Photographic student for the day

I have always loved photography and the science behind cameras. Being mesmerised as a child with the family Kodak camera with the screw on flash cube. Taking photos was something that was done on special occasions. Well it was in my household. The waiting game to see your pictures and then discard half of them as there was only one descent one. Oh am I showing my age??

I remember the first digital camera and was amazed that I could see the picture instantly. The sad thing now is, printing pictures becomes less and I love looking at photos. Not quite the same seeing them on a screen.

Over the last few years I have used whatever smart phone I have had, latterly my iPhone. But I found time and time again I couldn’t quite capture what I saw. Back in October I did a helicopter flight over the lakes, so that prompted a purchase of a “proper” camera. I just shot in whatever default setting it was bought in, getting used to it. Noticing the better detail instantly compared to my iPhone shots.

With looking at various photography friends pictures, I got an eye for composing a shot and just needed to fine tune how to execute this. This is where Mark Gilligan comes in.

I met Mark and the TGO awards over a year ago, got chatting and became friends. I decided to do one of his 1-1 workshops so I could get to grips with my camera. A date was set.

Before the workshop, I was set my first homework. First to send 8 of my best landscape shots, then a list of features on my camera to learn. I did bribe my friend Adam with dinner to explain the features as we have the same camera.

So armed and dangerous with information the day started. Pad and pen at the ready to begin. There’s more theory than I imagined but Mark’s simple explanation made it easy for me to grasp. A couple of cups of Farrers finest coffee and some of my famous brownies, it was time to put into practice what I had learnt.

I find that I grasp things easier by doing. So we headed up to Blea Tarn in the Langdales. The weather was looking ominous but hoped we could get a couple of hours shooting done.

I love Blea Tarn it’s so picturesque and nestled right in the heart of the Langdales a favourite spot of mine.

Wellies on, warm clothes and off to put into practice what I had learnt.

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Tripod set up, Mark asked me to go and do some test shots of what I thought was a good composition. Off I went like a good student. We decided we would recreate 2 of the shots using what I had learnt earlier.

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All my settings done and shoot. Mark explained it is best to get all you need done when you’re taking the shot, for example the shutter speed, aperture, use a filter etc so you have to do the minimal amount of editing afterwards.

You only have to walk around Keswick for example and see over edited pieces of work which are for sale! I know that photography is subject to taste. But for me seeing an image that’s been over edited or a HDR edit just looks un natural. One of the questions Mark asked me was “what do you want to achieve?” For me it’s to capture the memories as best as I can.

I have the basics I just need to practice and explore my camera, get to know it intimately so it becomes second nature.

So back to the shoot, camera set and shoot. I was amazed at the results shooting in manual mode. The weather was starting to come in but before it won, we moved to another spot and shot again. The wind nearly blew us off our feet.

Back to the car and back to Kendal for a warming cuppa and look at the results on the computer. A few minor tweaks which took seconds and before me was my first proper picture. I was very proud. These are my results.

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Thank you Mark for a very informative productive day. It’s going to make me a better photographer.

Slightly brain drained but happy from a good days learning.

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If you fancy tweaking your photography skills I would definitely recommend a day with Mark. His website is
http://www.wastwaterphotography.co.uk/section735157.html


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