A sunrise. It’s nothing new yet we are always amazed whenever we get the chance to see one. For a photographer, capturing the moment when the sun comes over the horizon and the light show that ensues is photography heaven. A good photographer will capture the things seen. A great photographer will show us what we don’t see. Bill West is a great photographer.
“Knowing that each sunrise has never happened quite like this before and capturing a unique moment in time to me is fulfilling on a spiritual level. It’s my favourite thing to shoot.”
Bill’s journey into photography began while in his teens with the purchase of a used 1970’s SLR with three lenses. As he explains it, “it was a great way to start learning about photography basics.” Having three lenses allowed him to explore many different avenues including landscape, long exposure, macro and portrait photography.
After his post-secondary schooling was finished and before an extended trip to Australia, Bill lent the camera to a friend and sadly lost track of it. Time went by and once again he started taking pictures however during this period he was a ‘cell phone photographer’, documenting the growth of his four children.
“Over those many years thousands of photographs, categorized by year and season were taken and when viewed now bring us all great joy and laughter,” remarks Bill. “I had thought for many years about getting a ‘real’ camera again and looking through my old photo albums one day sparked something in me.”
So in early 2016 Bill purchased a refurbished Nikon D7100.
“The creative rush was amazing. I started to look at things differently in everyday life and would envision the best possible composition of the scene and what settings I would use, if I had my camera.”
From that point, an exciting learning curve ensued and continues to this day within the entire photographic realm. Over the years, Bill has upgraded his gear to include a Nikon full frame D850 and a smaller Sony mirrorless ‘travel’ camera RX100V6—both excellent at what they do and are used equally.
Nowadays, anyone with a smartphone has the capability to take photographs but it takes a keen eye and knowhow to bring it to life. That’s where editing comes in and for Bill, that’s just part of the joy.
“I personally find the editing portion of the process as intriguing and fulfilling as the actual photography itself,” Bill explains. “It is where the creativity captured is fine-tuned and brought to life. My true love of photography is the process as a whole—the feeling of excitement when I’m out with my camera, capturing what I see and bringing it to life in post.”
Today, Bill’s interests are very similar to his roots and have expanded to include commercial architectural among other areas.
For now, photography remains a hobby but it is Bill’s goal to turn his passion into a second career—one from which he will never retire and one that makes travelling and photographing Europe with his partner a reality.
“She reminds me that I need to look with both eyes when behind the lens. This not only makes memories but I honestly believe better photographs. I believe Alan Watts sums it up well “The source of all light is in the eye; if there were no eyes in this world, the sun would not be light. You evoke light out of the universe”—and my camera captures it.”
Article by Jason Stacey
Photography by Bill West @wwestworld