Saturday, July 28, 2012

on taking photos

I write this post as someone who loves taking photos and not, by any means, as a professional photographer.

A few years ago I took photos with a point and shoot camera on the automatic setting. I have always admired beautiful captures but back then I had no inclination to learn about ISO, aperture or shutter speed.

But the more photos I took the more control I desired. I started talking to Daniel about composition (think in thirds!) and I tentatively began asking about the technical aspect of photography. I said something along the lines of...."I want to take a photo where the foreground is in focus and the background has that lovely blur." *

I learnt to shoot manual on a canon A570  - a budget compact camera that cost, at the time, about $150. You see, cameras don't take photos - photographers do. You don't need a fancy, expensive camera to take a good photo. You just need to know your camera, learn how to use it and take thousands of photos. 

And by thousands I mean tens of thousands. Shoot, shoot, practice, shoot and snap some more. 

I was so daunted by the photography language that it honestly took me ages to get my head around the settings. It really does take time to know your camera and learn its intricacies. Eighteen months ago Daniel bought me a Panasonic GF1 with a 20mm 1.7 lens (also known as a pancake lens) and I have been shooting with it ever since. It's a micro four-thirds camera, not a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) - what does that mean? I don't know! See, regardless of the fact that I've been shooting manual for a few years on a camera that I absolutely adore (I take it with me everywhere!) there's still so much I need to learn. I think my strength lies in composition and most definitely not in the technical side of photography. I understand the basics but there's still a long way to go.

Hence I'm attending one of Tim Coulson's photography workshops. Tim's invited me to speak at next weekend's The Nursery. I'll be talking a little bit about my experience with him - how he interacts with his subject and shoots with emotion and then I'll be modelling for the workshop participants. As a bonus I get participate in the day and ask lots of questions (I have a list!). I'm intrigued to learn about his organising/editing/filing of photos as I currently have eleven "to-be-sorted" folders and four folders titled: "autumn." I realise this isn't good and for Daniel (Mr Virgo) this is possibly the worst example of photo organisation. If you are interested in attending The Nursery Tim is travelling to Melbourne in September and plans to host workshops in every state in the next year or so. Email Kesh at hello (at) timcoulson.com to express your interest. 

I'm more than happy to answer any questions you have in the comments section. While I definitely do not have the wisdom or knowledge of Mr Coulson I do know a little bit about taking photos...

For those new to manual photography, this poster is fabulous! 

*I later learned that this is called 'shallow depth of field' and the lovely blur, when combined with beautiful light, is called bokeh. 


The Nursery - a review

Photo by Tim...because choosing my own photo to illustrate a 'photography' post was just too hard.

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