The South Wales Argus Camera Club has more than 4,200 members and we regularly feature their pictures both in paper and online.
But we thought it would be good to find out more about the people who make up the club.
If you are a member of the club and want to be part of the our Behind the Lens feature go to www.southwalesargus.co.uk/behindthelens and fill out the easy to use Q&A.
Today we feature Leah Challenger, a 30-year-old student from Tredegar.
When and why did you take up photography?
I’ve always been a keen photographer, with an education and interest in many art forms. But since having my daughter in May 2017, I’ve pursued a career in photography, currently studying my third year of a degree at the University of South Wales.
Why do you love taking pictures?
I am one of seven siblings, with a brood of 11 soon to be 12 children between us. We weren’t a wealthy family by far, but my mother always had a disposable camera at hand on birthdays and special occasions. Today she has a bookcase stretching almost to the ceiling filled with albums of us as kids and now our kids too. My favourite thing to do is flick through the photographs. My mother had a habit of writing who was in each photograph and when it was taken, on the back – which I’ve continued as tradition. It’s a wonderful thing remembering those who maybe aren’t around anymore, remembering the memories, comparing how our house and the street looked long ago to now. Holding those moments that have passed, in my hand and having the ability to see them again, if only a second’s worth, is simply magical.
Where is your favourite place to take pictures?
I enjoy nature and landscape photography most, simply because I love my home here in the Valleys. We are surrounded by glorious, vast green spaces which too many of us take for granted. I hope the lockdown has reminded people what luxuries we have at our feet.
What equipment do you use?
I currently use a Canon EOS 750D with a selection of fixed and zoom lenses, my most used being the 18-55mm. I also have the IPhone 11 Pro, which has a pretty good camera.
Leah’s favourite picture of a Highland cow
What is the favourite picture you have taken?
I recently shot some Highland cows at Y Domen Fawr, it was such a shock seeing them and they looked amazing in the snow. I was even questioned if I’d recently visited Scotland. I also love to photograph my daughter Harrie (three) and my dog Hendrix (seven).
Harrie (three) and Hendrix, the German shepherd cross, (seven)
Why did you join the SWACC?
I love to see other people’s images, especially because they’re local and I can take inspiration for my own images and ideas for places to adventure. There is a wide range of ages on SWACC. I love to see people from all walks of life enjoy the same hobbies as myself. The constructive criticism and appreciation for my images is also very beneficial to my progression.
Nicole and Nicholas’ wedding at Bedwelty Park, December 2020
If you could photograph anyone or any place who/what would it be and why?
I would love to travel and photograph all of the worlds many wonders. The northern lights, Angel Falls in Venezuela, Scotland’s Enchanted Forest, to name a few.
What advice would you give anyone who wants to get into photography?
Just get out and shoot. Take photos of everything and anything with any means you have available. I would also recommend the photography department at Crosskeys college. Particularly the creative industries foundation degree photography in conjunction with University of South Wales. I completed the course in 2020 and even with the end effected by the lockdown I thoroughly enjoyed my two years.