Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Adventures in photography

A macro marvel - raindrops on a hollyhock flower.

A friend of mine received a birthday present this year which gave her and a couple of friends access to a tame photographer for a day. I was one of the lucky friends she invited to join her and the tame photographer was Kevin Sawford. I didn't know quite what to expect from the day but I hoped that by the end of it I would have a better idea of how to use my camera. Reading written instructions and descriptions of photography I tend to find hard to follow as they are so dry. I learn things much better by trial and error and actually doing them in the physical world. 

From Kevin I learned how to use a number of options on my camera - shutter speed, iso, aperture, how to better use the macro function - lots of things. He also gave all 3 of us tips on how better to frame our photos. Before that day, I would see something and know I wanted to capture it. After the hours spent with Kevin, I now think far more about setting and how I can make the object more alive. We discussed points of view, taking pictures from different levels to get different perspectives, and since that Sunday I have had a couple of photography outings and put what I learned in to practice.

One of the most useful things I learned about my camera in relation to taking action shots was being able to take 3 pictures with just one press of the button. 

I have also reviewed previous photos with a more critical eye. I got in to photography in late spring last year, primarily as a mindfulness exercise. I was in search of ways to connect myself to the world around me and photography gave me that opportunity, enabling me to take far more notice of nature than I have done for years. I am more interested in the macro side of photography than great landscape and sky shots. It's the small details, the raindrops, the insects, the way that petals form and fold, the intricacies of plants and fungi - these are what inspire awe and fascination in me. I hadn't realised just how much detail my camera was capable of capturing prior to my lesson with Kevin.

Not one of my best shots but it's what I achieved here that I'm most pleased with. Using the 3 shots with one button option and changing shutter speed and aperture I was able to get a picture that in the past would have been a blurry mess. I was aware of the reflections of the cormorants and anticipated when I would be able to capture the birds in movement. Alas, the zoom capacity of the camera is not that great so the final picture is grainy if enlarged but this has helped me work out what I want in my next camera.

I'm also interesting in capturing moments of movement, such as birds in flight, animals in motion. Thanks to Kevin I have a much better idea of how to go about it. I'm also a fan of colour and though I don't like the idea of posing photos I did get the chance to discuss how to use the arrangement of leaves etc to create a collage of shades. I've never been able to take decent pictures of yellow and white flowers - and now I know how to!

These are photos I have taken since my day with Kevin. I can see a real improvement and am really pleased.

I think of this as my Lord of the Rings shot :)


If you live in the Suffolk/Norfolk area, enjoy photography but don't know that much about your camera then I would recommend booking a day with Kevin. He is so knowledgeable and he obviously loves what he does which is always a great thing to find in any teacher.

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