5th Diary Entry

Old Skool...

I had enjoyed the photo walk so much that the next day I booked to go on another! This time it was focussing on Street Photography, the composition, environment and settings for this exciting genre of photography. The acknowledgement email came with an extra line... please bring your battery charger in case you need to charge batteries! I wasn't going to live that particular mistake down in a hurry!

Although we followed the same path through the hustle and bustle of the South Bank, the focus this time was very different and I learned loads about interacting (or not) with people! The group ended up at the skateboard park at the south end of Waterloo Bridge where I practised capturing movement, colour and mood. I was quite pleased with the results, but will have to go back once I've got a bit more experience! I took about 150 photos, and saved about 20 - so again, my percentage of useful shots was high.

I decided to 'enhance' a couple of shots in post-editing and sat down at my faithful PC, opened my editing software (JASCs PaintShop Pro 8 - I did say I was old-skool!) and spent about 4 hours on ONE photo! This was not a good use of my time. I uploaded some of the photos to Flickr and called it a day.

Next day, at work, I mentioned to a colleague that I was venturing into the world of amateur photography and was amazed to be shown his own website, featuring an array of beautiful photos. A long talk followed during which many pieces of invaluable advise and information were imparted, including:

  • 1. If you've taken a whole load of similar shots (the skateboard park) pick one to publish to the world! ONE?? Why on earth would I restrict the world from seeing all 15 of my fabulous photos (insert masses of sarcasm here!) The concept is simple; have you ever seen the photos your friends put on facebook when a baby is born, or they've been on holiday, or been to a concert/festival etc? Hundreds of shots of the same thing, and after looking at about 10, you find yourself clicking 'next' as quickly as possible! Restrict the upload to one, maybe two shots of the same thing and keep your audience interested! Simples!
  • 2. Post-editing is key! 99% of professional photographs published to the world include some post-editing, therefore shoot in RAW and use really good editing software. I mentioned PaintShop and was rewarded with that look you give your Grandma when she talks about rationing in the war! Bless, that's interesting but so old-skool its now funny! Well, I've never been one for following the trend (I don't own a single Apple device and believe that I have better gadgets as a result!) so I'm sticking to Paint Shop (although an upgrade to Pro X6 might be on the cards) however I went home and downloaded Picasa - then spent HOURS working out how to stop the damn thing trawling through all 4 hard drives (I believe in resilience!) every time I opened it! Once I'd figured that out, I discovered the editing tools and my world exploded! What can take ages in PaintShop can be effected in Picasa in a couple of clicks. Some of the more detailed (layered) editing will still be carried out in PaintShop, but am loving the simplicity and effectiveness of my new toy!
  • 3. Buy a book - just one book - Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. Well I was about to go on holiday so it would be as good a book as any to buy and peruse whilst laying by the pool! I bought its sister book, Understanding Composition Field Guide by Bryan Peterson at the same time - blooming good job too as the former was a HUGE book and didn't fit in the hand luggage!! Have read it since and would agree, the tips, hints and unravelling of the photographic black magic are brilliant! Co-incidently, at the same time I downloaded the Kindle edition of Insights From Beyond the Lens: Inside the Art & Craft of Landscape Photography by Robert Rodriguez Jr. I have definitly read more of the 'real' books than the kindle book... like I said, I'm old skool!!

I went one further as far as the editing software goes. Since I was going on holiday (and leaving the trusty laptop behind) I downloaded Aviary onto my tablet (a Huawei, running Android). I love the effects which again are so simple to use, and I love the uploader - no more holding everything on the SD card, or on the pad, I now upload onto the cloud and sleep soundly knowing that my precious photots are safe! See... NOT so old skool after all!.

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