There was a time when I would haunt the local bookshops where I worked and spend time sifting through all the Photographic books, building a wish list of books that I would love to have on my bookshelf one day.
I still have what I consider to be a treasured collection of Photographic books at home (about 60+), being Coffee Table, on practical and theory etc. Many of them date back to film days with a sprinkling of Digital. Most are on theory, aesthetics, ways of viewing/thought processes, movements and individual subjects.
These days, I’m most likely to not head straight to the Photography section whether I am in a shop that sells new or used books, but I head towards the Art section and Poetry first.
With the introduction of Digital it seems there were far more books being produced on the art of manipulation than there were before, most of them dealing with how to tackle Adobe Photoshop. There seemed less on Photographic aesthetic which I think was a shame. Book after book after book lined the shelves about Photoshop or similar.
I was in a second-hand bookshop recently and after visiting the Art/Painting and Poetry sections, I wandered over to the Photography section and was delighted to find, ’The Moment It Clicks – Photography Secrets From One Of The World’s Top Shooters’ by Joe McNally.
’The Moment It Clicks’, what a perfect title for me. Even before the advent of Digital Photography, for me, Photography was about the ‘moment of taking the picture’ and indeed the lead-up to it. I used to take Slides and Black & White, doing my own developing and printing in my Darkroom. Whilst the Darkroom was fun and I enjoyed it, it didn’t override the moment of taking the photo for me.
I’ve often had discussions with my fellow photographer-fiends on this subject as they don’t quite understand my view on this. I shoot Digital as well and have a couple of books on manipulation, but that is all.
With Slides, there was no ‘after-process’ if you like, unless of cause you developed them yourselves (which few people I knew did). You just sent them away for processing.
But back to the book, purchased for AUD$3.00, a real steal.
This edition was published in 2008, it covers the following:
- Shoot What You Love
- Keep Your Eye In The Camera
- The Logic of Light
- There’s Always Something To Bounce Light Off
- Lighting Tips/Camera Bag/Lighting Gear
- The Bar Is Open (a collection of 25 further tips covering Attitude; Choices; Aesthetics; Courage and more).
It is packed tips, recommendations and touches on thought processes and it doesn’t even mention Adobe Photoshop in the Index, indeed it only mentions the phrase, ‘photo editors’ once, on page 164. Bliss!
It’s been quite a few years since I had purchased a Photographic book and I am more than delighted with my latest purchase as it is exactly what I look for in a Photographic book.
Written by David Johnson
28 February 2021
Camera Clubs/Photographic Societies were such a huge and integral part of my journey in Photography and those experiences cannot be summed up in just one post as there were several facets that I would like to cover.
When I walked into a Camera Club for the very first time, I was an extremely shy 23 year old (I can hear Perc Carter laughing now…). I’ll never forget my early visits to Campbelltown Camera Club in 1986. I joined in June of that year.
Apart from ‘not being comfortable in a roomful of strangers’, as the prints started to go up on the print stands, I felt both inspired and inadequate at the same time.
I had been shooting for about 3 1/2 years and was starting to feel a bit more happy with what and how I was shooting. I knew there was room for improvement though. There always is…much more improvement when I saw what was in front of me!
The images in front of me were awe-striking. I had no knowledge at that time of how long some of my fellow members had been involved in photography. I had arrived as a member just in time for the ‘Top Shot’ Competition. I had never even considered going into a competition with my photography. Photography was just for fun.
Charlie Cowell won the overall Top Shot that year with a Still-Life image that had a background where ‘light just disappeared’ into the background.
I had been trying to shoot various Still-Life scenes but my backgrounds were awful. I sat there wondering how he did it and commented so to another member. The member said, ‘why don’t you ask him?’
Summing up the courage, I did. ‘Black Velvet’, Charlie said & proceeded to tell me what to buy and where to buy etc. I still have that piece of Velvet 35 years later…
I started to enter the competitions about a month later. Club competition entries, if successful, were awarded a Merit or Credit by the visiting Judge who evaluated the images on display and suggested points for improvement.
I learnt so much going along to Campbelltown Camera Club in many ways, the competitions being just one of them.
It certainly helped build up my ‘photographic confidence’ over time and also, being exposed to a new group of people helped start me on the road to ‘general self-confidence’ too.
Over the next few articles, as I continue write about my Photographic journey, I will explore other facets of my wonderful experience of being a member of a Camera Club/Photographic Society.
A few years back, Campbelltown Camera Club changed it’s name to Macarthur Photographic Society. To find out more about MPS and how being a member can improve your Photography, click on the following link. https://macarthurphotographicsociety.org.au/
Till next time.
Written by David Johnson
27 February 2021
Last Sunday, after enjoying a nice afternoon tea at one of our favourite cafe’s in Picton which is about 15 minutes drive South from where we live, we decided to head out to Lake Burragorang which is part of the Sydney Warragamba Dam Catchment, Sydney’s main water source.
We are so fortunate to have such a majestic and beautiful spot that is only 32 minutes drive away.
Lake Burragorang is a man-made reservoir that was created by a Dam. Unfortunately, to create the reservoir, it was necessary to relocate residents who had lived farming towns in the Burragorang Valley since the early 19th Century. The lands actually belonged to Gundungarra Aboriginal tribe.
Construction of the Warragamba Dam commenced in 1948 and was completed in 1960 and is surrounded by a 3km exclusion zone to ensure the integrity of the water supply. It is sad that such a beautiful spot was created in this way, however, the end result is certainly a jewel to the eye.
My first visit there dated back to the 1980’s when I was just getting into Photography. I’ve been back there with social clubs and with my SLR/DSLR on a number of occasions. It has BBQ facilities, seats, amenities and is a great place for a picnic.
My previous visit was back in 2018, a year before those horrendous bushfires ripped through various parts of the state, including the Burragorang Valley. Even the though a lot of the green has returned in the past year, down in the valley, you can still see clear through to the ground where there is still little or no undergrowth. It will take time, but it will eventually recover.
The only camera I took this time was my phone as I wanted to concentrate on sketching and also writing some Poetry (if the mood captured me). My wife, Susan took her Crotchet with her, and after a brief walk we settled down to enjoy the surroundings for the next 2 1/2 hours.
The light was impressive throughout the afternoon as it danced and highlighted different sections of the landscape intermittently. I felt so relaxed.
I went away with the feeling that ‘I had indeed been away’ and not just been on a Sunday drive. The light, the ambience felt almost Spiritual.
We certainly won’t be leaving as much time between visits next time.
Written by David Johnson
16 February 2021
Sources of Historical information:
https://www.theland.com.au/story/5702018/painting-revives-rich-burragorang-history/ ; https://historyofaboriginalsydney.edu.au/south-west/location/burragorang-valley ; https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-03/how-sydneys-water-needs-drowned-burragorang-valley/9390170
Last month, I purchased the book, ‘Watercolor 365 Daily Tips, Tricks & Techniques’ by Leslie Redhead. Already, I have seen the benefits of having this book to refer to.
One of the tips within the book is to, ‘stop using a pencil and eraser to draw with and instead use a marker instead.’
I wouldn’t call myself ‘naturally talented’ in drawing or sketching. It is a skill I am endeavouring to get better at and so, I have been practicing with ‘a pencil accompanied by a trusty eraser,’ though probably not as often as ought to have been. The thought of drawing/sketching with a non-erasable marker was quite daunting.
Apparently, using a marker instead of the pencil/eraser combination will result in gaining skills in drawing/sketching quicker and these are skills I can build my paintings on.
I took up this challenge this week, grabbing an A5 110gsm sketchbook and started sketching away. It is quite a refreshing experience, I must say. If I put a mark/line in the wrong place, I have to be creative and work out ‘how to save’ the sketch.
When I did a basic drawing course 11 years ago, the instructor looked at my drawings and said that, ‘I was a line drawer, not a tonal drawer and that my lines were so straight they looked like an architectural drawing.’
This is not necessarily bad, though. I guess its a style. One of my goals has been to try to ‘loosen up’ and not draw so many straight lines. I quite enjoy looking at the style of many Artists and hobbyists who draw/sketch/paint in a relaxed style.
We’ve all probably heard the line, ‘practice makes perfect.’ I’m not trying to be perfect I just want to be me’…and I am having fun exploring exactly what that means in terms of drawing, sketching and painting.
I’m practicing my sketching/drawing now more than ever and I am endeavouring to let go of the thought that the lines need to perfect.
It will take time and patience, but I’ll get there.
Written by David Johnson