Making sense of my photography hobby in retirement

About Chris Gregory

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I’m an enthusiastic amateur photographer who has come back to this enthralling hobby after long spells away from it because of work, family and other commitments.  However, cameras have always been a part of my family life and my wife and 3 adult sons are all keen digital photographers.

Sony Alpha A200

Since purchasing my Sony Alpha A200 DSLR in August 2008 I have become once again engrossed in the possibilities that the camera has to offer, and aware of my shortcomings as a photographer.  The aim of this blog is to document my journey as I discover more about what the camera can do and how I can use this knowledge to produce better images.  Along the way I hope to give encouragement to others who are in a similar place, and perhaps help them move along the path to discovering what to achieve with their photography and how they might achieve it.

My first foray into photography began with a Kodak Brownie 127 roll film camera when I was 10 years old.   At highschool I owned a budget “Empire Made” (Hong Kong) Halina 35X film camera, and then a Russian Zenit 3M 35mm film camera while at university. Many an evening was spent in my mother’s kitchen developing black and white negatives and turning them into prints using a simple homemade enlarger.  This was the first time where I felt both in control of the total process, and totally frustrated because I couldn’t achieve the results I wanted.

Kodak Brownie 127

Halina 35X

Zenit 3M

That seems to be a path followed by everyone who wants to take this hobby seriously.

Photographing in colour took some of this control away as I neither had the time nor money to get engrossed in colour processing, so my camera got put away as new challenges like work and marriage took over.

The opportunity to travel reignited my interest, but this time it was with movie – Super 8.  Story telling with movement was fun and I still have many reels of film documenting our travels in the 1970s which our children used to watch as they were growing up.  Later it was video that took over but after a succession of more up-to-date cameras I tired of seeing the world through a small viewfinder and feeling somewhat detached form what was happening around me.

Nikon F60

In 1998 I purchased a new Nikon F60 SLR with a Tamron 28-200mm zoom lens.  Photography at this time was for prints, mainly centred around family and travel.  The zoom lens provided versitility that I had only previously experienced with video cameras.  I enjoyed using this camera, but the advent of digital photography changed all that.

Digital photography has brought control back into my own hands.  Not only can I now capture images, I can control the production process as well – like back in the darkroom days.

Digital cameras owned prior to my current Sony Alpha A200 DSLR have been a Minolta Dimage A2 and a Panasonic DMC FZ7.

Konica Minolta Dimage A2

Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ7

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23 responses

  1. Hello Chris.

    It was a great pleasure to read about Your hobby – photographing and about Your cameras.

    I am 65 years old and I got my first camera in 1952. That year was a Olympic year in Helsinki and my late father bought one from those three which were imported then into Finland. I have one photo from that camera in my “About” page.

    Nowadays I am using Nikon D300 and I am quite content with it.

    Winter regards from Finland.

    January 11, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    • Hi Matti. Thanks for your comment. I am finding photography to be a fun and absorbing hobby. There isn’t a day when I don’t learn something new. This year I am also 65. While you are having a more severe winter this year than usual, we are having a summer like we used to have when I was much younger.
      Regards from Aotearoa New Zealand “The land of the long white cloud”.

      January 12, 2010 at 7:16 am

  2. Kathleen Hubert


    I was wondering if you accept guest post for your blog. If you do, I would like to submit a few. I’m a recent college graduate, with an English major, looking to build out my portfolio. I can write on a wide variety of topics and am sure you would be happy with the quality. Please email me back if you are interested. Thank you for your time.

    – Kathleen Hubert

    May 24, 2011 at 9:37 am

    • Hi Kathleen. Thanks for the offer. I hadn’t contemplated having guest writers on my blog and I am not sure that I am ready for that just yet. If and when if am ready I will keep you in mind.
      Chris Gregory

      May 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm

  3. Hi Chris,
    I got to your blog from a link Peter posted from twitter. I’m on a similar journey to you and have been photographing since i got my first camera at 10, a Diana plastic fantastic! Love your posts and thoughts!
    Do you post to twitter where i could follow you? @doughanna
    Kindest regards
    Doug Hanna

    August 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    • Thanks Doug for your kind comments. My Twitter handle is @ChrisGregoryNZ. Maybe we should meet up sometime for a photowalk and catch up on the news. I’ll have an explore on your blog. Best wishes. Chris G

      August 6, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      • Hi Chris,
        That would be nice. I’ve been doing quite a bit of central city street photography over the last couple of months and are looking forward to getting into it more during the RWC and want to try the challenge of doing it at night too – with all the neon and street lighting to add to the challenge. If you are interested, perhaps we hook up to try that together?

        August 7, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      • Great, If you would like some company one day for a walk, just let me know. If I have an opportunity where you might be interested, I’ll let you know, I will email you my contact details. Cheers, Chris G

        August 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm

  4. Hi Chris, I do work for Hospice North Shore and in hunting for an image for their Annual Report I came across your “Early Morning Run” image and absolutely love it! Hospice have asked me to contact you to see if we could please use the image for the cover of the report which prints a small quantity of around 300 to be typically used internally and for limited distribution, mainly to major donors. It would be hugely appreciated if this was possible however we certainly understand if it is not.
    BTW, I am a local resident and regularly run on the beach at dawn and feel you have captured the beach beautifully, also love the Takapuna book you have produced.
    Thanks and regards, Tim
    PS. Happy for you to phone or email me if you wish. Details on my website

    November 12, 2012 at 8:54 am

  5. Hey, Chris. I’ve just been given a Versatile Blogger Award, and one of the things is you have to pass it on to 15 other people, so I chose 15 blogs I really liked, including yours. So here’s your Versatile Blog Award! Go to my page to collect it and see what you have to do next!

    May 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    • Thank you for your kind comments and the award. I can’t compete with your prose, but I love creating new posts for my blog. I will attempt to pass on awards to others, but it may take a little time. Chris

      May 24, 2013 at 5:43 pm

  6. Phil

    Hi Chris,

    I love reading your adventures and looking at your lovely pictures. I especially like the Pilot Run – Hooker Valley, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park blog.

    We’re thinking of camping out at Mt Cook, and the picture with the tents looks like a good location.

    Maybe I ask whereabouts is the camping area in the first picture?


    July 11, 2013 at 1:59 am

    • Hi Phil, Thanks for your response and enquiry. The camping ground is run by the Department of Conservation. As you approach the Aoraki Mt Cook there is a road to the right that is signposted Hooker Glacier and DOC Camp Site (or words to that effect). Its a large green DOC sign that is hard to miss.There is a large indoor cooking area and ablutions block. Hope you enjoy your visit. Chris G

      July 11, 2013 at 8:26 am

  7. Jo

    Hi Chris, I love to share some of your work on our Love Auckland Facebook page which has almost 40,000 members. Am I able to share your photos if I fully credit your work?

    November 12, 2013 at 9:55 am

  8. Janette Hvistendahl

    Hello Chris,

    Wonderful, inspiring, light-filled photographs! I admire your ability to capture light and atmosphere so well.

    Since retirement I’ve taken up oil painting, on an amateur level. I’d like to base a work on one of your photos, with your permission of course.

    With appreciation,
    Janette Hvistendahl

    November 27, 2013 at 1:30 am

  9. Happy New Year to you Chris! We have so enjoyed getting to know you this year and look forward to more of your wonderful posts. 🙂 ~ Terri & James

    January 1, 2014 at 1:46 am

    • Thanks Teri and James. Collecting my thoughts together for the new year after a pretty hectic last year. New posts appearing shortly. Wishing you a healthy and fulfilling 2014. Chris G

      January 7, 2014 at 11:23 pm

  10. Malindy Rose

    Hi Chris,

    Is there a possibility that we could use one of your photos of Rangitoto for the cover of a community magazine?
    If yes, please contact me via email.

    Best wishes,

    May 6, 2014 at 11:57 am

  11. Hi Chris,

    You have some absolutely stunning photographs of Takapuna!

    I was wondering if you would be interested in supplying a few of the images to the Takapuna Beach Business Association for use in marketing materials.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards,


    September 11, 2014 at 6:15 pm

  12. Chris;

    I am moving to Takapuna, NZ from the USA in about 11 days. Your images have got me so completely excited to be there I’m giddy. Thanks so much for sharing this beauty!

    December 7, 2014 at 6:30 am

    • Hi Lynda
      I hope Takapuna lives up to the impressions you have through the images. Best wishes for your move.
      Chris G

      December 8, 2014 at 10:06 am

  13. Swaadhy Shree M

    Dear Chris,
    Best Wishes on your journey of Photography. I was simply browsing regarding New Zealand and end up in your blog. “Go North Turn Left” is totally catchy and its fantastic! Just thought of appreciating. Have a great and satisfying journey.
    With Regards,
    Swaadhy Shree. M.,

    June 1, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    • Thanks Swaadhy
      The blog has been silent for a while but I am getting myself into a space where I begin posting again soon.
      Chris G

      June 1, 2016 at 10:23 pm

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