Bob Birch

Bob Birch
Bob Birch

My interest in photography started back in the late 60’s after saving for and buying a second-hand 35 mm Ilford Sportsman to record my passion of hill walking and old mine exploration.  As an Engineering Apprentice at the Dolgarrog Aluminium Corporation, I could only use the camera sparingly due to the cost and development of film.  The quality of images produced was relatively poor and the camera itself eventually met its demise after being dropped over a cliff!

In following years, I had little time for mountain photography due to a career away from North Wales.

In 1983 I re-discovered my love of the great outdoors when an appointment as Lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo brought me back to Conwy.  Over the next decade I accumulated a large collection of somewhat mediocre “snaps” using a succession of compact 35 mm cameras all of which tended to succumb to the rigors of alpine damp and dust.

During the 90’s a more durable water-resistant Olympus compact was in constant use recording images using 35 mm colour slide film while I lead groups in the mountains.

My wife Chris and I, have taken every opportunity to backpack or cycle over long-distance routes in the UK and abroad.  Out of necessity, a small rugged camera, rather than a bulky fragile SLR, has always been an essential accompaniment.

In 2005 I retired as Head of Registry from College Llandrillo.  All activity in the great outdoors went on hold for three years while we worked full time to self-build our own eco-home in Conwy.  The flexibility, economy, and superior image quality of my first digital camera when recording incremental stages of the build quickly convinced me to completely abandon 35 mm slide film.

My photography has always been opportunistic “grab shots” while travelling, I rarely go out with the primary aim of just taking images.  Membership of Conwy Camera Club since 2008 has helped me to learn a considerable amount and improve the quality of my images. Until recently, my accompanying camera of choice has been a high-end Canon compact enclosed in a waterproof case!

Having succumbed to the allure of a mirrorless full frame digital camera with an associated collection of lenses, my images have improved in the last couple of years.   I do however find weight, bulk (and concerns for costly damage) to be a limiting factor when walking out in the hills on rough terrain.

Likewise, my current full frame kit is totally impractical for cycle touring, and for the moment I am “making do” with a decent waterproof camera phone!