Jay col­lier, canon col­lec­tive am­bas­sador

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By any mea­sure the Canon Col­lec­tive pro­gram is an am­bi­tious one. The key ob­jec­tive is to as­sist pho­tog­ra­phers at all lev­els to im­prove their skills, but the pro­gram’s scope and ex­tent is un­like any­thing that’s been seen in Aus­tralia be­fore. Jay Col­lier, who is a Canon Col­lec­tive Am­bas­sador, ex­plains, “Canon Col­lec­tive pro­vides out­stand­ing pho­to­graphic ex­pe­ri­ences and work­shops which cater for all lev­els of pho­tog­ra­phy, from begin­ners to in­ter­me­di­ate to ad­vanced, and across ev­ery type of pho­tog­ra­phy you can imag­ine, pro­vid­ing around 50 work­shops across Aus­tralia each week.

“As a Canon Col­lec­tive am­bas­sador, my role is to de­velop and de­liver pho­to­graphic work­shops across Vic­to­ria weekly. Work­shops span a wide ar­ray of sub­jects and styles, and cater to any­one with a pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy re­gard­less of where they are with their ex­pe­ri­ence as pho­tog­ra­phers. Am­bas­sadors also pro­duce high-end ex­pe­ri­ences and in­ter­na­tional photo tours, tak­ing guests to some of the great­est pho­to­graphic des­ti­na­tions in the world with a com­plete com­ple­ment of Canon gear.”

One of these high-end ex­pe­ri­ences was a re­cent trip to Lake Eyre to wit­ness a rare flood­ing (see the im­ages on these pages).

“The re­cent four-day tour to Lake Eyre was a con­cept I had been de­vel­op­ing over the past two years. The tour it­self was to take a small group on an aerial and land­scape-based tour of Lake Eyre that would pro­vide all the guests with am­ple op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate some truly unique im­ages from the air and on the ground. With ten hours of air­time avail­able, we were able to shoot with the air­craft’s rear cargo door open, which is a great ad­van­tage when tak­ing aerial land­scapes for un­in­ter­rupted views. This al­lowed four guests to be seated with clear views out of the door, and also for guests to ro­tate seat­ing po­si­tions when the door was closed mid-flight. Each flight gave guests three hours at a time to ex­plore Lake Eyre South, Lake Eyre North and also the truly unique painted hills.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, the Canon Col­lec­tive sup­plied full­frame 35mm SLRs and var­i­ous lenses for the guests to try out — al­though Jay says many mem­bers al­ready have either their own EOS 5D Mark IV or EOS-1D X Mark II. The lenses avail­able in­cluded the 16-35mm, 24-105mm, 70-200mm and 100-400mm.

Jay Col­lier has been a keen pho­tog­ra­pher since his days at high school.

“I started back in Year Nine when pho­tog­ra­phy be­came an elec­tive sub­ject. I re­call the day I shot and de­vel­oped my first roll of black and white film, see­ing the first photo ap­pear un­der the red safe lights of my high school dark­room. I was in­stantly hooked.

“From school I worked ex­ten­sively in the mu­sic in­dus­try, pho­tograph­ing live mu­sic and do­ing PR work for many of Aus­tralia’s and over­seas' big­gest bands. From 2004 I trav­elled Africa and found my true call­ing as a wildlife pho­tog­ra­pher. I've been lead­ing pho­to­graphic tours to Africa since 2009 pro­fes­sion­ally, and have worked for Canon Aus­tralia since 2006.

“African wildlife is my big­gest pas­sion as a pho­tog­ra­pher, hav­ing trav­elled year-on-year since 2004 to many of Africa’s great wildlife lo­ca­tions. Hav­ing worked with Canon and also work­ing as a photo guide for De­nis Glen­non from Iconic Im­ages In­ter­na­tional since 2010 has seen me spe­cialise in this field with many hours un­der my belt.

“As a Canon Col­lec­tive am­bas­sador I teach many styles of pho­tog­ra­phy and I’m just as com­fort­able teach­ing stu­dio light­ing tech­niques as I am lon­glens tech­nique on sa­fari… and ev­ery other type of pho­tog­ra­phy in be­tween. I truly feel that while the tech­ni­cal side of pho­tog­ra­phy is im­por­tant, the cre­ative side is far more im­por­tant. I feel great pho­tog­ra­phers are not too far re­moved from great mu­si­cians and it’s those with a nat­u­ral flair or eye or cre­ative com­po­si­tion and work that stand out above the highly tech­ni­cal. Pho­to­graphic style is what I feel makes all the dif­fer­ence when work jumps out at me.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Canon Col­lec­tive and de­tails of up­com­ing events hap­pen­ing around Aus­tralia visit www.canon.com.au/col­lec­tive

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