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The advantages of a DSLR #photography

The advantages of a DSLR camera are huge compared with most other cameras. The new compact smart cameras are smaller and lighter and great for point and shoot but the DSLR gives the photographer full control of the camera.

advantages of a DSLR


Developing my skill #photography

I took up photography just over 10 years ago and mostly shot landscapes with my little Fujifilm S5600 which served me well. I’ve come a long way in 10 years and had pictures exhibited in several exhibitions. I have gone from shooting in scenes modes with a bridge camera to using a full frame Nikon on a manual setting. I am still learning, of course and I’m now trying to set my white balance better in certain situations. That is a matter of practice and experimentation to get just what I want. I will keep developing my skill and I think I will never stop improving.

Developing my skill


Dial M for manual #photography

Some photographers always shoot in manual and in raw. This is the sign of a true professional and they can even denigrate other photographers who aren’t so clued up! Is shooting in manual better or necessary? This week, I dial M for manual and look at the possible uses. Most of the time, however, I shoot with my dial on aperture priority and I shoot in jpeg.

Dial M for Manual


Publishing on social media #photography

I photographed a Safer Six event in Wednesbury yesterday and I had to cover my camera at the beginning and shelter under a canopy to take the first few shots. I took a few shots at a narrow aperture to get the flavour of the event and when the rain subsided went wide-open for some close-up shots of the dignitaries and stalls. The shots were intended for publishing on social media but sometimes I do send photos to the local newspaper.

publishing on social media


The quality of the light #photography

The quality of the light greatly affects the nature of a photograph. I have photographed artists on stage under coloured lights and obviously a blue light make the artist look blue and a pink light gives the scene a pink glow. I photographed the Tipton Canal and Community Festival on Sunday which had more or less finished because of the rain.  The dark clouds gave the scenes a dark greyish look. You can alter the white balance to compensate for the greyish light and of course you can compensate for the lack of light by increasing the ISO and shooting some wide aperture shots but the images have a greyish tinge and I would have preferred a sunny day!

The quality of the light


Taking pictures for Instagram #photography

You have probably seen great photos on Instagram and realise that they haven’t been taken with a phone. You can take your photos with a camera and then upload them to Instagram with your phone. My camera has Wi-Fi so I can send my pictures to my phone and then upload them. The images can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr at the same time.

taking pictures for Instagram


A pictorial history #photography

Besides being a photographer I also run a local history page and it is difficult to explain history in terms everyone can understand. History is political and the country is deeply divided politically at the moment. I think I will have to emphasize our pictorial history for a while and curate the collection of historic photographs. I can also add to our pictorial history by taking photographs. Photographs remind us of events and of the various seasons in our lives. I went for a walk on Sunday in Sandwell Valley and that helped me get some exercise and made me more aware of the world around me as I looked for things to photograph.



Something to photograph #photography

There is always something to photograph. Yesterday, I went to an event in the town hall and photographed the audience, the compere and the singer. If you don’t have an event to go to there is always landscape photography and street photography is very popular these days too. You have to be more careful when you do street photography because many people don’t like their photograph taken. Legally you can photograph more or less what you like but you must do no harm. If you cause damage such as distress to people then they can sue you for damages.

something to photograph


Finding your niche #photography

I think anyone who enjoys photography needs to consider how best to enjoy it. Some people like being at one with nature and shoot wildlife photographs and others like to just snap the peculiarities of life. Finding your niche can be difficult but it should be something you’re comfortable with. I do events but I’m never very comfortable with them and find just photographing interesting buildings and scenes more relaxing.

finding your niche

Doing your best #photography

I am sometimes asked for my advice and my advice is invariably, do what is right or just do your best. The same can apply to photography, we can take it quite seriously and try for the best photographs that we can take or we can just snap things. Of course, we can get quite good photographs with any camera if we get the composition right but a better camera does produce better results. Doing your best with what you have is the way to go,  unless you have unlimited amounts of money to keep upgrading your equipment.

doing your best


Images from the past #ramble

It’s Sunday morning and so I’ll share my thoughts with you once again. What’s on my mind this week? I’m running a competition on the History of Wednesbury Facebook page and it’s going rather well. I’ve asked for contributions as entries and so far we have had about 25 pictures and one poem. These images from the past are quite nostalgic and take you back to a different era.

images from the past


Using higher ISO settings #photography

I went to photograph a fete in the town hall on Saturday. It didn’t work out too well because I was unwell but the photos I did take were better than previous years. Shooting with a full frame camera with a larger sensor makes a difference and the in-camera processing at higher ISO settings is better too.

higher ISO


Experiments in photography #photography

If you’re going to do something different with your photography, you will need to experiment. You will also need to think laterally; out of the box. Do a Google search for fine art photography and you will see lots of mediocre images in grey scale. Those photographers copy each others style and so there is little originality. How about those top Magnum photographers who get their pictures into galleries and sell them for lots of dosh? Check those out too. Yes, lots of grey scale images but a different style. Experiments in photography should be able to produce a style that is fresh and maybe clever too.

experiments in photography


Looking for art #photography

Art is all around us, in the design of buildings, in the design of advertising that we see and in nature which is an evolving design. We can create images by photographing the art that is around us. I went to Wednesbury art gallery on Saturday afternoon looking for art. I photographed some of the exhibitions and the gallery.

looking for art


Entering a photography competition #photography

I helped to run a photography competition this year and helped judge it. It is surprising how many people don’t read the rules and conditions! That is the first thing to do and it can give you an indication of what the judges are looking for too. I decided to enter a competition this week and the photos are to be uploaded onto Facebook but the prize is a print of your photo. For the print I will need a photograph that is high definition and the one I have is over 5,000 pixels across but I have resized it down to 1,800 pixels across to upload to Facebook. Anyway, before entering a photography competition, read the rules and conditions to get some idea of what is required.

entering a photography competition


Improving your composition #photography

Whatever stage of your photographic journey you’re at, you can always improve your composition. It doesn’t matter if you have a cheap pocket camera or a full frame DSLR, better composition will give you better photos.



There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about – Oscar Wilde

“It is silly of you, for there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” is a quote from A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. The quote refers to the upper classes who need an admiring audience. However, we mere mortals are also talked about if we get involved in the community in some way. The question is, do people say good things about us or bad things? Last year, quite a few bad things were said about me, things have improved since then. I care less what people think now anyway, so it doesn’t much matter what they say!

Oscar Wilde


Getting started in photography

Most cameras and phones will take a good picture in a good light. The problems start in artificial light and in poor light. On automatic settings, the camera slows the shutter speed down to compensate for the lack of light which causes blur.  Holding the camera very still is the first thing you can do to get better pictures. You can also focus on subjects close to the camera which will mean a wide aperture and that allows more light into the camera and you get a faster shutter speed. If you’re just getting started in photography choosing a good camera can also help you get great pictures.



How to take sharper pictures. #photography #art

We all want sharper pictures. Blurred images are the biggest problem people have with photography. Photographs are images made up of light and dark and if you zoom in on an image, the line between light and dark is often fuzzy or completely blurred. I zoom in and sometimes use software to make that line more defined. I took a photo of the Fountain Inn in Tipton again on Sunday. I wanted good composition but I also wanted the image to be as sharp as possible.

sharper pictures


A new chapter #photography #life

It’s Sunday morning, bright and early so I’ll share my thoughts with you once again. The Blast festival is over and so too is the Sandwell Pride of Place project. I missed the end of the festival party but did take some photos of Brendan Barry’s caravan gallery workshop in Wednesbury Market. That was tiring with the heat. Chris and Jan of the Caravan Gallery will move on to their next project. I have been asked about a project but I’m not going anywhere! We will all start a new chapter and who knows how the story will go?

A new chapter


When art meets history #photography #art #history

Besides being the admin of the History of Wednesbury page on Facebook I also do community photography and photograph local events. Besides promoting our history, I record it as it happens. It is, of course, a pictorial history of old photographs and I take photographs to add to the timeline. Art meets history in the production of new images.

art meets history


Using focus points to take better photos. #photography

On my camera, I can choose to have one focus point or as many as 51 focus points and they are used to get your subject into focus. I like to use just one focus point but sometimes it is useful to have a lot of focus points. For example, if you’re photographing a large group of people you can arrange them and set the scene up so you get the whole group in focus. Using focus points is important and even if you only have one, like on my old bridge camera, it is important to get the one focus point on your subject.

focus points


Engaging with ordinary people #art #photography

It’s Sunday morning and as usual, I’ll share my thoughts with you. I tend to ask a lot of questions in my blog posts. I don’t easily accept things. I’ve had a problem with my leg. I thought it was the blood flow to the muscles but my doctor disagreed. One year later, I’ve seen the hospital doctor and the surgeon and this week I’ll have a test to see if it’s the blood flow to my muscles! Last week was interesting, I went to the Pride of Place exhibition in West Bromwich and an artists talk. In my mind, I asked a lot of questions about art. It is an art festival but is it engaging with ordinary people in a conversation about art?

engaging with ordinary people


Solstice sunshine and art #photography

Yes, it’s the summer solstice and the rain has stopped and yes the sun is shining! I have had an interesting week, I went to the Pride of Place Project exhibition and took photos in West Bromwich. Yes, really. I went to West Brom and down the dodgy end as well. That was on Wednesday and yesterday I went to an artists talk at Wednesbury museum and art gallery. I didn’t take pictures for reasons I won’t go into. Anyway, we have solstice sunshine. Could today be the day when I finally get to take some pictures without raising the ISO or using the flash?

solstice sunshine


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