Last night I discovered a website called Craft & Vision, I purchased a series of ebooks from there having found the author’s point of view to resonate with my own in a way I’d struggled to find among other photographers and bloggers. I’ve since read the first two of three of The Inspired Eye, by David DuChemin. I’ll write more on my feelings about the books when I’ve finished the third, but needless to say I found what I read to be inspiring.
So this morning I decided to take advantage of the overcast day and head out with my camera. Its still quite warm and I’ve neglected to get out and about with my camera lately citing the unwelcome heat as an excuse. I was however feeling determined and inspired, and you just can’t argue with that. I learnt a number of interesting and valuable insights during the hour that I was out.
My walk took me to a place near where I live called Point Peron; its the closest to wilderness that you can get around here. And even then, its a mess of weeds, rubbish and graffiti-ed air raid shelters.I’m not suggesting that the above things aren’t interesting, in fact, if I had the courage I would probably investigate the air raid shelters properly and take photos of the graffiti. Even with my husband tagging along the idea of entering them is daunting, let alone by myself as I was today! The closest I came to one I was deterred away quite quickly by the overwhelming scent of urine and eerie echoes coming through the gated entrance.
My first lesson of the day was preparedness. If you plan to take your tripod with you it helps to take the mount as well. And you really ought to be sure your camera has a memory card in it. Thankfully these were lessons I learnt before I’d actually driven down the street, but it pays to check your equipment first.
Lesson two was, check your settings. The last time I’d played with my camera, I’d done a night walk through Perth’s CBD and my settings reflected this. High ISO, tungsten white balance, LCD brightness turned down, TV mode keyed in for a longer exposure. I had quite a few of these shots before I realised.
The first ten minutes of my walk I didn’t review my photos because I wanted to approach the walk as an education more than anything and intended to review them when I got home, so I had the LCD screen off. It wasn’t until a curious runner wanted to know what I was taking photos of (perhaps to be sure he wasn’t in my shots) that I realised what had happened. Embarrassing!
A quick review of the settings and my photos changed to something a little more like what I was hoping to achieve. I reviewed the first two or three to be sure I was exposing correctly.
Lesson number three quickly became apparent; its hard to concentrate on what you’re doing when you’ve forgotten to bring a bottle of water and your head is pounding from the sun beating down on your head. This isn’t exactly a lesson learnt about photography in particular, its more of a generalisation. I settled down shortly after this in the shade of one of the air raid shelters on top of the highest dune to try and rest a little.
I finished the walk by heading down onto the beach itself, and knelt down to take a few shots of the beach grasses. Lesson number four, be aware of your surroundings and equipment. I got two hundred metres down the beach before I realised that my tripod had slipped out of its straps and had been left in the dunes back the way I had came.
I also learnt a valuable lesson about people. In today’s instance, that some people can be quite nasty. Having been chased up the beach by a group of juveniles for not conforming to their views on what a woman should look like (in this case, I was told to ‘run fatty’) I allowed the encounter to ruin the remainder of my walk. Looking back on their behaviour, and that of the adults who were with them for not discouraging their actions, I should have not allowed them to have such an effect on my capacity to continue but at the time it seemed easier to just leave.
While the walk certainly didn’t provide me with many photos that I can claim to be expressive of what I was trying to achieve I did learn by making mistakes, some accidental and others deliberate to see what results I would achieve. Perhaps the biggest lesson that I’ve come away with is that sometimes its about getting out there and taking photos for the pleasure of doing so, not to expect to create magic every time you put the viewfinder up to your eye.