Personal Bio & Avatar
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I’m not a pro, I’m just an ordinary person who really wanted to learn how to get my camera out of Auto Mode. This blog will record all the things I have learned in my journey to become a better photographer and camera-centric user.
If you are an amatuer photographer (or are a Sunday Driver) and only get an opportunity to take photographs on the weekends, this blog will provide you with the information to develop your creativity and explore new options.
Easy to follow, and simple to understand information that will explain what you need to do and how to do it.
No gobbleygook. No fancy words. Just enough to help you sharpen your focus!
Whilst Sunday Photographer endeavours to create a site for all to enjoy, we also actively encourage guest bloggers to discuss and illuminate us on different areas of photography. If you are interested in writing a piece for Sunday Photographer, please send us your details along with a link to your most recent works to decuniversity [at] gmail [dot] com.
Photographer Image by Mooncat via SXC
Narrating Personal Interest
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The Passion of my Prose
There’s a reason why I have used other people’s photographs on this blog. I’m not a very good photographer. Yet.
Regardless, I love it. It thrills me and excites me whenever I feel that camera within my hands and maybe in a little while, I’ll be willing to share some of my shots with you… but for now, I want to explain the passion behind my prose.
Photography, to me, is not about who took which photo and which photo is better. It’s all about the creative spark. What we see with our eyes is forever changed when compressed through an eyepiece. I love to experiment with light and use it like a crayon to illuminate a scene. That’s what excites me.
And what I love most about digital photography is that it is all instant. You look at the back of the camera and you know instantly if the photo has turned out how you wanted or if you need to keep working on it. So I am like a sponge. And this blog is like a sponge. I’m just determined to learn all I can about how to make photography work, how to get the best from my camera… and most importantly, how to not be LIMITED by my camera.
Photography, like any worthwhile hobby, can cost you thousands, drive you mad and frustrate the life out of you. For me, it does all these things. But it also invigorates my soul, and lets me explore the world I live in from a completely new angle. I now see the world differently because of my camera. So this is what challenges me and engages me about photography.
What about you? Why do you take photographs?
Image by suga_shack via SXC
Introducing Your Topic
It’s strange how we take photographs. As a species we’ve been doing it for several hundred years, in fact since the first camera was invented. Back in the old days, camera equipment was only available for the elite, whereas today it seems like everybody is a photographer. There are cameras in just about everything: MP3 players, mobile phones, laptops, the iPad 2.0, even in your car. So we’ve all become photographers; all capable of snapping every moment as it happens.And that’s what a lot of people do, certainly. They snap and click and shoot. Then they look on the back of their camera and delete what they don’t like and go back to snapping, clicking and shooting.
For many people this is exactly the sort of photography they want to do.
For others, they want to be professional and get paid for their photographs. Commissioned works, wedding photographers, commercial photographers, artistic photographers. They’re all out there, fighting to stay alive and competitive in a fanged market filled with the bulk of the people out-snapping, out-clicking and out-shooting them.
And then there are people like you. Interesting people. Exciting people. Passionate people. People who may never be able to define why they photograph things but love to do it. People who want to frame before they shoot. Explore modes before they click. Compose before they snap. People who have a perspective on photography quite unlike the other two groups above.
Nobody can tell you why you have the passion to be a photographer (though some will try). And there are plenty of lengthy articles explaining how to reignite your enthusiasm for it. But truth be told, you are what you do. And if you photograph things because you love to photograph things… then you have a photographer’s soul.
So, don’t question whether or not you have what it takes. Don’t fret over knobs and buttons – these will take care of themselves as we use this blog to expand your horizons. Just give in to the need to snap, to click and to shoot. Focus on your photography and your photographs will soon blossom with you!
Images by December Medland. Licensed under CC: BY-NC-ND
Creating Generative Value
Some Photographers are Magicians (yet not in a good way)
Ever seen exquisite photographs and wanted to see if you could create something similar but never known what settings to use? Photographers can sometimes be like magicians – they know all the tricks of the trade and dazzle you with their craft but refuse to share any of the secrets. For people new to the hobby, it’s increasingly frustrating trying to work out what to do and how to do it.
While I understand their hesitancy to reveal how they create beautiful images, for a beginner wanting to stretch their wings, it has become more and more difficult to gain simple and easy to understand articles that explain step by step what you need to do and why. However, recently I read a wonderful article about how to re-create a beautiful landscape image taken by New Zealand photographer Chris Gin. There are several reasons why this article is so important.
Firstly, it explains in layperson’s terms exactly how this shot was taken. Even down to standing in the water and keeping the lens clean between shoots. Secondly, it outlines precisely the list of equipment you need to take this type of photo. And finally, it details specific techniques used in Photoshop to perfect the image.
By showing us the Photoshop techniques used, Chris has also emphasised the importance of completing an image with post processing. In the days of film, every photograph was individually processed in a dark room. Nowadays people tend to forget about the importance of post processing but it is still vital that you do it. Photoshop and Lightroom are now considered our digital darkroom.
The equipment list in Chris’ article mentions is particularly useful. Every photographer’s bag holds the arsenal they need to capture the perfect shot. As a beginner photographer, it can be confusing trying to work out what is a ‘must-have’ and what is just a ‘want-it’. It is so easy to spend a fortune on camera paraphenalia that you may never use, so knowing the essential items is crucial. Chris uses GND filters. GND means Graduated Neutral Density. These are attachable filters that you place in front of the lens and can make a remarkable difference to your images, particularly landscape photography. You can see an example of the difference GND filters can make to your photos above, because they reduce the light difference from sky to ground. There are three main type of GND filters available, but the 0.6 hard grad (2 stop) is considered the better choice for your first filter purchase due to price point and scene flexibility. Some filters will screw into your existing lens whilst others slide into a frame. It is generally accepted that the ones the slide into a frame are more reliable because they won’t twist as you focus your lens. Whenever you use a GND filter, it is really important that you have your camera on a tripod to ensure the filter is positioned correctly.
Chris also mentions the 10-20 Sigma lens. This is a wide angle lens, which helps to create stunning landscapes, although Flickr has a group showing this lens being used for just about everything, from the paws of a cat to a car interior! However, traditionally, this 2005 lens is considered a lens important to those who love landscapes. The lens size is also available in other brands like Canon, Nikon and Tokina but the Sigma often receives high praise because of its price, reliability and precision.
I’d like to congratulate Chris on lifting the veil of secrecy for how photos are composed and taken. When you read the article he has written, you realise that he has taken many shots to achieve that perfect one, and even then it involved blending two almost identical shots together to make one “just right”. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem quite so impossible to achieve. Also, he details the process involved in composing the shot and how long it took before he was able to find a scene that he liked. This is important for beginner photographers to know. Getting the right composition takes time. It takes effort. And it takes practice. Photography is a learning curve and so long as we keep the information simple, and flowing, just like in Chris’ article, we can continue to learn and grow in our skill and passion.
Image by Chris Mullins. All rights reserved. Used with permission.