Where Is Photography Taking Me?

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The other morning I decided to get myself out of bed early and walk around the neighbourhood of the small town where I live to take some floral photos again with my Macro lens. It’s been a while since I’ve use the Macro and once I started taking images I had to wonder why it had taken me so long to do it.

 

The morning sunlight was absolutely perfect to cast the right light and background shade onto the images I chose to shoot.

(Click on the thumbnails for full view of the images)

It was as if all the flowers I came across were just waiting for me to photograph them,  that they had preened themselves in preparation for the event.

Then there were the extras

One of the reasons I had laid my Macro lens aside was because my interest had moved over to capture the perfect landscape. Magazines, Twitter and Instagram are abundant with beautifully captured landscape images showing incredible lighting, perfect sharpness, great composition  and stunning colours – although I have to admit I do feel some are a tad over-saturated, but that’s my personal opinion – and whilst some of my attempts were good, by comparison I felt mine fell short of the wow factor.

Yes I know – that’s the trouble with social media, we are far too inclined to compare, to try and copy and/or emulate what others are doing just to get some form of recognition through how many ‘likes’, ‘comments’ and followers we receive – a “look at me and what I can do” syndrome. I am guilty of this.

It has been said before in other articles that this is so negative to our own creativity because we lose site of our own agenda and direction and without fail it leaves us feeling deflated, disheartened and disappointed. We lose site of  why we took it up in the first place, whether by choice or circumstance or even by happy accident, the sheer unadulterated joy of seeing something magical through the lens and capturing it, the sheer pleasure of what photography always offers to ourselves on a very personal level.

 

 

Lately I am seeing more and more ‘natural’ landscapes popping up on social media that the photographer has obviously enjoyed being where they are, taken the shot and posted it with little to no post-processing and I’m loving them. There is a calming tranquillity about them that is a sheer pleasure to look at and draws you into the image to feel you are also in there.

So where to now for me?  Well, I have decided to go back to where I started, to the place where I took photographs and loving every moment I had simply looking through the lens and capturing images that caught my eye and just for the sheer joy of it.

 

 

Learning All About Bokeh

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I was asked to give a talk on Bokeh to the Camera Club I belong to which I accepted with great enthusiasm thinking it would be easy as I knew enough about it anyway.

Well…once I started researching the subject I realised that, actually, I knew very little from reading up various blogs on the internet. The more I read, the more I learnt.  Firstly, I am sure you all know this – or did you – that there is a  difference between Bokeh and Depth of Field but more often than not, because in both cases a shallow DoF (photographing at lower f-numbers) is required to get a blurred background, the distinction between DoF and Bokeh vanishes and the hobbyists and enthusiasts often end up using the terms bokeh and DOF interchangeably. Ref: Bokeh Vs DOF – The Difference Between The Two 

From this article (a good read by the way) I learnt very clearly why there is a difference and how knowing this can improve my own photographic subjects hugely. Further to that, I then saw that there is also what is considered  Good Bokeh and Bad Bokeh.

Bokeh is Bokeh, is it not? Well actually no, Bokeh is more about the beautiful aspect of areas around and or behind the focal point (your main subject) caused by light points that have been artistically blurred by lens adjustments (distance and a low f-number) to soft circular shapes  to become  the qualitative aspect of the photograph.

                                                       
Bad Bokeh – far too busy and distracting                                 Good Bokeh – creates a fun effect

Depth of Field is set at a low f-number to blur out the background thus focusing only on the main subject – for example portraiture and flora – thus making the subject stand out beautifully. For this reason it hardly warrents being judged either bad or good as your eye will be interested only on the main subject standing out.


Showing pleasantly a shallow Depth of Field

Let’s put it this way, shallow DoF can be considered purely as the backdrop (as in a theatre stage) to bring out the subject, whereas Bokeh is the perfect lighting created as an integral part of the subject.

More to come later – hope you enjoy. 🙂

When We Were Very Young

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The Five of us – 74th Avenue Mabelreign

As kids – all 5 of us – we lived in Mabelreign, a suburb of Salisbury, Rhodesia. It was a fairly ‘poor’ area -that is less affluent –  so it was common that both parents  worked full day.

Families were also large for some reason and without our parents around to watch us, we were quite a wild bunch getting up to all sorts of  unruly ‘adventures’.

Even though money was tight, our folk always managed to pull enough pennies together to take us out to various fun events like the Luna Park Fare, Guy Fawkes Fireworks displays and Fetes.

One particular event we were taken to was the annual Air Show. It was spectacular with all the various planes from the Tiger Moth to the fighter jets doing their show-off tricks up in the sky above us. What impressed us most were the parachute jumps. The 5 of us sat on the bonnet of our car gob-smacked watching the men jumping out of the plane,  the sky fall, the parachute opening and, to us, the apparently easy landing – clapping and cheering all round.

I was a fairy
Dressed and ready for a Christmas party

It made such an impression on us, we decided we needed to give this a try. Our gang of friends had come around to our house after school, as was the norm, to decide what to get up to on that particular day and it was unanimously decided that we try this whole parachuting gig. We agreed a  large bed sheet was perfect and set about tying rope to all four corners. One smarter member pointed out that actually parachutes had more ropes coming off the ‘chute, so we ‘intelligently’ added another 4 ties from the centres of each side. It must be noted here that we were cutting up Dad’s valuable rope without a second thought to the consequences.

Now we had to choose the best person to jump and from where the jump should be from. The garage roof top was an instant decision being easy to climb up to and especially as there was a sand pit below for a soft landing.

Paul, Bill and Frank – Alfred Beit School, Mabelreign

On deciding who should jump, there was an immediate shirking and shuffling amongst us desperately avoiding any chance of being called on to volunteer.   So as not to lose face, one did suggest that to make this jump a success, the jumper should be very small and lightweight. We all nodded furiously in agreement and so then looked towards our Billy, about 4 years old, happily playing quietly on his own, quite oblivious of all this planning going on.

His day was about to change.

With a lot of persuasion and bribes of his favourite biscuits AND sweets, the poor little unsuspecting young man was taken up onto the roof accompanied by me and a gang member to tie the ‘chute onto him and open it up before he jumped.

I cannot believe we did this,

but with the gang below cheering encouragements, Billy, with a gentle push made the jump. Well of course the sheet did not billow open as we expected it to – to our disappointment, it just sort of folding inwards and Billy landed in the sand pit with a most undignified and somewhat painful thump. He started to cry with fright, indignation and pain but a chocolate was immediately fed to him and amazingly – we managed to persuade him to try it again explaining we hadn’t done it properly the first time promising him we’d definitely get it right this time.

Dinah, Carol Paul with presents from Dad

We were convinced it should work. And so we went up again, three of us now with him on the roof to open the sheet up properly. The second jump,  of course,  was also a failure.  Again Billy cried and furiously threatened to tell on us but biscuits, a loving hug from me and assurance from all he was a brave hero calmed him down.

Later explaining to the folk Billy’s bruises and dad’s rope cut up into 8 pieces was not a happy result.