Welcome to my new blog! I don't plan on being too structured on the topics of each blog with some being useful tips to improve your images and others being observations on photography in general or commentary on my photography.
I thought I would kick of my new blog with a bit of an explanation about my photography, why I love taking photos and what I get out of it. Not all of this will ring true with all of you, but hopefully in my ramblings you will find something that strikes a chord and, if you don’t already enjoy photography as a hobby, it might prompt you to get out with a camera (even a phone) and start taking pictures. As you will hear, what you get from photography and why it keeps your interest can change over time. That is one of the great things about it and why it is a passion that can keep you interested for life.
So firstly, why photography? I started taking pictures having been given a 35mm Vivitar S2000 film camera when I was at school. The school had its own dark room and the ability to capture a moment in time, then slowly start to see it develop and emerge from the paper in front of me, was captivating. I had very little artistic tendencies back then and needless to say, my images were not very good. They were compositionally weak, had poorly judged exposure and I had no idea what the aperture was really for. However, that didn’t really matter to me at the time. It was the ability to see something that caught my eye, capture it and then process it into something that resembled the scene I wanted that was enthralling.
Things have moved on significantly since then as far as technology is concerned and I cannot remember the last time I was in a dark room. Digital replaced film and Lightroom or photoshop on the PC replaced dodging and burning in the dark room. For many, this has taken something away from their photography, but as far as I am concerned, the process remains essentially the same, see it, capture it, develop it into what you imagined. I will touch on process again later
Although technology has changed, the fundamental process of seeing a potential image, capturing it and then processing the picture to realise the vision that you had in the first place remains the same.
My photography took a bit of a hiatus when I left school; primarily due to the loss of a dark room. Taking a roll of film into Boots and getting a packet of images back did not provide the same excitement or interest as it did before.
The next time I really used a camera for anything other than holiday snaps was for a completely different reason. While serving in Kosovo, I had access to the US camp and their PX shop. Digital cameras were just starting to emerge and I had decided to invest in a small 3mp Sony Cybershot that could fit in my webbing. I wanted to capture reminders of my first tour and my platoon. However, as the tour progressed, I found myself taking fewer pictures of people and more of the local area. It amazed me that even in a war-torn country, it was still possible to see beauty in parts of the scarred landscape. This is what reinvigorated my interest in photography and became a form of respite from everything else going on during the tour. This continued through subsequent tours, including Iraq and working visits out to Afghanistan. The ability to escape through the lens helped deal with any of the stresses of the environment I was working in.
So that was what initially prompted me to take photographs, but what about now? My photography has never meant more to me than it has over the last 12 months. Being told your wife has cancer is shattering. It reduces everything to chaos and leaves you in turmoil. My photography has lifted me out of that for short periods of time. I thought about what my photography could do for me and realised that it could provide a distraction and made everything a little more manageable. Firstly, the process of capturing images helped greatly. Knowing the steps and setting I would need in order to take the shot and then process it into the image I wanted provided some form of structure and was an antidote to all the other chaos that was going on. It reminded me that the process is what initially drew me into photography while at school. Secondly, It taught me to seek out beauty in places you would least expect to see it. It’s a very positive influence to always be looking out for something captivating and beautiful and can be a welcome distraction from the stresses and ugliness we can sometimes be surrounded by. Both factors are what peaked my interest in photography at different times and are now the reason my photography is so important to me.
Of course, there are plenty of other reasons why I love photography and in particular landscapes and seascapes. I love being in the outdoors, I love being near to the water, I love the physical challenge of climbing the peaks and I love the sense of achievement when I capture an image that not only I am happy with but that others like too. So why tell you all of this? Because, there are many aspects to photography, the processes, the genres and the styles. Different parts of the process, or the even the process itself, can mean different things to different people. Images themselves can tell different stories depending on who is looking at them. It can provide either an insight or an escape depending on who is holding the camera. I have talked about what is important to me in my photography, and hopefully this comes through in my images. However, that doesn’t have to be why you enjoy photography and that is the greatest thing about it.
My photography provides an excuse to be outdoors in the wild, it provides structure and it prompts me to be constantly looking for beauty and a compelling scene. The great thing about it is that it can be many different things to different people.