My Photo Journey around Wales
I have finally managed to get out with my new camera, I took my grandson who is part of my bubble up into the Brecon Beacons. He has a light sabre which we thought would look great at sunset. I still have a lot to learn on my camera settings but at least I have a few basic functions in my head. It takes time to get to know a camera inside out and this is my first major change since 2010, although I have upgraded regularly I have stuck with buying a newer version of the same model. This means that with few changes of controls I could find my way around without even thinking.
I know it will take time but having made a start I feel really positive. I feel that getting out and about has been really good for my mental health. I always used to say that being out on my own with the camera kept me sane, and I did notice how much better I felt just being somewhere different. I still intend walking the coastal path but I may wait for things to settle down a little, I can spend some time playing with my new camera in the meantime.
The quality of the images is so much better that my older model, even only changing the basics like shutter speed and aperture. I am very impressed with it so far, its just going to be practice, practice and more practice until I know the setting of by heart.
I have finally chosen my new camera, after a lot of thought I decided to go from a cropped sensor to full frame. The main reason for not making the change before was the size and weight as I have joint problems and wasn't sure I could manage. I found the Nikon D750 was the lightest available and after trying it in my local camera shop was surprised at how light it was.
The image quality is so much better than my older D5300 even making only small changes on manual and I'm sure that once I find my way around all the settings I will be able to get so much more out of this camera. It still has the multixposure setting I need for my church project, but has the added benefit of much greater definition for professional looking landscapes.
The kit I chose came with a really nice 24-120 lens which is a great multi purpose starting point and I can add more lens as I go once I get used to using the camera. There is a newer version available but the main improvement seems to be in the video functions which I very rarely use so I didn't see the point in spending nearly an extra thousand pounds just to get the latest model. I would rather buy an extra lens.
So now I have my equipment sorted out I will start walking the Welsh coast a little at a time hopefully in the very near future I may have some images to share. Weather and lock down permitting.
My circumstances have changed in the last few months, I am unexpectedly on my own, so I am thinking of working on a new project that I have thought of doing in the past. I really love our coastline and now lockdown restrictions have eased I am intending to walk the coast path that stretches the whole of the Welsh coast. I will do small sections a time so that I can do as much photography as possible, I have not set a timescale as this is a bit restrictive and I may revisit places several times.
I feel this will give me a focus for the future, photography has always helped me in the past when things have been difficult, so here goes. It is a good to have something else to concentrate on and I may end up with some interesting images to look back on. At the very least I will be out in the fresh air not at home feeling sorry for myself. I also plan to upgrade my camera in the next few months so I will have to do a bit of research to find exactly the right model. I love looking at new equipment but am a bit slow making a choice, I worry about making a costly mistake that I will regret.
Hopefully with some effort and determination I will come out of this really awful time in a more positive frame of mind and looking to a new if different future. I know I am going to struggle some of the time, but giving up is not an option so giving myself goals is a way to just keep moving forward a little at a time.
Assessing your own images is one of the hardest lessons to learn in photography. All photographers face the same issue, because so much thought and emotion goes into each work it becomes almost impossible to step back and disregard all of this. Beyond the obvious factors, exposure sharpness and composition, it is still mainly based on personal preference.
I often find the memory I have of the day, and the enjoyment of doing what I love, clouds the issue and am nearly always surprised by reactions to what I feel are not my best work. I have won competitions with image that I think are fairly ordinary and other work which I feel is much better doesn't do so well. In the end all any of us can do is work to the best of our abililty and hope someone else can see something in our images that they can relate to.
Having a concept can drive a project, but unless the thought process is explained the meaning is often lost. This can lead to it being judged solely on its visual impact which is only half the story. Almost anyone can produce an amazing piece of work, its much harder to create a whole body of images that are of equal quality with an underlying meaning and great composition to really attract the viewer.
It is only by listening to the feedback from not only people who you know and who understand you, but also from messages left by strangers and judges comments, that you start to understand how others see your work. I have found personally that it is impossible to be detached enough to assess my own images. The only answer is enjoy what you do and hope it comes across to the viewer.
I love photography but as I don't like the pressure of working for someone else it has stayed as more of a sideline. I am still working on my cathedral project, planning any break in this country around an area with plenty of abbeys and churches to add to my portfolio. To help fund this and gain exposure I enter quite a few competitions. I often get into the top 10% in the public vote on Viewbug sometimes in front of as many as nearly 500,000 other images which feels fantastic, even if I don't win at least I feel people like my work.
For me it's more a way getting out and about, keeping fit with a purpose.So any win is an unexpected surprise. Last week I had an email from a small local competition that I had forgotten entering last year, I has second prize so that was a good moral boost. The rewards were relatively small but it's good to get the recognition. It's just a small reminder of why I love what I do, not for the money just for the pleasure of producing an image I can be proud of.