Seeing Differently

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. ( 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.

Crossing the line
Crossing the line
Bus stop disaster zone
The Bus Stop
Shadows and Light
Shadows and Light
Urban density v green living
Green living?
Pigeon in a Puddle
The Pigeon
Laughter and motion

The Ear Muff

I look down the garden, eyes dipped below the sash window frame. If I sit upright it disappears. A crow. Our windfalls were intended for the local thrush community but the jays, magpies and carrion crows have muscled in. Nearer and to the right of me, the tiny goldcrest contrasts brightly with the thuggish corvid. I watched a crow harrassing a sparrowhawk a day or so ago. They swagger in the air. One jousted with a disinterested buzzard last week. The hawk droppped onto a pylon. Game over. Go away crow.

I bought a Salix caprea pendula this morning. I read about Salix caprea in the latest Gardener’s World. George explained it is mainly used for hedging but recommended the pendula variety as a more compact, attractive specimen tree. I have just the spot for it. An excellent addition for wildlife. I may still plant the bare-rooted hedge saplings. 95p each. It would be rude not to.

I always do a fungi walk and today I found this, which I have decided is the Ear Muff fungus. I am sure it has a scientific name but that will have to wait. Judging by the shape I think this would suit a front-row rugby player, prop or hooker. fungus1

I have reblogged a post about Porcupine, a splended magazine that deserves its comeback. I hope you dip into this. The post is by Graham Reels, also author of Sevens, as we are almost on a rugby theme. Don’t be fooled by the French site. Its perfectly safe and the book is in English. It seems that Odonatologists just want to have fun.

Tomorow is another train up to London day. Interview number three. Then the excitement mounts on Tuesday – new stair carpet. Wednesday is almost beyond belief – new woodburner. Thursday is a blank, much as most of my life has been. Who knows what Friday will hold? Well I do. The Christmas tree arrives. 7′ tall and a godsend for Lulu. A proper tree instead of a ‘litter tray’. I set her on a cat this morning. She barked ferociously. At me. And the cat turned away in disgust. Oh well, the temperature is dropping so I suppose I ought to get the ear muffs out. Would I look good in burnt umber?