I take photos because I can’t draw for toffee. I’m an amateur, and it shows. I use Nikon gear, which I love. The bulk of my work is organised into three main projects, to help me improve. I publish six days a week, except when it’s a holiday. You can find my photos on Flickr if you can’t wait for me to blog about them.
What else do you really need to know? 🙂
Welcome To My Photography Blog
This is my photography blog, where I talk about both the photos I’ve taken, and the techniques I’ve used to produce the final image. I’m a highly visual person, but can’t draw for toffee, so photography is my outlet for all the things my brain sees and wishes it could reproduce artistically.
I have two busy jobs, working six days a week (neither of which involves photography) and tend to take photos on long summer evenings, weekends, and vacations. I’m strictly an amateur photographer, and really enjoy having a pastime with no pressures at all. My aim as a photographer is to improve the consistency over time; I’d love to get to at least magazine quality on a repeatable basis one day. I’m a long way off from that so far.
All of this is made possible by my extremely supportive wife, who has spent years both putting up with and encouraging my hobby in equal measure. Unlike me, she can really draw and paint (I’m both insanely jealous and full of admiration at the same time), and you can find her stuff over on deviantART.
I bought my first Nikon SLR back in the late 90’s thanks to the encouragement of my friend Hugh, but didn’t enjoy the whole fuss of getting chemical film developed, or the disappointment when the final print never looked close to what I thought I’d shot. I went digital with the Nikon D100 as soon as I could afford it in 2003, and gave up shooting chemical the very same day. Although I tend to use Canon (and Panasonic) pocket digital cameras, when it comes to my DSLR I’m afraid you’d have to prise my Nikon out of my cold dead hands. They consistently make the best camera bodies (if not always the best sensors sadly) and the best glass. (The Nikons can also be paired with a GPS device for geotagging my shots, which is a key requirement for one of my projects).
After many many happy years with the Nikon D200, I’m currently shooting with a Nikon D300s. Thanks to considerable luck on eBay, I’m currently using Nikon 24mm f/2.8D, 35mm f/1.8G, 50mm f/1.4D and 80-200mm f/2.8 lenses. These lenses all provide great image quality and a level of control over depth of field that old favourites like the 18-135mm lens didn’t quite manage. If you’re good enough (I’m not, sadly) you can take great shots with any old lens, but if anyone tells you that lenses don’t help, I can’t agree.
I also have a Sigma 10-20mm for challenging subjects and a Sigma f/2.8 EX macro for close-up work.
I use an early model Foolography Unleashed unit for geotagging my shots, paired with a pocketable bluetooth GPS unit that I picked up from them at the same time. I wish Nikon would build the necessary bluetooth support into all of the DSLRs, but until they do, the Unleashed is a great piece of kit. I’ve seen many old photos of locations in South Wales that no longer exist at all, and are impossible to find just by looking at the picture. I’m hoping that geotagging my photos will allow future generations to see what our time was like and where, no matter what changes are to come.
I nearly always shoot manual focus, which is made much easier by the Live View support on the D300s. Right or wrong (and it’s often wrong) I want the focus to be my decision, as I firmly believe that the focus of a shot is a major part of the artistic expression. Looking at my shots, quite what it says about me I’m not so sure …
Photos are uploaded into Apple’s Aperture software running on my Mac. I don’t use Photoshop, and whilst I respect the skill of those who need to photoshop their work, I think it stops being photography beyond a certain point and becomes its own medium.
Final images are published to my account on Flickr first, and then I write the blog posts for this site afterwards, linking back to the photos on Flickr. Flickr is a great way to find an audience, and if you upload the fullsize version of your photos, they’re effectively backed up in case your computer should ever die.
After four years of getting absolutely nowhere with improving my photography, I decided to pick a project to give me something to focus on and to challenge me to get at least some modicum of consistency by trying to practice my photography on a regular basis.
Starting in 2007, my main emphasis is my personal photographic project Merthyr Road, which aims to capture some of remarkable sights from an industrial past and the rapidly-changing present that lie along the line of the A470 trunk road between Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil.
Starting in 2010, I’ve added a daily desktop wallpaper feature. Every weekday, I post my choice of desktop wallpaper from a mix of my own photography archive and from new photos taken for the wallpaper project. I work at a computer for many hours a day; it provides the most opportunity for me to see my favourite photos I reckon.
Starting in 2010, I’ve also added the 25×9 project, as an outlet for photos I’ve accumulated that just don’t suit the squarer 4:3 or 16:10 formats. These are published on Saturdays.
I’m a great believer that there isn’t much point in taking photos if no-one is going to get the opportunity to see them; and publishing the photos is a great way for me to see them.
I tend to publish my photos first on Flickr, and then organise them into blog posts here. You can subscribe to my RSS feed, and follow me on Twitter to learn about new posts. My current publishing schedule is:
- Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays): daily desktop wallpaper
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday: new Merthyr Road articles (Tuesdays and Thursdays too when I have time)
- Saturdays: 25×9 project, and other photography posts on an as-and-when basis
It’s rare for me to publish anything on a British public holiday.