I recently had the opportunity to put together a photobook from Saal Digital in return for a review of the product when it arrived, I hadn’t heard of Saal before and am always a bit cautious of these kind of offers but another photographer I follow had recently taken up this deal and been really impressed with the quality (you can read Matt Holland’s review here) so I jumped at the chance to get some recent work printed. Continue reading “Saal Photobook Review”
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 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.
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.
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.
Composition is a very subjective thing, there are lots of guidelines like the rule of thirds but as clichéd as it sounds these are all there to be broken. One thing I have found as I’ve been learning photography is that I often prefer landscapes shot in portrait orientation which might not be the most obvious or conventional approach.
I think it’s always worth trying when you’re shooting your next landscape, take a portrait version of the same scene and see the difference it makes to the photograph.
I strongly believe that knowing how to edit your photos to maximise their impact is as important as knowing how to take them well in the first place. It’s not a new thing, having been very common in the film days too, it’s just become more accessible and doesn’t require specialised equipment or advanced skills to get started with.
There will always be debates on how much you should edit, my personal approach currently is not to add anything that wasn’t there, and mostly keep removals to spots/artifacts, so I do 99% of my editing in Lightroom. For this reason I always shoot RAW as it allows much greater scope for adjusting exposure, white balance, etc. and helps reduce the need for some filters like graduated neutral densities.
Macro photography is always seen as a bit of specialist subject, there’s lots of different techniques to get the level of magnification needed, from expensive dedicated lenses like the Canon MP-E 65mm, to reverse lens adapters, extension tubes, bellows… it’s a confusing market and can seem daunting to get started.
There’s also a lot of challenges, finding your subject and getting close enough, shallow depth of field, getting enough light in. No matter what equipment you use you will come across these problems.