started into photography? What was that first thing that make you you know what, this is awesome. And I really just want to do more of it.

Darren J Spoonley  3:39  
It’s an interesting question. For me, it’s something that started at a very, very young age, my brother was always into photography, and I shared a room with him. And he was back in the film days, and he would turn the room into a darkroom. So we had the doors closed windows blacked out, the red light will go on, you know that you wouldn’t if you were in the room, you couldn’t leave. And if you’re outside the room, you couldn’t come in. I kind of grew up with it all the time. He was very smart. And what he did is that when he was developing his firm solutions, he didn’t spend any of the solutions on his side of the room. He’s built all the solutions on my side of the room. So all of my sheets and everything else were ended everything from all the solutions from developing film. And I would have always had a camera of some sorts. I remember when I’ve probably been my teenage years, I kind of got my first digital camera, it was a one megapixel camera, and I was wow, look at this thing. You know, I’d take my images and there they were, okay, people always say to me, Oh, I didn’t pay for photography, but I never really thought about I just take some photographs of inanimate objects. But the catalyst for me was probably in around 2013 Because in 2008, I got my first DSLR and it was a Canon 1000 D. And I got my first couple of shots and I’m thinking well, yeah, okay, this could be interesting, you know, you kind of get a small bit of bravado thinking that you’re good, you can get a couple of shots. And this is before I ever shared anything on social media or anything like that. It’s just me taking images. And in 2013 When I got married, actually I went on it honeymoon, I went to Borneo on my honeymoon. And I brought my camera and I was thinking, Okay, I’m gonna get some epic shots here. You know, we went to Borneo, I wanted to get some photographs of the orangutangs and everything else, all the wildlife. And I quickly learned that I hadn’t got a clue. Because I was on a boat. It was very interesting story. Actually, we were on a river cruise. We got up one morning. And the guides that was quick, we’re in luck, guys. You know, there’s a few pygmy elephants along the bank. And I was thinking about picking the elephants. I didn’t know anything about picking the elephant. So Indian elephants ever renewable pygmy elephants. So of course, I was really excited to go see these. And of course, I had my camera. But when I started taking photographs, I quickly became very frustrated because I’m looking at the back of the camera, and I couldn’t expose them, right? Every single image was blurred, and I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. And I kind of said, Okay, should I go into auto here and try and get these photos? At least I had something but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to, you know, proceed on to take the photographs. I No, no, because I said after 230 2013 Alright, I better learn how to do this right. I better learn what went wrong today, if ever was in situation again, I could take those images. And it transpires that the lens that I was using didn’t have image stabilisation. That was the first thing. Second thing is I was on a boat. So the boat was moving. I was shooting into a bank, which was covered by trees. So it was in shadow. And my exposure time then would have been too long. And I didn’t really understand that. So in 2013, I said, Okay, I’m going to learn how to do this. And it kind of started my journey, which is now just nine years ago to stage but I kind of went gung ho into photography at that point. And it’s been something that has consumed me, like I said, it’s been something that has been really rewarding. I’ve met a lot of people through photography, I’ve had a lot of close friends through photography. And it’s something I think that I really wanted to understand what went wrong, but also, how can I get better? So that was the catalyst 3d, you know, so it’s been there since a young age, but 2013 was that little bit of a button that after I got back from Borneo, I was damaged, all the images that I thought I had, I think I got two images that weren’t blurred, but at least I have some blurry images of pygmy elephants anyway.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  7:03  
That is hilarious. And it’s funny because I started photography because of a trip as well. So I could definitely relate to that. And yeah, that’s, that’s, it’s so funny how. And I have I’ve got another experience where I mean, this is this was back, you know, when I was already started photography, I know what I’m doing. But I made a mistake. And it like, all of my shots, or that I want it was blurry. Yes. It was a good job. I was blurry, unfortunately. So I know exactly what you mean. So was there a particular reason that make you want to buy DSLR? Or, you know, you just thought, you know, what, you know, because what you see from your brother and stuff, and you know, you think to yourself, I think I’ll give this a go. But what was that reason that make you buy DSLR to begin with?

Darren J Spoonley  7:53  
I think it was because I would have had point in shoots before then. And I wanted to have a lot more control. And I knew that I had to have more control in the different lights in different circumstances and such like that, and there was a deal. And I said, Okay, I have to go gotta get the deal. You know what, that’s reason 32 for gas, which gear acquisition syndrome is a deal that you can pass up. But I had to take that I said, Okay, you know what, and you know, it’s interesting people ask me, Why do I shoot canon, I still shoot canon. You know, a lot of people they start off on one type of camera and they stick with their camera unless they move to Sony, most people would have moved away from Canon Sony, Canon or Nikon over to Sony, unless you started the Pentax then you had no choice because you can’t really get a Pentax gear now. I started on on canon, and I stopped and I had my 1000 D. And then I quickly kind of said, Okay, I want to get something better from this. So I moved to Canon 70 Because I had the lenses already, I said, Okay, I can interchange my lenses. I don’t have to change everything else. My 70 D was a very interesting camera until it decided that it would go for a swim in the sea. And obviously it didn’t work out very well for it. So I took the plunge at that point and said, Okay, it’s time for me to move away from crop sensor. And I wanted to go to full frame. So I bought 60. And I still have my 60 and it’s a phenomenally good camera. It’s been my trusty workhorse for a number of years. But around two years ago, I then took the jump away from DSLR into mirrorless. And of course, because I had invested in a number of different lenses then over the years, I said Okay, keep all those lenses, but now I’m going to mirrorless Oh, hang on, there’s an adapter so I can get an EF to an RF adapter. So now I went and I got the eusr and the USR has been a phenomenal camera. I don’t think I’d ever move away from Canon. Now I’ve had some very lucky opportunities here to work with Canon and Ireland. So I’ve managed to have the eusr Six usr five, and I’m soon to be getting the USR three as well to give it a go but they’re really just to get my hands on and get my feeling my thoughts for them but a DSLR is a phenomenal camera to have because gives you more control. And with the interchangeable lenses you’ve got even more control you know, so you got to point and shoot. Forget about it. You know I mean you you Okay, it’s fine, you might take a shot, but you want to get a proper shot, you have to build all the shots, you have to build two exposures, and play around with the latest work for what you want rather than what it thinks it wants.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  10:11  
Fantastic. Yeah, I mean, I’m a Canon shooter as well. And I love my Canon, you know, I have a five d mark for and it dropped down through like, three metres cliff down like 30 metres off a mountain, it’s the work like, I didn’t do anything, literally, the lands can unclip and have an error and clip the clip back on and it was working again. So yeah, it’s one hell of a camera. What I mean, like, you know, I love hearing your story about you know, how you get into photography, you know, some of the biggest failures that you’ve gone through, especially during your honeymoon, which would have been a really nice memory to have. What would you say to what would you say are some of the most important things to learn, if people wanted to get into photography,

Darren J Spoonley  11:02  
I suppose the biggest one from that is the main fundamental, understand the exposure triangle and understand the interdependencies of each of those. And once you understand that, then you can play around with your settings, and you actually can control the situation that you’re in, I think I’d also give a bit of advice on that would be, don’t get too hung up on gear, you know, you don’t need to have the best camera to get the best shots. I mean, you know, don’t be too fixated trying to also emulate somebody else, you know, take an image that you want to take, if it’s bad, okay, it’s bad, but you took it. And it’s always going to have a bad image that you can look, six months down the line a year down the line, two years down the line, my God could have gotten our local bad have gotten or whatever it might be. But take the images, make mistakes, you know, there’s no such thing as resign. That’s the beauty of the digital world. I mean, you get the immediate gratification by looking in the back of the camera if it’s right or wrong. Whereas when I started out in the film days, I thought, Okay, I’ve got a great shot, and I need to send it off to developers Wait, whatever length of time it took to get it back to cost, and then open up the package and see that there’s 10 of those images that are pure white. So yeah, I mean, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. But more importantly, I think don’t get too hung up on gear. You know, even even though standard, you know, if you look at why everybody has in their pocket, a phone, now, okay, it’s not them controlling the image. But even with the newer phones, you can you can get into all the settings and you can do all that yourself. But you got a great camera in your pocket at all times, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to pop that out and take a record shot or whatever it might be. But you don’t need to spend 1000s of euros dollars, whatever it might be the currency that you’re spending to be able to get a great shot. I mean, you look you look at some of the grades, even look at Ansel Adams, the technology that you have in your pocket right now is 100 times better than what he ever had. And he had to lug it around with him. He didn’t have technology, you know, so he had a wooden frame camera that he set up and bang, he got an image. So yeah, it’s not all about gear.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  12:53  
Fantastic advice there. And I love I love that you mentioned that, you know, that even the camera that you have on your pocket are often good enough. It kind of depends on what you know the purpose that you want it for, right? I know that you know, a love like the Canon M 50. You know, when people ask me what camera they should buy, and they don’t have a camera and it’s gonna be their first cameras like man get the M 50 The Mach one because they are so cheap because nowadays the mach two right, fantastic camera. I thought a few students you know, to use that to take photo of the Milky Way and just with the tripod tracker and it come out pretty good. So I’m glad that you mentioned that because I know that a lot of people get so who gets started with photography kind of you know, it, it it stopped them to get started because of that mindset that you need this expensive camera. So that is a really good advice. So just from what you say that with your seven D what happened there they went for a swim.

Darren J Spoonley  14:03  
Well, yeah, I mean, it was my own stupidity. But you know, it’s generally the case I I’m, I’m an outdoor photographer, right so I’m outdoors all the time and my biggest passion for seascape photography and I was at a location early in the morning to friends of mine. And I of course I wanted to get down low I wanted to get a nice perspective. You know, I was doing a nice long exposure shot there was a lighthouse in the distance the sun was rising. And the other two guys kept calling me and I was thinking okay, look, leave me alone for a second I’m just getting my camera set up leave me alone for a second they kept calling me. I was thinking okay, maybe something is wrong. So I was crouched down, low down camera. Tripod wasn’t even extended it was that lawns to water and stood up and as I stood up a tip the front of me camera and it went from here straight in to the waters that didn’t have a big just just toppled over but toppled over lens first into the sea and I had some filters that were on the front of it. They took a crack off a rock. I immediately took the camera straight out, you know, took off the lens took out the battery took out the SD card. But it was it was ghost saltwater whatsoever it will get into the camera. It’s gone. So yeah, it was, it was a few explosives. Let’s just say that were given out that morning when I finally said to the guys, what do you want? They went? Oh, we were just wondering where you were we talked you disappeared as you knew exactly where I was. So yeah, I that was a bite by the way. That was the start of a two day photography trip as well. So I was cameraless at the start of a two day photography trip. So what I actually did was there was a deal. And I said, Okay, look, you know, I rang a local camera store. I told him my predicament. And in fairness, they said, Look, we have this camera here, it’s on offer, but you’ll also get cash back in relation to it. So I said, Alright, so I was lucky, I was fortunate position that I could change the camera on the flight. But so I started the morning with a seven TD, and I finished the day with a 60. And it was it was a game changer to be honest with you kind of moving away from crop to full frame because I was able to capture a lot better detail a lot more within the scene as well. So yeah, that was the unfortunate incident of the death of my Canon 70 D, which was a great camera. But yeah, I’m glad I did make the chain full frame because if that didn’t happen, probably would have skipped in it and had 70 D and then never had the opportunity because when I look back, even the images that I like we said a moment ago, you look back six months, two years, whatever it might be. When I look back at the the the integrity of the images and the quality and the pixels and the pixelization that I saw no under 70 D versus when I got confused for him. It was night and day. So he kind of elevated my photography fault from my own stupidity, let’s just say so I kind of gave up to my two friends, but I should thank them really at the end of the day, because they’re the ones that killed my seven DD and made me make that jump to full frame.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  16:45  
Ah, that’s, that’s a very unfortunate thing that happened. But I guess you know, when you think about it, it’s it’s a good leap of faith. Because it really pushed you to get into 60 from there and you absolutely love it. So, yeah, that’s the me.

Darren J Spoonley  17:03  
Well, yeah, in a way, it’s to me it is destiny, you know, and I do think as well, like, you know, when I was shooting it myself and TT I kind of was a small bit in the comfort zone because I knew it inside out. Now, the cannon ecosystem was great, you know, I can pick up any Canon camera, and I can use that. So that was another thing that I really enjoyed about you sticking with Canon, because if I get any camera from Canon tomorrow, I know that I can pick it up. And I can use it almost instantaneously. So that was the ecosystem that we had created. I liked the menu system. I liked the cameras. Yeah, it was great. And I suppose the other side with 10 is that that now then gave me the impetus to start changing lenses. So I had to then go invest in my glass, you know, so, you know, I, the camera, body only I didn’t need to buy any kit lenses or anything like that, even though the 60 at the time came with a 24 to 1054 L lens. I already had one. So I didn’t need that, you know, so it helped me too, because I was able to save money just by buying body only. So yeah.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  17:58  
Yeah. So, you know, one of the biggest thing that I came across, especially for people in photography is this notion of imposter syndrome, right? Where people are, especially with this day and age of social media, we come across this all the time. And it’s often lead into Unreal expectation where, you know, people are looking at other photographers that have a larger following and thought that, you know, that can happen overnight. And they have that in their head that it’s Oh, yeah, if I just jumped in there, you know, put, put a few good works, you know, I will have 1000s and 1000s of followers or whatnot. And when that’s not the case, often it’s it’s more about the followers than about the photography itself. Have you ever come across a time where that was a problem when you come across that sort of challenge or feeling in your photography journey? And if so, how did you overcome it?

Darren J Spoonley  19:03  
I can’t say that I personally had that challenge. But I know a number of people that have had that challenge. And I think the reason why I haven’t is because I got into photography. Well before the social media, I didn’t see social media as a catalogue photography as a catalyst for social media, it was the other way around. A guest that I had in my own podcast a number of years back sort of very, very important. And it still sticks to this day. And I’ve mentioned a number of times on my own podcast, and I mentioned it in yours as well. There was Michael O’Sullivan is the guy he’s a very talented photographer from Ireland, and he said a statement which was don’t shoot for the gallery. And it’s really important shoot for your, you know, don’t shoot for Instagram, don’t shoot for social, don’t shoot for the love of the likes or whatever it might be that you think you’re going to get in the image because you’re only going to be destined for disappointment. If you’re happy with the image. That’s all it matters. And if five people like it or 10 people like it, so be it. But if you’re happy with the image that you’ve taken, then the reason And for taking that image, I think is the most important part. Now, that being said, social media is a phenomenal tool. You know, I think it’s really, really powerful. I mean, a mutual friend of ours, Bernard guarantee, you know, he had said, why do people give out about Instagram sold on Facebook, it’s free. And it is free. And it’s a great way, it’s a great way to build to build an audience and stuff like that. But it can be quite toxic, because people shoot for these likes, and they might see an image and go, Oh, that’s a good image, look at that he’s actually getting 500 likes or 1000 likes or whatever it might be. And they’ll go off and they’ll try and replicate that exact image. So they’re not using their own left side of the brain, they’re using your the copy side of the brain. And then when they take that image, they’re frustrated, because they can’t get the image to look like the image that they saw that this person posted. But this person that posted it, maybe they didn’t just take that image, maybe they created that image, maybe they’re very good at post processing, maybe they’ve got more creative brain develop, to see something within a scene, and transfer that into something on the screen that people can like and such like that. So that then can start creating and fueling, as you said, the imposter syndrome, because they’re thinking, I’ll never be as good as this other person. But an actual fact they shouldn’t be aspiring to be as good as anybody else other than being better than who they were themselves yesterday. And if people can try and get that into their own mindset that this is not an overnight success thing. Photography is not an overnight success phenomenon, you put in the hard work, it’s like people looking at athletes, and they see somebody who is a runner, or a football player, or whatever it may be. They’ve been doing that for a long time. They’ve made a lot of mistakes. They were absolutely diabolical at one point, but they got better, and they got better and they got better nope, their motivation might have been different, they wanted to probably be the person that they were trading with, or somebody that they knew to be better than them to get first place, whatever it might be, you can look at social media in that way and say, Okay, I want to be first at it, but it ain’t going to happen overnight. And if you think that it’s going to happen overnight, then you’re putting yourself in a very bad position, I think from a psychological point of view, because you’re now chasing something, which in reality will never be attainable. Because by the time you might get to that level, that person that you were chasing may already been gone off social media and realise that it was was a waste of their time, or have actually accelerated on even further and gotten better at taking photos and created something unique themselves. So replication, I think, is probably good kind of to get a bit better. People should find their own mark, they should find their own style, find their own bias for their own type of image. And it’s not only by the way in just taking the image, the processing of the image as well. Very, very, very important. And everybody has their own unique way of processing an image. And I digress for a very quick moment, right, because around about six months ago, maybe eight months ago, actually, I was editing an image. And I can say I’m a seascape photographer, and I was editing my image and a thought came across my mind. And I said, Hang on, I’m got my own style of editing, all of my images, I edit all of my own images, I don’t have an editor it edits my image, right. So like most people, you edit your own image. But it got me thinking, and it said, I wonder how somebody else that didn’t take this image would actually edit the image. So I reached out to some other photographers that were on YouTube and such like that. And I asked them to edit my image. And I got five people looking back to me, and I had five completely different edits of the same raw file. And like Nick page was one of the people that had my image. And he’s got a very, very moody style from his editing. And you could see that come true in how he would have edited the image. Mark Denny, and other landscape photographer, he added the image and I could see his style coming through and the image. So you have to create and develop your own style and be true to yourself. Don’t think that you have to copy somebody else just to be able to get on that platform and get those likes, because that’s chasing something, which is an endorphin release. And if you don’t get those endorphin releases, then you’re going to end up participant. And I think that’s where the art is, you know, be yourself, do what you want to do for watching. And use social media find is an avenue to be able to share that, but don’t get hooked, don’t get hung up on you know, enough likes, because that’s ultimately going to lead to disappointment and sadness. That answer your question.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  24:09  
Yeah, that’s really good. You know, I’m glad that you shared that. I think, you know, a lot of people kind of look into social media as a success metrics, right? Well as in, I believe, like, I don’t know, for you and I, you know, we got into photography, you know, not because of social media. So the success metric should be are you really proud of your photography? So, which, which, what’d you say earlier? So I think that is a really fantastic advice that you have there. You know, one of the thing that that’s, that’s really hard, is to stay true to that to that reason, right? I mean, when we start photography, we kind of have a reason why we want to do that. But you know, with the social media and all this stuff, we kind of get distracted and one of the guests that or my mentor as well, I suppose one of my earlier mentors say that, you know, whatever happened Don’t forget why you got into photography in the first place. And that was such a great advice. So I was wondering, do you, I mean, I know that you kind of want to just, you know, capture moments. And you know, when you get when you first get started, you kind of want to capture moments and be able to capture this fantastic photos. But as you progress through your photography journey, do you have a different aspiration when you go out there? Like, why do you do photography now versus why you do photography back then?

Darren J Spoonley  25:34  
Very interesting. I started in photography, like I said, as my release from the real world, but what I’ve quickly found is that a lot of people can get emotional connections to images that I would take, and that if it started something within them, I think that’s a job well done. But what I’ve also found, because I mean, I, I’ve been releasing a video on my YouTube channels every week since September 2017. So I’m nearly five years no doing that. And I’ve kind of found myself falling into the more of the educator role and to kind of, you know, telling a story and bringing people along on my journey. I’m not an expert in any way, shape, or form, but I’m learning as I go. And, as I’m showing people how I’m doing things and mistakes that I’m making, they’re learning from it as well. And I’d like to think that, you know, I’ve kind of changed my outlook is that it’s no longer just about me, it’s about bringing people with me and showing them the beauty that I have around me here in Ireland, through the form of photographs, and also the form of video and the storytelling, I think that comes with that as well. It’s something that will never end I don’t think, you know, I will find different ways to be able to get better and aspire to do better and aspire to create a better video, create a better story, create a better image, explain the image more to somebody. I’ve had people that, you know, have reached out to me and asked me and said, Okay, why aren’t you doing workshops? Why aren’t you bringing people out, and it’s not a motivator for me, if I can handle it, and they can tune into my videos every week, and they can learn something, if they want to come to Ireland, least they know a place that they can come and visit. And that’s probably where I’ll continue to go from, you know, one to one workshops with people. But it’s not my my main motivator, my main motivator for me is just to continue enjoying the outdoors and continue to show through the form of film or images, but also getting people as if they’re there, you know, to serve that emotional connection, bring people to different areas and help them like me to enjoy the art of photography, because bearing in mind centre, you know, this is what I suppose photography is a solitary sport, outdoor photography is a solitary sport. But you know, if you can get people involved in that, and you can feed off their passion, and they can feed off your energy. It’s the people that you remember a lot longer than the miserable rain or the cold or whatever it might be. It’s the people that you meet along the way that you share those adventures with that you share those sentiments, you share those feelings, and you share that connection that lasts a lot longer. So for me, it’s all about like, the image is one form, yes. But it’s the people that I meet along the way and the emotions that we can mutually store it in, which is the longevity?

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  28:12  
Yeah, that’s fantastic. You know, I absolutely agree. You know, at the end of the day, photography is a way to capture experiences, right? So if we fail to experience that first, then what is photography really is right. So that is great advice. And, you know, like, I’ve seen your video, I’ve seen your photos, and I’ve seen how you go through, really, you know, especially in Ireland as well, I’m guessing there’s a lot of rain and moody, you know, a really good condition. But you still go out there, right? You still go out there, you still take your photos. So what? How do you define a successful photography trip? And how do you define a successful photo? Like, you know, when when it’s like, you know what, that was a good day, or you know what, that was a great shot or whatnot, you know, because I know that, you know, for many of us and myself included along the line, we always have that certain expectation, right? When we go out there, like, oh, yeah, the condition is gonna be this and that, and this and that, and I’m gonna get this shot and that shot and so forth. But it’s not always it doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to. So what is that success criteria for you?

Darren J Spoonley  29:29  
Okay, I’ll answer that in two different ways for you. So the first one is, I’ve said this for many years, and I’ll continue to say it again. bad conditions do not exist in landscape photography, there’s always a shot to get, you may not be the shot that you’d wanted. But there’s always a shot to get and I’ve gone out in the rain and I’ve come back with images and that’s a success because you’ve managed to pull a shot from something like that. But the other thing is never go out with expectations. Because if you go out with expectations, all you’re going to be coming home with is disappointment because it’s never really going to unless you get that one in 100 chance where you get epic conditions epic life. It’s a With nit, you could possibly be an example actually, is I’m not as good as the easiest way to describe it as you for argument’s sake in relation to your Astro photography, right? Because we’re cloud in Ireland for a lot of the time. But what I do try and plan something, I look at all of the forecasting apps and such like that, and the weather forecasters, and are today the easiest job in the world. All they have to say is it’s cloudy chance of rain, okay? And they’ll get away with it every single time. I mean, in fact, you’re in the summertime here, the only difference is that the rain is warmer. I mean, that’s it, right? So I’d have clear skies. And I’ll say, Okay, I’m going to go and get some asteroids. And invariably, there will be some clouds. But you do get that odd time where it is going to be crystal clear. You look at the radars, you look at the long radars, you go, okay, there can’t be any clouds, I’m going to go and I’m going to do that. So that’s a success, in my mind is that if the weather is actually going to play ball, to get the type of shot that you’ve envisaged that you want to get an astro, you, you have no choice. If it’s cloudy, you’re not going to get what you wanted to get. I went through a period of time where it took me five months, actually every month to get the same shot. And no, I wanted to get a shot where I had a moon rising over an old derelict castle, and it was the turrets that are on top of the castle. And I had the whole thing planned that the moon would sit right on top of the dirt castle. And the first month I went out, no clouds anywhere except for right over where I wanted to take the photograph. So I couldn’t see the moon same thing the second time. The third time, my timing was slightly off. So I ended up going there the day after what I should have gotten there the day before. Because the the shooting moons and on a subject, you have to get it right at the bang on time, we used to get the residual late from sunset when the moon is rising. I was a day late. So my subject was too dark. But the fifth time and you’re basically I got it. And then I went Do you know what persistence. And if I stick with something, and I’m really you know, hell bent on getting it, you will get it eventually, it might take you five times by taking it 10 times. But don’t give up. Because even when you go out, it may seem as if it’s a failure, but it hasn’t been learned. You’ve gotten better. You’ve actually gotten you’ve used your camera, every time you use the camera is a school day, you’re learning something new every single time. So I don’t really believe in having expectations, I have somewhere have an idea what I’d like to do, I might go to a scene and go okay, you know, how’s the light going to be today? Is it going to shine on what I want to take a photograph of today? And if it doesn’t, then I’m really gonna be disappointed. So I say no, I just take it because I’m happy to be out. It’s good to be out, I don’t get the opportunity to go out. As often as I’d like to vote. You know, like most people, you might look out the window and go, Oh, look at that light. I wish I could go taking a camera. And that’s happened to me many, many times. But today that I can get out, I’m really at the mercy of the weather. So I try and go to a location that I think is going to suit the conditions that I have. And if it works, it works. And if it doesn’t work, didn’t work. It was still a good day, and I still got a shot guaranteed. I’ve never come back from a shoot without at least one shot that I’d say you know what? I’m happy with that. So yeah.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  32:53  
What a fantastic advice. And I was just cracking out and you’d say the weather forecast was the easiest job. That is hilarious. Yeah, and it’s incredible. That is that is very inspiring. I love to hear, you know, I’d love hearing that, that, you know, you you, you kind of just appreciate, you know, what, whatever you get in terms of the condition in terms of whatever it is, and, you know, like there’s it what do you say was very interesting about, you know, me doing a lot of astrophotography. And it relies a lot on a clean, you know, clean and clear sky. And you’re right, like, you know, when when I look for a milky when there is there are clouds, it’s kind of the end. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t take great photos still. And I have a few different shots that I got because I didn’t have a clear sky and it becomes one of my favourite shot and it becomes, you know, one of my most popular shot as well, to my surprise, actually. Right. So that is such a great advice in landscape photography, there are no such thing such as a bad condition.

Darren J Spoonley  34:05  
You’ll always get a shot. It may not be the shot that you wanted to get. But you’ll always get a shot. You know, I guess give me a slight anecdote, actually, to that is only only today, actually. So we’re recording this on Sunday, the third of April. So I had a video went out today with a good friend of mine actually who I’ve met through social media. He’s a photographer in Australia, and he came up with an idea he said, Darren, I’ve got an idea. We’re in the spring equinox we’re almost 12 hours apart. He says you go shoot sunset, and I’ll go shoot sunrise and we’ll share the sun and when it dips down below the horizon for you. It could just be coming up the horizon from sunset brilliant idea. I went to the most westerly point in art but almost the most western in Ireland and I went to photograph two very very iconic islands so called the Scalix. Me if you’re a fan of staff, you know that this is where Luke Skywalker was found after he disappeared he was found the last Jedi. These are the islands that they use to for this beautiful islands region. Going out on the west most western point, but almost most western point, clear skies. So I said, Okay, now this is going to be ideal. But you know what, again, I’ll use this to my advantage because the idea is clear skies I’m passing this on over to Izzy. So as the as the photographer in Australia, so I don’t see the sun going below the horizon and I’ll get the light shining in golden light lighting up the right hand side of the the islands. So off I went, it was a three hour drive went in earnest looked clear skies, all the forecasting everything else. And when I got there, there was a very, very heavy sea fog or haze. And I said, Okay, damn, I’m not going to be able to get the image that I want you to get. I could barely see these islands. And I brought my sigma 150 to 600. So I really wanted to zoom in on these islands. But I could barely see these islands because of the amount of haze that was there. But guess what, it always works out because as the sun dipped into that haze, the golden light spread across the haze, it didn’t give me the light on the site, but it lit up the whole scene in this golden light. And it was just something I went through you got there. Perfect example, I have everything planned. This is what I wanted to do. It’s part of a collaboration with somebody else on the other side of the world. And yet, the conditions in playball Gallery, they did play but I managed to get some really, really beautiful shots and really, really great life. But more Moreover, I ended up deciding to do a zoom in photo of the moon, as it was setting went on into the haze. And I looked at the screen I went, she said must have a sensor spot. Because I saw this big the middle of the sun. I was thinking okay, Damn, how are we going to get rid of that? I can’t do that. No, because I was recording video. And it turns out afterwards that I didn’t even know this was after happening. But there was a gigantic sunspot after appearing on the sun on that day. And I captured that there it was in the middle of the sun. So again, you know, there’s always a benefit it regardless, you’re always going to come away with something. And there were two examples of such thing.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  36:51  
Wow, that that sounds like it’s a wild shot. Do you have that photo posted somewhere so that people can can see those photo? On my on my, the link on the description? If you do?

Darren J Spoonley  37:02  
Yeah, well, I’ll give you the link anyway, to my social channels. So I’ve got one link which has everything within that so to bring to my YouTube or even to Instagram to bring to the podcast as well. But on Instagram, actually over last week, I posted an image of the sun. So you’re able to see that image, it’s there. And then today I posted the image of the two islands, the Skeggs they did in that beautiful orange light with one solitary bird has about a flying right bang smack in the middle of both of them as well. So it all turned out really really nice. Yeah, so yeah, I’ll give you the links anyway, I suppose you can share it also. But yeah, that’s just a typical, the most recent example of how photography can be so frustrating, but so rewarding. At the same time.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  37:41  
Perfect, perfect. Yeah, I mean, you know, that’s, that’s exactly. That’s a good example about, you know, like, sometimes you don’t get what you want, but you get more than what you ask for. Right? So I wouldn’t be I wouldn’t be doing my happy then. So if I were you, like, yes, satisfied. That’s amazing. So man, like I was just listening to you and sharing your story and who you know what you do with your photography, and how you not only share your photography in socials, but also create, you know, podcasts as well as YouTube to help you know, and share this message to other photographers and share your experiences and learning points. But at the same time, you got a business to run you got, you know, a family with two kids. How do you balance all that together? Like, you know, how do you juggle all that because I know as you know, the careers myself, I know how much time it takes and how much investment it is to, you know, do all those separate thing and put them together and actually, you know, create and put put it out there. So how do you balance that? Because I know we it’s gonna be a lot of people out there who are doing this, you know, as a side hobby. And just wondering, you know, what, how did they get this time? Do you have like 50 hours in a day?

Darren J Spoonley  39:10  
magic formula? Yeah, first and foremost, I suppose from the timeout, I do that in my own personal time outside of very busy workweek as it is. So number one, I’ve got a very supportive wife that allows me to be able to go and do that she knows that. Like I say it’s from view it’s very, very important for me. And if I get that released, then I’m happier person overall, let’s just say the other thing is I book in days and I stick to those days. So like I said earlier on, I’m at the mercy of the weather. So if I say okay, next Saturday week, I’m going for sunrise. So I know that okay, I’m going to go to bed early on the Friday night. I’m going to be up early on Sunday morning. And I thought it’s Saturday morning and I’m going to be gone but I’d be home at around lunchtime and such like that. i It’s interesting. You’d say it there you know about you know with YouTube and stuff. Funny story. The reason I created my youtube channel was not for notoriety or not for anything other than I wanted to share and leave a legacy for my kids so that when I’m dead and gone, they have something they can watch. And they can realise this is why daddy wasn’t there for breakfast, or this is why daddy wasn’t there for dinner in the evening. This is where he was. And if I can inspire them and leave something that when I’m gone to people cannot, they can watch and share with their friends, or that’s my dad, or whatever it might be, you know, that is a reward for me in itself, because an image is fantastic. But the story behind the image, I think, for me, it’s something that I’d like to be able to kind of share more of. So there’s no magic formula. It’s just purely being lucky to be able to have that time and just to get out and do it. But I do think it really doesn’t feel like it’s work, it doesn’t feel like it’s, it’s my hobby side of things. I’m not earning money from it. If I was earning money from it, then I know that my mind would have to change, and probably change as well, because I probably feel more pressure to have to do that, you know. But that being said, like I said, I mean, I’ve released a video every week since September 2017. I haven’t missed a week yet. I started the podcast in 2018. And myself and Dermot, a very good friend of mine, when he was involved in a podcast, we released a podcast every week for two years. And then he retired. So I said, Okay, I’ll keep going myself. And I didn’t release a podcast every two weeks for the last two years myself. So for me again, you know, it’s something that I enjoy, I enjoy talking about I enjoy creating, I enjoy helping people. And I enjoy kind of everything all encompassing within it, you know? So it’s, it’s interesting that people look at it and go, Geez, how do you get that done and how to put it into passion. You know, if you find it, there’s a phrase in life, which to find a job you love. You never have to work another day in your life. This isn’t a job for me, but it’s something that I love. And it’s something that I need. I do have a suppose a firm belief in relation to how we think, and who is dictates who we are. And, you know, if I’m out and about, like I said to the outset, you know, if I’ve got a challenge from a work point of view, if I’m thinking about that challenge all the time, then I’m focused on that challenge. Whereas when I’m taking a camera, I’m not thinking about anything else other than what’s in front of me the scene that’s in front of me, and then the solution will appear on its own it does. So it’s, it’s challenged, but it’s not a big challenge in this bigger scheme of things, because I’m so passionate about it. That’s photography.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  42:29  
Wow. That is, man, I was just so inspired listening to that, you know, I think it’s, it goes back to that the why, right. And you have such a strong reason on creating these videos that it makes it so enjoyable for you. And, you know, like, I guess one thing that we take for granted is the journey to get the shot or have the adventure or you know, of the travel of the trip, even if it’s you know, around the corner or an hour away, or you know, a day or two days away. But I love what you share that because you really show that the journey really makes a big difference. And that’s what life is right. It’s a journey. So I just, I just I love that there was this amazing. That’s very inspiring. So thank you very much for sharing that. You’re very welcome. Yeah, look, there. It’s been a really good conversation. And you know, it’s kind of coming to our one hour mark here. And it was so yeah, it’s, it’s, I guess what it’s saying what you say, right? When you’re having fun, like, you know, I don’t work at all, it just is a man just listening to your stories and your wisdom. I absolutely love it. And you know, one of the reason why I want you to I want to get you here was, you know, just your whole outlook on life and how positive you are about it. And you know how you can turn the negative to positive because I remember when we were in clubhouse, I think you had like one of our really harsh conditions, but you’re just fired up, you’re like, Yeah, I get to go out and you know, I was like, oh, like, he was like rain down and all this stuff. And I could just imagine how moody and cloudy but you’re just all fired up. So I’m glad to have you here and you know, be able to share your message. You know, your your, your wisdom. But one thing that I always ask people who come to the podcast is that if there is one advice I know you have given a lot of advice, but if there is one thing that you feel like one of the most important advice that you know if if they didn’t hear anything out of this podcast is one advice would be the most important thing. What would that advice be?

Darren J Spoonley  44:38  
Get out of that auto and get into manual and play. Make mistakes. Every single time you make a mistake, you learn from it. And if you don’t learn from it, repeat it and you’ll learn again and you’ll learn again and eventually you’ll understand how you’ve managed to get a shot. Get out of the bottle, get into manual.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  44:56  
Fantastic. I think that that one we’re Have play is really important because that’s, that’s the thing that makes us enjoy photography, right? Well, then it’s been, you know, a full one hour and it’s just full of wisdom and had a lot of fun talking to you. And I feel like you know, I need to go to Ireland and go shoot with you. And I have a lot of fun chatting with you, because this has been amazing. And now for those people who want to learn more about you and find your work as well as your your journey or your backstory in YouTube. Where can they find you?

Darren J Spoonley  45:32  
I’m very lucky because my name. So if you search Darren JSON only on any search platform whatsoever, you will only find me so I don’t have to spell out any Instagram is blah, blah, blah, just search Derringers only and you will find me and you will see exactly what my photography is about. And I’d love for people to continue on the journey with me. So yeah, just type in my name. Hit the enter button, smash that subscribe button.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  45:59  
I love it speaking like a YouTuber. Yeah, thanks a lot for sharing that. And, you know, we’ll put all of that link on the description anyway. So you know, you could just go ahead and click away. But we can do this. Hopefully you have a really good time listening to that it was such an engaging and interesting conversation we had with Darren and yeah, I’m glad that you guys stick around to listen to this podcast, this conversation and hopefully we’ll see you again next week. And if you haven’t hit the subscribe button yet, what are you waiting for? Hit that subscribe button and smash it like Darren say, and I’ll see you guys next week.


The Wicked Hunt by Stanley Aryanto Copyright 2020 All rights reserved.