Ian adjusts his focus on life
THERE'S a great buzz that comes with any new discovery.
For retiree Ian Ward, that buzz came when he discovered his love of photography.
It was even more satisfying when he realised he might actually be good at it.
It may never have taken off, though, if he had not suffered a heart attack in January 2010.
"It made me take stock of what's important. It was a wake-up call," Mr Ward said.
"The doctor said to get out and smell the flowers, and it made me realise the elements of natural beauty in Australia."
Mr Ward, 59, had been exposed to photographers, designers and graphic artists virtually all his working life.
He spent some 37 years at APN, the company that publishes the Sunshine Coast Daily, working most recently as ad services manager, so he always had involvement in composition and design.
While he admired the work of the newspaper photographers, and even worked in the camera room from time to time, life was busy and full of other priorities, so he never took things further at the time.
"Being a family man through those years I could not justify the expense of getting seriously involved in photography, but I still loved working with the great photos of staff photographers," he said.
But his health scare preceded his retirement and, with more time on his hands, he needed a pastime.
Last October his wife Susan reminded him of photography. He went ahead and finally took it up and he hasn't looked back since.
The many years spent poring over paper and ink, and analysing page layouts and composition is now being utilised in a new way through his own creative pursuit.
"I love capturing the essence and spirit of life, people and sports in so many ways, and it is so uplifting to have these special moments captured forever, a continual source of joy for so many people," Mr Ward said.
"When you see the joy on people's faces, and what they share with you of its importance to them, that is so satisfying to me."
Mr Ward has been a lifelong fan of motor sport and had the opportunity recently to be a trackside
photographer at the Winter Nationals drag racing event at Willowbank, near Ipswich.
He said it was an adventure he would never forget.
"To have 16,000 horsepower coming past you and you're only five metres away from one of these cars, and they're travelling faster than a bullet; that would be the experience of my life in motor sport," he said.
Photography teacher Andrew Goodall, of Natures Image Photography at Montville, said it was rare to master the art of photography quickly.
"Some people have a real flair for the technology and gadgetry and some others have a flair artistically, but it's rare to have both," Mr Goodall said.
He said some photographers just had a natural knack to take it to a higher level in terms of artistry.
As for Mr Ward, so far he is self-taught, but he will attend his first course next month to fine-tune the technical understanding of his camera.
"I have loved every moment of the adventures of the steep learning curve to try to be good at it as soon as possible," Mr Ward said.
"I love life in its purest form and feel privileged to be able to harness it at its captivating, refreshing, expressive best.
"I know the end result of what I want to capture in each photograph and I sure am keenly grasping every element of knowledge with all the manual presets for light, colour and speed variables as soon as possible.
"That's the tough bit, but I sure am loving the exciting high-speed journey with the results far exceeding what I expected.
"I appreciate so much every element of amazing photographic journey. Only eight months into it, the best is yet to come."