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.

Something Special about Panormas

I’m not sure what it is but there is something special about Panoramas that if done right make a pretty good photo. Maybe it’s because there is so much detail in them or that they have managed to capture a scene that can’t be captured without photographing a panorama or maybe the average person thinks that there is something special that goes into photographing them.

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The Olgas

It was while were travelling through the outback of Australia that I realised that the Sony A7 has the ability to take a panorama image and I couldn’t contain my excitement. I took quite a few panoramas along the way with the idea to printing a few to hang when we got home. I was excited because I’ve never stitched an image together using image software before so I thought that having the panorama ability was pretty cool but as it turned out I was going to be sadly disappointed. It wasn’t until download that realisation smacked me pretty hard that the image out of camera would be saved as a JPEG not in RAW format to the memory card as I had hoped. So there goes the ability to make any real adjustments.

I did try and make some adjustments to this image and I think it’s turned out ok but in future I think that I’ll learn how to stitch the images together to get a better result. What do you think?

The faceless Women

Literally stumbled across a huge display of photos that had been hung in Hyde park, Sydney CBD. As it turned out there was a showing of about 10 finalists in a competition run by Art & About Sydney. These photos were mighty impressive and as you can see they are huge covering diverse subjects about Australia.

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It wasn’t until after the photos had been downloaded and I had started to process the images that I realised both women in the shots have their backs to me. It was unintentional but it works not being able to see their faces which certainly makes you wonder, what do they think of the photo?

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The Mad Max 2 Museum

The Mad Max museum has been featured in many travel shows and they all have mentioned that it is one of those places that is worth stopping in because it was full of Mad Max memorabilia from nearly all of the films. So while we were on a month long road trip we decided that we needed to stop in and check the place out ourselves, and it lived up to the hype.

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The day we visited was extremely cold and rain was threatening however it certainly added to the look of the place from the road. The front of the Museum is pretty colourful and its unmissable in Silverton.

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There are no photos allowed to be taken inside the museum which has plenty of costumes, photos and videos of the Mad Max film series however you are allowed to take photos of the vehicles which are located out the back which still forms part of the museum.

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mad-max-museum-silverton-2Lastly but not least the Silverton pub has been featured in many films and is worth stopping in for a beer and a meal.  Even just to look at the memorabilia that adorn the walls, ceiling and even the front of the bar. mad-max-museum-silverton-5

Exit Strategy

The glow worm tunnels near Lithgow are certainly worthy of a visit however if you look closely on the side of walking track you’ll see small entrances to other caves that people don’t normally venture into. If you aren’t afraid of the dark and getting a little dirty they will offer a view rarely seen into another world.  As we walked toward what we thought would be an exit we realised that our exit strategy would require us to climb out and get a little dirtier than usual but it was well worth the venture into the unknown and the the darkness beyond.

Lithgow-Newnes May 16-16