Friday, 30 December 2011

Procrastination - not today thank you!

Yesterday I wrote about the benefits that undertaking a 365 day or 52 week project could have on your photography.  Today I want to build on that idea and, in the final days of 2011 encourage you to not put off taking that first step.

This image is part of a 365 photo project I did. For those who may not be aware of the concept of a 365 project you should read my previous blog post to find out more.

Many moons ago I used to run and cycle for sport and enjoyment, so many years in fact that I have forgotten how long. Also until quite recently I have been a tad overweight which hasn't helped my eagerness to run or cycle either. Anyway, I digress.

I have had a project in mind for a long time and athletics forms part of the plot, so one day I decided to put some shorts on, set the camera on a tripod, go for a jog and test some lighting and compositional ideas. The image here may form part of the final composite image which will form a post at a later date. I had been procrastinating about this shot for too long, yet it took the best part of 30 mins for me to change, setup camera and lights and shoot, and I have been delaying it for weeks!

The above image was taken with a single Canon 580EX II Speedlite Flash Unitto light the ground in front of the runner (me!).

The reason for posting this image is because it reminds me not put off till tomorrow something I can do today. In future whenever I feel like putting something off till another day, I will remember this image and remind myself to get off my butt and go do it!

So, to all you procrastinators, get out there and accomplish what you have been postponing.  Hey and if its about practising with your camera why not have a go at a 365 or 52 Project?

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practise makes perfect better photographers.

The best way to improve your photography is to practice. The more often you practice the quicker you improve.  
There are lots of ways to help you undertake the practising methodology - why not try completing a 365 Project or a 52 week project for example.

365 project
The is where you take a photograph each day for a year. 

Does this have to start on 1st January each year? No not at all, you can start this at any time.  Its just about getting you to use your camera each day and learning the camera controls as well as the art of composition. Over time you will handle your camera more effectively and, rather than fiddling around with the controls trying to change a setting or two, you will be able to focus your mind on composing the image.

What if you can't see anything interesting to shoot? You will find your mind becomes sharper and you will begin seeing potential images everywhere.

What should you do with the photographs?  Why not upload them to Google+ or Flickr, there are other photographers who are also following the same daily routine and sharing your images with them can inspire them too.  If you get in a good group you can also ask for critique from them.

What if you don’t take a great photo one day?  This isn’t about beating the opposition, its about learning and sharing your learning with others.

If you want to have a go at a 365 and you are on Google+ you should head on over to this page at and see the details and also the list of others who have also chosen the same route you are considering - you won’t be alone!

If you would sooner post images to Flickr then just check out the number of groups supporting the 365 theme!

52 week Project
If you don’t think you can commit to a photo a day then why not consider a 52 week project.
There is an interesting article from a friend and great photographer Chris Bersbach about his journey on a 52week project over at Lighting Essentials and this is definitely worth reading.

At the risk of being accused of plugging Google+ you might also want to check out another approach to a 52 week project being run by Giuseppe Basile over on Google+.

Under your own steam

OK so you don't fancy posting your images out there for the world and his wife to see. Pick your own theme or themes to complete: water; colour blue; interesting windows; reflections; cars; etc. Just shoot images regularly.

One final point - don't beat yourself up if you miss one or two days or assignments, it doesn't matter. It only matters that you practice, practice, practice.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Market Trading

Do you like a nice piece of fresh fruit, or crisp fresh vegetables?  It kind of warms the spirit doesn't it when you feel the old hunger pangs on a warm summers day and you see a piece of fresh fruit.  No? Oh well it does to me!

Tameside has a great market trading tradition, including some fantastic fresh fruit produce sellers.  Most of the towns in the borough have a regular market stall day, and Ashton-under-Lyne is no exception.  Famous for its outdoor and indoor markets, if you go down to Ashton on any market day you are sure to be entranced by the wide variety of produce available. It doesn't really matter if you like apples or not as the local greengrocers sell some amazing produce these days, from all corners of the globe!  Mind you, I do like a nice crispy Braeburn apple.