Thursday, March 25, 2010

Buy something

Wagon wheel in Normandy, France.

Regular readers of my blog know that I'm generally against buying equipment unless it is absolutely essential. There's a lot to be said for keeping things simple and focusing your attention on creativity rather than lugging equipment around and fiddling with it.

Give me any camera, with any lens and I'll come up with a shot that's interesting. It's a bold claim but I have every confidence in following the creative process. Each photographic opportunity can be approached in a million different ways. It's up to the photographer to find their own artistic interpretation with the equipment at their disposal. If my image is not all that it should be then I certainly will not blame the equipment.

Now having said that; buying a new piece of kit can unlock a new creative experience. A good macro lens can open a whole new world to you as a photographer or a reflector panel can inspire you to explore doing different things with light.

So yes. Buy something new. But buy it for the right reasons. Not because it is the latest piece of kit to receive a rave review, or because it's this year's must have accessory. Buy it to stimulate your creative vision, to play with, experiment and learn until you master it and it becomes just another old friend in your camera bag that you can pull out when the time is right.

A new piece of kit can be that fresh ingredient that does far more than just adding something new to a tried and tested formula. It can lead us to come up with a completely new vision. Happy shopping.

Till soon,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Railway men

Two railway men in driver's cabin of their steam engine, Pickering, UK.

Till soon,

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Life changing at the speed of a shutter click

Watching the Winter Olympics I was constantly amazed by how small the difference was between the top athletes. Less than three seconds separated the top three in the men's Olympic 30-km Cross Country skiing where Marcus Hellner of Sweden finished first, with a time of 1:15:11.4; Tobias Angerer from Germany placed second, at 2.1 seconds behind, and Swede Johan Olsson took the bronze, just 2.8 seconds after the winner. That’s over a 30km race lasting one and quarter hours! In most of the Olympic sports only 1/100’s of a second separated the winning contestants.

Take a typical shutter speed of 1/60 second. It could mean the difference between winning or losing a race in the Olympics, or the difference between getting a great shot and an average one. If you think about it most photography is about picking that perfect moment, when light, subject and all elements fall perfectly into place.

It takes a lot of work (and a bit of luck) to either make those moments happen or allow them to happen in front of your lens. The harder you work the luckier you get. Just like an athlete you have to train, practice, know the fundamentals inside out and develop your technique. Pay attention to every detail as it unfolds in fractions of a second. With preparation, effort and perseverance, when you get a chance to grab that gold medal of a shot you will capture the perfect frame and life could change at the speed of a shutter click. You could produce that iconic image that helps define you as a photographer - the image everyone thinks of when they hear your name.

Till soon,

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Photography and visual plagiarism

In layman's terms photographic plagiarism occurs when one photographer copies the work of another photographer, by making a new image that is so similar to the image being copied that any viewer looking at the two images is struck by their overwhelming correlation.

You'll soon see what I mean when you look through the examples in the articles below. Having seen blatant plagiarism of my wife Magda Indigo's work on Flickr I decided to write a blog on the topic. However I soon discovered that the subject of photographic plagiarism has been covered extensively, so I refer you to a selection of articles which I found interesting...

There is nothing better than coming up with something new. To stand out from the crowd you need to do something different, carve a new path. Be a leader, not a follower. As the old saying goes, we stand on the shoulders of giants who have come before us, so by all means my advice is to look and learn from the masters, but then do some original with that knowledge. To slavishly copy and then pass other people's creative ideas off as your own work is not flattery, its the last resort of the creatively bankrupt.

Till soon