There was a day when I stopped the car and used my mobile phone to take this picture of Otago Harbour. I was so completely taken by the light and colour in a scene I had seen so many times before, that I though that I might be better carrying a "proper camera" around with me.
I set up a deviantART account and posted this, along with a few others. Not being in any groups, it did not go viral. But I was noticed, and I was encouraged by the experience.
Now equipped with a Canon 1100D with the 18-55mm plain as plain can be lens, I set off to deliberately find something to photograph. It was about developing my photography. I did not have posting photos in mind. I had no software to post process, well, not that I understood.
This is the first piece that did alright on deviantART. It got me thinking about the audience, and how I needed to improve my skills to not be embarrassed in the group submissions.
Lake Dunstan, Central Otago, was a site for much of my beginner's learning. Still with my basic kit and no software, I concentrated on capturing light and composing a good shot. Yes, I now realise it should be straight. But I didn't know that I could do that yet, so I took care of such things with a steady hand. Having said that, a tripod quickly appeared in my kit.
This did very well, by my standards, on deviatART. I started posting to groups that don't reject, and progressed from there. It takes confidence to post and risk rejection, particularly when you know you're a raw beginner. This piece got me posting to more risky groups, and taking a chance. It never got rejected. Phew!
You know, the Canon 1100D is a lovely camera. It's kit lens is pretty decent as well. Armed with a tripod and an understanding of the settings on my camera, I did some macro work. Getting a bit carried away with myself, I posted this shot with an eye to the history of my photography really. It did very well, it was featured several times by other deviants. I was really surprised, pleased and encouraged.
The deviantART community was setting me up to try harder. And as it happened, spend money. Not those $US things a lot of you use... Real money. $NZ, from my salary. Ouch!
Now armed with a second-hand Canon 7D, and a bunch of pretty useful second-hand lens, I began to branch out. Waterscapes are still my favourite, but with an ef-s 55-250mm image stabilised STM, ef-s 10-22mm wide angle gem, and the 15-85mm IS lens (which never leaves my camera without a good reason), I began to really have fun. And lets face it, that is what it's all about.
On deviantArt, my sparrow series of photos did really well. I could have posted more, but I felt bad. I'd never got a signed release from the sparrows.
I entered this in a local photographic competition. I now had the right kit, and an understanding of Adobe Lightroom 5. So the image is straight, for a start.
I entered it in the 'man's impact on the environment' section. While I didn't get a prize, it was awesome to see it in the competition, and in no way looking second rate. It was my deviatART friends who led me here. For this, I thank them. And of course, blame them entirely for my ultimate failure.
My beloved 1100D is still around as my back up camera. It turns out a good image with the better glass on it. It's only done under 6,000 clicks. Compared to 80,000 on the used 7D.
The trouble with digital cameras is that we never print the darn images. This one is different. I took this picture in my parent's garden. I had it printed on canvas, and gave it to my mother for her birthday. It's better than fresh flowers. These flowers won't wilt without water.
Now, I've developed an eye for an opportunity. I sat and waited for the sun to be just where I wanted it. Sadly, the sea did not wait, and kept coming in. But I got the shot, so wet feet was a small price. I remain a beginner, but here I handled the camera and it's settings well, and later used Adobe Lightroom 5 to create this image out of the harsh lighting.
On deviantART it became my most successful piece by far. Thanks guys. The simple act of faving a piece, commenting is a huge boost to to photographer. I see so much on deviantART that looks so great. Knowing that people appreciate what you do, and the progress you make... it means so much.
Since there was an airshow, and I had a camera, it seemed logical to give this a try. It is a very different set of skills to waterscapes. My efforts were well received by better photographers than me. What this taught me, is that the subject matters. I did not know it at the time, but this is the only airworthy Mk1 Anson in the world.
Welcome to DA.
Happy birthday deviantART. The event has prompted me to do this feature. Something I've been meaning to do for a while.
A special thanks is due to Tessa aka "sleepbabie" sleepbabie.deviantart.com/
who blew me pretty much away by gifting me a deviantART premium membership. I now try hard not to let her down.