The other night I was teaching a workshop at Docklands and we did the sunset then took some photos around the harbour down there.
Since getting back from Tasmania it has been busy, though not in the ways I thought it would be. I have started realising that while writing is good, I need to promote myself more, so I’ve been looking into ways to do that. So today I thought we might go through some things that I want to promote.
It has been a funny week. I know a few of you caught on last week that I wasn’t feeling great. Thankfully I am very good at getting myself out of down moods, and I do feel better now. I wish I could say that I feeling fantastic, but not far from it. Anyway, the best thing I can do is move on, so let’s see what I can do.
I had all these plans to write a post for you today, but I don’t know, the time just disappeared, but it does give me a chance to redo some older posts. It is good to repost some knowing that what was said is still really relevant today. Today I thought we could take another at a post I wrote in response to people thinking that my camera does all the work. I hope you enjoy seeing it again.
Have you ever been out taking photos and someone has looked at your camera and said, “wow, that’s a great camera, it must take great photos”? I’ve had it said to me many times. Yeah, I do have a great camera, but is that camera going to take great photos for everyone? There is an assumption by many people that it won’t matter what I do, I will get fantastic photos, like it has nothing to do with me.
Along with doing new posts here, it has been my intention to slowly move and repost many of the previous Up for Discussion posts. This is one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, the art of observation.
For this Up for Discussion post I thought I would do something that I have been thinking about for a long time. It may not seem that it is important or even relevant to photography, but I hope you will hang around long enough, and read enough to realise it does.
We often hear people talking about “faking the real in photography”, it isn’t a concept that is new and really, when you think about it artists have been doing that for centuries. Learning to observe the world around them is very important. It is something that some do well and some don’t.
I know many of you know that I can draw, well used to be able to. I’ve shown you images of my drawing before. One thing I’ve never really talked about is my Fine Art Degree, which wasn’t in photography, but rather in printmaking and drawing. It happened at a time when I was not happy with photography, or rather I was frustrated, I couldn’t get the images I wanted. I thought I would need to make them myself, so draw them.
It was an interesting process, it meant lots of observing of things as I drew them. I spent a lot of time drawing.
You can’t underestimate how important it is. Of course it isn’t important if you just want to take photos and not do anything with them, then again, if you hone those observation skills then you are likely to see more and get better photos.
If you are interested in photo editing/manipulation then it is really important.
Watching how the light falls on an object, or how it falls when it is hit by another light source. Then there are the shadows, how
do they fall, are shadows solid? I saw a guy online doing some compositing, and as I watched him move a person into a lane and then add a shadow I realised that he just added a solid colour, shadows are rarely solid colours. They often have light areas and dark areas, depending on what is around them.
The same guy also made the edge of the shadow very feathered, and soft, but then again it really depends on the light source and where that light is coming from, how direct it is. If you went and stood outside in the sun, especially in summer, you would see your shadow would have a hard edge. However, if you went into somewhere where the light wasn’t as strong you would see a softer edged shadow. It really does all depend on the light. Which is why in studios the light is often controlled with soft boxes and reflectors to make it like a secondary light source, sort of.
When you learn to draw you learn to watch and see how things are.
Another important aspect is perspective. It is something you learn in drawing and painting, probably most art forms. I didn’t do a lot of drawing where you needed to worry about perspective, but it was always something you had to consider.
I have seen the work of other photographers and one of the things you notice is how they don’t understand perspective when they are doing composites and then the work doesn’t look real.
Faking the Real
It is an important thing. You hear writers talking about how if you don’t make your characters real then people won’t believe them, so isn’t it the same with images, if they don’t look real then people can’t relate to them. You have to make sure that everything in your image makes sense and is believable. It is where learning to
look and observe the world around you really helps.
If you want to get into more photo editing or manipulation, then one of the best things you can do is learn to look at what is around you. Don’t just take photos, look at what you are taking. You don’t have to learn how to draw, but you can always learn how to look, observe. Watch how light hits objects, where the light comes from. How does the light affect the shadows, are the shadows solid, or do they have lots of different strengths.
I think it is an invaluable tool and one we don’t take enough notice of. Through drawing I really began to understand light and how important it was. I also started to understand how I could use that in my photography and become a better photographer, at least I hope it has helped.
I have been going through all my drawings, I’ve found a lot that were just exercises, where I was just trying to see how I could draw them. There are others that are more, a couple of etchings and some lithographs. I will try and label them so you can tell what each is.
Where has the week gone?
I don’t know either. I’ve been a bit stressed out writing an article for a magazine. It is something I am trying out, but I know it is a direction I want to continue moving towards. I finally got it in and fingers crossed it goes well.
Formatt Hitech Instagram
I’ve been given some power, well, not really, but I have been allowed to have access to their Instagram account, which is fun. I’m featuring peoples work and seeing if I can improve the number of followers. It is also nice that they trust me to do it.Take a look, here is the link.
Stop by and say hello.
Dynamic Range Magazine
Issue 6 is still available. It has some great articles in it and I’m sure you would love it. Follow the link,
The Six Seasons of My Backyard
My book is available and I think would make a great Christmas present to those wanting to help support me and my photography. Follow this link.
Teaching and Mentoring
Don’t forget that I do teach and offer mentoring for those that would like some individual lessons on how to be an artist.
You will find all my services underneath the Learn from Leanne tab at the top of the page.
Writing for the blog
I’m trying to keep up with this blog and get back into everything, but I do find that time gets away from me, especially when I have other articles I need to write.
Also I find I don’t always know what to write about. Maybe you can help and give me some suggestions, that would be great. Some ideas and what you would like to read about or learn about. I can’t promise that I will always be able to do them, but I will do my best.
I’m still open to this idea if any of you would like to do a guest blog. I can’t pay for them, but hopefully I have a large enough audience that that could help. Let me know if you are interested.
The photos are from 2014 and from an excursion I did to Williamstown. I know some of you have questioned these photos and why to know why they look different. All the old photos that I should you in these posts were done for Weekend Wanderings and meant to show a place and not my style. I hope that helps.
I am looking forward to hearing you and seeing what you would like.
Everyone you talk to about this is going to have a different opinion on the matter. Some people hate going out with others, some love it. Some people don’t really enjoy excursions on their own. Whatever the situation we have preferences and many do like to go out with friends or in groups with other people. There are pros and cons to everything you choose. Today I though we could look at going out in groups or with friends.
What I don’t like
I like going out with others, it is a personal thing and part of it, I suspect, is because I spend so much time on my own working at home, that I enjoy the company when I do. For that reason I am quite picky who I will go out with, and when I go if the trip wasn’t enjoyable then I won’t go with that person again.
If that person makes me stand around waiting for them for too long, then it is a waste of time for me. If I get asked too many questions and the person is basically wanting a free lesson, then I am teaching and don’t get what I want. If people wander off and I have no idea where they are all the time, then there is no point going out with them, I may as well be on my own.
These aren’t hard and fast rules, but in general I don’t want to have to do any of those. I do have some friends who are the exception, and they bring with them other qualities. For example, I have one friend who does take more time to take photos than I do, but I have found that it pushes me to look for more. She is a regular photography friend for me, so it is never really an issue. I also know if I want more time she will gladly wait for me.
A good photography buddy is someone who . . .
- Takes photos at the same pace as you. While you might wait for one another, it isn’t for long.
- Considers what you want to take, and when you go out you both make sure you get what you were both after.
- Doesn’t tell you what you should be doing or not doing.
- Is good company and you enjoy being with.
- Will inspire you as well.
- Is encouraging.
They are the main points for me, but I am sure each person has there own. I have had quite a few people that I have gone out with over the years. Some of them only once, others many times.
What about you, do you have someone special you like to go out with? Do you prefer to go out on your own, and if yes why? What do think is important when you go out with someone to take photos?
This last week has seen me out and about a bit, and this morning was no different. I went to Alowyn Gardens in Yarra Glen, really for my weekend wanderings. It is a display garden and nursery, plus a great place for photography.
I love going there for macro photography and every time I go, there is something different flowering. It is fantastic, the garden I wish I had.
It is open every day from 10am to 5pm. There is an entry fee of $10 to go into the gardens.
There is also a cafe where you can get a coffee and cake after you have looked around, or before.
Don’t forget to check out the nursery to see what you might bring home for your own garden.
It is a very popular place for weddings and on weekends they are often getting ready for them.
Flowers through the Lens
Macro photography Class
I will be running a macro photography class on 4th of December at Alowyn Gardens. It will be starting at 10am and will go until 2pm and includes lunch. Here are more details.
Where: Alowyn Gardens, 1210 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen
Time: 10am to 2pm
Cost: $150, includes lunch
To Book: Call Alowyn Gardens (03) 9730 2400
The class will demonstrate many of Lensbaby lenses and optics. It will also look at other ways of doing macro photography and you will be given an opportunity to get out into the gardens to take your own photos.
I have some photos from the gardens this morning. I was experimenting with the Lensbaby Velvet 56. I have been taking macro shots with it for a while now, and today I wanted to try some other things. It was nice to do some things where the focus wasn’t totally on the flowers. I’m sure you will love seeing the gardens and what is there.