Hello and welcome to my new website/blog. I’m an enthusiastic amateur photographer based in Cumbria, England. I’ve been involved in photography for quite a few years now – starting out when my dad let me borrow his treasured 35mm film camera to go on holiday way back….enough said! I dipped in and out for quite a while, before taking it up as a (relatively) serious hobby when I started to invest in somewhat better equipment, namely a Canon A1 body (excellent camera) and a range of Canon FD lenses, followed by a Canon T90 body (even better camera) and a whole raft of accessories. Later I added a Bronica ETRS medium format camera with wide-angle, standard and telephoto lenses, which cost me a small fortune, but superb in hardware and image quality.
I’ve still got the Canon bodies and lenses sitting in a cupboard, but traded the Bronica for digital equipment a couple of years ago. The market for good quality second-hand film equipment seems to have picked up recently after a period when you could barely give the stuff away! As an old ‘fuddy duddy’, I think there’s a lot to be said for the days of film and self-processing – hours spent in a darkened room or the kitchen, measuring out somewhat hazardous chemicals into plastic trays, fumbling with a 35mm film cassette in a changing bag, trying desperately to avoid any light ruining treasured exposures. Then, when developed, there was the eager anticipation and worry about whether or not the film actually recorded the shot you believed you had! I recall taking the wedding photos for a (then) work colleague. I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite so nervous as waiting for the film and prints coming back from the processing lab!
Of course, the world is now a rather different place. Digital photography rules! There’s a lot to be said for it…instant reviewable results, almost foolproof cameras, no film to buy, no processing costs, etc. I don’t think I would go back to film, purely on the basis of cost and speed of producing output, especially when social networking comes into the equation. But the key principles of photography still remain…’seeing’ the picture, assessing light quality, composition, controlling exposure, capturing the moment, etc. A good photograph will always be a good photograph, no matter exactly how it was produced. Photography, like any other form of art, is largely about subjective opinions – I like what I like and you may like something different. A good photograph doesn’t necessarily have to be technically excellent, but has to convey some sort of meaning or stir some sort of imagination or emotion in the viewer. For the photographer, learning the technical basics helps to achieve the latter, and understanding the essential relationship of aperture, shutter speed and sensor sensitivity (equivalent to the old ‘film speed’ rating) is really the bedrock of recording good images.
If you want to make a living from photography, not only must you master the technical basics at least, but you also need to have clear view as to the market in which you are aiming to sell your wares, or be very lucky! It’s a competitive world! For me, photography is primarily about enjoyment. Naturally, if I can produce something that is saleable then I would be delighted to earn whatever it is worth. Even if no one wants to pay me money, but the finished product is appreciated, then I’m happy!
I’m not a purist. I try and get the image right as far as possible at the time of taking the photo. But, as many of you will have discovered the hard way, this can’t always be achieved, and there is a need to crop, enhance, manipulate, etc. Another massive advantage of digital photography is the ability to do these things quickly and at no cost, save for the initial price of the appropriate software. I have no problem with digitally altering images, even quite radically. The important thing is that such manipulation is done honestly and transparently, and not in a way that deliberately and cynically misleads the viewer. At the end of the day, an image will be judged by the beholder on the final result.
This is not a technical expert website/blog. There are far better qualified people than me to give lessons in the detailed technical aspects of photography and any number of books available on the subject (although not all written in user-friendly language!). Occasionally, I include some basic technical information on the photos by way of illustration. Hopefully, there are no glaring mistakes!
Oh, yes, I like steam locomotives too!
But more about those to follow soon.
I recommend that you try my daughter’s blog for more local and travel related features: https://holmeandaway.com