It’s the 3rd June 2023 here, (60km / 37 miles) South-West of Sydney, Australia and Autumn is still with us, even though it’s the third day of Winter. The Seasons have been running late here for quite a few years now.
We have a Maple Tree in the front garden and it has been so wonderful to watch the changing colours over Autumn (Fall), and I believe Autumn (Fall) is starting to enter its final stage.
I went out this morning and took a few images on my iPhone before having to dash to an appointment.
One of the types of Photography I really enjoy, and do miss is Monochrome, aka Black & White. For many years, pre-digital, right back to 1983 when I started learning Darkroom skills.
I had an LPL 35mm Enlarger and later, I purchased a Durst 606 Medium Format Enlarger off one of my Uncles. The latter was for developing the negatives from my battery-less Yashica 635 Twin-Lens Reflex with which I used a hand-held meter.
Whilst I wasn’t as adept in the Darkroom as some of the other Camera Club/Photographic Society members over the years, I did enjoy going into the Darkroom, developing, printing and experimenting.
Fast forward to the Digital era and certainly it is easier and quicker to get the image and there are many more options for manipulation these days compared to the Darkroom.
In recent years my focus has been squarely on learning Sketching, Watercolour, Line & Wash and Oil Painting as I remember ‘always wanting to learn them’ when I was younger. Myself, like everyone else, is not getting any younger, having recently turned 60 and I have enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy these mediums. There is still so much more for me to learn and explore!
It shouldn’t be a surprise to people that I canned my Photoshop and Lightroom subscriptions a few years back. I still have a DSLR, however, I am looking to go in a different direction Photography-wise… A smaller, mid to high range compact and an iPad, which is a far cry from what I used to carry around. Much lighter too.
These days, I can see myself with a small backpack containing a compact camera, sketchbook, pencils, pigment liners, Watercolour field kit and sundry items.
I can see myself returning to Photography via Monochrome as (apart from when I used to take Slides), Monochrome was my favourite way of shooting images.
When I’m out and about this little kit complete with a small camera will allow me to elevate Photography once again in my life.
I’ve included a some images below of some of the things I used to like to shoot in Monochrome.
Way back in 1982, when I first started getting serious about photography, I noticed how I instantly developed a greater curiosity about our world. I started to explore detail in subjects that I had not even noticed prior to becoming interested in communicating via this medium.
Detail is one thing however, we also need to look up (I would say more than) occasionally as how much do we miss in our daily travels as we get busy with life? This brings me to the subject of this short article.
I love shooting up!
The next time you are out and about, take a minute away from your busy schedule and look up. There is a whole new world just waiting for you feast your eyes upon it.
One of the types of subjects that I have always enjoyed photographing since I took up Photography in 1982 is the ‘everyday things’ that we come into contact with.
Prior to taking up photography, I certainly was not aware how beautiful mundane subjects were. Photography created a new awareness within me and since I took up sketching and painting, this awareness of my surroundings has deepened.
It really is amazing at just how many beautiful subjects there are if we only would take the time to notice.
I’ve included some images below that I hope you will find as interesting and as beautiful as I do. All were taken in 2022.
Well, the first question you might ask is…’What is a Lighter?’
A Lighter is a ‘shallow-draft boat or barge, usually flat-bottomed, used in unloading (lightening) or loading ships offshore’. Source: Brittanica.com
Norfolk Island has no harbour and the closest cargo ships can moor to it is about 1 kilometre (0.62 miles)
The cargo is lifted onto the Lighters and then the Lighters transport the goods to Kingston Pier. A further challenge is that, even at high tide, the water is only 1 metre (3.2 feet) deep so a high degree of seamanship is required.
We were fortunate even to see this careful practice take place in our second visit to Norfolk Island back in 2007.
I find the Lighters to be a fascinating subject, particularly the ones that are no longer in service. There are 3 at Kingston, placed on land to add to the character of an already stunningly beautiful area. Oh, the stories I bet they could tell!
For me, they are one of my favourite subjects on Norfolk Island and have inspired me in terms of photography, sketching, painting and poetry.
Here are few examples:
Till next time!
Written, photographed, sketched and painted by myself.
I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog my love for walking and the reasons I enjoy it, namely:
Exercise leading to increased health
Listen to music, podcasts of Nature
Time out to think
I’m located approximately 60km South West of Sydney, Australia and as I sit here today, we are entering week four of the latest lockdown, this time for the Delta strain of Covid-19.
Walking is a fairly regular activity for me and I generally see a few people out walking in normal times, however, as a friend posted recently on Facebook, ‘nothing spurs people more than a lockdown to take up exercise…’. As a result of the lockdown, there are many more people out exercising.
Whilst it is great to see more people out and about exercising, it’s a shame that it takes a lockdown to ‘spur them on’.
It probably goes without saying, but I carry my phone with me with to:
Measure the distance walked
Today, I will focus on the photographic opportunities.
As we all know the ubiquitous mobile phone has become an indispensable tool in modern life, sometimes too much so. People seem to be slaves to them. One of its most usable features for me is its camera.
I have an iPhone 8 Plus which is probably getting ‘long in the tooth’ now, technology-wise and we will probably update them in the coming twelve months. There are better camera phones out there for sure but this one is doing ok at present.
The camera I would really like to be taking on my walks is one I haven’t bought yet as I have had other priorities. More on that in a later blog.
For the time being I will make do with the phone camera.
Taking up photography in the early 1980’s increased my awareness of what is around me in terms of beauty and design. Taking up sketching, drawing and painting I believe has increased my awareness even more.
Below are a few examples of the things that attract my eye as I go walking. When I go walking, I seldom see other people taking photos on their walks. I wonder if they are aware of the the beauty and design that surrounds them?
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.
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/
Poetry and Prose by #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow, Co-Author of #1 Amazon Bestseller, Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women, and Jan/Feb 2022 Spillwords Press Author of the Month