I think I’ve found my calling! Well, at least for this particular time in my life. In the last few months I’ve been engaged in flower photography and loving it. Who would have thought. Here’s just one of my images for you to enjoy.
Ive just participated in my first Art Show The South Northants Art Trail Art Trail . This year there were 20 locations, with 51 participating artists (including a few photographers). Im not sure what the total footfall was, but our location in Blisworth, with 9 of us exhibiting, had around 800 visitors. This wasnt about making money it was the opportunity to put together a display and to talk to visitors about my work. I hoped that having artists (as well as photographers) look at the images might give a different perspective.
This Art Trail was a great place to start. The costs were low and the organisation and publicity provided by Mike and Jenny at Vitreus Art in Towcester was brilliant. It was hard work preparing all the images printing, framing, labelling as well as making greeting cards using selected images. The event itself was over 10 days and needed nearly full time attention as well as setting up and breaking down. Ready for a good long nap now!
The bottom line was that this was absolutely great. Id thoroughly recommend having a go at something like this if the opportunity arises. I made friends, bonded with all the other exhibitors, had very interesting and exciting feedback from visitors and had the pleasure of selling some images to people that liked them and wanted them in their homes!
I thought it might be interesting to share a few observations and thoughts on this. For those of you who have looked at my portfolio you will have seen some light painting images made with a photographically recording harmonograph. You can see more images on my gallery. I featured these images on the stand, as they are very unusual and eye catching and dont really look like photographs. Below is an overview of the stand. I had maybe more than my fair share of space as I promised to bring in and demonstrate the harmonograph. It was quickly termed The Mesmeriser by the others!
Having the demonstration on the stand worked extremely well. A typical reaction when I told people these are all photographs was What of? so I could show them, and most understood instantly what I was doing after seeing the demo; they then explored the images with renewed interest and understanding! Here is a photo of me explaining things they all seem to be listening.
I tried to keep the prices as low as possible, to make the images more accessible. Im fortunate to be able to print the images myself as well as to make the frames. These werent Gallery prices and there was no way I could make a living out of this, but I certainly covered my material useage and made a significant dent in the costs of my next lens!
It was really interesting to watch people deciding on purchase. I may have had a few too many images on display, so making choice harder. I found it difficult to decide what to use and what to leave out. Some people went straight for the image that caught their eye. Some went for the colour images, some the nearer mono ones. Having a few landscape, floral and macro shots gave diversity. The triptych Sing Dance Fly was very popular, especially when I treated them to Fabios sonification Sonification and told them the story! The interactive print Follow ‘Follow’ was also very popular, and a real draw with both children and adults I now have to make a couple more. I tried to keep the frames neutral they were all waxed or oiled Walnut. Inevitably some would have liked much lighter frames, others very dark. Inevitably a few sales were lost as a result. Maybe I should have had a few alternative frames to show not to swap out in real time, but to be delivered after the event.
Another great investment (and I have to thank one of the other exhibitors for this) is a tin of sweets on the stand. Went down a treat. Having cards was good too. Another exhibitor suggested I put a few words in with each, and not to obscure this with the envelope when putting it into the sleeve. First thing most people do when selecting a card is to turn it over and read the back!
Good, readable, titles with a few words on each image worked well, giving an in to talk about the image and why I had chosen it but the labels have to be quite large to be readable.
I used a low cost card reader as an alternative to cash for payments very simple to use, secure and reliable. Mine was from SumUp; Im sure there are others available.
This was great fun and rewarding overall, and Id really recommend you have a go if you get the opportunity. As we all say What is the point of a Photograph if you dont share it?!
Thanks for taking the time to look at this; Id be very interested in your thoughts and comments.
This is something everyone can have a go it. It doesn’t matter if you live in a mansion or a flat or usually shoot landscapes or portraits as this will give you the chance to think out of the box a little and really help you improve your photography.
Of course, if you live on the coast or in the Highlands or Lakes, you have got it slightly easier than some. But there are pictures to be captured everywhere, you just have to get out there and find them!
If you really don’t fancy shooting near your home pick a location you love or know well and see how only having a few meters to work in will make you think differently.
If you’re not travelling far you can set out your full array of lenses on your side and return to pick up what you need although your standard zoom will do a perfectly good job.
If you do have a variety of lenses to pick from your macro lens will be good for giving the ordinary a unique twist while a longer telephoto will get you close to birds in the garden without having to be sat on the branch next to them. If you’re out in the garden you may need a tripod when using a longer lens but otherwise working hand-held will be fine.
What To Shoot?
Look at everyday objects differently. See how a fork, TV remote or even a shoelace look close up through a macro lens. Or try setting yourself a little challenge: shoot household objects, certain packets or how about items beginning with a particular letter or number? Try shooting candids of neighbours or how about limiting the number of pictures you take?
You can go on a mini safari in your garden, photograph birds from your window or shoot the flowers that are now decorating our beds. Have a go at photographing micro landscapes on dull days or how about capturing raindrops as they fall down your windows or land on plants? If you don’t mind early starts, you can shoot some photos of morning dew or spend some time with your pets, photographing their antics.
As the months warm-up you’ll be able to spot Ladybirds to photograph but while the weather’s still chilly, why not stay indoors and shoot some still life work: kitchen utensils, cutlery and food.
I’ve been thinking about a 70-200mm lens for a while, and they are incredibly useful but big, heavy and pricey. Then I thought, what on earth are we doing to ourselves? We buy a moderately small camera and then load it up with all sorts of lenses and accessories, with a huge bag to go with it, until we can barely stagger from the car to the edge of the car park. And don’t forget the tripod. So here’s an example, and I want to say upfront that this could easily apply to all makes, so I’m not having a go at any one of them. It also applies to mirrorless lenses in that full frame mirrorless still needs full frame sized lenses, often to the detriment of relatively small cameras.
I’m a Pentax User, and my full frame Pentax K-1 is actually relatively compact as full frame DSLRs go. Now which of these lenses would you choose?
HD Pentax-D FA 70-200mm f/2.8, weighing 1755g without hood or tripod collar and currently costing £1849.
HD Pentax-D FA 70-210mm f/4, weighing in at 819g and currently costing £959.
SMC Pentax-FA 70-200mm f/4-5.6, weighing a svelte 460g and second hand actual cost for a mint example £45.
The third lens I have bought and, subject to quality testing, it looks pretty good at a fraction of the cost and weight of either of the current lenses. It goes further, the three lenses using 77mm, 67mm or 49mm filters, a huge difference in filter costs, However, I am losing weather resistance and QuickShift focusing (so no tweaking of the focus position in AF), but at an outlay of just £45 I might not mind too much.
When I have a moment spare I will do a Vintage Review, but for now I’m very pleased with the low cost, low weight option. I can now walk easily to the edge of the car park, and maybe, just maybe, even a little way beyond…….
I’m 67 years young and did my first ‘painting’ 2 weeks ago and it wasn’t too bad. Encouraged by my first ever creation I tried another wet in wet masterpiece. WHAT WENT WRONG? The paper was still soaking after 9 (yes … NINE DAYS!) I wonder if it was the salt I sprinkled onto the canvas. When I tried to remove the surrounding tape after trying to dry it on a lamp shade the tape took off the paper! After 2 hours on top of the lamp shade the middle section was crinkled but dry … the next morning it was really damp again … soggy would be a better word! I used proper artists 2 inch wide tape and a top notch brand of 140 pound watercolour paper. I’ve watched countless videos on Youtube over the last few months and finally decided it was time to put brush to canvas. Help!!!!!
As a landscape photographer I am constantly looking for places to photograph. So where do I look? Well the most obvious one is I look for places whilst out and about and if I see one then I whip out my mobile phone and take a quick shot of it so that I have it geotagged and I can find it again later! Something that I have noticed, that since taking up landscape photography, I have taken far more aware of my surroundings, I spend half my time looking over my shoulder to see if theres a composition!
Where else, well online most defiantly, there are literally millions of images and lists of wonderful places to photograph, most are in other counties or to far away for a day trip but there are still thousands in your own counties. If I see a picture that really like then I try to find its location and then go and try to recreate it, maybe put my own spin on it.
A case in point is the picture to the below, I had seen a video of a guy, doing a shoot from this exact location in the winter and wanted to get a similar shoot, what I forgot was that in the summer the grass is taller and the shoot from here just wouldnt have worked, so after a quick rethink I went back over the bridge and finished up with second shot below.
I guess at the end of the day everywhere is a potential location, its just about finding the right composition and then getting there for the light to be in the right place.
In the last month I have climbed the Pen Y Fan in Brecon twice and on both occasions Ive had limited visibility, good thing or bad thing? Well arguably its a good thing, after all who wants a clear blue sky, in my opinion a landscape photograph needs something to add drama and its normally the weather. As it says on my About Me page, A nice view doesn’t make a great photograph.
I suppose the other question is what is the definition of a landscape photograph? Well this is the Wikipedia definition. Landscape photography shows spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic. Landscape photographs typically capture the presence of nature but can also focus on man-made features or disturbances of landscapes..
I had it in my own mind that landscape photography had to be great big vistas taken from high mountains but that clearly isnt the case. A landscape could be taken from the front of your house looking down the road (Urban Landscape Photography).
Equally, Im always asking people if they like a photograph that Ive taken. In reality, does it even matter what others think of your pictures, so long as you like it, thats all that matters! Thats the beauty of it, photography is just art and art (like food) is subjective.
So in the short while that Ive been doing landscape photography, what lessons have I learned aside from how to use my camera:
A nice view doesnt make a great photograph!
Plan your shoot
Camera bags are a waste of time for being in the middle of nowhere, buy a rucksack and some padded bags
Tripod, make sure its a robust one
Lenses, I have 10-18mm, 18-55mm, 24-70mm and a 70-200mm and take all of them every time!
Filters, I carry three variable ND filters, which fit the four lenses
Remote shutter release
Waterproof jacket and trousers, just because its not raining now
Boots, waterproof ones, even in summer you can get heavy dew in the early hours. If your shoot means a long walk, then wellies wont do.
Coffee/tea (its cold in the mornings).
Get rid of excess packaging before you leave the house, saves carrying it around all day
Tell somebody where your going or leave a route with them and dont change your mind without letting them know.
Quality vs quantity – success comes from focusing on a few compositions and doing them well!
Revisit locations, each season will have its own way of presenting that piece of landscape to you
Sunsets are easy, your already awake!
Sunrises are hard, be prepared for some sleepless nights in pursuit of a great sunrise shot
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