Saturday, June 28, 2008

Green is good

Listening to: A mostly New Zealand compilation I made for Lauren before she went home. Of course I kept a copy.......I'll be making another one soon to go with Molly, and re-editing the one that Kelly missed taking home. Time flies.

Not NZ per se, but PJ Harvey's 'you said something' is on it, and it just may be one of my favourite songs of ever. Shapeshifter's 'One' as well.

At home late on a Saturday. Time once was when the very idea of that was something akin to sacrilegious. Priorities change though, and sometimes its nice just to have dinner, watch a couple of episodes of 'Outrageous Fortune' with the other half, have a quiet beer and potter.

Green is good. Out and about on the waterfront last night, doing some pointing and shooting (Molly pointed and I shot).
Correct me if I am wrong, and it happens fairly often, but I think this is the first time anyone has commissioned me in a pre-planned way for a photo expedition. Well admittedly the commissioner is camera short at the moment, but is convinced I would do a better job than she could anyway. Since I am attracted to both water and pretty lights, it was a sortie I had been thinking about for a while.
Power crisis or not, I really love how the waterfront has been illuminated in recent times. I got some cool pics last night, but they are already promised to another audience, and I don't want to spoil the fun.
Good fun handling the new tripod though. Even if I haven't got the gist of setting it up level yet.

I don't know when I started taking this whole photography thing seriously, but I guess I am now. I have been serious airshow shooting since the 1991 season, when I was entrusted with Dad's pentax SLR and a 200mm zoom lens.

Trying to take interesting pictures of things that weren't winged is harder to pin down. I got my first camera at the end of 1987, basically a pinhole unit that used reel film canisters, and took astonishingly bad pictures. Prior to an overseas trip I was equipped with a proper 35mm autofocus job, cheap, simple and almost indestructible (still have it, still functional). It went to a lot of parties, functions events, but wasn't very good at photographing things that were more than 10 feet away.

I carried the pentax around for a while in the 90's, always loaded to catch anything interesting, with varying degrees of success. I would borrow Dad's cameras as required when more sophistication was required, and after his much more modern Minolta died at my wedding, I bought it off him, repaired it, and it became my weapon of choice. My wedding incidentally was somekind vortex for cameras. Two suffered complete failures, and one a major malfunction.

I have always felt compelled to record and remember things, in case I don't pass that way again. If I annoyed you by taking your photo at a party I apologise. If I see something cool I want to save it, in case I don't see it again. In that sense I think it is an expression of not wanting to take things for granted.

Now I am at the point where I walk around and see pictures everywhere, framing things in my mind, which I am told is something photographers do. I don't want to shoot everything though, because then you run the risk of your photographs becoming your memories. They should be aids to memory, not replacements.

Where am I going with this? I now record 'Photography' as an interest and hobby on my CV, when I never used to. I had a semi knowledgeable conversation about lenses and mounts with a passerby last night. I think I am a passable airshow photographer, if the comments by professionals who have seen my work is anything to go by. People say unprompted nice things about my other pictures, and have been known to hand me their cameras, and ask me for advice, or shoot for them, so I must be doing something right.

The thing is, I really don't know what I am doing, and never really have. I don't know anything really about appropriate f-stops and exposures, have never studied composition. I just see things I like and then try to make them work as a flat image. A lot of luck is involved, and more than a little bit of right place/right time. I ruthlessly exploit the automatic modes built into the camera, and experiment when I have to. As far as available methods and equipment goes, I am floating on the surface of a very deep ocean with this pastime.

I'm totally making it up as I go along. But it seems to be working out okay.

Oh and thankyou to anyone who has said anything nice about my photos. I may play down your praise, but I do appreciate it.


morgue said...

I love your photography, and it has been cool to watch you get more skilled and confident over time.

Good show, old man, good show.

kiwilauren said...

I do love your photos. And also that mixed CD you gave me before I left NZ. I'm at camp now, have been for 3 weeks, and every morning my dorm partner and I wake up our girls with an eclectic mix of tunes from practically every genre. This morning as I heard "Anchor Me" I smiled and thought about kiwiland. That, and "Weather With You" by Crowded House are pretty much the 2 songs that define NZ for me. It makes me happy on the inside!

Not Kate said...

You were almost the official photographer at the reception of Cass and Ant's wedding, once the paid one left. I think you are building up your gigs.

billy the dancing moose said...

Making it up as you go is the way *everything* works. No one knows what they are doing. Just do it.

Dan said...

on the subject of photography, I have a little project you might be able to help me with if you're interested, either looking through your portfolio or getting some originals. i'll buzz you on FB.