Monthly Archives: March 2010

Not so Chough-ed at Worm’s Head, Gower Peninsula

Another Dunnock singing at Worm's Head

On my recent 1-2-1 tuition days that were at Worm’s Head, typically when I didn’t have my long lens on the camera, Chough were coming in really close on the wind and also were feeding on the ground quite close to my position. I decided to return at a later date to make some images. My return visit was disappointing, with not a single Chough in sight anywhere. There were plenty of Jackdaws around, which made me work a bit harder as I always got the camera ready just in case as they came closer I became able to tell whether it was a Chough or not.

Dunnock singing at Worm's Head, Gower

I hung around for a few hours, but to no avail. Despite all the comings and goings of the visitors and myself, plenty of birds were heralding the arrival of spring and singing away to mark their territory. The two images above of a Dunnock singing were made fairly easily as they were more intent in competing with their local rival in the neighbouring gorse bush than being concerned with me.

1-2-1 tuition on Gower

Worm's Head, Rhossili Bay, Gower

Thing are starting to get busy now what with the start of my day courses getting nearer, plus I find I am doing more 1-2-1 tuition this year as well. The 1-2-1 sessions are great because by the end of the day, you can see the progress that people have made and the confidence building in them. Photography is relatively simple and complex all at the same time. The best analogy is that of climbing up a mountain. It is harder work as you go uphill, this is the period when you are learning the technical aspects of photography, but once over the summit it is easier and mastery of the technical aspect frees you up to make the images you can visualise. It does take time, a lot of practice and maybe a little bit of selfishness to master the technical side and composition, but I do feel that these areas can be taught. Some people may have ‘the eye’ for a photograph, and progress faster, but most people will get there in the end. I know I am not the only person who thinks this way; Artie Morris, the American bird photographer and leader of many photography tours believes this as well.

Wave detail, Rhossili Bay, Gower

The images in this post were all taken on my 1-2-1 days and are unusual in the fact that I actually took some images, plus they were all handheld. Normally I don’t take any pictures on my courses or tuition days. This is because usually I am too busy working around the group or with the individual on their own images. I think if I started taking my own pictures I wouldn’t be happy with the results as I probably would have rushed them because I would be thinking that I am neglecting my client(s), which I would be.

Sunset at Rhossili Bay, Gower

I think that keeping the workshop time dedicated to the client(s) is very important and that is why I have small groups only. I know of some courses where there are larger numbers or the course leader is more interested in making his own pictures. This surely results in disappointment all round.

Time spent with clients is important as it has allowed me to detect habits in their photographic process. I have noticed that most of the clients needed to learn to slow down their picture making process and really analyse what caught their attention in the first place. This has helped them distill the elements in their photograph to the strongest and as a result the images have improved. Occasionally equipment issues are causing the problems, especially with tripods, so I seem to have developed a reputation among some of the clients that after being on a course with me they all end up buying more equipment. That is the excuse that is being given to their partners anyway!

More from London – Black and White

Tate Modern, Bankside, London

I always find some of the more industrial buildings, or industrial styled building on the South Bank suit black and white even on sunny days. Usually at Tate Modern I am trying to make images with the birch trees outside, as I am always drawn by the white bark contrasting with the surrounding colours. As I have posted before, I am still trying to get the definitive image of this, and once again this trip I came up short. I think my ideas are getting better and more developed, but the image hasn’t come together fully yet. This view of the building was a change for me, but like a lot of subjects, most angles have been approached before so finding an original view is difficult. Some times one angle just seems to work the best though.

National Theatre, Soth Bank, London

Here I was having an ‘artsy’ moment, and the subject just screamed black and white at me. There was no real colour in the image other than grey anyway. To me this is a nothing image as it doesn’t really hold my attention for very long, but if it was entered into one of these art photography competitions, I’m sure it would fit in well. On my visit I managed to see the Irving Penn exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, which also had a small display of portraits by Jane Bowen. The images in both kept me intrigued for hours, but when visiting the Photographers Gallery and the images in the Deutsche Borse photography prize I was totally under whelmed. Perhaps with a few more images like the one above I will be able to enter next time!

An escape from Gower – a quick trip to London

Pigeons on Millenium Bridge, London

Having lived in London for a few years, I still like to visit it occasionally. I am always amazed at the amount of wildlife that I see as I wonder around, but due to the number of people around it can be very tolerant and approachable. The images from this trip were all from a walk by the Thames on the South Bank path. This path has a great variety of subjects, plus plenty of paces to stop and eat, another favourite pastime of mine!

Second Hand Book stall, South Bank, London

When walking around it is very easy to trip over other photographers as every body seems to be carrying cameras these days. This has some advantages though as you will be lost amongst all the other photographers and can blend in better, freeing you up to concentrate on your images. There has been a lot of news recently about photographers getting some hassle from the police when making images. This mainly seems to happen with photographers using tripods, but so far I haven’t had any problems.

Whiteford Sands and surrounding area, Gower Peninsula

A View of North Hill Tor from Whiteford Burrows, Gower Peninsula

This is similar to another image that I posted a few posts ago, but is an attempt on my part to do a blue sky image. The clouds here are quite dramatic in a way so they help distract from the blue sky at the top of the frame. Close to where I stand to take this image is a pine tree, and it is now partially fallen over and nearly obscuring the angle for photographs. Once it has completely fallen over, it will actually allow another view to be created, so as one view goes another opens up!

End of the day at Whiteford Sands, Gower Peninsula

I moved over to the other side of the Burrows to try and get some images for the sun setting along the dunes, but even though the light was failing, I optimistically continued to wait just in case the cloud cover cleared and allowed the setting sun to light the dunes. While I was waiting I got a bit bored so got out my second camera body and started snapping away with my 80 – 400mm lens. Usually the majority of my images are made on a tripod, but as the lens has a stabilizer system fitted I thought I would loosen up a bit and take some handheld images. The image above is one of the results. The sharpness isn’t too bad and overall it was quite nice to be freed from the tripod. Saying that I did delete more handheld images though!