I believe I have the best job in the world. I run photography tours, holidays and workshops in Ireland where I help other like minded people who are equally passionate about photography as an art and want to use their’s as a form of self expression, who love to be outside with a camera and see every sunrise as an opportunity and a morning mist as inspiration. My clients are looking for a course that will help them engage more with digital photography processes and challenge them to take photographs of the natural landscape. If you love photography and stunning scenery you will find no better subject for your gaze than Ireland and with superb accommodation too you have the perfect platform to take your photography to the next level and boost your confidence in your own ability. But don’t take my word for it, read what my clients have said here on my website for yourself.
One thing I notice is that when photographers gather together in a group, naturally we like to talk about our passion; all things photographic. As well as the latest photography exhibition or magazine article we’ve seen, sooner or later the talk turns to gear. The latest cameras, the newest lenses, the quickest software. Men of middle age are experts. Anyone of us could go on Master mind, chosen subject: Ansel Adams, the exposure settings for his complete works… Naturally we would win. Camera equipment to men is the equivalent to jewellery for women, a lady friend of mine calls it male Jewellery and sometimes she’s not wrong! On a photo workshop recently I was retelling a story to a client I had read about the surrealist painter and photographer Man Ray. He said “People ask ‘what camera did you use?’ I say: ‘You don’t ask a writer what type writer he uses”. He initially agreed whole heartedly but after a few minutes reflection said “yes but surely when writers get together eventually the subject of type writers or word processors comes up?”…….
Does size really matter?
When the conversation strays onto the technical specifications of the latest cameras and lenses my eyes glaze over and I can’t help but feel inadequate. I tell myself that size isn’t everything. At least not sensor size…. Personally I have decided not to peruse the latest adverts encouraging me to upgrade. Telling me why I need the latest features, easing my cash from my wallet while promising that my pictures will be brilliant when I have the latest piece of kit. Not that I haven’t succumbed in the past, after all I am only human.
What not to bring in your camera bag!
Going on a trip, long or short, I pack my camera bag. I have my main DSLR, A second camera body just in case. I pack my long lens in case I need it, I polish and clean my wide angle lens in case I need it and I throw in a couple of prime lens and another zoom in case I need them too. Next I clean my Lee filters. I have a big polarizer which fits my Lee filter system, I have various ND graduated filters and a 10 stop neutral density filter. Of course I bring my cable release. I check my tripod is ready and I remember to bring plenty of memory cards and couple of lens cloths too. When the bag is fully packed I try it on for size. It weighs a ton! My God how am I going to carry it? It feels like someone has slipped in an anvil! However I have everything in there just in case….
Less is more!
The photograph above is a good example of how less is more. One of the less arduous tasks here in the West of Ireland, at least in the “summer” is walking the dog. We go out everyday. So much as a look or a gesture towards the door and she is up imploring with those big eyes. This particular day I remember to take a camera. I stuck a lens on the body, the first one that came to hand was a 50 mm. We’re off to the sea. Although it’s summertime in Ireland it can feel like the powers that be were not informed of the change. Not today. For once the sea is calm, gently lapping on the shore. The sound of gulls and the buzz of insects reach my ears. Its even warm enough not to need an overcoat so I leave it in the car. On the walk I have my camera and Lizzy has her red ball. She’s trotting on ahead, leading the way. I see a field with a single white horse. She is in with a herd of young bullocks. The cows are at the far end of the field, their backs to us, doing the things that young bullocks do, feats of strength and daring do. They are oblivious. The white Mare has no interest in all the testosterone, keeping herself apart she is munching grass alone. As we approach she has one beady eye fixed on us. Suddenly she looks up, a little startled. She walks towards us, a curios look on her long face. As she approaches I see the boisterous bullock’s head jerk around one by one. With a slow equine walk she strolls towards us. I watch as one by one the young bovines turn and began to shuffle in our direction, they break into a gambolling lolloping charge. As they near, the horse jerks her head around to eye-ball them imperiously. They almost shudder to a halt under her stare. I can see them beginning to line up behind her. Of course by this time I have the camera to my eye because I can see that this situation might develop – pardon the pun – into something delicious! Our vantage point on a path slightly below the field is perfect for an interesting image. I shoot about a dozen frames, first checking my exposure by looking at my histogram and quickly checking the auto focus is doing what it’s supposed to.
I keep this image where I can see it everyday to remember not to take it all to seriously. It’s my proof that the most important piece of equipment a photographer has is her eye, it reminds me that there are great pictures are all around us in everyday life, all we have to do is open our eyes and it reminds me to walk the dog! Although today is a more typical summers day and we will need a rain coat
but thats another story….