TAKING a look at how you have improved over time is one of the best things of hosting your photographs online.
Critique by like minded people, and ease of sharing are two other good points of sharing your photos online. However, for a lot of people, when you look back over the years, seeing just how you have improved and how your style has changed is interesting.
Lets take a look, starting on May 12th 2006, and going right up to 2009.
This was taken right outside my bedroom window, using a point and shoot with manual functions. It created a shot which I wouldn’t normally have seen through a camera. This is because a point and shoot would use the flash in the typical auto exposure modes to light the scene, instead of ambient.
You can see the light of my brothers window also reflecting onto the building opposite. Suffice to say, this shot is messy, there is no real composition attempt made at all, is full of noise, and achieves nothing except showing what can be made a lot better when the technical skills needed are mastered.
The next photo taken about a year later is extremely interesting. It shows that in just over a year, 368 days to be precise, technical skill can be mastered to a degree that creates a pleasing photograph. Not only that, but your artistic eye can also be mastered. Looking at the photo I have chosen, my style of photography also saw a change.
You can see more photos from this date by clicking here. The photo I have chosen takes a look at the Llandudno Pier in an anamorphic style. It shows a significant choice in the composition that aims to achieve the final product. This was basically that I saw the scene in front of me and thought it is possible to see that as a film scene as well. Therefore, i decided to take a photograph depicting it. In this shot as well, you can see the receding side buildings of the pier, and also the light poles, leading up the Pier end building. This has a lot to do with the foresight of the original architect (or artist, if you will) of the pier, but the idea to take the photograph in this way comes from myself. If you have the imagination for this sort of shot, you can imagine the scene (as wild as you like!) and the camera movements. It creates ideas, and provokes thought, which i don’t think my 2006 shot did. This is less of a record shot, and more of a well thought out, artistic shot.
On May 12th 2008, it is very interesting. I did basically use another technique which I had recently been developing. over the years, I have attempted to use many different techniques, and becoming quite proficient in a few. (if this sounds a lot like trumpet blowing, it is – but thats because I believe my skill deserves it in some ways. I also acknowledge that I have a lot to learn in other, or even most, areas)
Star trails are interesting. They can be done in one of two ways. One way is to take my shots, sometimes going into the hundreds, of a short length long exposure (if that makes sense) – typically about 30 seconds, then stack them using software. I however, took this shot in one long shot. There are problems with it, yes, but to be able to accomplish a shot like this is a skill in itself, I do believe. Also, this shot, when posted online, shows how much people do critique and use the internet for good. Steve Castle, a WelshFlickrCymru member and accomplished photographer, proffered this piece of advice to myself:
Don’t forget to take a dark frame to subtract from the final image to loose some noise and hot pixels – or stick the noise reduction on! Some of those red blobs are from the sensor! The trails are nice and sharp though – plus you get brownie points for doing trails at this time of year when there is less dark!!!
It shows that you can still be learning long into your photography lifetime – however, I am only a short way into it, being that when this photograph was taken I was only about 3 years into it. The photo shows that I could take a shot that good, I believe, and also the dedication to sit there for an hour or so, or more even, and wait for the camera. Luckily, I had my car and BBC Five Live to keep me company.
If we look at the photo taken the day before this in 2008, you can also see the skill I have achieved in taking sunrise photos. Also showing dedication to the cause (an early rise was needed to get this, at 5.44am BST). The photograph shows off the early summer mornings of Britain well, and captures the wide expanse of the land well.
This photo also shows off how I used a wide angle lens well, as well filters on it, to create this well exposed shot. It also shows I have learnt well, as my early landscapes (viewable on my Flickr site) show.
Lets take a look at a few days ago.
Sunset over Llandudno bay. It’s taken using a wide angle, and shows the reflection on the bay. I believe it shows off Llandudno well, and also my skills.
A lot of this was in the post production. I lowered the contrast, which made this shot possible. It was shot without filters, but it was shot on my tripod. It also shows off the attitude. I basically saw this, and decided a trip to the beach was in order. Granted, I live close anyway in Llandudno, but I went to past the theatre, grabbed this, and then as i was looking for another shot, saw the vastly superior sunset over at west shore, and zoomed over there for this:
Llandudno in all it’s glory. A fitting and amazing shot to end this blog post on. All that remains to be said is the power of Flickr. This photo has been viewed 23 times in the days since it was put up. My first photo has been viewed 28 times in 3 years or so. Not a great statistic, but shows people do look for good shots, and Flickr shows it when you are improving.
I do believe the internet can help you improve your photography – and that, my friends, is how I have.