Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Photography Gear - What should I buy & why, why why?

"Gosh, you must have a good camera", I hear this comment a lot!  It's hard not to chuckle yet feel the frustration of hearing people's perception of photography.  This comment has edged me on to write something so if your reading this welcome to another perspective on photography... and in case your a headline reader.  The essence of this post is.. you do not need the best camera!  Read on...

(This shot I wanted to give the impression of size.  Unfortunately, the pilot boat was nowhere to be seen so I only had a beacon as a reference.  It was taken on a canon 80d 1.6x crop sensor, 300mm prime f4 with a 2x extender.  I had limited time to work this shot and took about 16 images.)

Photography is made up of many facets.  Here are my thoughts about photography, so you may consider when you think "you must have a good camera",

There are four aspects to photography: 
1. The craft ( Camera use), 
2. Artistry (Composition, lighting, negative space etc.), 
3. Passion and gut feeling and finally, 
4. Post Processing.

1. The Craft.  This is about the ability to use the machine you already have.  Know its limitations, what all the features do.  And when I say all, I mean everything!  Be well practised at using these features in the right circumstances for the right lighting situations.

When I had my first camera - a Nsoca 35, with a 35 mm lens I ran print film then slide later.  I knew little about composition etc. however; I did realise you had to take meter readings, etc. This camera still could take great shots.  I shot slide for years, and have now been swallowed into the vortex of digital. I have a range of machines. Call me obsessed because I now have a few more cameras and have invested in the lens' and other camera bodies.  Here`s the kicker! With all this, you can still take shitty shots.  Overall I have six cameras!  And I am still learning how to use them all to their full potential.  Most days I study a camera to understand its features, limitations and possibilities.  Combine this with a range of lens that only adds to the complications.  The bottom line is to be careful not being sucked into the idea that a certain camera will make your photos any better. In fact, I suggest focusing on the following three points, that I believe truly makes photography.  Only then will you want to move on and decide to invest in anything more expensive.  Cameras equipment is not cheap!

2. Artistry (Composition, lighting, negative space, etc.)

This image I liked cause it was showing the horses features and a different position you usually do not see.  What a podge!

It is not often you get to see a horse in this position, rolling on the grass.  It's a shame I did not get his eye, as that would have made the shot.  I was positioned too low and sometimes that's just the way it is.  You sometimes just can't get the shot you want.

I like this. However, it`s not my favourite.  This image I have given some artistic post processing, which I think adds to the image.  There is so much to artistry with composition this is not the place to go into any details.

(I was driving along and looking for a new perspective for the day.  I saw these horses on the ground.  It is not often you see this so stole the opportunity.  This one is certainly podgy.  Fun to capture them doing something you often do not see.  It was taken on a canon 80d 1.6x crop sensor, 300mm prime f4 with a 2x extender.  I shot about 50-60 images to work a shot I liked)

3. Passon and Gut Feeling:

Ask yourself, why do you photograph?  The reasons are endless.  I admit I am obsessed.  So find your reasons.

I love photography for many, many reasons.  I love to share my images with others.  It is a way I express myself about how I see the world. I hope to inspire others, and about our amazing world. I want to bring stories to others. I love the challenge of getting a great image.  It takes me to amazing places. I meet wonderful people - there are so many reasons, and the list goes on.  Find yours and ignite your passion for photography.  Also, trust your gut instinct when you think there is a great image caught out of the corner of your eye.  Try it!  Ironically the above image is my favourite of the horses, but probably not for others.  Photography has principles to follow however my advice is to do it cause you love it and don't always follow the rules.

4. Finally, Post Processing:

This is a skill all on its own.  There are basic programmes you can complete this, like Photo elements, etc.  Ideally, your images need a little tweaking.  Remember you are dealing with dots (pixels), and you can improve images.  Most Smartphones have great post processing tools.  Remember the days of film and slide? Well, now you're the camera shop now and the processor!  I like to represent my images how they were at the time.  I have learnt to do a little artistry with some photos but still, aim to represent what I saw at the time.  A camera cannot see what the human eye and brain can create, so all machines have limitations.  Get some lessons and learn some post processing skills.

That's an overall sum up broad brush at what I think photography is made up of.  Of course, when you start drilling into the subject each item I have mentioned has many more levels and aspects, and there are many I have not mentioned.  So next time you suggest to someone or think, "they must have a good camera", remember all the other aspect.  Photography takes dedication, time, passion, subject research, curiosity and a willing to learn.  You may spend a day trying to get an image and come away with nothing you're happy with.  It may take hours, days, weeks, months or in some case, years to get the right image you like.  And respect other people's work.  Alway give credit to a photographer.

Either way - enjoy the beauty of producing images you like and share them with the world.

Happy photographing

Andy Thompson

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