I would like to wish everyone out there a wonderful Holiday Season. This time of year can be hectic to say the least. So make sure you stop and take some time to appreciate those friends and family that surround you. It can be way too easy to forget that there are a lot of important things right in front of you that you never really take to heart until it’s too late. Utilize the holidays to catch up with old friends or family that you may not see the rest of the year.
First and foremost, be thankful for what God has given you. I hope everyone gets that great new piece of gear that they wanted. A Sony Alpha 77 would be nice under my tree but I doubt that will be in the stocking this year ;-). I encourage everyone to get that camera out and get pictures during your family celebrations. These memories are yours to preserve for eternity. Looking back through those pictures in years to come will be nothing short of a miraculaous adventure. Make sure you get some shots of those certain individuals in your family that always put their hands up and try to avoid being in the picture. Those are the ones that later in life will be cherished the most. It also gives you an opportuniy to enhance you stealth picture taking ability.
Once again…..MERRY CHRISTMAS…… AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!
I have been asked a lot by my readers what books they should pick up that will help them improve on their ‘Digital Photography’ skills. I went to my shelf and took a look at the books I have and narrowed it down the ones I liked the most. I then went and raided a friends book shelf too. I checked out his collection and narrowed these down to the ones I felt were the most informative. What each person gets out of a book is unique to the individual. I felt these books provide some good information and I can only hope they will do something for you as well.
I just created my first time lapse video using the Intervalometer I reviewed in an earlier article. I have been wanting to do this for a while now and finally found a subject that was tailor made for it. I will write up a how to on the steps I used to make the video in a later article. Till Then Enjoy the show.
Last fall I decided to buy my first Digital SLR. I’ve had Slrs before but only the film variety as noted in my first blog post. I did a lot of research and decided on the Sony A550. I placed my order and waited. While I waited I went on the web and started gathering as much information about digital photography as I could. I found so much information it was almost overwhelming. During the process I stumbled upon a YouTube video titled “15 Minute Photo Challenge – Peak District”
In this video is a professional photographer named Gavin Hoey. He is located in Crawley, West Sussex in Britain. He definitely speaks with a distinctive British accent.
So the concept of the video is to go to a location and take one camera body and one lens and 15 minutes and see how many good photos you can get from it. A great idea to learn how to pay attention to your surroundings. In this particular video he explains how zoom and depth is used to create deceiving distances between objects. It was amazing how just knowing what your camera could do would allow you to take awesome photographs.
After watching his Video, I click on Photogavin, the up-loader of the video. I proceed to spend the next 8-10 hours watching Gavin Hoey Videos on everything from how to photograph water droplets to lighting and photographing smoke to wild edits in Photoshop. I literally learned more about photography from this guy in a day than I had with an old film SLR in about 10 years of on again – off again photography.
I finally get my camera, so now I’m set. I go back and review the videos. I’ll watch for a while, grab my camera and try to reproduce a similar shot that Gavin just made look so easy. It’s working sort of, but I can’t figure out why I can’t make the rock and building in our town look 500 feet apart and then like they are right on top of each other. I go back inside, and watch it again, and pay more attention. I start realizing that he is talking f-stops, wide and narrow angle and such, and I really haven’t grasped the concept of it yet. I thought I understood it, but until it came to crunch time with the camera in hand, I didn’t understand how little I knew. I was taking “nice” photos, but they weren’t popping the way Gavin made them look.
So it’s back to the drawing board. I spend the next several weeks trying to get the lenses and camera to do the things I have seen Gavin do dozens of time by now. I even pick up a couple of used lenses in various places to see if it’s the lenses I had that are the problem. Nope still not there but I am gaining ground. I can get the depth of field farther along than I could before but it’s still not quite as dramatic as I want to display. My first instincts are of course to throw money at the problem, because it just can’t be me, IT CAN’T. OKAY!
Then I started all of sudden being able to get the depth of field I wanted in a moments notice. I was learning how to focus faster using manual focus. I was framing shots before I even got the camera out of the bag.
That’s when it hit me. Gavin Hoey made an amateur photographer out of me. Then I sat and realized exactly what that meant. I could no longer wander around letting the world pass me by in a blur. I was watching everything and everyone around me with the thoughts of how I could make that a good image. I see a railroad trestle and it comes to my mind that I bet there are rusty bolts sticking out the side of that wood that would make excellent wallpaper. I see a field and I instantly look for a key focus point in that field. I think panoramically now, always looking for the next shot. I take my camera to work with me in the hopes of seeing something worthy of a picture. I have created a Flickr page, entered photo contests, driven my family nuts by always taking pictures now.
So we come to the crux of it. This is why Gavin Hoey is such an EVIL, EVIL person. I now have a house full of different new and used camera gear, studio lights and backdrops, and continue to add to the collection as things that interest me come along. I spend all my spare time with camera stuff. If not shooting I am editing in Photoshop. I am no longer Kevin Woodyard, Husband, Father, Musician, Friend etc. I am now Kevin Woodyard Photographer, which extends everything else that I am by leaps and bounds. I now pay more attention to the things I have been for years because of a little video I saw on You-Tube. Making me change was an ‘Evil’ thing you did Gavin, but I completely forgive you for it.
Thanks Gavin, and keep the videos coming, someday I hope to get over to your side of the pond and would like to thank you in person for what you have done.Here are some links to Gavin’s Sites, check them out, you will learn some great things.
Gavin Hoeys Website
Gavin on YouTube
Gavins blog on Blogspot