Today I participated in a GooglePlus Hangout with nine other photographers. The occasion was Martin Bailey’s 400th Podcast Party. I started listening to Martin’s podcasts in 2007, and very quickly downloaded all his previous podcasts. To reach 400 episodes is no mean feat and I admire his dedication and tenacity in continuing to put them out regularly. His podcast (video) recording our hangout can be seen here: http://www.martinbaileyphotography.com/2013/12/15/inspired-show-me-400th-podcast-episode-party/
As a beginner in 2007 and 2008, I found his podcasts and blog invaluable and inspiring. I even decided to enter an assignment or two on his forums at the time to help me learn more. The image of mine above was entered in an assignment entitled ‘Abstract’ and was voted best image in the assignment. I was very amused at Martin’s pronunciation of my name when he announced the winners in his podcast (number 140). Apart from my delight at the image’s popularity, this was a huge boost to me as a beginner photographer.
I really wanted to be part of the Hangout as I’ve followed Martin over all these years and I felt I wanted to congratulate him ‘live’ rather than send him an email. I came into the group a bit late as I had some issues with my connection, but I made it.
Martin gave up his ‘day job’ a few years ago to take up photography full time. His photography tours are well known especially the Winter Wonderland one taking in Northern Japan with its snow monkeys, sea eagles and other nature and landscape workshops. If you’re interested, you will find his podcasts (free) in iTunes or in the archives of his website.
If you’re on Google Plus (as I am), you will find the MBP Community here: https://plus.google.com/communities/101105265892822137171
This community has taken over where Martin’s forums left off. The spammers and hackers got the better of the old forums. Do visit, it’s a good place to hang out in.
Once again, a heartfelt congratulations to Martin! It’s been a pleasure to share the journey.
You’ve met Thea. You’ve seen her ‘alert’ look. This shot was taken moments after that look.
You may interpret the look as you please, but I can tell you this dog leads the good life! She certainly kept Tom and I amused during our stay.
She couldn’t really be called ‘beautiful’ I guess, but Thea has a beautiful personality and is full of character. I got to know her personality during a four day stay at her place recently. She shares her home with our daughter and son-in-law, her canine companion Gypsy, and cats Hannibal and Velveteen.
Thea’s biggest concern in life is watching out for our daughter. She follows her everywhere. Her next biggest concern is food, and sleep. Exercise? What’s that?
This bulldog expression is about as lively as it gets. She heard her mistress’ voice and became alert. It was my moment to snap her in this pose. There’s another photo of her I like, but I’ll leave that for the next post…
I’ve been enjoying Spring in our garden. There have been a succession of daffodils since mid August, and for the last month or so the rhododendrons and fruit trees have been magnificent. The back garden is looking especially magic as I’ve allowed the Forget-Me-Nots to grow where they will and there’s a great big carpet of blue.
I took a number of photos at various angles, but as I particularly wanted to convey the feeling of a blue carpet I found this angle gave me the best option. The way we present our subject can have an effect on what the viewer reads in our image. Had I shown more of the pink rhodo, that would have carried more weight in the image therefore making that the subject. I could have shot an image entirely of the blue, but would that have been enough? Would it have conveyed the feel of a carpet under the shrubs and trees? How we frame our subject plays a large part in what we feel we want our readers to experience. Did I get it right?
Let me know what you think.
I spent yesterday afternoon testing my new photographic tool, my new toy if you like. Tom and I took a couple of our grandchildren fishing at the Kaiapoi (local small town) wharf. The tide was right but the fish didn’t bite. However, while they fished I took the opportunity to wield Big Bertha and proceeded to amuse myself by picking out interesting things on some of the moored boats.
I hadn’t really felt creative as these boats don’t particularly inspire me and I really just wanted to test my new lens while overlooking the fishermen. However, my muse kicked in and I began shooting interesting things at different angles, and as usually happens began to ‘get into the zone’.
Getting back to the new tool, I found Big Bertha worth her weight in gold even though she cost about as much. She has the qualities I’ve been looking for in lesser (but still good) lenses of the longer focal lengths. I have a Canon 70 – 300mm which I’ve used a lot, especially when out on the water shooting yachts in a race, and because of its size and weight I called it The Beast. However, it is nothing compared to Big Bertha. At almost 1.5kg, I might have to take up a subscription to the local gym and do weight training.
Yes, she will sit on my tripod nicely, but there are times when I need the freedom of hand holding. The Beast was good enough in strong light so a faster shutter speed helped with stability and consequent sharpness, but I’ve always yearned for a ‘faster’ lens. Big Bertha is fast! She’s a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS version II. I won’t bother telling you the specs, they’re available on the internet everywhere.
So, yesterday I thought I’d test it by hand holding it all afternoon. It takes a bit of getting used to, I can tell you! Martin Bailey, a photographer friend, told me “You’ll have beefy shoulders before you know it!”. I’ve been told that you really do get used to it, and one wedding photographer told me he lugs this thing around all day. I hope so because the results of the shoot were excellent and surpassed my expectations. Big Bertha has all the qualities in a lens I’ve been looking for and this should be a tremendous help to me making the photographs I long to make.