So, a little bit about the photographer, me, which may debunk a few myths about photographers…
Who taught me?
No-one. Seriously, the only photography class I ever went to was an evening class at a local college twenty-odd years ago. To be quite frank, I went for 12 Wednesday evenings, and when I woke up, bleary-eyed, on the 13th Thursday morning I really thought than in retrospect I had learnt about as much as say, Donald Trump has learnt about interpersonal skills since being made the President of a non-trivial world power. It was run by a gentleman who also seemed to be biding his time, on a given Wednesday evening in a damp classroom, rather than in God’s Waiting Room. To be fair, I did learn about negative space which I wasn’t aware of before, but erm… And could this guy talk? So many words, so little content…
The flip-side? – it’s 2019 at the time of writing so I do read the internet a lot to get ideas and tips about the nagging details about everyone’s favourite Brain Puzzle that is Photoshop. I also regularly look and see what Ken Duncan, Peter Lik, Peter Eastway and many other photographers are doing and taking. I have Googled extensively to find out (and start from scratch) about Astro processing.
Who do I follow?
I seriously recommend that anyone starting out follows a photographer they like the style of. Be it Instagram, Facebook, blogs, web-sites etc.
Me? – I picked up a hardback book (go figure, that was how it was, and it was expensive to buy many volumes) by David Muench when I was travelling in the States. I then started following Ken Duncan in the early 90s. It’s good to see how styles evolve. just like yours will. I have followed much more the feel of their images rather than anything technical.
What’s my favourite camera?
Oh come ON! They all take pictures so they are all fine. As a landscape photographer I do love my Canon EOS5D Mkiii, but that’s mainly because it has a full-frame sensor so I can use my favourite wide-angle lenses. Apart from that, the best camera is the one I have in my hand right here right now.
What Gear do I use?
Keep it simple. In my bag I have:-
- Lenses (Wide zoom, standard zoom, telephoto)
- Filters – ND (Big Stopper and grads), polariser
- Remote Shutter release
- Spare battery / spare memory card(s)
- Emergency food / small water bottle / head torch / Bushmans
I hand-carry a sturdy tripod.
And – that’s a maximum. I will often downsize to a much smaller shoulder bag when either shooting on my own in beach-side areas (this sadly to reduce the chances of someone stealing my unseen bag whilst I am ‘in the moment’ – the car has the rest of the gear in the boot) or conversely on a long walk. I then carry my camera with one lens attached (wide or std zoom), and the smaller bag contains just the other zoom lens, filters, and spare cards/batteries. Read on here
What do I want my photos say?
‘Look at me’ – no, actually, ‘BUY ME!’. Haha, people sometimes do the first, less often the second. I often read articles that talk about photographer’s need to ‘display existentialism’ or ‘balance minimalism with conflicting but uplifting thoughts’. Hmmm, I say. I like taking well thought, well-composed, sharp pictures that I like to hang on my own wall. That seems a bit simpler to me.
How much do I know about Photoshop?
A difficult one. If ever my wife hears grunts coming from me whilst ensconced at my PC she will often wonder whether it is perhaps indigestion from dinner. It’s not – it’s me expressing the mild, (yes, dear readers of course it is just ‘mild’) frustration at the mindset that the Photoshop ‘layout’ leaves me in. Sometimes you need more magic than Harry Potter has in his wand on a good day, to beat that program sometimes.
I have pretty much Googled everything I know, apart from buying the Dummies book on CS3. Yes, CS3, it hasn’t actually changed much despite the ‘upgrades’. I know a lot about how to do what I always do which gets 99% of my images looking the way I want them to. Image blending, luminosity masks etc. However – that’s actually not to say I know a lot about Photoshop. An Astrophotography image will sometimes takes me 4 or 5 starts to get an image I am happy with.
What’s my advice for anyone starting?
- Carry your camera whenever and wherever you can. Worst case, make sure it is in the locked boot of your car when you go out. With your tripod.
- Use it as if you were spending a dollar every time you took an image. But – take lots of carefully-thought-out images.
- Look at the world with through your eyes before you look at it through your phone or camera.
And read my Blog. I’m serious when I say that. There are a few Simple Things which if you do, the rest will fall into place. I can’t emphasise that enough. Rule of thirds, have a front/middle/back, look for Strong Lines, take your time and wait a while for the weather, use and respect the image frame corners, use a tripod.
Do I use a Phone as well as a Big Camera.
Yes. Have you ever tried to make a call to someone on your camera?
Thanks for reading this far
The Berowra Photographer.