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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


Creating a historical record #photography

Carters Green in West Bromwich will be altered at the end of this month and so I decided to photograph the road layout before the changes. I had to dodge the showers but fortunately, the light wasn’t too bad. Creating a historical record with photographs leaves something of our time for future generations. We do have to preserve our archives and I use an external disk drive and USB flash drives. All the photographs are in JPG format.

Creating an historical record


Creating an art card #photography

There is a lot to be considered when you are creating an art card. You don’t want to lose money on them but you probably won’t make much money either unless you have a selection to sell. My art cards have been sold in the local library and I’m waiting to hear if they intend to continue selling them. I need to have 1,000 of each card printed to get a bulk price low enough to make it worthwhile.

creating an art card


Practising your art #photography #art

I’ve been thinking a lot about how artists actually practice their art just lately. In particular, how the photographers in the Blast Festival of photography practice their art. Most of the photographers are more articulate than me and communicate verbally with the people they take photos of which helps to create a more relaxed image. I find photographing people quite awkward and I prefer candid photos of people or photographing something quite different. I’m really into photographing interesting buildings now and creating my art cards.


Practising your art


Shooting wide open #photography

Last weekend, I went to two events, poetry on the canal in Tipton and after that, I went to Brook Street Community centre where there was another event as part of the Blast Photography Festival. I photographed a carnival queen at the second event. I mainly shoot wide open with the widest aperture I can at events. I do take a few shots at a narrower aperture of groups of people, typically f/8 but I mainly want sharp images of one or two people. I’ve also been in the garden shooting a few pictures of plants and flowers and again I was shooting wide open.

shooting wide open


Photographing buildings #photography

I went to Tipton on Sunday with the intention of photographing the Fountain Inn and Mad O’Rourke’s Pie Factory.  I only managed to do the Fountain and a passing narrowboat. I like to plan my shot when I’m photographing buildings.



Photography, walks and talks #blastphotofest2019

It’s a sunny day in Sandwell and the Sandwell Pride of Place Project exhibition opens tomorrow in the former Poundland shop in the Kings Square shopping centre in West Bromwich. The opening event will be at 6 pm and the new mayor of Sandwell will be announcing the winners of the photography competition.


Setting a scene mode #photography

My Nikon D3200 has a scene mode to shoot landscape, portrait and sports shots, etc. It also has the aperture priority, shutter speed priority, programmed auto and manual settings. For new users, programmed auto is really useful and gives the user some control over aperture and shutter speed. Simply putting the camera on auto will produce good shots in good light but the problems start when the light isn’t so good, then you need more control over the camera.

scene mode


Preparation and editing #photography

I photographed Hill Top library on Sunday and I’m shooting in jpg and raw now so I took some time to edit one of the photos yesterday and chose one I didn’t need to crop so it is 6000 x 4000 pixels. I did the editing in Aftershot which gives me slightly better images, especially colour balance. It also removes the vignette. I couldn’t even see a vignette until it was removed, it was very slight. I also did some preparation for a photo-shoot using flash photography.



Springtime in Wednesbury #ramble

It’s Sunday morning and so, as usual, I’ll share my thoughts with you. What’s on my mind this week? Well, we have sunshine which makes for a nice change so I intend to have a day out taking photos. The springtime flowers are lining the river Tame and so I might try to take a short walk down the river and take a few photos. It will be a very short walk! Springtime is a time of renewal and so I hope to have an uplifting day and blow away a few cobwebs.



Aperture and depth of field #photography

A camera has focus points which might be small dots or squares which help you focus on your subject. You might be shooting a landscape and want the whole frame in focus but you still need to choose a subject within that frame. Unless you’re going to let the camera decide all the settings you also need to choose your aperture setting.



Coping with low-light #photography

I photographed the St George’s day parade on Sunday and it was low-light when I started so I increased the ISO to 400. I was using a 28 – 300 lens on my Nikon D750 and would be zooming in quite a lot so I needed quite fast shutter speeds for some shots. My subjects were also moving! One of my first shots was of the crowd some distance away which I shot at f/16 and that gave me 1/100 of a second. So I had the ISO about right.


St Georges day resolutions #ramble

It’s Sunday morning and so once again I’ll share my thoughts with you. Sometimes you just have to be resolute. I ended the photography competition this morning. I tried to be flexible because someone was having problems sending their emails but in the end, there has to be an end! I’m in a resolute mood trying to overcome my natural dislike of getting cold to get myself ready to go and photograph the big St Georges Day parade.

St Georges day


Festival of photography #photography

We have a Festival of photography in Sandwell next month. The Blast Festival is a Multistory festival and the Sandwell Pride of Place Project is a part of that. I might have some photos in an exhibition and although I have lots of photos to choose from, I think I’ll take some especially for this exhibition.

Festival of photography


Preparing for an event #photography

There will be a few events in the coming weeks and months that I’ll try and photograph. Preparing for an event means considering the right camera settings. On Saturday, we have an Easter Eggstravaganza in and around the town square and so I’ll go to photograph that. Mostly, I’ll be photographing people using my 28 –300 lens and often zooming in from a distance away.

Preparing for an event


Recording history #photography #history

There are many different categories of photography and I enjoy most of them. I try to photograph historic buildings and I am very aware of how quickly these buildings can disappear. I photograph streets of terraced houses as well as the larger listed buildings. Recording history for future generations is worthwhile and it can be done in a few different ways.

recording history


Three skills to depend on #ramble

It’s Sunday morning again and so I’ll share my thoughts with you. What am I good at? I do writing, photography and social media. These are my three skills. I used one social media channel to support local councillors who are up for re-election next month today. I’ll get some criticism for that but we have to resist the forces of hate and extremism. I try to do what is right and I pointed out that a couple of local councillors do a lot of good volunteer work. There is a division between them though so maybe after this election they can forget past problems and see what they have in common.

three skills


White balance, apertures and shutter speed #photography

I went to West Bromwich Manor House on Sunday and I was taking photos inside the Manor House and outside too. It was a cloudy day and so I set the white balance to cloudy to compensate for the grey sky.



Using different settings #photography

As usual over the weekend I was out taking photographs. On Saturday, it was an event and I was taking photographs of people and on Sunday it was landscape and I was photographing scenes and buildings. I was using different settings for different types of subject.

using different settings


Sandwell in all its authentic multifaceted splendour #photography

I’m pleased to say we received the first entries in the Blast photography competition which is part of the Sandwell Pride of Place Project. Please join our group on Facebook and share your photos there. You can see the first entries to the competition online now. The Photography Competition is open to anyone living in the Black Country or beyond. Jan and Chris are looking for photos with “interesting and unusual observations”, showing Sandwell in “all its authentic, multifaceted splendour”.  You don’t actually have to live in Sandwell but the photos must have been taken in Sandwell. You can submit up to 3 photos.

authentic multifaceted splendour


Giving everyone an equal chance #ramble

It is Sunday morning and so once again I’ll allow you into the neural labyrinth and share my thoughts with you. What’s on my mind this week? Well, as usual photography and as I’m involved so much with social media I’m also trying to promote the Blast Photo festival photography competition. I don’t always agree with the way photography competitions are run because they can favour certain people unfairly. This one, however, will be fair as the judges won’t know the entrants and people who are new to photography will still be in with an equal chance of being a finalist.

equal chance


Sandwell photography competition #photography

When I enter photography competitions I think about who the judges are likely to be and read the terms of the competition to try to identify the type of picture that is likely to win. The Sandwell Pride of Place competition asks what does Sandwell mean to you? The image in the competition notice has bread pudding and faggot and peas in it, both Black Country delicacies! There are clues there to the sort of image you should be considering. This is a Sandwell photography competition worth entering even if you’re only going to take a photo of a bag of scratching or some battered chips with your phone.

Sandwell photography competition


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