I have been struggling to find something to write a post about for the last two weeks. When I first started this blog it was very easy to write about things that I had learnt and show the results as they changed. That’s the most exciting time when you learn something new, but then something happens – a plateau.
When you go to learn something new there is so much that you don’t understand that you can learn something huge, fairly easily, every day. As you learn and learn, though, the amount of effort it takes to get to the next “a-ha!” moment increases every time. I think this is why many people, myself included, start lots of new things and then drop them.
Now I haven’t stopped taking photos, but it’s been tricky coming up with what to write for the next post. I have settled for a few mini posts which chronicle a few days of shooting over the last few weeks. Today’s will be about a trip we took a few weeks ago.
Some friends and I went on a trip to the beach. I am not used to this being a big deal, because in Canada we can go to the beach every day if we want, at least in the summer. It’s about 15 minutes away. In England, though, it’s a 2 hour drive for us. By the time we got there, it was a half hour walk to get to the beach. Halfway into this, we made the mistake of turning around to spot the clouds behind us.
Beautiful, no? I have to say I am impressed with the tenacity of Brits. We turned around at this point, but we saw just as many people walking towards the beach. Magnificent bastards.
All was not lost. It did start to pour rain, but we did have a picnic lunch in the car. After about 30 minutes of Zeus’ wrath, the rain let up. We started the trek back to the beach, and that’s when I realised that cows do something interesting when it rains, they huddle together and look
scared to death just confused, really.
I took a few others that I am happy with. The main thing I am trying to focus on right now is finding interesting subjects. Dogs are always fun.
Although there’s not a lot going on, I couldn’t resist including this one.
Next we came across a boat which had been anchored when the tide was higher. This created an awkward situation for the crew.
I am happy with the composition of this one, but I may have oversaturated the colours a bit. I tend to like very high contrast, popping colours, but you have to get them right otherwise it looks like a cartoon.
The alternative is to just desaturate it. This feels safer. As a side note, I was happy with how still everything looks in this shot.
Lastly, I had to take a photo of this legend.
It’s hard to tell from the photo, but this guy was struggling. The winds were intense, and his kite was whipping up and down and smacking into the sand every minute or so. He kept at it, though, for at least an hour. I took the shot at a bit of an angle and I think it makes a kind of jumbled feeling which is what it looked like.
Finding subjects to photograph, and finding interesting ways to shoot them, is what I am focusing on at the moment. It’s fine to know your editing program and camera and produce nice looking photos, but ultimately these are just tools for getting the effects that you want. What I’ve tried to to is take some photos that stand on their own, without an accompanying blog post, that are interesting to look at. This is the area where I need to work the most on, and I don’t think it’s a concrete skill that you can master by reading a book or watching a bunch of tutorials.
When I reach a plateau like this, and I feel like there’s not much else to learn, I try to push myself and get to a new peak. This is the most frustrating part of learning– not the plateau, but the peak that you reach by pushing past it, only to realise that you’re at the top of a foothill surrounded by mountains. It’s pretty easy to get some nice looking photos, maybe even some interesting ones. The cameras and computers we have do so much of the work for us. What’s hard is the what, when, and why of a photo rather than the how.