My greatest support is my ever-patient and tolerant wife.

She arrived on the scene knowing photography would take some priority in our lives. This may involve her waiting in or around the car for hours alone while I could be metres or kilometres away. Having said that, though, she does see a lot of new country, and country not many people see. Sometimes we go to places where no one else has been at that time of day.

It is usually ‘naturally’ silent. Natural silence occurs when human noises are just not there. The sea crashes onto coastlines of sand or stone, the wind causes waves on the river to lap against the bank. Natural silence occurs in synergy with wildlife – whether clad in feathers, fins and scales or fur. The cries and calls of all fauna make the dynamics complete and create my happy place.

My wife enjoys the outdoors more each year, and as we make a concerted effort to avoid crowded places, we see more of New Zealand together and this helps us to grow and appreciate each other all the more.

She has her roles as I do, both at home and away from home and this works well for us. Looking after each other means being aware, becoming one and using our senses, observing body language and making decisions ahead of when we normally would to ease the other’s pain where possible.

At home, she looks after our hut and all within, with my assistance at times when she’s not up to it. My role is outdoors – tending our hut and rental property with its fruit trees, gardens, and ageing orchard house.

My wife also tends to my wellbeing and ensures I have meals, clothing, and meds sorted using dispensing aids so I only have to take a portion and never have to wonder or worry what they are. (Handy when I’m away.)

Because of my driven nature, keeping the reins tight so I don’t overdo stuff in the weekends can be a mission. Either I attempt to be more aware of the pain and stiffness that’ll arrive in shiploads in two to three days’ time and ride it out silently or, thinking of her worrying about me, I’ll stop and save some tasks for the following weekend. To be honest, it’s usually the first option, although she does pull rank and stand there, stating the obvious so it’s tools away for me.

I need my photography outlet as an antidote to a stressful working week in an environment that is intent on keeping production machinery in operation, concurrent with any modifications to plant and people safety. Each 10 to 12 hour shift often feels like minutes, yet can also feel like forever.

I have to call on the power of the mind, and the constant drive to man up internally (as I’ve had to do since childhood) can be tough. Emotions are often stifled at source. My motto is: Keep the faith, keep it real, refocus; continue serving, keep striving and never ever give up. This has worked for me and will continue to work, because it has to.

When things get heavy at work; when life gets a little too much, my wife’s generous soul and kind heart keep me hooked and anchored to our wee part of this earth. We don’t talk much, though we are constantly on the same wavelength and often have the same thought simultaneously.

Co-dependence is necessary, as there is no one else to provide assistance – no family members or friends we can call on. This is rarely an issue as we’ve been this way all our married life, and this is how it will continue to be.