Category Archives: Training

Progressing and Sustaining Your Photography Practice – a Strategy for Personal Progress

Progressing and Sustaining Your Photography Practice – a Strategy for Personal Progress

I’m starting to panic! In another six months or so, I’ll be an OAP! A ’Senior Citizen!’ Now, I’m not in any way thinking that on my 65th birthday I’ll be locking the studio door and throwing away the key! That’s not going to happen – not in this day and age, – but I’m curious as to how I’m going to practice photography with the same drive and enthusiasm when it’s no longer my source of income! A recent read through a photography degree course curriculum confirmed my own thoughts. One of the modules was ‘Developing a Strategy for Personal Progress’ So what’s MY strategy – for when retirement finally kicks in?

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Keeping It In Perspective

Keeping it in Perspective.

This church at Hillsborough is popular with photographers. And why not? Look at the image!

Hillsborough_08P

There’s a pretty scene in there, with lots of the elements of design. There’s colour and shape, there’s lines drawing the eyes into the church, the central focus of the image. But there’s one problem. In many photographs of the church the trees are seemingly angled inwards, a distortion of perspective. It’s a natural lens effect, because the lens is low (usually at eye level) and the trees are high… Continue reading Keeping It In Perspective

Playing with Light

The LensBaby Composer Pro 2 with Sweet 50 Optic.

I’ve recently aquired a LENSBABY!  It’s the LensBaby Composer Pro 2 lens with Sweet 50 optic.  Basically a LensBaby is just a lens with a ball-joint, so that the lens can be bent!  Attached to the front of the lens is a removable optic, in my case a 50mm attachment, with a sweet-spot.  That’s an area that is in focus, while the rest of the image is blurred. (Bokeh)  Ok, it’s easier to show you than explain in words…

Lensbaby.jpg

Continue reading Playing with Light

Back to Basics #2 – Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed Facts

If the aperture controls the amount of light that falls on the camera sensor/film, the shutter determines how long that light falls on the film/sensor. Choosing the correct shutter speed is important because:-
* It can freeze a moving subject.
* It can blur moving subjects.
* It can help reduce camera shake.
So, how can we use the shutter speed to best advantage?

Continue reading Back to Basics #2 – Shutter Speed

Back to Basics #1 – Camera Aperture

BACK TO BASICS #1 – APERTURE

The aperture is the diaphram in your lens which controls the amount of light entering the camera. (The shutter controls the time that the light falls on the film/sensor) The diagramme attached to this post illustrates the effect of closing the aperture diaphram, and how it changes the light falling on the film/sensor. Continue reading Back to Basics #1 – Camera Aperture

New Year – New Gear #2

I’m still playing with the new Fufifilm X-T2, so today I took it on a walk around Kiltonga Nature Reserve in Newtownards, to test out the film simulation feature.  One of the interesting features of this camera is the ability to set it to emulate various Fufi Films, like Fuji’s popular Velvia colour film for example.

ACROS spool and box

The camera has a black and white option to record images on virtual ‘Acros’ monochrome film, which should give outstanding contrast, and a rich tonal range.  Furthermore, Acros simulation will produce grain in the image exactly the same size as the film version, by ISO.  The claim made by Fuji is that Arcos film simlation is even better than shooting in RAW and later converting to monochrome in Photoshop.  Fufi even claim that Acros will outperform any other high end digital camera shooting in B&W mode.  So, today I set the X-T2 to shoot in Acros Monochrome on card two, and in RAW on card one.  (Shooting in RAW, of course means that should I want a colour image, I can use the RAW unprocessed files to produce it.)

Continue reading New Year – New Gear #2

Nikon FG20 

I picked up this old camera yesterday from my good friend Raymond Cotter. A 1984 Nikon FG20. It was in a pile of cameras in the charity shop. I wrote it off as worthless and he let me have it for display purposes in the studio along with other old camera examples. Last evening I got it out, fixed a Sigma manual focus lens, cleaned it up, and tested its meter. It’s perfect! There’s a wee problem with the film winder, but otherwise it’s in good enough condition. 


Today I’ll load it with Ilford 400ISO Black & White and take it in a test drive. 

If it works – my conscience will be severely tested and I’ll be down to make a donation asap!

I’ll update this post with the results!

Sleeklens -Workflow for Portraits

I’m a recent convert to Adobe Lightroom.  When digital photography became a serious possibility in the professional photography world, I quickly realised that I was going to need Photoshop skills, but having learned the basics of Photoshop, I was disinclined to have to learn even more new skills. The phrase, ‘Old dogs, new tricks’ comes quickly to mind.  So despite all the seminars and articles extolling the virtues of Lightroom’s Cataloging and Developing capabilities, I flatly refused to have anything to do with it.  Ok.  I’m a Luddite! Continue reading Sleeklens -Workflow for Portraits

Photographer? Let the Buyer Beware!

The principle of ‘Caveat Emptor’ is well established in most business transactions. Let the buyer beware!  It’s so easy to be defrauded by someone who pretends he is something he isn’t – or who delivers second rate goods or services. This is certainly the case in ‘professional’ photography where a charlatan can set up a ‘photography business’ with no experience, no training or qualifications, no insurance and still get clients by offering prices that wouldn’t stand up financially. 

The end result of this is that the person who thinks they are getting a good deal are just being ripped off, used as someone’s Guinea pig or exploited. It would be tempting to conclude that they deserve it, for demanding work at an unrealistic price, if it wasn’t for the collateral damage that is caused to the whole industry in ruined reputations and overall suspicion. A client who has been deceived by a ‘photographer’ can demonstrate their resentment by smearing all photographers with the vitriol usually reserved for estate agents and second hand car salesmen. 

Here’s a case in point. I noticed a post on a photography discussion page, on which a woman was asking advice about a camera. She was starting a photography business so a relative had given a camera. She didn’t know whether the camera was any good for professional photos and was seeking advice from others. 

The camera in question was an old, Nishika 3D, ‘point and shoot’ fixed focus, 35mm film camera. Totally unsuitable, even when new, for producing professional images, yet she didn’t seem to know what it was, how to use it or how to make images. 

 

Nishika N8000
 
Just imagine what a total disaster it will be for her unsuspecting clients, who book her on some price comparison website. 

As with any other transaction, when booking a photographer – Caveat Emptor

Let the buyer beware!