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Old stuff

May 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Old stuff can look amazing!



Another season has ended at my photographic society and the summer closed season is upon us. During this time some members embark on their annual trip to Italy or France or Africa, some members stay closer to home and head to the sandy beaches of Cornwall or Wales (last year was a popular year for Northumberland – including my own trip).


This year, I intend to venture out to the lakes in August and may get chance to whip out the camera at the golden hours for sunsets (and sunrises if I can get my butt out of bed). So watch this space for amazing Lee Big Stopper slow shutter speed photographs.


This blog post isn’t about amazing vistas though. That will come later in the year. This post is about a different kind of photography…


Inspiration from others

At one of the last meetings of club we had a knock out competition where members usually showcase or tryout some new stuff they have been working on in advance of next season’s league comps. One image in particular tickled something in my creative imagination and was screaming for a re-shoot.


As a result of another photographer’s shortcomings, I now have what I believe to be a killer idea for an image to create and enter for next season. I don’t have any of the subject matter though…..yet!


I intend to create a ’still-life/record’ type shot of old/antique/vintage objects in a mono, yet very detailed style. This has led me to venture over to trusty eBay for a gander of what can be obtained for my bucket of ’props’.


Old stuff can also be expensive!

Oops! Using funds from my microstock sales I have managed to spend over £30!…. On old tat! I have bought a few really old keys, a couple of pocket watch movements and an old coin (photography can also be educational). I just need to find/create a setting for my shot. This is proving tricky. I have an old tool shed in mind, with a window to provide an interesting light. I can’t think of where one is though!!


I can see the shot now, mono (perhaps sepia-ish or some sort of ’vintage’ effect), gritty, very sharp with a wide range of tones from almost complete dark shadows to almost blown highlights.


I know I am getting ahead of myself, perhaps posting this blog is a bit premature but I am so excited about the photograph forming in my imagination.


I’m not too worried about the cost of the bits and pieces because I intend to shoot all of the objects from various different angles and process in various different styles for my microstock sales that I am confident I can recoup the funds (and more over time) – and there is always the option of re-sale on eBay anyway.


Who needs to go on lavish foreign holidays to get excited about photography? Not me – this year anyway!

Image details

ISO 100, f/22′ 1sec, Sigma 150mm macro

 

Club Photography

April 12, 2012 Leave a comment

 

2008 was important year for my photography. After a while of ’meaning to’, I finally took the plunge and decided to go along to a local camera club/photography Society and see what they were all about. I must admit I had no idea of what to expect although I had heard about club competitions from a friend, who is a member of a club in Winchester, and the idea of winning trophies appealed to me very much.

 

I tried a couple of clubs before I found the one for me. The first one i attended was the closest to my home. It was held in a small back room in a local library. A nice enough membership but not very big and i am sure i brought the average age of the people in the room down by about 40 years!

 

I did meet another prospective new member there though that had already done the research on some other local clubs and was planning on attending another the following night. We swapped deets and met at the next club.

 

Now this was more like it. Over 50 members, (not all members were over 50 either) and we were greeted with a warm and friendly welcome. Where do i sign?

 

I did! I signed up that day and the following season i became a member of the committee, and remain so to date.

 

Since joining a club i have viewed photography in a different way. Before, my aim with each shot was to get everything in sharp, all in focus, no noise etc etc.. Most of my concentration was on the technical side of the shot. Nothing wrong with this but it didn’t have any creativity.

 

I have seen a wide variety of work from club members as well as work from other club photographers in the region. I have been inspired by so many different people and made quite a few friends along the way, not to mention the skills i have developed too.

 

I now look more towards the compositional and story-telling side of my shot before clicking the shutter. This has given me a new direction. I think more about project work, trips out to shoot various vistas…just having fun with my camera. I certainly use my camera a lot more. Before joining my photography was about going out and finding something (normally an object) to shoot. Now it is about going out and using my camera, using the light (complaining about the light) and getting out with other photographers.

 

If i were to pick out my favourite element to being a member of a photographic society it would be the competitions. With this comes the excitement, anticipation of what the judge of the night is going to say (which I can guarantee only the winners on the night will totally agree with what the judge says), and the scores of course! There is always some friendly rivalry throughout the season.

 

Are you a member of a camera club? If not, i highly recommend you seek one out and attend one of their open evenings to find out all about club photography. I warn you now though… It is addictive!

 

Links:

 

Competition success

January 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Having not attended my camera club for a few weeks due to personal circumstances I finally had the time to go this week. This week’s entertainment was the 3rd Projected Digital Image (PDI) competition. This is one of the best things for me about being in a camera club. Seeing what other photographers have been shooting and competing against them.
There were 57 images in the general section and about 27 images in the Nature section. The nature section always seems to be a lot more fierce that the general section and the quality is far superior. This sounds a bit mean but it is completely true.
The judge for the night was someone we have seen before in previous seasons. We only invite them back if they are any good so we knew we were in for an entertaining evening. It is not often the photographers agree with the judges comments but I think last night was one of those rare occasions where I felt he was spot on. I suppose I would say that because I won the Nature section! Yay!

Knock Out Wonderboy!

November 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Knockout competitions seem to be becoming somewhat of a speciality for me!

At the end of each season at camera club we have a knockout competition whereby each member is allowed to enter up to 6 images to be projected digitally. The images are all entered into a piece of software on the computer and randomised. The images will then appear in a random order to be voted against the image next to it. Members vote for the image out of the two they like the best and it goes through to the next round, knocking the losing image out.

Long story short, I won! Here is the winning image…

I call it “Sticks and Stones”

Projected Digital Image Competition

November 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Last week at camera club saw the 2nd PDI league competition judging, in which i entered the maximum of 3 images. The 2 highest scoring images are taken into consideration for the league.

The 3 images were completely different. A colourful seascape, a mono scene from a civil war reenactment, and a nature shot of an Arctic Tern with a Sand Eel in it’s bill. I personally thought they would score highest in that order from high to low…. However, it just goes to show that judging is very subjective and everyone’s opinion is different. My Nature shot came in with 18/20 and the Colourful Seascape was awarded 17/20.

Although not a winner this time around I am very pleased with the scores.

As I have said before a camera club (or photographic society) is a great way to meet other photographers and exchange ideas as well as see what other people are photographing. Whilst social networking sites such as flickr are a great way of viewing other people’s images, there is nothing like mingling in person. I personally found that joining a club has helped improve my photography no end as I am sure i have helped others to develop their craft.

To view more on our camera club competitions or find information on our club in general, see Crewe Photographic Society.

 

12 months plus???

June 2, 2011 Leave a comment

I cannot believe it has been over 12 months since my last post. I didnt feel like i had much opportunity to get out with the camera last year and this just proves it! I started a new job which takes up a lot more of my time these days so photography has unfortunatley had to take a bit of a back seat. 😦

The last competition of the season was very fruitful for me. I managed to win the knockout competition with the following image: –

This was taken at Llandullas beach in North Wales using a 10-stop neutral density filter, which allowed me to expose the image for a good few minutes!

Camera club season is over for us at Crewe Photographic Society and the chance to go shooting instead of the weekly club meet has arisen. I have managed to get out a bit at weekends too.

I have so far been on a couple of excursions and I’m happy to report they have been quite successful. I’m really pleased with the direction my photography is going at present and I just hope i manage to capture enough material for the coming season.

You will see some new images on my website.

This Dandelion Clock was basking in the dappled sunlight underneath a tree amongst these Bluebells. I love the colours!

 

Powis Castle & Garden, North Wales, UK

May 11, 2009 1 comment

A coach trip out with my camera club to Powis Castle & Garden National Trust site in Wales last weekend proved fairly fruitful as far as image results were concerned.

Weatherwise though… What a wet day! It pee’d it down for a lot of the day but that didnt stop me getting some good shots and enjoying myself.

The castle itslef what a bit of a disappointment. I was expecting some big really old rustic building and was presented with what looked like a mansion house. The attaching gardens however, were definitly worth the visit.

With high trimmed hedge walls and various colourful plants and flowers it was a spectacular sight.

I think my favourite images of the day are as follows: –

PepperArt