Kenneth B. Cooke, PPSA
My name is Kenneth B. Cooke, commonly called Ken, and I joined the PSA about a year after starting a new hobby, “photography,” back in 2012. At that time, my hobby was Vintage cars, but I had a side hobby - a much older one - as a painter. It was whilst I was painting a picture of the local church, a lady came up and admired my work, and then took out of her pocket (I suppose) a packet no bigger than a pack of cigarettes, and looked at the church and went click and then at me and went click again, I asked her what was the thing, and she showed me. It was a little point a shoot camera and had instant pictures, I was amazed. Where did you get it, I enquired, and she replied Aldi’s, so off I shot to get one myself. That more or less was the day I laid down my brushes and paints, I immediately saw the potential, though in my eighties, and then went to a real camera shop and got myself a good Nikon camera and a host of lenses, this was financed by the fact I also sold my entire Vintage Car fleet, and had cash to burn so to speak, and then the bug bit me, and I was off.
I joined the local camera Club and saw what they did and roughly how they did it, everything was secret, some didn’t like to divulge what they knew or didn’t so it was more or less self teaching. Went to a friend's house and he had some PSA magazines and he gave them to me, next thing was obviously, I joined. In the old days, I did the same with the Army - went out virtually shopping and came back a signed up soldier. From that point on I started entering competitions via the magazine, and more I suppose by good luck started to get acceptances, from then on it was hard work getting the right ones, but I tried and succeeded, and will carry on.
Every day of my life I am out there somewhere usually at dawn with my cameras, looking and searching for that elusive thing, “that shot” be it an animal or landscape. In landscape of course you have to be there when the light is at its best and where I live that means dawn. It has gotten so now that I am very rarely out there alone, someone wants to come, and see and try and I willingly show them all I know though limited, I do have certain skills that are necessary to a photographer, being art trained, I know what a picture should look like and how to balance the thing and where to get the light. In wildlife knowing the country as I do, and the animals and birds I can roughly say where they are and what they will be doing, so I am very usually in the right spot at the right time. The trick then, is getting the right picture.
I find it infinitely easier to show someone what to do with his camera and set it than write a spiel about the procedure, I’ve found you virtually need different things at different times, so basically there just isn’t a “Do it all” setting, but always remember the old Army adage, KISS, Keep it simple Stupid, it works, I’ve proved it.Ken lives in Queensland, Australia, and earned his PPSA in 2014.