THE South Wales Argus Camera Club has more than 4,500 members and we regularly feature their pictures both in paper and online.

But we thought it would be good to find out more about the people who make up the club.

If you are a member of the club and want to be part of the our Behind the Lens feature go to and fill out the easy to use Q&A.

Today we meet Phil Watkins, 49, from Pontypool.

South Wales Argus: Me in Minehead

When and why did you take up photography?

I took up aerial photography a few years ago after watching a documentary on drone photography, thinking I can do that. Not knowing the first thing about drones, my wife bought one from a well known gadget shop in Cwmbran.

Excited I unwrapped it and headed out for my first adventure in Pontypool Park - oh it was a disaster.

The drone shot up 30ft and came crashing to ground. Trying to hold my disappointment back, I had to do the walk of shame collecting this pile of broken pieces of plastic.

South Wales Argus: Pontypool Park

Pontypool Park

I got back home and told my wife what happened, downhearted I wasn't going to let this hiccup from stopping me doing what I had my heart set on. A few weeks later I bought a professional drone and never looked back. It was the best thing that I did.

I have a disability which stops me or slows me down, and it's this that helps me to push myself to my limit helping to forget about the pain and aches that I suffer with on a day to day basis.

South Wales Argus: The Bowling Ground, Fishpond Park

The Bowling Ground, Fishpond Park

Why do you love taking pictures?

Aerial photography is a different class of photography, and the birds eye view on landmarks can be really breathtaking.

I know drones have had bad press over the years but not all drone pilots are not like that.

I enjoy explaining to members of the public and the word 'wow' is common when I show them a live view. But I feel free and at peace when I am taking my shots just like a bird - my drone's camera is just an extension to mine.

A half hour's flight can feel like a few hours, and it's a different sight on every movement I make.

I can be at my limit of 400ft or just six inches, but everyday is a new day and it pushes me to get the best out of my photography.

South Wales Argus: Pontypool and Bleanavon Railway.

Pontypool and Bleanavon Railway

Where is your favourite place to take pictures and why?

Every place I go is a favourite. It's different excitement adrenaline rush when you take to the sky. The place I like would be The Folly, Pontypool. I'm usually drawn to the place.

he first light on a summer's day shining over the tower, the atmosphere is charged. Many of other photographers in Pontypool can say the same and will agree, but generally I'm all over the county.

What equipment do you use?

DJI Spark DJI Mavic Pro DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Sony Cyber-shot Bridge Camera

What is the favourite picture you have taken and why?

Is it Griffithstown or Sebastopol? The road layout fascinates me. Did the development architect at the time have a view for art, I don't know, but this one really foxes me every time. Perhaps a reader out there knows and would like to update me.

South Wales Argus: The Eclipse Sebastopol/Griffthstown

The Eclipse Sebastopol/Griffithstown

Why did you join the SWACC?

I like viewing other member's photographs, and really seeing the quality in the work. It makes me want to be at that standard. But generally I enjoy sharing photographs that I have taken.

What advice would you give anyone who wants to get into photography?

Aerial photography is quite taxing and can put a lot of people off this kind of hobby. People's privacy and safety is always the number one priority, but the laws have changed over the past year. Now you have to take a course to show that you are a competent drone pilot.

I have taken a course to help me stay within the law and fly safe.

I have an A2 CofC and am looking forward to the next drone course, the GVC, which opens up my hobby even more. But if you can get past all of the rules and regulations and have the right kit you can the possibilities are endless.

If you could photograph anyone or any place who/what would it be and why?

I would love to go to Alaska or some place like this, it would be my place of heaven. The sights, the wildlife the Aurora Borealis - bliss.