Too many cameras not enough imagination. A while ago I decided on impulse to do a 1:1 photography workshop. I feel I know a reasonable amount about the technical side of photography but I don’t really have a creative streak in me. I can go out and ‘copy’ what others have done but it is rare to feel that I really like a photograph I have taken. If somebody asks me to pick out 20 photos I have taken that I like enough to show then I struggle. I can go back over 10 years and still not find that many. It is also impossible to decide what others will see in your images. Some of my all time favourites have had very limited engagement when posted. Others, that I regard as run of the mill and upload more or less as a back up, well some of them get a very positive response. So I take what I think will please me.
I went through a phase of thinking only black and white photography was ‘serious’. Colour was a fad that will pass. Mind you I also wondered whether digital would ever catch on. And phones? Don’t make me laugh. Now I actively look for colour, shoot exclusively digital and love having my phone available. It will even shoot in RAW if I wish. I still prefer black and white but some things work better in colour. One of the joys of digital cameras is that you can shoot both at the same time. As I did this morning. I took RAW files and black and white jpegs at the same time. The RAW files record what you see in colour and the jpegs process in camera to the settings you have chosen. I thought this would cure me of a temporary lust for a Leica Monochrom, a bank balance wrecking camera that shoots solely in black and white. It worked. For now.
So back to the workshop idea. I noticed that a local gallery was exhibiting work by a Hong Kong resident American photographer, Michael Kistler, and that he offered workshops either on a group basis or solo. I did a couple of group workshops a while ago. They are heavily dependent for success on working with like-minded people. I opted to work with Michael alone. (http://michaelkistlerphotography.com) I explained to him before we met what I wanted. Just a little help with the creative juices and maybe some new techniques. We met up and I was very happy with the way it went. I am going to do one session a month for a while. In between the sessions he also reviews some of my shots and gives me feedback. He understands I am not a hard core street photographer. I shoot wildlife more than anything but I enjoy the contrast in styles and approach. I refuse to be tagged as anything. My new Canon R5 has replaced my Fuji for wildlife and I have gone back to my rangefinders for walkabout sessions. The Fujis will still get an airing as the lenses are so good and I took one out today. The rangefinders slow me down and one thing I have reverted to working with Michael is to shoot fully manually. Nothing set to Auto. I choose the aperture, shutter speed and ISO individually. When light conditions change I have to choose which one to adjust – usually the ISO.
I don’t know whether I am getting any better but I enjoy it. I have tried to improve my processing skills but try not to over-manipulate shots. I am not a purist. I will crop and edit to get the desired result but as much as possible should be done when the shutter is pressed. Here are some images from the last couple of weeks.