Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gary Irwin

I was bitten by the wildlife/birding photography bug a couple of years ago and started reading everything I could on the subject on various photography forums. I kept running across this “Ray Barlow” guy posting incredible avian photos on various forums. What impressed me nearly as much as the incredible quality of Ray’s images was his willingness to offer suggestions and assistance to those who asked questions. I personally found Ray’s down home friendliness, candor and willingness to share his enthusiasm and knowledge refreshing in a hobby where it seems many are so secretive and not really willing to share all of their hard-earned knowledge.

So out of frustration one day last summer I sent Ray an unsolicited email for help. I have to say that I was taken aback by Ray’s response. Ray didn’t know me from Adam, but he not only answered every question I had in detail but went on to offer additional, extremely valuable tips. Over the past year we correspond frequently and I`ve attended several of his workshops which I found very cost effective and really useful for improving my photography skills.

Ray Barlow has become my “virtual mentor” as well as a friend, as almost everything that I`ve learned in this hobby was instilled by Ray – and I say that having read the works from many famous professionals such as Arthur Morris. Ray’s simple, uncomplicated common sense approaches to this hobby make sense – and just work.

So if you are looking to learn something new in this great hobby don’t hesitate to contact Ray and ask him a question or two. Aside from learning something new, you may also be lucky enough to have found a new friend in this wonderful hobby too.

After a while if you think the information is valuable enough, consider a small stipend to keep Ray in business. Relative to all the money I’ve invested in this hobby the modest contributions I’ve given Ray in appreciation for his valuable services have been - by far - the single best investment I’ve made in this hobby.

Gary Irwin

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