I’m on a bit of a mission of self discovery in my photography at the moment, the last 6 months or so has been a huge learning curve for me in terms of subject, style and processing. This has lead to a lot of new work which I’m happy with but also long periods of self doubt and creative block.
A well known weekly competition on Twitter has been my driving force this year to take photographs every week, I know the majority of my entries don’t stand a chance but my resolution to enter every week has forced me to get out and take something I’m not ashamed to share even when I’m feeling uninspired, which is a massive positive.
I’ve seen a few posts on this subject recently, as well as some distraught people thinking they’ve lost all their data, so thought I’d note down my process which I think is fairly safe in the hope it helps someone out there.
It’s a very boring subject, but hugely important. I did this to an extent before I got serious about photography and to be honest it’s not the arty photographs I’d be most gutted to lose but my family photos. There’s also a lot of other things which aren’t sentimental but would be very annoying to lose, like the music collection in my case. I couldn’t imagine being in a situation where all my data was gone. I’m approaching this as a keen amateur though, as a professional your entire career could be based on these files and a hard drive failure without backup could mean significant loss of earnings.
I recently had a well earned break in Keswick in the Lake District, it was a family occasion to celebrate me turning 30 and our 8 month old daughter’s first holiday so photography wasn’t top of the agenda, but I knew I could squeeze in a couple of outings with the camera and was hoping to make the most of this to bank a few shots with the amazing scenery that we don’t have here in Nottingham.
We stopped with my parents in Yorkshire on the way there and back and on the first of these I suggested a drive to West Burton as I wanted to check out the well known waterfall there. The weather wasn’t brilliant but there was still good potential and I spent a while trying some different angles, it was also my first use of the new Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod in the field which did a great job. I’ve seen some beautiful autumnal shots of these falls so tried something different with a dark black and white take on the scene.
Recently my work has drifted towards a darker more abstract side, I’ve been using quite a lot of camera movement within this, which normally means shutter speeds of 0.3 to 2 seconds. In daylight the bottom end of this is just about achievable with ISO 100 and f/22 but sometimes you need to get things darker, a polariser or ND8 usually get me in the right ballpark.
That’s all easy enough on the Canon 6D but often I only have a Fuji X-M1 in my pocket, the 27mm lens has an awkward 39mm filter thread and I don’t really want to be messing about with filters on there, the point of that camera is compact portability. The other downside is it maxes at ISO 200 and f/16, so I’m miles away from getting the slow shutter I need.
I’d been meaning to post this blog a fortnight ago but struggle with time to write so better late than never.
Trees, forests and woodland have been featuring in my photography more and more, mainly because it’s the sort of place I most enjoy spending time, relaxing away from work and people. One of the big draws was to find some mist having seen stunning atmospheric shots from photographers I admire. Autumn completely passed by in a blur with the birth of my daughter so I thought I’d be waiting another year but woke up to thick fog on an early March morning.
If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram you will have recently seen me post a dark black and white photo of some blurry trees, if not then here it is.
I entered it into a couple of regular weekly competitions on Twitter, one of which being Fotospeed Print Mondays where a photo from that weekend is chosen to win an A3 print. For those who don’t know Fotospeed they make fantastic papers, so if you print your work do check them out.
Most people get excited at the prospect of snow round here, especially photographers as it transforms the landscape and opens up lots of different shots which wouldn’t normally work. We only seem to get one day with a decent covering each year recently so you have to make the most of the opportunity!
It wasn’t exactly a blizzard but we woke up this morning to a light dusting, enough that out in the countryside it had settled well, so I set off at 7:30 to catch first light and spend a couple of hours walking round a local spot near Calverton, Nottingham where there’s an area of woodland and the old colliery spoil heap to get some views from.
If you read my last post (here) you would have seen that my first year really trying to get my photography out there started with a New Year’s resolution twelve months ago. Because of how well that turned out I’ve decided to make some more for 2016 and hopefully carry this on, so below are my new resolutions, I’m looking forward to seeing how I get on with these.
Some of you may know that this year has been my first actually trying to get my photography out there, it’s been a hobby for a good few years now but past sharing on a few sites like Flickr and 500px I hadn’t taken it any further.
A lot has changed in the last year so I thought it was worthy of a quick round up!
Towards the end of 2014 a few people made comments on my photos which gave me the confidence that they might be popular outside family & friends, so I made a New Year’s resolution to try and sell a print to someone I didn’t know.
In a couple of weeks I’ll be making some photography resolutions for the New Year, one that will definitely be on there is to take my camera out more, take more photos and experiment. More on that in a later post, but for now I’ve started early during a short family walk in a local patch of woodland this morning.
Often I wouldn’t even take my camera on a trip like that or I’d come away without taking any photos I was happy with, so today I made a conscious effort to try something new, to take photos and come away with something that was worth sharing. This led to some fun with longer exposures, panning the camera up through the trees as the shutter was open. I’ve seen these techniques referred to recently as ICM or Intentional Camera Movement but it’s a great way of trying something more abstract.