Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Help Is Everywhere!

Help is everywhere, you just need to ask. As mentioned in in my last blog "The Learning Curve", join a like minded group. A camera club in your town, an online site or forum. There are multitudes of places on the www that offer simple free memberships, some have a monthly or subscription fee, that allow you post your pictures for all to see. Most of the sites have competitions for fun, challenges to get you thinking and all usually have a forum of some kind. This is where the wealth of knowledge is hidden - your HELP pages! 

Waiting For A Paddle
A couple of hire kayaks waiting for a paddle. Taken near the marina at Narooma NSW. 

Generally you will find that once you start to put some pictures up you will recieve feedback on your achievements. If you don't get comments on every photo you submit then DON'T get mentioned in the last blog you will develop a style and everyone's style will be different! Add to the comments of the photo that you wish to recieve critique - this is when you get valuable info, try a different setting, a different perspective, straightening, will be endless. You will never, ever get a general "This is a crap shot, I don't like it!" comment, only constructive help or "Well taken" etc. On the flip side, if you see an image you like, say so, but add why - you may have seen something the photographer missed or interpreted  it differently - oh, and never ever get where I'm heading?

Be active in the groups you join, people will really open up more as they see that you interact well within the group. Use search funtions in the forums for questions you would to ask, chances are it would have been asked by many before you. If you can't find it then ask away, someone will come back to you with an answer or a site that has the info you need.

When I first got my camera, I thought "Wow, I need to show off my pictures!!" I looked around the web and found a few sites that were okay but were too big for me to start with. I found an Australian site, that is Australian resident members only - Australian Digital POTD (Photo of the day) or ADPOTD. This to me was the best start as that meant I was showcasing to "locals", the uploads from members were not in the hundreds everyday. This site is still my first port of call for sharing and knowledge. Each day of the year, except weekends and public holidays (we're Aussies remember - these are sacred days!) the site admin selects from the pool of uploaded photos a "photo of the day" or POTD.  The best thing to do is head over to the site......all will be better explained there! The admin staff are pro's and the members are always friendly. The forum is full of tips, tricks and events. And no, I am not part of the admin team, just a member who is happy with the product and services provided!!

"The Fog 2"
The International Flag Display in Canberra’s Parliamentary Zone colourfully acknowledges the international presence in Australia’s national capital. At 3:30am the fog rolls over the National Library. 
POTD 26/5/2010

Redbubble is my other real introduction to interaction. This site is global, there are thousands of members, and within the site thousands of "groups" with themes or interests. I have recently been appointed as a co-host to one of these groups "Australian Travel Photography and Writing". This has helped me hone my photography to a standard that makes it a publishable item, it also opened a door in writing stories relating to travel adventure. The group has undergone a major project in creating its own magazine - "Discover Australia". Its content is from within the group - places of interest, travel tidbits, guides, essays and interviews. A group similar to this is another great place to learn, interact and develop your skills.

DPReview is another one worth taking a look at. They have reviews on equipment regularly, news from manufacturers and a very comprehensive forum.

Remember - it's all about fun, learn from mistakes and critique. Ask - the only silly question is the one you don't ask! Get involved, don't take a back seat, dive in and soon you will be answering the same questions you asked.

Take a look at these sites, which are my galleries. Get a feel for them and join up. It can only get better from here..........
ADPOTD gallery
Redbubble gallery

Some other resource sites that I visit:

Buy art

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Learning Curve

I have been enjoying digital photography for over a year now and the learning curve has been steep! I had what I thought was a basic grip on how a camera works as I had an old film SLR that I got results from (1 or 2 from a roll of 24 was good in my eyes!), but how far from reality was I?

First lesson: before taking any shots - READ THE MANUAL, COVER TO COVER! It is amazing what you can learn just from this!
Second lesson: it's digital, knock yourself out and fill that card with whatever catches your eye. Play with the camera at the same time....have the manual with you and play, play, keep playing..........more............

Third lesson: join a community, either online or a club. The people there are your encyclopedias.....they all have been there and learnt the same way as you. Everyone you speak to will have different techniques, tips and tricks. Some will work for you, some won't. Slowly you will build your own encyclopedia of information that you will constantly be referring to.

My first addition to the collection of "must haves" for my camera gear was a tripod. I use it for anything I plan shooting in low light, night or if I am going to be stationary for a while (saves your arms and neck....). I take it everywhere in the car, you never know when you will need it!

Soon enough you find a style of photography that you enjoy, for me I enjoy night photography - the colours against dark skies are just stunning.

"Library, Fire and Water"
The National Library, Canberra as viewed through the artwork "Fire and water". Judy Watson's "fire and water" is a sensorial journey which begins at the hearthstone, passes between the bower, to rest on and listen to the sounds of the gathering stone, and continues among the sinuous lines of reeds toward the misting pool, where fine sprays of cooling water cleanse and refresh.

Go out there, take heaps of photos, experiment with settings but don't forget - have fun with it!