NOTE: This is an article I wrote for one of my journalism classes. It’s not posted anywhere else so I decided to post it on here.
Samruay Sinclaire stood still underneath a large tree, her Nikon in hand. She silently adjusted the cameras lens until it focused in on her target, a great horned owl. Perched on a branch high in the tree, it took no notice of her.
The surrounding area was silent, a cool breeze passed by. Sinclaire took a couple of deep breaths, calming herself. Just then, the owl peered down at her. She took her chance and snapped a perfect shot, a victory for being calm and patient.
Sinclaire began taking photos in 2008 as a way to help relieve the stresses of daily life. At the time, she was under a lot of stress working about her teenaged son and dealing with being bullied at work. Her husband was suffering trauma from his days covering stories in Vietnam and had developed paranoid tendencies that worried Sinclaire. She felt tired physically and mentally and needed a way to get her mind off of things.
“When you get out and try to take good pictures, your mind is focused on the thing. You want to do your best, and nature pictures bring no pressure to mind. Sometimes it even makes you laugh when you see unexpected things,” says Sinclaire.
Sinclaire was born in Chonburi, Thailand on Jan. 28, 1961. She and her two younger siblings were raised by their parents on two acres of land. Their mother ran a convenience store on the land while their father tended their vegetable garden. In 1978, on the advice of her mother, Sinclaire went to nursing school for one year and then spent eight years at the Ramkhamhaeng University where she earned a degree in philosophy.
In 1990 she met her husband Michael Sinclaire, who freelanced and worked for the Thailand Times. It wasn’t love at first sight, but Sinclaire says they hung out often. Then, a year later they got married, and soon after had their son “Mikey.” In 1996 the family moved to Fredericton.
Sinclaire worked various jobs where she was the caregiver for elderly at their home. Later, she began working at the York Care Centre to help her husband make ends meet and put money away for her son’s tuition. On top of that, some of her co-workers harassed her on the job. Working became a large source of stress for Sinclaire.
Around the year 2000, Sinclaire’s husband started showing symptoms of PTSD, So Sinclaire told her husband, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll work and you take care of our kid.” She says she’s very thankful for how her husband has helped raise their son.
Sinclaire decided to take up photography. At first, she took photos of anything and everything. Then, as she began teaching herself how to take better photos, she chose nature as her favourite subject of choice. Everything from plants, flowers, and scenery to eagles, squirrels and raccoons.
“Try to take a picture of a bird. You try to zoom in and the bird moves. You try to focus and zoom the lens and concentrate; make yourself be quiet, calm yourself. And you forget about your thoughts and your stress. For me, it [photography] helps me way beyond that.”
Her photography has not only helped ease her stress, but it also opened her up to the rest of the world. Sinclaire has become an admin of a photography Facebook group called “Photographes du Monde”.
Sinclaire has earned a following for her photography on a website called YouPic. She has over 17,000 followers and her photos have been viewed over six million times. Sinclaire’s very proud of what she’s accomplished with her photography and says she’s become friends with photographers from all over the world.
“We’ve never met face to face, but we talk and compliment each other [on their photographs]. It’s amazing,” says Sinclaire.
Sinclaire says she doesn’t worry about the past or the future, she only thinks about the present.
Sinclaire says the only thing she wishes to do now is to visit Newfoundland and take photographs of icebergs. She wants to continue taking photos all over Canada, and she’s been to almost every country in the world.
“I don’t have a lot of money, but I did it,” says Sinclaire.
NOTE: Click here to view Sinclaire’s photography.