Taree photographer receives industry accolades

Alan Small
Alan Small

“I THOUGHT someone was pulling my leg.”

The past month has been a whirlwind of national award recognition for Taree photographer Alan Small.

He’s been named a Pentax Legend (one of three in Australia), and won the Australia-wide Tamron Best Shots Photo Competition as well as the Camera House sponsored Macro series.

Alan admits he was surprised to receive the first call, and when the second one came through he asked who it was because he thought someone was pulling his leg – but no, they were genuine.

Pentax chose him as a legend based on a series of nature pictures he took on behalf of Pentax.

Many of the images have been placed on the Pentax website in an interview titled Master Class.

“It was a requirement that I do a master class, and not only show the pictures but I had to indicate how I took them,” he explained.

The stand out macro image from that collection, which also won him the other two competitions, was of a preying mantis “practising his moves” only 24 hours after hatching from his chrysalis.

“It’s created a bit of interest, and comments from around the world.”

‘Mantis’ was one of 50 images Alan submitted to Pentax, and they took into account his work from the past two years when considering him for legendary status.

“It was a bit of a surprise.

“I don’t really try very hard to enter competitions. I just like my photography and occasionally people say, have you entered this?”

Alan has been a keen photographer ever since his father gave him his first camera at the age of seven.

“Photography is a bit of a disease. If you catch that disease you better be careful. There’s no cure.”

He started macro photography at the age of 20, which he said opened up a whole new world, and it now comprises 40 per cent of his work.

The successful shot of the preying mantis was no accident (like all of his work).

He had found 20 to 30 chrysalis’ in his garden and, knowing exactly what they were, kept them in the sun and watched them until they hatched.

It was then he got to work.

“This one is only a centimetre long, not fully grown and only 24 hours old.

“He climbed up on a leaf and sat up and started practising his moves”.

Alan enjoyed taking photos of the preying mantis newborns.

“They’re wonderful creatures.”

As the winner of the Tamron competition he has won an SP AF10-24mm, the ultimate extended range, ultra-wide-angle zoom lens.

Alan’s camera of choice is the Pentax K5, which he has used since its release.

The photos on show at his Taree Camera House, as well as his competition winners, have all been taken using that camera.

“It’s like everything else. It suits me, I like it and I can hear it thinking.”

That being said, he’s a fan of all the good brands and said he could take the photos on all of them.