Sunday, 20 July 2014

learning some new things...

I was given a great treat for my birthday of a 4 hour 'workshop' with a local photographer. Yesterday was the day, and with some trepidation (feeling a complete novice with new camera and not quite knowing what to expect) I set off to meet at the appointed National Trust car park near Blickling Hall.

After some glorious hot days, yesterday had been predicted cloudy at best, possible thunderstorms, and at 21C first thing in the morning, after spectacular thunder and lightning at 4am, I risked shorts & packed a waterproof.

The Blickling Estate park has some beautiful woodland and, it has to be said, when we started it wasn't looking promising for decent light to take photos in!


It transpired that the photographer specialised particularly in nature images and I rather suspect his photography (of many years) had originally come from his love of the local environment rather than the other way around. I guess maybe that's true of many - that the overriding interest, be it sport, or food, or whatever, is the thing that generates a source of images that interest you. He certainly has taken some beautiful pictures and was keen to share his experience both of photography and what we were looking at.

Some of the trees had impressive fungus growths and we played with different camera settings with this one...

The light was a bit muted for decent reflections - I think blue sky would completely change the look of the lake...

I was slightly craving a bit of colour by this stage so was pleased to find some pretty flowers and spent ages playing around with these...
I learnt a lot about framing, exposure and aperture setting...not all of which I will retain I'm sure! Interestingly, though, I think some of the composition techniques I had inadvertently/intuitively (not sure which!) been using already so it was reassuring to know I wasn't miles off track!

Over the space of a couple of hours, the skies changed from a grey that rendered the parasol like stems almost monochrome to the beginnings of blue and a hint of sunshine. A large patch of white meadowsweet gave us a chance to play with trying to pick out some blooms from the mass of fluffy flower heads. Not sure how successful I was but it was fun trying!


I was pleased with this one. I know its a bit of a tatty specimen, not the showiest and I can't for the life of me remember what it was called, but I was just pleased to capture one, in focus...


I can't say fungus overly excites me but there were some interesting specimens, plus delicate flowers and damselflies flitting about...
 I quite like this one too...


It was quite blowy and there was something so delicate about these grasses. Not sure the photographer was convinced but it made me think this is a very subjective pastime. I'm not trying to take photos to sell or impress anyone else, just for my own pleasure and distraction and, rightly or wrongly, my view is if I like it that's ok.

I discovered he is a keen insects man but I'm afraid I had no burning desire to take lots of pictures of flies, even if they look 'like fantastic little monsters through a macro lens'. Yep, I'm sure they do, but fascinating though that is I'm not sure I want to keep looking at them!

Butterflies, maybe, and there was something of a compulsive challenge about patiently waiting to catch one with its wings open just as you pressed the shutter...


Blickling is a beautiful and impressive stately home...


...and afforded a slightly uncomfortable opportunity to try out the self timer on the camera...


Two amateur interested ladies on the right, professional photographer on the left! Has to be said the other lady was not such a novice either, with an impressive film Nikon and a pretty sound knowledge of photography herself. Just moi starting from basics!

As a process in analysing what I find pleasing, the workshop was an interesting exercise in itself - seems to me that what I enjoy most are light and colour. I can appreciate lovely trees and interesting fungi and creepy crawlies but they are not the images, on the whole, I want to take home. I love the sun breaking through the tree canopy...


...and the sunshine in these zingy yellow flowers with the butterfly a bonus...


The park was beautiful and I enjoyed the walk...
but I'm happy to have what was referred to as 'just a scenic shot' as a memory trigger of a place or an experience or a feeling...

This spot was particularly tranquil and, whilst it may have no particular merit in photographic terms, this photo evokes that for me...


I love the effect of the bright pink of these flowers which seem to pop out from the soft green background...



Apparently this is a black demoiselle, beautiful blue body...


We were out for almost 6 hours in the end and towards the end of that time the sun was out in full and temperatures up into the high 20s, and this patch of bramble was covered in butterflies. I took more photos than I dare confess to trying to capture these tricksy creatures, thanks heavens for digital...




The others went ahead and were absorbed by more fungus...
I had to agree this is an impressive tree, though I felt it was crying out for adventurous children :-) - my boys would have loved this...


So...I had a good time, I learnt a lot and it definitely improved my confidence with my new camera. And overall, I would say I still feel I want to take pictures that I think I want to look at again, for whatever reason, just maybe I'll have a slightly more educated eye to view through now.

Need to keep practicing!

S x

5 comments:

  1. Wow, fantastic photographs! Looks like you learnt a lot on the course. I'm doing a 2 day photography course in August. If my results are half as good as yours I'll be well pleased!

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  2. You got some really good shots!

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  3. You got some really good shots! You had fun and learned some new techniques so it was a few hours well spent. I totally agree with you...if I like it, than it is good enough for me. Have a great week.

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  4. What a great fun thing to do, your photos look fantastic.

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  5. What a great day & beautiful location. Good to know which aspects you enjoy so you can focus on those ( 'scuse the pun ! )

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