The 2017 Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition is now open for entries, and we’ll be catching up with our final category winners from the 2016 competition during this year’s event. In this instalment, we talk to the winner of the 2016 Junior category, Yuto Matsuda, about what he’s been working on since his win last year.
D-Photo: What made you decide to enter the 2016 D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition?
Yuto Matsuda: I was introduced to this competition by a friend.
What was it like to have such a positive outcome in winning your category of the competition?
When I entered some of my photos I didn’t really expect anything from it, however winning this competition really helped me decide to take photography seriously. Seeing my photos in a magazine sold at any book store really made me feel like I achieved something.
Can you tell us the story behind your winning images?
First place photo: This image was taken just after moving in to a new house in the Goat Island area. It was the first sunset after moving in and a large print of this image is hanging on the wall of the new house.
Third place photo: On the morning I took this image I woke up at 2am to start hiking an 1800m mountain in Queenstown. I hiked the rough terrain of Ben Lomond track in the pitch dark only with a single torch. This was like climbing up an 1800m ladder with uneven steps in pitch dark not knowing how high I was. Because I was tramping by myself I had to set a 12-second timer on the camera before running about 90m into the picture where I am holding the torch at the night sky. I did this about 6 times to get the right exposure and the composition. It is the most work I put into a single image.
What gear did you use to capture your image? Are you using the same gear now or have you changed your preferred equipment?
I used a Pentax K50 for the images and a kit lens 18–55mm f3.5–5.6 and a Samyang 24mm f1.4 lens. I am still running on this camera combo.
What projects are you currently working on at the moment? Can you provide a bit of an explanation about what inspired you to work on this or these?
I recently went down to the South Island to do a road trip, where I took a couple of photos of Mt Cook. The inspiration for doing this was because of one of the big reasons I picked up photography a few years ago was from seeing images of the South Island (especially Mt Cook), on Instagram.
What would you say to someone considering entering the competition, but who are a little hesitant in clicking the ‘submit’ button?
What is there to lose by submitting your photos?