5 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started out in Photography

I got a little older this year an hopefully a little wiser which has left me pondering if I was to magically go back in time what advice would I give my younger self about photography. Apart from investing in three small unknown companies (Apple, Samsung and Facebook) I’ve come up with 5 top tips for my younger self.

1. Take your camera everywhere you go

Taking your camera everywhere you go will pay off in so many ways. You will learn how to use your camera and all of its idiosyncrasies, you will take lots of photos which will help to improve your photography. You might not capture every moment but you will start to see things happen before it happens and you will be better prepared to take that epic shot.

2. Canon vs Nikon vs Sony vs Fuji……..

is quite frankly bullshit! and its not worth getting into an argument over. In today’s world, everyone has a camera, its called the iPhone and Samsung. They sold more cameras than any other DSLR or Mirrorless manufacture did in 2018, sure they have a smartphone attached to them but they all have a camera. Have camera – will take photos.

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I’m not sure how many DSLR or mirror less cameras were sold in 2018 but it won’t be anywhere close to these numbers from the 4th quarter of 2018, Samsung sold 70 million smartphone units and Apple sold just shy of 43 million units which begs the question. How many cameras (DSLR/Mirror less) do you see in the above photo?

3. Gear doesn’t matter

The older you get, the more you will realise that gear doesn’t matter, sure you need a camera and one or two lenses but you don’t need the best gear or the newest gear, you just need a camera to make photographs. Don’t waste your money and time except follow this simple principle – When it needs a service, get it serviced, when its broken get it repaired, when its passed broken its time to buy a new one.

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4. Printing your photos is important …..and awesome

I’ve uploaded more than my fair share of the 70 million photos to Instagram everyday  but if I was to stop doing photography today, my biggest regret would be that I haven’t printed enough. Having all of those photos sitting on a hard drive will only be forgotten about and never seen, never critiqued and never improved on.

5. Don’t be afraid to learn something new (or old)

There is this guy who is super passionate about his art, his eyes light up every time I talk to him about his style of photography. Even the near mention of a technique or the chemicals he uses to achieve an effect has the light in his eyes glow even brighter and he starts using his hands to talk. He is incredibly passionate and his name is Scotty, He runs The Travelling Alchemist using a really old school photographic process called “wet plate collodion” or “tintype”. I have found that after talking to him and being inspired I want to learn how he makes his photographs and develops the wet plate. So I figure the only way to see how its all done is get a portrait of my own. This shouldn’t be scary but I’m finding that I may not be as comfortable in front of the camera as I am behind it.

Bonus Tip – Photograph your loved ones…..and your fur pets children 

Don’t forget to photograph your loved ones. They’re important people in your life and they provide you with purpose and inspiration every day. They also provide a captured great  audience to practice your photography with and when that one day arrives you will have photographs you took to remember those special moments, those moments that can not be recaptured or replaced and your printed photos can be held and passed around to other family members as you remember the good times.

Happy Shooting

The Rocky Doughnut

The theme for this week’s photo challenge is Rock and while my initial thoughts were to photograph my family because they are my rock, it was at the point I find out that there is no way on Earth they would allow me take their photo and then publish them. I tried to sweeten the deal with a very poor attempt of including our two border collies however the two dogs were nowhere to be found either. So with little choice I’ve been forced to find an image from the archives.

I spotted this scene as I walked along the foreshore and intially had planned on lining up the sun with centre however it just didn’t work. So as the old saying goes, if at first the  composition doesn’t work, move three feet and its changed.

Happy Shooting

P.S I’m not actually sure that’s a saying but try it some time!

 

 

I Wonder if…..

I wonder if the politicians across the globe actually listen to the climate change protesters?

No Planet B!

I’m often in wonder if the skate boarder managed to land the trick ?

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and I wonder if I should join a gym or maybe get a tattoo or two

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which leaves me wondering if I should join in this weeks photo challenge……..

Happy Shooting

Sunrise (frustrations) at the Lighthouse

It was one of those mornings where it would have been better if I stayed in bed. Nothing I tried to do with my camera to capture an image, any image seemed to work. My frustrations were increased when I realised that my remote shutter release was at home and levelling the tripod became a frustrating feat which then snowballed to even the basics like focus, rule of thirds, getting the ISO right etc.

Point Lonsdale Sunrise

Deciding that the best photo taken this morning was not one taken by me left me with the option of just watching the sunrise as I considered how far I could chuck a tripod off a cliff (and the cost of a replacement tripod). So I cleared my head and decided that I would move the set up and try again. As the saying goes “Perseverance pays off” meant that I couldn’t just give up so I decided that I would bracket three images and then head home for breakfast.

I’m fully aware that we all have days that are simply fustrating and we should go and do something safe, like going back to bed but instead we stick a piece of technical equipment like a camera in our hands to frustrate challenge us a that little bit more so I’m curious what frustations you have had while out shooting…..and has anyone has every thrown their tripod off a cliff?

Happy shooting

Slippery Rocky Surface – A Photo Challenge

I have been an avid observer for some time for the Tuesday photo challenge on Dutch Goes the Photo however hitting the required timeline has been problematic. I mean its not that hard, the subject/topic is released on Tuesday and must be submitted by Sunday but I keep getting those two mixed up.

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The topic released on Tuesday was surface and with that in mind I dug through the photos that have been taken in the last month or so and found this little gem of a slippery rocky surface that fits the requirements for the photo challenge.

Do you like photo challenges, if so jump over to Dutch Goes the Photo and join in the fun.

Happy shooting

Happy Mistake Making

We’re well into summer in Australia which means its the season for hot rod shows and show and shines, which seem to be every weekend and they attract people from all walks of life and some of those people have clearly made some pretty bad choices and mistakes along the way. Mistakes like the mullet haircut (why?), poor clothing choices (pockets go on the inside) and rubbish tattoos which led me to think about mistakes I’ve made in photography and I was about to make another without realising it.

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Originally the plan was to photograph hot rods and cars as they cruised passed using a technique called panning. This technique requires slow shutter speeds and the subject needs to be tracked as it passes by. You also need to give consideration to the background as it may distract the viewer away from the subject and the one criticsal technique you need is patience as you shoot because you will more than likely need to adjust shutter speeds on the fly to perfect your shot.

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It wasn’t until the images were downloaded that I realised that none of the subjects were in focus. This is a direct result of my unwillingess to wear my glasses when photographing and resulted in blurry images. I firmly believe that If I had worn them I would have realised that the shutter speed to needed to be increased to ensure the subject is in crisp focus. Lesson learnt…..again

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Even though the subjects are not in focus these images convey movement, exposed properly and the location is, to me at least pretty good. Overall I actually like a couple of them however I am yet to determine if they are print worthy.

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You may not be able to see it but these lovely gentlemen were flashing their rubbish tattoos as their mullets were flapping in the breeze whilst showing me a rarely seen bird but what does stand out is their incredibly bad choice of car.

The key take away for me was to (wear my glasses) not to be afraid to experiment with the camera settings and shoot in manual. I also realised that every mistake I make is another lesson learned and hopefully that mistake won’t be made again in the future.

But we also need to remember that skills are learnt by trial and error. This is the method that we as photographers and creative types learn and grow.

So get out there and make mistakes.

Sunset at Black Rocks

Reading a post from 35hunter about ‘How many photographs should we share in one blog Post‘ had me rushing to review how many photos have been included on this blog and the result is on average 3-5 photos per post. Dan raises an interesting question for sure, which I don’t think is easily answered however Dan made a statement about a single photograph. This statement has really stuck with me for about a week and I can’t seem to shake it, Dan states that:

‘With a very short post that can be purely the photograph with no text, or the photograph plus a few paragraphs of text, I find this approach can be very powerful.

I love the author’s commitment – “This is the single photograph I have chosen for the post, nothing else would do, and now here it is standing up proud”.

I think it encourages those of us reading to give that single photograph more commitment too, to perhaps linger a little longer, and search a little deeper, than we may do if there are two or three other images in the post.’

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I do whole heartedly agree with that statement because as society we have become numb to the sheer volume of images across our social media streams. The effect is most people, including me, scroll without thought or using any brain power.

So I thought that I would apply this thought process to a least one blog post this year but Dan also states that it should be your best work, obviously showcasing your skills as a photographer (or other creative work) but if I did that I would never post any photos as I don’t think I’m yet to produce my best work.

Please jump on over to 35hunter to say Hello and have a look around and ask yourself when was the last time you looked at a single image longer than 0.3 of second and appreciated a photograph.

And I’m curious how many photos you post to your favourite social, either Insta, Facebook or blog?

Happy Shooting