Where do I start?


I started to photograph seriously more than 30 years ago using monochrome film and had the opportunity, for a time, to use a dark room to develop and print my own images. There is something about being in a darkroom most of the night, maybe working on one or two prints- dodging, burning, exposing etc. time flew by and I never noticed.

As a hobbyist I had the time and had I continued I would have got more efficient. Anyway fast forward a year and life just got in the way of all that. Studies, new family, job….something had to go. I kept a SLR (notice no “D”) but only for taking family snapshots, getting my films commercially developed and printed. The last SLR (a Canon T70) packed up in 2003 and I got my first digital compact (a Canon Powershot A70) to take on a long holiday to Canada. I was stunned by the picture quality and the ability to experiment freely, but used it mainly in snapshot mode.

Over the following years I replaced the Canon with Panasonic Lumix cameras and started using my mobile phone more than the camera when they started to deliver decent images. It was always with me. My last compact – a Lumix DMC-FS5 eventually fell into disuse, it also got some dust on the sensor which (for economic reasons) was not worth removing. Meanwhile I was getting more frustrated relying on a mobile phone. They’re fine but given any slightly unusual lighting conditions, they do not perform well. Exposures are incorrect, images can be very noisy.

LIGHTBULB MOMENT

Come mid 2015 and I thought “enough is enough” and started to seriously consider photography as something more than a tool to document holidays and parties. But where to start? Things had moved on so much and I wanted to do this properly, to fully understand and control what I was doing. Above all I also wanted to recapture my creativity and try something I only appreciated in others. So two things were necessary – invest in some decent gear and secondly – get myself educated! And here’s the first piece of wisdom – Get the education before you get the gear!! These days, becoming reasonably well informed about anything is possible, thanks to the internet. Though with photography, like anything else, be careful about your sources. Exercise discretion and use multiple sources. It turned out to be a good place to start, though as you progress, it will become important to meet and learn from others face to face.

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