What have I learnt so far in my Photography Journey?
How did I get into photography people ask, expecting me to say I have been shooting since the film days using a darkroom, not because of my age, but it seems that’s what most photographers often say!
Well no, actually a change in career meant I had more time on my hands and I needed to fill this void with something, a new hobby. So while working a normal working week Monday to Friday and volunteering for a local charity, the Samaritans, I bought a Nikon D5300 which was a big purchase for me.
I was quite cleaver, I was researching for some time what camera to buy and had exhausted the typical YouTube community, Tony and Chelsea, Fro Knows Photo plus many more as you can imagine. Given my budget and my lack of experience I thought the Nikon D5300 was a good start.
Almost immediately I put the camera into Manual mode due to over the top research I have done, I felt like I knew everything already and of course I was wrong. I learnt about how Aperture affects depth of field, and how the shutter speed can influence movement and how to compensate using my get out clause ISO.
Overall I felt my images were looking good, they were well exposed and not clipping highlights or shadows. The problem was that I so fixated with the settings I was missing the most important point, which is that I wasn’t shooting something interesting! My subjects were just boring!
Composition, the rule of thirds, foreground interest, leading lines etc etc did change everything for the better, but I thought based on YouTube that if I get my settings right my images would look amazing, but they weren’t!
YouTube tutorials round 2.
I researched everything I could and I was slowly getting it, I was taking photography days out, heading out early to catch the best light and staying out late for blue hour and I was starting to really grow as a Photographer, I liked the images I was taking, yes many were not great but I had a few keepers that I was really proud of, so much so that I entered an image into my local Contemporary Arts Festival Photography Open. The image I submitted was an image of a bike in a small village in Romania and it got accepted and was also sold at the Festival. I was so proud of myself that I had to go out and take more images. This was it i was hooked…..
Some years had passed and rather arrogantly thought I was due an upgrade. I wanted better low light capabilities from a Full Frame camera, I wanted a better sensor. I researched and researched and arranged an agreement with my wife, (Big Purchase I thought it was wise to discuss this with her!) that I would save up for a new Full Frame DSLR – wow!
I was happy with Nikon as I knew the layout of the menus etc so didn’t want to change, what should I buy? I decided it was a choice between a Nikon D810 or a Nikon D750.
I decided on the Nikon D750, why you are probably thinking, well the D810 was quite abit more expensive so I thought it best to invest this into good glass, also I didn’t really need the high Megapixels in the D810, I was going to print but not that big, also the D750 is essentially very similar to the D810, same focus system etc. What swung it was the dynamic range and low light capabilities of this camera which is still one of the best on the market, SOLD!
I was so impressed with my new DSLR and still am today, it’s just an amazing camera, one that is very very good at everything, but maybe not the best on the market at 1 thing but wow this is so good at shooting in the dark and the dynamic range means that in post I often do very little sometimes in the basic panel.
So where was I, Learning that it!
I’d stepped up in class here but I must be honest at first I wasn’t seeing much difference in the quality of the images, why I often asked?
Well, I suppose what I’m trying to say is that we live in such a beautiful country here in the UK with the Coast, Beach, Countryside, Greenery, Hills, Peaks, Mountains and Lakes it doesn’t matter what camera you have if you put yourself infront of these wonderful places at the right time you will get amazing images!
Was my D750 then a waste? absolutely not, I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world, it just gives me that knowledge that when I press the shutter that I am capturing the very best information with this amazing sensor.
So what is my message?
My message is that yes, invest in gear I’m not saying don’t do this if you are interested in this and have the funds, however to really create great images you need to invest in great experiences, it sounds cliché but it’s true, if you put yourself in front of great things you will take great images, no matter what camera you have.
Regarding learning, do your research, learn how to shoot in the manual and semi manual modes, do shoot RAW, do edit your images, understand composition, asking what do I like, what don’t I like and don’t include things you don’t like in your images but ultimately get out! Invest in good walking boots, waterproofs etc and just understanding the “Rules” and “How to use your Camera” is only the start and doesn’t give you great images immediately.
When I say “Rules”, Composition, the rule of thirds, foreground interest, leading lines etc but often “Rules” are there to be broken aswell so do break them from time to time.
I hope this blog has demonstrated that we all have a photography journey, some long, some short, using a variety of gear. Photography is a discovery journey and is its individual to you. So again my message is don’t get too hung up on the latest gear, just get out and shoot, invest in experiences and you will be amazed how much you will develop as a Photographer.
Your images will then look amazing, trust me.
Below is the image that really started things off for me, the one that i submitted to the Arts Festival and was sold. It looks amazing printed.