What Makes You Get Up And Out With Your Camera?
Simple. Think about what you do now, as a hobby or for a living…are you passionate about it? Is it a passion? Do you wake up in the morning feeling ready to get stuck into your work? Do you go to bed thinking about it?
This is how I feel about photography.
A couple of months ago I got up at 5.30am, drove up a very bad road, in the freezing cold, stood next to my camera on a tripod, in the freezing cold, waiting for the sun to rise…in the freezing cold! (We actually get snow in Southern Spain you know!
I didn’t have a clue as to whether it would cloud over or even if it would be a nice day!
I simply stood there with the camera set up and gradually watched it get lighter and lighter. In fact, if I am honest, I didn’t even care if it was a good sunrise, just the fact that it might be was good enough.
Fortunately, as the sun rose, it was one of the most beautiful sights I has seen since I moved to Spain in 1998. Not just because of the sun, but because of the silence, the chill, the stillness of everything. The usually busy streets near Marbella were dead quiet. No traffic and no noise.
I shot so many photos as the sun rose that you could have spliced them together and made a movie! In fact I think I just might…elapsed timing of a Spanish sunrise!
One of my favourites was this one…
Now, I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t care who likes it and who doesn’t, I like it! My photography is for me first and foremost, and for my clients or casual onlookers second. Blown up large (as it is on our wall) you can still see the stars in the sky and the detail is great, but more so, it reminds me of my peaceful morning. I have young children, you know what I mean!
If you just have a camera for family moments, or snaps of your kids etc., then this may seem a little extreme, ignore me. I am talking about people who are about to make a serious investment in camera gear or even take it up full time.
Whatever gear you buy, however much you spend, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter whether its a Nikon or a Canon or a Pinhole camera! What matters is your passion for taking photographs.
A bit of passion mixed with nostalgia
I can remember buying a Practical Photography and Amateur Photographer in the 80’s, looking at the photographs, grabbing my gear, all motivated, and trying to take similar pictures.
Then when I got the photos back from the lab 2 weeks later, it didn’t matter that the majority were rubbish, I just went out and took more, read more magazines and so on.
I practised taking the lens off, turning it around and discovering it took macro photos that way. We practised double exposures, ghost images, night photography, basically anything that we thought of or saw in a magazine. It cost my parents a fortune in film processing and printing.
That passion is still with me now at 44!
If anyone is listening, I will tell you a bit about my history with photography and where my passion comes from.
Apart from having a camera in my “Spy Kit” at about 10 years old, I think my earliest memories of having passion about cameras, was when my Dad came home with a new Olympus OM-1. I was just 12 or 13 and my brother and I fell in love with it.
Not too much later, I enrolled in photography as a 3rd year topic at school (in all honesty, it was that or Religious Education!). BAM! That was it, I was hooked after the first lesson. The teacher handed around his Praktica SLR and I (kind of) showed off a little as I probably knew SLRs better than my teacher.
I remember going on a light railway trip to the South of England where most of the other kids were drinking from a small bottle of Vodka that one of them had “borrowed” from home. There was me clicking away while they were having a ball (at 13, I know, but I think they also took the classes as an “Easy” option).
I left school 4 years later and went to business college. I managed to get an apprenticeship with a local photographer for a year and went to college just one day a week. At weekends I would alternate between helping at weddings and working in a local camera shop. I was in geeky heaven and the passion just grew and grew!
After another 3 years at business school, I moved to London, and the photography kind of took a back seat for a bit, although the passion never died, (4 single guys living in London?). Inevitably, I got the bug again and bought the Canon EOS 5 with eye-controlled focus (great!) and an array of lenses.
With my brother, we started photographing small villages for postcards, one bride-to-be saw one with our name on and called us. From that wedding we booked a few more, then a few more and…you get the picture. We also got something a bit special from that wedding. A few years on and my brother moved to Africa to work (and photograph) for the WWF (world wildlife fund) and I took up skydiving!!! Passion about skydiving? That’s a whole new website!!
Soon after qualifying at Category 8, and being a photographer (and seeing some amazing skydiving photography), I decided to train to take photographs in freefall! The above pictures were all taken from video footage as unfortunately, 4 malfunctions and 2 dead colleagues later, I tamed down the jumps and eventually stopped jumping altogether.
I decided to move to Spain for a bit, which turned into 10 years…we have now gone full circle and are back in the UK as at 2010.
I shoot entirely digital and have done a lot of real estate work photographing Luxury cottages all over the UK..
I still shoot the occasional portrait and lots of weddings.
The idea for me now, is to pass on some of my accumulated knowledge to anybody willing to listen and to people just getting started in photography.
Hopefully, you will Bookmark this site, and come back often. I will constantly add new pages and topics that I hope are of interest to you and for others that may gain a little from it.