Photography Assignments – Art of Photography

The Art of Photography is a You Tube channel that I have been watching for some time for tips, inspiration, lessons about the history of photography and all the other interesting bits such as the Artist series.  The You Tube Channel is hosted by Ted Forbes and around October last year he started a project called Photo Assignments with the first being a pre-assignment – Create a journal or scrap book. For reasons unknown I missed the video discussing what was going to be done however I did see Photo Assignment #2 which is low angle shooting.

With this in mind and being between projects right now I thought ‘Why not, I’ll give that a go’.  So I went in search of subjects that I could shoot at a low angle and I started with the dogs. The Ginger Ninja is the easiest to photograph as there is no requirement to sneak up on her to take a photo, she will just lay there and let you snap away. This turned out to be a really good opportunity to refresh my skills with DoF and looking at the corners of my frame before hitting the shutter button.

The Ginger Ninja

None of the techniques that you want to practice can be applied to the next dog.  As you can see, this is the point that I got caught sneaking up on Old Blue Dog…… on my belly slithering as quietly as I could across the carpet with camera in hand. Old Blue Dog does not like having his photo taken and he has this look about him that says that you have just crossed the line buddy!

One Blue Eye

I really felt as though I needed to do something that was worthy of this assignment as photographing the two dogs wasn’t enough. So deciding that I needed to get out and about I headed to the local park figuring that I could shoot the playground equipment when there was no kids using it. The playground certainly has plenty of opportunities to shoot from a low angles but the kids use it a lot.

The Springy Thing

The local beach was a good opportunity as well and I couldn’t help but photograph the coke can with the waves crashing in the background. The end result is not meant to be a commercial photo by any stretch of the imagination but I did like the finished results.

coke-on-the-beach

Overall the assignment made me think about what I was going to shoot, how I was going to approach the shoot and it certainly made me think before I hit the shutter button. I’m looking forward to the next assignment that Ted Forbes challenges us with.

The Brandy of Distinction

I often wander the streets of Sydney looking for interesting subjects to photograph when I noticed this guy sitting with his two dogs in the entrance to St James train station. What caught my eye was the sign directly behind him and the sheer number of people who simply ignored him as they went about their lives.

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Normally I don’t like to photograph people who are homeless for many reasons and the main reason is that I don’t want to or seem to be taking advantage of them but I couldn’t resist asking him if he minded if I took his photo.

Walking up to him, I stuck my hand out and introduced myself, asking him about his dogs and he told me their names and  that one was the mother and the other the daughter but for the life of me I can’t remember which. The blue heeler that he is holding growled at me but the blue heeler at his feet didn’t mind a pat. He put down his harmonica and let me take this photo. I asked him if he minded if I took his photo. Much to my surprise he said yes.

I only took two photos and showed him the end result on the LCD screen. He said was pretty happy with the results and after a few more minutes of talking to him, I shook his hand, threw a few dollar coins in and left. Since I have downloaded the image and processed it I have this desire, this want to print the image in a decent size, say 12×10 and then give it to him. He won’t be able to eat or drink the photo but I think the problem I’ll have is finding him again to give him the photo.

I think it paid off walking up to him and speaking to him. What do you think?

 

A Beach With No Sunrise

Fulfilling the resolutions goals I had set for myself at the start of 2017 were never going to be easy especially when you have to get out of a nice comfy bed at 3.30. The drive itself is an hour and daylight saving had to be taken into consideration. Sun simply comes up early, real early during summer. I hate daylight savings!

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However the sun didn’t arrive as usual but this time sort of slinked into the office behind the clouds. Didn’t even stop by to say hello, just slinked in trying hard not to be noticed. But we, the assembled photographers noticed alright and they, me included had to work hard to get good images that we were going to be happy with. Simply put the Sun let us down.

After some much needed coffee I decided to head over to Bondi to see if I could capture any decent street style shots but by the time I arrived the rain had really set in and it looked as though there would be no let up for the rest of the day.  I’d come this far and I wasn’t staying in the car so I got out with the camera in one hand and an umbrella in the other and walked the length of Bondi seeing if there was anything worthwhile.

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There weren’t to many people about except for a few that had decided to look on in hope from under their umbrellas that the rain would stop and the sun would shine bright.

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A few of the locals did venture out for their morning walks, run, swim or surf. On the way back I found this fella tied up to the railing as he kept watch on his owner out in the surf. The rain didn’t bother him and he wasn’t real interested in me photographing him either. He just watched on and waited patiently for his owner to return.

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Apart from getting out of bed incredibly early and Mother Nature not being kind, shooting the landscapes at Cronulla was really enjoyable and a good learning experience. I’m not ticking this one off as ‘completed a goal for 2017’ but I think that I’m going to do more landscape photography before I can say, Tick !

Feel free to share and leave a comment.

Hyde and Bubbles

Lets start the year with something a little bit of fun. I have named this guy The Bubble Man because nearly every time I wander through Hyde Park during a weekend or a public holiday I come across him. He does these amazing tricks with huge bubbles and of course the kids are attracted to bubbles and adults are reminded of the time that they used to be able to play with something so simple but fill your day with loads of fun.

The Bubble Man manages to get the bubbles up high and they float through the air with parents watching on as their kids reach high as bubbles gently float towards their waiting hands. Every now and then an over excited kid will wander across the line into the the bubble magic area where he quickly ushers tham back across the line before he continues his bubble magic.

Sometimes he will ask for a volunteer from the audience and this guy was pretty eager to get in and have a go. The Bubble Man asked him to hold an oversize champagne glass and The Bubble Man created a large bubble in the champagne glass and then filled it with what looked like smoke.

Once completed The Bubble Man encourages the volunteer to pop it using his face.

Face First into the bubble

Looks like fun and certainly reminds you of when you were a kid and how much fun you could have with bubbles. If you see him in Hyde Park, watch what he does and if you feel like it, drop a dollar or two into his collection hat.

Goodbye 2016 and Hello 2017

Goodbye 2016 and Hello 2017. Hope everyone had a great NYE. The first blog post of 2016 2017 is going to be about resolutions and like most people I’ve got some. Originally I wasn’t going to share these with anyone but rather work on them myself as they are more goals and areas of focus rather than resolutions but then I read Chris’s post (Page Pics) about his resolutions. Some of them not only struck a cord with me but also made me really think about what my photography goals are and where I was headed as a photographer in 2017.

Deciding to put my thoughts down on paper to see what was not only realistic but also achievable resolutions goals and focus areas. This is where I need to be honest with myself because I’ not expecting to nail all of these because we have these little events that I like to call “Life got in the way” moments. For the majority of, these are unavoidable events or hurdles that will try to slow you down trying but this year I’m determined to achieve more than I would normally achieve. Anyway these are the goals and focus areas that I will be working on in 2017. 

Improve my photography skills

As one good friend of mine said to me. Look at the corners of your frame before you press the shutter button which is something that I need to not only consider but also to improve. There are distractions in the corner of some of my images.

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No Distractions Here 

Chris is right that we, us street photographers, (I make that sound like a bad thing, being a street photographer) need to photograph other genres such as landscape to improve our photography skills and not forget that the world is a place filled full of colour.

I’ve also been a member of The Arcanum for about 18 months now and my photography has improved significantly however I need to complete Sphere 2 and if possible Sphere 3 in the next 12 months to improve beyond my limits.

Film (Analogue) Photography 

I have recently been given a Nikon F75 Film Camera. Its a lot of fun to learn how to use it but I want to take this further in 2017, maybe even develop my own negatives and learn how to develop photos as well. That’s pretty ambitious since I haven’t even got a role of film back from the lab yet!

Work on this blog thing.

I like to blog, I’ve been doing this on and off now for a number of years. I find that its a way to write what I’m thinking/feeling/going/trying about photography and to get it out there. I’ve also developed a mind set of “Blog like no one is reading it and the fear about blogging will vanish”, seems to be working because I’m pretty sure no one is reading it! I’ve also spent some cash to improve my blogging skills and hopefully that will pay off.

Work out what the name of my photography blog and business should be? 

Thief Images is a good name, its catchy however it doesn’t really make people think “Photography” at all. Some research needs to be done and a decision needs to be made on what this creative beast of mine should be called.

Define my social media presence and develop a social media strategy.

There are so many social media platforms today and I seem to have a quite a few of them but there is one I don’t have…….Facebook. There is a genuine fear that I’m missing out by not having Facebook but do I really need all of these social media platforms.

  1. Google Plus
  2. Instagram
  3. 500px
  4. Pinterest
  5. Linkedin
  6. Twitter
  7. Viewbug
  8. Blog

I’m pretty sure that’s not all of them either but being active on all of these takes time and effort which I think it needs to be maximised. This approach will at the very least maximise the interaction with my intended audience. With that in mind, some of these accounts will be deleted, just need to work out which ones.

Read/Watch/Listen/Try/Learn – Rinse and repeat

There are so many learning resources available that are accessible thanks to the Internet such as Creative Live, podcasts and other blogs that are well worth reading. This year I want to read, watch, listen, try, and learn from these resources.

These are my 6 goals and focus areas for 2017 and if I continue to call them exactly that I should achieve quite a lot of them in some way or another.

Do you have any goals or focus ares for 2017?

Just 24 Exposures !

I’m a member (Apprentice) in The Arcanum where I have been developing my photography skills and I have to admit that this has had incredible result of dramatically improving my skills as a photographer, to a level that I’m really happy with and want to pursue the art of photography even further to explore what can be created. The Arcanum has really inspired me, its been great resource and learning environment where great friendships have been formed. Everyone offers up plenty of advice, processing tips and tricks on your images and aren’t shy in helping you over a hurdle when faced with one. During one of our cohort hangouts I mentioned that I was pretty interested in Film Photography as another way to create images and that I’m interested in the process of creating those images. Maybe I was feeling nostalgic or something but film photography is an old school art form and shouldn’t be lost to the digital age.

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One of the cohort members offered a film camera that she had stuffed away in a cupboard and wasn’t being used. In fact it hadn’t been used in about 10 years and didn’t even know if you could still get batteries for it. I was surprised and extremely grateful that I was being given a camera. A few weeks later the camera arrived, a Nikon F75 with a 28-200mm Tamaron lens with the instruction booklet. Now before you ask, No I’m not going to read the instructions before I do anything, I’m a male! Instructions are for when you have tried everything else including youtube and it looks as though everything else is about to fail, then and only then can you refer to the instruction booklet. Until then the instruction booklet will be on the bookcase collecting dust. After the camera, lens and viewfinder had been cleaned I grabbed the wife and headed out to buy batteries and some rolls of film.

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After some serious deliberating at the counter, and with a queue forming behind me, I decided to buy one roll of black and white and the other roll in colour. The black and white was double the price of the colour and I have no idea why. Once home the batteries were inserted and the camera turned on where everything was tested like the shutter, built in flash and if everything worked. Then a decision needed to be made, which film should be loaded first, colour or black and white, eventually deciding on colour. Strangely this turned out to be a pretty hard decision to make and I was to find out, not the last one either. The film loaded, the back closed I heard the camera mechanically wind the film on and the small LCD panel show that 24 exposures remained. The camera was ready to start taking photos again !

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The next decision turned out to be just as hard, what to photograph? You can’t just wander outside and start snapping away because the results are going to be pretty poor and may dampen any hopes of shooting film again, especially as its going to take a week or more to get the negatives back from the lab. I needed to get this right because I’ve only got 24 exposures. So, no pressure !

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The challenge of shooting with film is not knowing what the end result will be until the negatives come back from the lab. There is no memory card that can be filled, just 24 exposures! So its going to be an anxious wait which really forces you to think about what you are going to photograph before you take the photo. Then there is the big question, who will be in the first photograph or does it even have to have people in it?

I don’t think I even realised how much of a process, creative or otherwise this will actually be but I still have 24 exposures left.

Davao City, Home of the President

Red Umbrella

From a Westerners perspective the news has not been positive about the Phillipines with reports of running gun battles between police and drug dealers. The implementation of controversial laws and the lack of justice afforded to the alleged criminals which were swiftly condemned by commentators throughout the world. Many were also concerned by the way the Phillipines have handled the situation. The President of the Phillipines, President Duterte has also spoken publicly on many occasions about his countries relationship with the US. He has called the US and other nations many names even levelling some of his most harshest comments directly at head of state including calling the US President a “A Son of a Whore“!

Waving Woman

With these types of comments and the worlds media painting the country in a extremely bad light would lead you to believe that the Phillipines is a lawless place ruled by gun toting police with drug dealers and users on every corner battling it out every day. So I wondered what the people of Davao City, home of the President would actually be like. Is it really that bad?

What I found turned out to be the opposite in most cases, there are several large shopping malls in Davao with the usual fast food outlets including McDonalds and variations of Burger King and KFC, just when you order a meal you will get a serve of rice instead of fries. Generally everyone is pretty friendly, even with a language barrier. Some people speak English to a reasonable level which always make it easier when you are trying to order food.

Davao City, Phillipines

Smoking in public (in Davao City) has been banned for some time and this means that everywhere you go is now smoke free however the smokers are now in the dark corners of the Davao City where the drug dealers and users used to hide. Something that would have most smokers up in arms in most Western countries is that the President is considering implementing the smoking in public ban nationwide.

Beats

Security is pretty heavy everywhere you go, including shopping centres. Security will search your belongings by hand and have you walk through a metal detector (with your belongings) then be patted down, but it doesn’t stop there, security can also check you on the way into a shop and and then again out of the shop. I’ve never been searched or felt up so much before in my life, It does make you feel safe but it really does become annoying pretty quickly. Unfortunately the level of security has probably come about due to a terrorist bombing in the night markers which killed 14 people and wounded 70 people in September.

AFP Soldier

As with most countries there is always the less fortunate people but in Davao City they were more obvious. I say ‘Less Fortunate’ because some people have a place to live, its just that they live in a shanty town made from corrugated iron and plywood.  Some have to resort to begging to get enough money to buy food and they range in age as well. On one occasion I was approached by a young girl who would not been any older than 4 years old holding her younger siblings hand. It wasn’t a pretty sight at all especially as the younger sibling would have been less than 2 years of age. She stuck her hand out wanting money but as I pulled my camera up to my eye, she turned her head so I couldn’t photograph her. She persisted begging for money from me but every time I tried to take a photo she turned her head. This exchange lasted for no more than 20 or 30 seconds and they disappeared into the crowd and was gone.  I visited the same location a few times over the 2 weeks to see if the little girl would return however I never saw her again.

Begging

but the less fortunate know no bounds as they will walk a line of traffic stopped at lights begging, when the windows don’t get rolled down they press their face hard against the glass trying to see in. I was informed that vehicle doors have been opened in the past as well. Not sure if this tactic has ever made a difference or what they are trying to achieve but they all did just that at some stage.

Yellow Man

Some people scratch their livings out of the dirt everyday by either establishing improvised restaurants, selling cheap stuff on the side of the footpath or begging while the other half is employed in industries such as farming, retail or hospitality. It certainly is a city of two extremes.

you want some traditional chicken

So Davao City, home of the President of the Phillipines turned out to be somewhat different to what has been reported in the media. People were friendly and helpful. Nearly everyone was more than happy to have their photo taken. Never witnessed any running gun battles between the Police and Drug Dealers.  What I did  find though was a city that was relatively clean and had people from two walks of life, those with the “Have” and those with the “Have Not”

The Sewing Man

Would I visit Davao City again, the answer is yes I would but it would be to photograph the people and the way they live and work. I find that its an interesting place with interesting people which is worth photographing and documenting.

Note: At this point I should warn that anyone travelling to countries such as the Phillipines should always exercise caution and a degree of personal safety as Kidnap for Ransom and Terrorism still occurs in countries such as the Phillipines.