I am now….

I started this blog back in 2011 (over 4 years ago now), to document my journey of learning photography. The highs, the lows, the learnings and the challenges have all been captured along the way.
I kept it going during my time overseas, moving locations twice, travelling to new countries and continents, taking a 6 month break from work to focus on further developing my photography, going back to work full-time, and then finally, moving back to Australia at the end of last year.

Along the way I have taken long breaks from the blog, re-discovered it and at each new milestone in time and location I have reached, I re-consider what is best to do. New journey, start again with a new blog, new part of the overall journey, so add to past…. So, here I am now, at that point again.

I have decided to keep blogging my thoughts using Photo Web Connect, and see where it leads me. Re-connecting…
Kiama, NSW

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You’ve got to get up and try try try

Light on WightThe month of April has all but flown by and I thought I would update you on my goings on. I have been hitting some brick walls of late, but the time spent in front of them is diminishing as I am learning not to dwell and to use each knock back as a learning process and try to move on quickly to the next attempt. This week I had a couple of moments of ‘light bulb’ and some changes to make as a result. Small changes and taking the advice of those wiser than myself are always beneficial, but they seemed particularly relevant this week.

I challenged myself to do an early morning shoot this morning. Sunrise is now just before 6am, which means an earlier and earlier start to be there and a still unpredictable weather situation. I made it out though this morning, and was treated a glorious start to the date and hopefully, also an addition to my next portfolio. Always a good way to start the day.

Next month I have 2 scheduled weekends away for photography related adventures, so hope that the end of May brings more news and images than April has. Needless to say, April has taught me some valuable lessons and I keep on keeping on.

The image I have featured in this months blog was taken on the Ise of Wight, during an Easter holiday break with a friend in late March. I didn’t take many photos on that trip as it was more of an exploring break, but as usual, I am a sucker for a moody sky!

Weather the storm

West Cornwall
West Cornwall

There is definitely something about the months of April and May. They seem to be when I make all my moves, after generally a restless few months of deciding, contemplating and generally wondering what to do next. April and May have seen me over the last 5 years, move country, move house, move country again, change english county (twice) and so the list goes on. The spring (or autumn) depending on my location seem to represent change for me and the time to implement change.

This year, its no different, except the change is not going to be a big and obvious one, it will be setting the groundwork for the future. I had a pretty quiet month in March on the photography front, but hoping the weather will be kind the motivation will heighten and the cameras are ready, willing and able for the next part of their journey. I wanted this to be the year of mind, body and soul, so I better get moving!

Looking out the window

Hartland, Devon
I am trying very hard to squash the travel instinct, that keeps me on my toes continuously. There is so much to explore without getting on a plane. So far, this year, I have managed a week in Ireland just after xmas, a weekend shooting in Devon, at a location I have been to a few times now, with a friend and a few local outings on the weekend for some quiet and contemplative photography. Currently, I am thwarted by flu, and rain…(again), so I haven’t left the house for a few days, but I have a few things to look forward to in March and plenty to plan for the longer term as well.
You may have noticed that I have changed my blog ‘theme’ as well. I am going to tweak it a bit to add a bit more content of interest and try and up the postings again. I have been using Facebook a lot more rather than blogging, but I do love blogging and I tend to come back to it, even when I take a break…so stay tuned.

One of the things I have chosen on my new theme, is an image box that is in a very specific style (panoramic). I am quite interested in developing this style a bit further over the coming year. I have also just purchased a ‘how to printing book’, specifically for my Epson printer, so I can learn a bit more about printing and presentation…also long term plan.
This week’s image is from my weekend trip to North Devon last weekend. It was a short and rocky trip. I ended up soaked in a rock pool, giving my new hiking boots a baptism of fire, which may be the reason for this flu! But it was worth it I hope. See what you think of my Hartland panorama..

Mind, body and soul

A few people asked me this year, if I was making any new year resolutios for 2013. I have definitely done this in the past and it’s right up my street so to say for planning and preparing and motivating. The new year is always a good place to start. I didn’t really want to have a new years resolution of the obvious though..get fit, lose weight, take more photos. I want and need to do all of these things but they get a bit predictable…and most of my readers will probably know by now that I don’t particularly like being predictable 🙂

After thinking about it a bit, when asked again, I said, my new years resolution was to focus on my mind, body and soul. To everyone these mean something different, to me, there are some obvious things that I can cover off on but it also gives me to the scope to explore and change as the year progresses.

The plan is, each month and in fact each week to focus on something that will enhance mind, body and soul and to try and work on each of these, each month. I am hoping that the results will then be gradual, but effective…
In January I am planting some seeds on the ‘mind bit’ and the soul is about taking photographs because I want to…not because I think I should (working on some advice given to me quite a while ago but that I am only really starting to understand and apply…) as for body, well there are some obvious ‘lose xmas weight’ plans on that front, but I will get more inventive I promise.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year. Here’s to making 2013 a happy and healthy year!

Re-exploring Flickr

Lightning strike_marino_edit_sm

I woke up this morning to an email from Flickr, the photo sharing website telling me I have 3 months of free uploads! As a by-product of this, it means my pro-account (which enables unlimited photos) is re-instated for a few months so I can now see all of my photos on the site again. I decided when the renewal came due not to activate my pro account, which means that while my photos are all still there, I cannot see them and I am limited in my uploads. I hadn’t felt that Flick had really added any value to their membership and with so many photos sharing sites around (some of them no cost), it wasn’t seeing the value any more. I can see from my photos now that I have been a flickr advocate since 2004! Thats 8 years of family, friends, travel and memories. Going forward, while my photography go-to place has to be my website, I am starting to see more value of using flickr again (potentially over an above facebook) for a wider promotion of my best work. It also gives a flavour of where I have come from and I think…my love of travel is widely documented.
I notice with having a look through this morning and also uploading the odd photo or two over the last few months that it has had some improvements and some new features, after being somewhat static for a while and I quite like it again. I have also just thought of a way to incorporate it into my photography strategy for 2013 (being the planner I am!).

If you have the time, take a look back over my account. (I assume you can see all the photos as well and not just me!), and have a look at my growth. Trying to pick one photo to re-feature was never going to be easy. There are 82 sets and 6710 photos! When I knew I had my photos back there was one image that I went straight to to remember. It was taken on my Canon 400D which had been recently purchased, as it was before I came to the UK and started to develop my digital further. but to me it represents a few things…

– home and family – it was taken at home when I was living in Marino, sharing a house with my brother and his girlfriend
– end of an era – it was the year I gave up my IT job, to create a new life
– it was a moment, of sheer luck! One that photographers everywhere, hope, pray and plan for!!
I have applied some of the editing techniques that I have learnt, and created it in my current style…
Hope you enjoy my Flickr journey as much as I have this morning..

Exhibition Saturday

Spent a great day in the City of London yesterday, visiting a couple of very different, both both fabulous exhibitions.

The first was Michael Kenna, at Chris Beetle’s Fine art gallery. Michael Kenna holds a special place in my photography journey. While I was spending 5 months back in Oz in 2010, deciding whether to return to the uk and continue my photography, I did a course with the open university. I was a beginners photography style course, but was based on photography for communication rather than the technical aspects. The photographer that I chose to review and study during the course was Michael Kenna. Having had some influence in the black and white genre, and seeing some of his work in China (a location I was about to visit that same year), I spent some time reviewing some interviews and even videos on him as a photographer. The exhibition in London is the first he has done in London for some 7 years, being based in the US and exhibiting in Europe and Asia quite a lot, so I was excited to see he was now showing in London. It was a great representative of his works, 50 images, dating back to 1998 for some, across many locations, but all of them with his signature look and feel and presentation. Awesome.

The second was the wildlife photographer of the year in the natural history museum. I think this is about the 3rd time I have gone to see this. Interesting to see the images winning and the range of locations and countries represented. I had a few clear favourites, one in particular was infrared cheetah!  Amazing and sparking my interest and desire to go back to africa again…(it doens’t take much really). I do love wildlife photographs, but am unlikely to be prepared to sit in a hide for 5 days, ruling it out for me I think 🙂 They did have a wildscapes section, can’t remember if that is new and the winning image was of the northern lights interestingly!

So, all in all a great day and a good start to my goal to make 2013 an opportunity to view more of other photographer’s works in exhibit where possible. I have also started my fine art photography book collection with a book of MK’s images from his exhibition to go onto the bookshelf.

Everything old is new again!

I finally got to take my repaired and refurbished camera out for a bit of a shoot this morning. I wanted to try it out on the tripod and also hand held, and check all was ok before I head off on my next weekend shoot at the end of the month. I chose an initial location which was new to me, which I was able to shoot and explore a bit as well, for a return visit. I couldn’t do sunrise as it was raining, so I ventured out a few hours after sunrise – the light was still quite nice and in fact was improving as the day went on. I think the best light of the day was at about 2pm. After exploring and a coffee, I decided then to venture to a location that I now know quite well, but that I intend to know like the back of my hand over the next 12 months. I plan to try and visit there as much as I can, at different time of the day and different seasons to document a year of photography there. It will be a bit of a challenge, as I tend to like shorter and more quickly achievable projects – but I figure this is the type of thing that will push me and will also keep me interested and inspired. I have chosen a location that is probably my favourite spot in the South of England – albeit I still have plenty of new places to explore still and its very close to home, both of which I think will play to my advantage :-). After a lovely (but rather large in calorie) lunch, I spent an hour in my favourite spot, watching the boats and the light change over the harbour. A very nice re-introduction for my battered, but hopefully now ok camera!

The image in this post, was taken in the afternoon, hand-held – I love the clouds and the reflections – my two favourite ingredients…welcome back 7D..

Iceland 360

I have just returned from a 2 week trip to Iceland, that I certainly won’t forget. Travelling with Ocean Capture, we started in the South, and made our way anti-clockwise around the island, exploring the black beaches, the waterfalls in the north, the beautiful west fjords and finally back to the South Coast. All this in 12 days, staying in 10 hotels (I think!) and based on a problem I had, shot on 2 different cameras + some infrared, (my own camera unfortunately broke half-way through the trip). There were many highlights, and over 500 photographs to select my portfolio from now – very cool. The highlights covered many locations, beautiful, peaceful and powerful locations, mostly off the beaten track, and mostly blessed by weather that I have not had the opportunity to experience in Iceland previously. We saw rainbows, snow falling, heavy rain and hail and soft warm sunshine. Seeing the northern lights, for 2 spectacular nights had to be one of the most amazing things I have witnessed though, and one that will remain with me, long after I have left the northern hemisphere and returned to the south!. Images don’t do justice to the dancing, colour that overtook the sky on that autumns eve in Djupavik. So amazing!

So now, I have a broken camera to send to the camera doctor, and some images to work through to try and best represent the amazing Iceland 360 adventure. My biggest thanks must go to Jonathan Chritchley for making Iceland 360 an awe inspiring adventure.

Ready now

I recently subscribed to Landscape Photography magazine, an on-line, digital photography magazine that features people and places and is, in my opinion a fabulous on-line photography magazine. I like a lot of things about it, and it represents to be many of the things I find interesting and exciting about being involved in the world of photography. It is international…it features local photographers (ie uk) but also has pros and connections into Australia as well, which for me is perfect. It provides an opportunity for unknowns to submit work. It has an amazing layout that really inspires me and the images are both colour and black and white, so it crosses boundaries that I don’t think need to be in place in general. I have just downloaded my second edition and skimmed through and can’t wait to get stuck in. Can definitely recommend!

I have been a bit dormant over the summer months. My focus has been elsewhere I admit, but I feel that I am starting to get my enthusiasm back again..photographically speaking. I have decided, that I am going to do a complete about face and not set myself any goals for 2013!  How about that. It flies in the face of everything I have thought and everything I have said to people, but my one and only goal, if you can call it that…. is to have fun. That’s it.

I have soul searched a bit more on this. I did make the statement the other week that maybe I should just give it up…that scared me a bit, that I even said that out aloud, but on contemplation I think it was out of frustration. How do I fit into this, why can’t I sell my work, how do I sell my work, am I good enough, could I be good enough – over and over. Enough.

I have been following lots of different photographers and looking out for exhibitions and things that could inspire me – there is a wealth of stuff happening, but I want it to have a wow factor for me.

I have also recently been following the work of Andy Rouse. I met Andy at the London Outdoor show last year and briefly spoke to him about his images. He wouldn’t have a flying clue who I am, even though I follow him on twitter and facebook and occassionally comment. I love his work, his wildlife is spectacular and I am seriously contemplating trying to get on an Africa trip, but I think it his attitude that captures my attention. In social media channels you can barely control your own PR, as there are so many people having a say. I find his approach blunt to say the least, but fair. He posted a comment this morning asking people what they were shooting over the weekend and saying, whatever you do, just enjoy, which fits with everything I have been thinking.

So thats the plan folks, I am giving myself a year to enjoy!