Once upon a time a week's worth of delivering the New Zealand Herald paid for a roll of film.

And when you're a "young fella" with a Kodak Box Brownie and a passion for taking photographs, early starts, even on cold winter mornings, are a small sacrifice to make.

Just ask Otakiri man Wayne Feisst.

"I had an interest in photography at school so I got a job that made enough money that meant I could buy that one roll of film a week," he said.

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"As a member of the school camera club, a friend and I would spend a day taking pictures then use the school's darkroom to develop and create."

Growing up, a flash camera was but a dream knowing it was well outside his and his family's means.

Photography was left behind as Mr Feisst gained qualifications in the automotive industry before a switch to farming two decades ago.

In 2011 his passion for motorbikes resulted in a life-changing injury.

"I shattered a few bits and pieces in my spine and my wife decided that was well enough of motorbikes. So I bought myself an entry level camera and took a few pictures."

It was a "bad patch" shortly after the accident that meant the camera was shelved once again.

"It was probably about 14 months ago I saw a photo Mark Gee had taken of the night sky and I fell in love with photography again. I love shooting stars, sunrises and sunsets."

Mr Feisst describes himself as an enthusiastic amateur photographer, aiming to show the ordinary in a different light, and he loves wide field astrophotography the most.

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It was an image captured from close to the East Cape Lighthouse that saw the photographer's popularity increase exponentialy.


"I took that one shot and things just went crazy from there," he said. "It's been amazing."
The photo shows the Milky Way and Venus, with Mercury rising from a dip in an offshore island.

His affair with astrophotography has also landed Mr Feisst in the top six of an international online photography competition. The next thing to propel his talent forward was lightning strikes during last week's storm.

"Since putting the storm photos on social media, I've been getting messages from all over the world and friend requests have been arriving at a rapid rate. It took me two-and-a-half hours to go through my Facebook notifications one day last week," he laughed.

That's resulted in "one or two paying jobs".

"Right now I'm a dairy farmer by day and a photographer by night. I am hoping to take photography from the sideline and make it the main game."
To see more of Mr Feisst's pictures, got to his Feisty Pics Facebook page.