“the most important thing is not clicking the shutter, it is clicking with the subject”
This quote has really struck a cord with me recently and made me analyse the way I take photographs. I noticed that a lot of the time I tend to hold my finger down on the multi-shot feature and just take continuous photographs, especially when shooting fast moving people or objects, but this is most definitely not the best practice.
Alfred Eisenstaedt is thought by many to be the father of photojournalism and one of the greatest photographers of all time. He was the master of candid photography and usually only carried around one camera.
This image of children imitating a drum major really shows his skill in really capturing the moment, perfectly showing it to it’s full potential.
I decided that I need to step up my game and really start working with the subject I see through my lens, as Eisenstaedt suggests, and I got the perfect chance to try this out a few weeks ago at Cantelowes skatepark in Camden.
Ashley and a few friends chose a wonderfully sunny day to go there and skate, i’m not comfortable with bowls and know that it gets busy there so I decided to try out my camera instead.
To begin with I followed the skaters around the bowl with my camera but, although my pictures weren’t bad, couldn’t seem to get any impressive shots. The sunshine wasn’t helping as the stark contrast between the over exposed sunlight and dark shadows in the bowl made it really hard to find the right exposure levels.
After a while I started to watch the skaters more closely and understand their movements and where I could get the best shots of each individual skater. Luckily I’ve skated with and watched Ash and Milan a lot and found it really easy to predict their movements making for plenty of good photographs but, as much as I love to shoot them both, I really wanted pictures of everyone there.
I noticed there were certain areas of the bowl where every skater would get high or try something interesting and so decided these would be the best areas to train my camera on. I also noticed that certain skaters, particularly the more experienced ones, were practicing certain moves over and over so that they could perfect them. This was exactly the information I needed to really improve my photographs!
I trained my camera on these sections, depending on the skater, which meant I could set my shutter speed and focus ready for the subject to make their appearance into frame.
It took a bit of practice to really get the timings but eventually I managed to get some shots that I’m really proud of, not only that but all the shots I was taking started being useable rather than having a lot that i would never use.
I’m really proud of myself for the improvements i’ve made from just one day, and not just me, Ash learnt to drop in too with help from a good friend from Newtons Shred. A very successful day!
I am trying to be a lot more aware of my surroundings from now on, and not just when I have my camera on me. I really think that learning to recognise memorable moments will help improve my photography immensely.
I think there is a lot to learn from other photographers, both old and current, and so plan to do lots of research into others, particularly other nature photographers. I’ll be sharing my research with you all in future blog posts, probably once a month, and use their influences in my own photoshoots. I think it could make for some very interesting results!
You can see the rest of the photographs for this shoot right here on my facebook!
On Monday 10th I took a picture of this plant to send to my sister. She bought me it to say congratulations for getting my new job. I was so surprised that it was still alive I had to share it with her! (I’m terrible with plants)
On the 11th the plant was still alive. I decided to take a few closer shots as it was so pretty.
On the 12th I finally ate this chocolate lion. I’ve had it far too long and decided it was just too pretty to eat! I’m sure it tasted better when I first bought it.
On 13th I decided it was time for a haircut, but all the hairdressers around are either out of my budget or I don’t like the look of (i’m a little picky sometimes). So i decided to try cutting myself, i cut Ash’s hair all the time and we need to save money so i thought I may as well try. It’s not perfect but not too bad for a first try! Hopefully I can afford for a professional to do it next time.
On the 14th I ate some of this rice pudding i’d made. It’s so easy and makes delicious little snacks in these pots! I think this will have to be a regular thing.
On the 15th the sky looked awesome.
On the 16th I finally uploaded some skate photographs onto my facebook page. I will be writing a blog post (if I ever get a day off work) but until then you can find them here.
Next week will be very exciting with my new job starting, but i’m also working 6 days out of 7 and several 12hr shifts. ouch!
Yesterday I went to a good skate spot with Ash and our friend Milan.
I took both my board and camera along, hoping to make some good progress with both. The board, unfortunately, was not my friend as the last time I had skated it was lovely and wet where as now it was dry and a lot more grippy. The fact that I (again) hadn’t skated in a long time meant i was more or less starting from scratch.
It did seem to come back to me quickly though, but my bum saw the pavement far too many times. I tore a hole in my bottoms, the sign of a true skater, and then proceeded to tear through my skin leaving a nice graze on my rear. It was a wonderfully painful drive home once we’d finished.
After I had wracked my bum cheek (and before we went home) I decided it was time to get my camera out before I did any more damage, I knew I was getting tired and would only hurt myself more if I carried on despite wanting to.
As it was dark I wanted to experiment with long shutter speeds and my flash, i think the results were very interesting.
I set up my camera on a tripod and set it so that I controlled when the shutter closed and opened so that I could get my timings spot on (theoretically).
I pressed the shutter button early and held my external flash separate so that I could operate it exactly when I wanted. I quickly flashed light at the subjects before releasing the shutter button on the camera. I was hoping that this would mean there would be long trails from the skaters finished with a clear image of them.
To some extent it did work and definitely gave me some very eerie photographs, but I know there’s room for a lot more improvement!
Of course I will keep experimenting. I plan to try different times of day/lighting, different shutter speeds and different apertures as well as new techniques in photoshop to really bring my photographs to life!
I love challenging myself like this as it really helps me to learn new techniques and understand my camera even better. I really do want to try more nighttime photography now that I have a tripod again and aim to have a few wanderings once the sun has gone down.
I have recently been thinking a lot about my old love of photography. I have a big, old DSLR and I’m always taking far too many photographs, but yet I do nothing with them.
So I’ve decided now is time to get back into photography, start seriously editing again and maybe even adding a few to my shop. Of course I will still be sewing (although i am finding it hard to stay motivated with it right now) but I also want to start selling prints.
If anyone knows of anywhere I could get prints done cheaply and easily that would be amazing (for the uk), I have a few places in mind but any help from photographers out there would be greatly appreciated.
I absolutely love messing around on photoshop with an image, it is definitely one of my favourite things to do, and so last night I decided to experiment with a few images I took of Ash longboarding. You can click on the images to see them a bit bigger.
I started off with a more simple edit, just adding texture, adjusting the colours slightly and playing with the levels.
I like how I made this feel slightly grungy but with Ash really popping out of the centre with his bright colours. I’m glad I managed to catch him as his arms made such a nice line and his board had started to slide. I also really love the concentrated look on his face with his tongue sticking out (although he hates it), it really makes me chuckle. 🙂
The next photograph I decided to be a little more adventurous and play with the background by taking out all the colour. I wanted to really make him stand out as the background is quite busy with all the leaves. I also cropped it slightly to create a better line and draw your eye to him even more.
Again I’m really happy with how this one turned out, I think the contrast between the background and Ash works really well. The only thing is I still find the background very busy and so I think I might need to play around with it even more, maybe by adjusting the contrast or blurring it slightly. But Ash really likes this one too and has set it too his facebook cover photo. 🙂
The last one I edited I decided to do something a little crazier and this is probably one of my most elaborate photoshops to date! I decided to add this bright orange texture to make ash look as though he was on fire in a way. I wanted to create a really dramatic image that would convey the power and energy used to do the slides Ash was trying.
Again I do really like the image even though its a lot different to my usual photography. I think the meaning I’m trying to convey really does come out and it is definitely not subtle. I still can’t decide if maybe it’s a little too much though and I think the lighter section in the middle could be more focussed on Ash.
What do you think about my photographs and edits? I would love to hear some constructive criticism!
Every sunday our Longboarding group has a ‘Hog Roast’.
If only it was a real hog roast! They’re so tasty!
No, the hog roast is a day of skating in a place we call Hog Hill. It takes place in Redbridge Cycle Centre in Essex. It’s only £4 for the whole track, for the whole day (bargain!) and it’s most definitely worth it. The road is lovely and smooth, with some very big hills, you can certainly pick up a lot of speed from just a little distance, plus the views over london are amazing!
There are no cars allowed and so no fear of a collision with one in the london traffic (only bikes and people to watch out for). It is a great place to practice skating at high speeds.
At first I was very nervous, i’m not all that good at stopping and my board is a little too bouncy for really high speeds, but i gained confidence throughout the day, gradually starting higher and higher on the hill. I estimate that I got up to speeds of around 15mph. One of the skaters had a speedometer on his wrist and managed over 30mph!
I also took a video of the day which is available to watch here
I’m actually really proud of this video and am really looking forward to taking more! Although I think I will be taking my tripod next time. 😛
Next time I will be borrowing other, more stable, boards (ash has said I can use his) so that I might feel more comfortable going at faster speeds. You never know, I might be going from the top!
I’m also hoping to learn a few slides so that I know how to slow myself down incase I become uncomfortable with the speed I’m travelling at, plus they’re always useful.
‘Till next time!