Ron Strathdee

by Lisa Corkish 18th July 2014

Ron Strathdee


We regularly feature photos by the talented Ron Strathdee so we were delighted to hear Ron is having his first Exhibition shortly. On now at the Erin Arts Centre.


Here's our interview with Ron from last year with a sample of just a couple of his photos.


Ron, photography is presumably a hobby for you as you are a busy Principal Marine Surveyor for the Island's Marine Administration, how and when did you start taking photos?


I started doing photography, in its digital format, about 7 years ago after thinking that I needed a hobby that was a bit more involved than watching sport on the TV or Colby FC. I have always enjoyed taking photos.  My first real camera was a Zenit E and it was the cheapest SLR camera you could buy. This was a long time ago whilst at college in the mid seventies and I still have some photos I took with it of Queen in concert at the old Apollo theatre in Glasgow.


Ron Strathdee


With the smart phone era "everyone is a photographer" but surely there is more to it than that?


Smart phones and compact digital cameras are getting so sophisticated that you can take stunning photos with them and they are ideal for capturing that view that will only last a few minutes or the action shot that just appears in front of you. I always have my camera gear in the car to save me saying "I wish I had a camera" but as it weighs about 14kg there are definitely times when I should just have something in my pocket.


Digital images have opened up the field to everyone, from the family snapper to the amateur and serious amateur, to learn more when taking photos - and then deleting if it doesn't work - but to get consistent results it does help to know why the picture is too dark or too light and how to correct it. If people are interested in improving the photos they take, or find out what they are doing wrong, then I always recommend looking in the newsagents as there are a variety of excellent magazines that will cover from the basics, through the advanced techniques, to help you understand what is involved in taking a great photo consistently. Once you find a magazine you like than buy it for a few months and it will make a difference, and I should know - that is how I've learned photography.  Yes there is more to it, but if you want to improve then with some enthusiasm and by following a few basic rules your photographs should improve immensely.


Ron Strathdee


Do you need to spend lots of money to take a good photo?


You can take a good photo with any camera or smart phone though if you want to do sporting events like the TT, or capturing wildlife, then you do have to spend money to get a camera with a good telescopic lens to get you close to the action. 


Do you have a favourite camera?


I have had a few different makes over the years but since it became a serious hobby I have stayed with Canon equipment as you can't afford to just change to another manufacturer, especially if you buy additional lenses as they are not interchangeable. If you are starting off then it is best to try a friend's camera for a bit and see if you like how it feels and what it can do.



Ron Strathdee



Do you "plan" your photos or potter off on a whim? 


Both.  There are some views on the Island that change so much at different times of the day and throughout the year because of the position of the sun, then you throw in changing weather, it does take planning to get the best combination. You can set out thinking it is an ideal time to get that photo and then something isn't quite right so it can take months, or even having to wait till the next year if you miss something like bluebells in Spring, or the colours of Autumn leaves.


I try and train myself not to go out and just take lots of photos, but it still isn't working as my computer must have about 10,000 Isle of Man photos on it. 


Ron Strathdee


Tell us about your all-time favourite photograph.


That is a hard one. If you want to know my favourite place for taking photos on the Island then it would have to be Niarbyl.  For a favourite photo, then, as I do really enjoy getting out on a dark night to take a sky full of stars, it would have to be Bradda Head with the Milky Way.    


If you could take a photograph anywhere in the world where would you choose?  And if it's somewhere tropical can I come with please?


So many places and very kind of you to offer!  My ambition is to do some photography of volcanoes so I would say Hawaii, but would settle for Iceland as it has such dramatic scenery.


Photos - Copyright Ron Strathdee.

Posted by Yabsta
18th July 2014 8:13 pm.
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