Wednesday, 29 July 2015

A beginners guide to taking better pictures part 1

When it comes to taking pictures we all have to start somewhere, I remember getting my first camera. It was a Canon AE-1 film camera, it was love at first snap but also intimidating as all hell. There were so many buttons and so many functions, how would I ever learn them all? However with time and practice I was able to start taking the pictures I wanted and the freedom that came with it was amazing.

Its for that reason that I wanted to do a blog post on how, if you've recently picked up a DSLR camera you can take better picture. Now for the purpose of this blog post I'm using my camera the Canon 700D so some of the functions may be labelled differently, so if you can't find what i'm referring to and your camera is a different make, then you may have to google it.

Choose manual focus over auto focus:

This is such a simple thing that most people just don't take advantage of, but remember when you have your camera on its auto focus settings, it and not you will be choosing the images it takes. However by flipping the little switch on the camera lense that say AF to MF, you will be suddenly free to take the picture you want. Now in order to manually focus once you have flipped this switch, you will need to  manually twist the focus ring on the camera while looking at the image (I would suggest using the view finder to manually focus as its easier to gauge by eye what is in and out of focus this way).

It may take some practice to get the art of focusing down pat, but if your having problems one good tool is to use your camera's focus points. These are the small dots arranged in a circular pattern which you can see through the view finder. If you hold the shutter button half way down while focusing, certain dots will flash red and the camera will peep to tell you which parts of the image are currently in focus. Its a great tool to begin to get a feeling for when an image is in focus.

Use the rule of thirds:
In photography this is one of the biggies, when viewing a picture the human brain is naturally drawn to images that are composed in a certain manner and the rule of thirds uses this to its best effect. Put in the simplest way possible we are more drawn to images where the subject of the photograph is place off centre and in a way that aligns with certain points on the image (the picture to the right shows where excately to place the subject in order to create the most visual impact).

 I've placed a second of my images below so you can see the practical effect that comes from following this rule. As you can see it creates quite the visual impression.

In my next blog post I'll go into the holy trinity of photography, shutter speed, aperture and ISO. And how these can make a massive difference in the photos you can take.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

To fly toward a secret sky

“This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.”  - Rumi

For me the sky, birds and clouds have in later life taken on a religious bent to them. Whether it be their slow sailing passage across a clear sky, or a savage journey across a grey and stormy horizon. The moment of clouds and birds across the dome above us has in time brought out me a deep and religious awe in me.

The sky reminds me of my own smallness in the divine scheme of things, it brings a peace to my mind and allows me to to gaze enraptured at the objects that sail across it. I imagine that we like the birds and clouds that float across it are guided to fly towards God and his or her servants on a sometimes peaceful, sometimes fraught journey. Guided to one day fly towards Love across a divine and secret sky.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

The silhouettes of summer

Now and again I like to push myself to explore new styles and ways of taking pictures. I do like a more abstract style but there are times when it find myself getting bored of the same subject again and again. It was in this mood that I set out to the park.

I remember when I was younger playing a video game on the library computers, it was a simple click around the room game but one of the bits in it had me entranced. There was a painting in one of the rooms showing a barefooted lady outside silhouetted against the sky at dusk. When you clicked the image classical music played and she began to run as behind her the seasons changed from autumn to winter to spring. For something so simple it was utterly enchanting.

It was a sequence that stayed with me and actually inspired me to create this series of images. I wanted to recreate that feeling of wonder, of magic to the world. I wanted to paint vivid silhouettes against a vibrate sky. And is often is the case with my photography I wanted to create something utterly lovely and moving. A chance to create the silhouettes of summer forever running against a painted sky.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Cornwall Part 2: Polperro and the sea cliff walk

 After a day spent lazing on the beach me and my camping buddy decided it was time to do something a bit more active. We had had the sea side town of Polperro recommended as being an excellent place to visit and so we decided to take the cliff side walk to reach it.

It was a good ten mile walk all round from where we were camped and so we started early. The views themselves were stunning as we passed dramatic rock formations, beautiful blue waters, waterfalls and stunning beaches.

The walk was also great for nature spotting as we spotted diving birds, butterflies and dramatically coloured flowers and a bird of prey hunting high above the cliffs.

The walk itself took a little bit longer then expected and we arrived in the late afternoon. The town itself was as picturesque as expected and we spent some time exploring the lovely local shops, eating ice cream and topped it all off by having an exquisite lamb stew at one of the local pubs.

We left and made it in good time back to the campsite and we stopped for a little while to take in the truly magical sunset that slowly disappeared along the horizon. I spent my final night relaxing and watching the stars. By the time the next day came I was sad to be leaving Cornwall but also glad to be making my way back from camping to the comforts of home.