Giving your pictures a voice?

I was asked recently ‘what message I was trying to convey with my pictures?’ and this got me to thinking, what am I trying to convey?

On initial reflection I would have liked to say something cool…

But I’m not that cool, however I put some more thought into it and as photographers we should think about what message we are trying to convey as much as apeture,shutter speed etc Each of our pictures should convey something but what?

Advertisers, film makers and writers all start out with a basic concept and expand on this as the work through the process.

So 3 things to think about

Heart – does it convey something about our emotions

Head – is there and intellectual message or does it take a cognative, logical process to see the meaning

Conceptual – a common theme throughout a series or the heavy use of metaphors?

or all three

I think the majority of us do this subconciously, however their can be real benefit in being planned and concious of our message.

Let me know what you think my picture above says in the comment box if you have time

PS for my regular readers out there, I have had abit of critism from some photographers about why I would want to put ‘rudimentary’ training techniques on my blog, my answer is well people seem to enjoy them ;), so let me know if there any subjects you would like me to blog about in the future.

City Shots at Night

Sometimes getting access to the countryside, sea is not possible for long exposures, however don’t let that stop you. Using exactly the same techniques I talked about in the ‘Long Exposures made Easy’ post you can adapt this to cityscapes and buildings.

To make them look abit different, think about making them black and white. Sounds strange when alot of buildings are photographed because of the beautiful way they are lit however this conversion can bring a new sense of the place. Sometimes they work sometimes they don’t, there isn’t any rule to say when to do it.

The above shot of the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow is an example of how this can be done…. what do you think?

Some tips

  • Try and take someone with you in certain areas of cities. I have had a few scary moments including stones thrown at me! (the shot taken below of the bridge on the clyde is definitely not somewhere to wander around with a camera yourself)
  • Security guards / police seem to think that anyone with a dslr taking pictures is up to no good, so reasearch your rights in the country your are in, a great card for the UK is here
  • http://www.sirimo.co.uk/2009/05/14/uk-photographers-rights-v2/
  • Buy a new generic strap or tape your existing one, you may be proud of your camera but its an advert for criminals

More info about the GoMA http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/our-museums/goma/about-GoMA/Pages/home.aspx

Let me know if you have any questions,comments or other tips for night shots, I would love to hear from you.

Improve your landscape shots with the golden hour

The best time to take landscapes is in the Golden hour, 1 hour before and after sunrise or sunset as the light is diffused and you get the possibility of some amazing colours.

  • Get to your location 1 hour before you need to so that you can set up and a pick your frame
  • Bring a torch, you will either be arriving or leaving in the dark
  • Times http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html?n=136
  • Find out whether your location would look better at sunrise or sunset. The above picture of Schiehallion was taken at sunrise as at sunset the mountain isn’t lit with light
  • Use an ND grad and / or a polariser (I talk about these in my last post)
  • Slightly underexpose to get deeper colours
  • Use a long exposure

The above shot was taken at Loch Rannoch in Scotland and the mountain in the back is Schiehallion or Fairy Hill

http://landofthefae.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/schiehallion-fairy-hill-of-caledonians.html

I got up at 5am to photograph the sunrise and it was amazing and I felt energised all day. I met a photographer on the way back from my spot and she said it was a beautiful morning, I thought, if you think this is good you should have seen it an hour ago! 😉

Hope you have a great weekend of stunning sunsets and sunrises, if you have any questions or comments please let me know. What was your favourite sunrise or sunset?

I also run 1:1 coaching sessions and training courses if you are interested please contact me

The Winged Isle – A Photographers Paradise

Easter break is almost upon us and like me you may be thinking of going away for a few days.

If you are a photographer an you fancy somewhere in Scotland then I can’t reccommend the Isle of Skye highly enough. It has mountains, seascapes, waterfalls and wildlife in abundance. If you are driving either from Glasgow or Edinburgh airports you will travel through the most amazing scenery and its a challenge not to stop every now and again to take pictures. My favourite is from glasgow through glencoe.

For sunsets look to Elgol and the lighthouse at neist point, for sunrise the walk up to the old man of storr (pictured) is worth the 45 minute slog.

There are loads of accomodation,however, don’t expect your 5 star city centre hotels.

I have stayed in the bosville and the skywalker hostel which were both good and at the different ends of most budgets

Many of the roads are single track and you need to be cafeful as I found on my way to Elgol pictured below.

If you are looking for 1:1 coaching for your photography please contact me at paddymcdougall@aol.com my rates are very reasonable for a half day.

I will be posting my next photography workshop in Glasgow for beginners in the next couple of weeks, if you wish to put your name on the waiting list or have questions around the workshops, please contact me at the email above

Please share any of your experiences of the Isle of Skye in the comments section

Wherever you go over the Easter break I hope you have a great time and get loads of pictures!

 

1 to 1 Photography Coaching

I just wanted to share some feedback from a recent photography coaching session. If this is something you are interested in please get in contact.


Paddy has an effective step-by-step approach that enabled a clear progressive explanation which he skilfully aimed at the level I needed it to be. In an informal and relaxed way, he simplified the camera and its functions, and was able to reformulate his descriptions if I did not understand them immediately. When I had questions, his answers were clear, and if I was even a bit uncertain he would: – explain with different words – use a more visual approach: examples of possible images of objects around us and imagining how different camera settings would change how we see them – encourage me to apply the knowledge with some hands-on exercises: seeing immediately what different images look like depending on how you control the camera. He managed to go over what I knew but also to add some new technical notions. Afterwards, I felt more confident about what I was initially unsure about, and curious about using the new knowledge I had been given. I would recommend Paddy to someone who wants a coaching session at their level of competence with an insight into more advanced material.

Melanie Letore