About Chris Wain
I live in a small but picturesque village near Welshpool in beautiful rural Mid Wales. Situated not too far from the border with England my central location means that I am able to explore and photograph anywhere from the Pembrokeshire Coast to the Lake District within a three hour journey of my home.
I first moved to Mid Wales when I was ten years old; however, I started life a long way from Wales. I was born in Zambia, Africa, my parents had moved out there to work as teachers in a school in Ndola just after they were married. Unfortunately, it isn't a time that I remember because we returned to the UK before I was two years old but it is a fact that still gets me a few second glances when I'm heading through passport control! Most of my early childhood was then spent in Derby, in the Midlands, until the move to Mid Wales and, aside from a few years at Manchester University and time spent travelling, I have lived in and around this area of Wales ever since.
I have always enjoyed being outdoors, hiking a lot from a young age. Most of the time I had a point and shoot camera with me to take a few photos as I went along so I could show my family the views when I got back. During that time I’d taken some photos that I really liked and, probably more importantly to me wanting to develop my photography further, my family and friends liked too.
I decided to purchase my first DSLR camera (a Nikon D5100) in 2012 and immediately I wanted to know how to use the camera to its full potential. So I started using the internet, books and magazines to teach myself more about photography and headed out into the countryside to practice as often as possible. However, I didn’t start post processing my images until a few years later and it was only then that I found that both the creative and technical sides of my personality were being satisfied by photography and along with enhancing my love of the outdoors, I was hooked from that point onwards.
Snowdonia Goats: The first time I'd really thought about the composition of a photo
Foel Fadien: My first attempt at post processing an image in Lightroom
Landscape photography was always going to be the natural choice for me, I’d always had an interest in not only the look of a landscape but also how it was formed and that interest only increased as I grew older, choosing to study both Geography and Geology at A level and then achieving a degree in Physical Geography.
I find that landscape photography spurs me on to travel to new places, both home and abroad. I get excited when I’m in a beautiful landscape and I believe photography always pushes me to explore a little further and look a little closer at the places I visit. When I am out taking photos I find that, no matter what is happening in my day to day life, all other thoughts disappear and all that I concentrate on is where I am, appreciate what I'm looking at and how it makes me feel. I have always aimed to try and pass on some of those same feelings to others through my photography and, at the very least, inspire them to visit the landscapes I photograph to experience it for themselves.
Cwm Cau, Cader Idris, Snowdonia National Park, Wales
In 2016 I set up Black Key Photography and created this website, initially as a place I could show my photography to my family and friends who had given me plenty of encouragement with my early photography and had suggested that I create somewhere I could display my work to a wider audience.
Over the following year I started to receive quite a few requests from companies and magazines to use my photographs on their websites as well as numerous people from all over the world asking where they could purchase my work as prints. It was then that the process of turning my passion for photography into a business that I could potentially earn a full time living from began. I created a shop on my website so that those wanting to purchase prints could do so easily and began advertising in local magazines as well as licensing some of my images for commercial use.
At the same time I decided that I needed to work on improving my photography further and made the decision to leave the windowless office I’d spent the previous ten years working in to fulfill my lifelong dream to travel to New Zealand. I set off for New Zealand in November 2017 knowing only where my plane would land and where I would spend my first few nights, the only plan I had was to explore and photograph as much of New Zealand as I possibly could.
Twelve months later and almost 40,000 km of exploring in my camper van “Jeff” I knew New Zealand like the back of my hand and my photography had vastly improved. I’d been through the remnants of two cyclones, experienced my first earthquakes, hiked over 1000 km, woken up to views of Mount Cook, Mount Ruapehu and Mount Taranaki and visited most of the filming locations for The Lord of the Rings. I’d stretched my visa to its very last minute but was still very reluctant to head to the airport and leave the country I had wanted to visit for so long and that had surpassed anything I could possibly have imagined.
Tasman Lake, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand
St Arnaud Range, Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand
I wasn’t quite done with my exploring though and headed over to Australia to spend three months giving the South East Coast and Tasmania the same treatment, and managed another 10,000 km of exploring in the time I had there. Christmas 2018 was spent in a forest in Kangaroo Valley hiding from mosquitoes in my campervan with only a tuna sandwich and a mince pie for my Christmas dinner and 2019 was welcomed in with a sunrise on the summit of Mount Kosciuszko, the highest mountain on the Australian mainland. I spent two weeks avoiding wildfires in Tasmania, a week dodging Emu’s in Wilson’s Prom and a few days hiding from lightning and giant hailstones in the Blue Mountains as well as spending time in two of my favourite cities in the world, Sydney and Melbourne.
Finally, after fifteen months of exploring it was time to return to the UK and, despite my adventure of a lifetime coming to an end, I was looking forward to using the new photography skills I had picked up on my travels to photograph the beautiful British landscape and I was and still am more determined than ever to turn my photography into my career.
This hard work still continues...
Thanks for taking the time to find out a little bit more about me, I hope you enjoy looking through my Portfolio and that my photographs inspire you to visit these beautiful landscapes for yourselves.
If you would like to help support my photography please have a browse through my Shop and consider purchasing one of my Fine Art prints. Alternatively, you can make a donation through the Paypal link below, both are greatly appreciated.