I am like many ordinary average people with my interest in photography. We used it as a must have object in the house to record memorable moments of our family and especially all those magical moments of our children growing up.
Hobbies and other items that captured our interest were also recorded. I never had the time or the inclination to take a photography course, I was too busy with all of my other interests.
Fast forward to a period when my children had left the nest and I took a small break from being a workaholic to pursuing another hobby I had yearned to indulge in. I have always had this love affair with horses, firstly with their beautiful shape, and then with their different personalities and characteristics.
I loved photographing them in flight, and in ordinary handling. I borrowed a friends Pentax Camera with zoom lense to try my hand with experience before deciding on what type of camera I should buy. I took some beautiful shots of the racehorses at the local race meetings, which convinced me that was the type of camera I should buy. I eventually purchased an Olympus OM2 which was a brilliant but heavy camera. I had this old friend for almost 20 years.
When my littlest housemate arrived in 2007 I decided it was time to go digital, and found the Canon EOS 400D. I have been very happy with the Canon.
I have been photographing all my artwork with a view to selling prints of same. I like the idea of big framed prints or original artwork, rather than the older traditional smaller versions. My Canon is a 10MP camera which I found provided only limited sizing available for printing.
Fast forward to my recent purchase of a Nikon D5200 with 24mp. Whoa, I swear it has 500 more menu options compared to the Canon. However the bonus is I can now obtains prints at 150 x 100 cm which is what I was hoping to achieve.
I decided I should now look at improving my photography and camera skills, so with this in mind I joined a couple of photography groups., plus I believe I am in need of help using this very different menu. Each of the groups had a lot of experienced photographers so I was excited. Both seemed to have a lot of members interested in landscapes, city, seas and sun scapes which hold little interest for me at this stage. I had turned my interest to macro’s mid last year and was concentrating on them. When an opportunity for a macro challenge arrived I entered it in the novice section. I met the criteria of only ever using auto mode, and was not competent in manual mode. I was surprised when I was informed my photos were of such a high standard that I should enter the advanced mode instead. When I protested, in a pleasant and courteous fashion, they blocked me from being a member. Whoa that was a bolt from the blue.
About the same time I had put up a couple of my all time favourite photos on another site where constructive criticism was available. I received the exact opposite result. I was told in no uncertain terms that I had no idea about photography, there was absolutely nothing redeeming in any way about my shots, and that I should really start from scratch to learn about photography.
The point I had made to both groups was that I have no intention of ever being a professional nor offering my services to the public as a professional photographer.
I obviously have a lot to learn, but I do intend to get tuition and assistance to learn more about using a DSLR and composing my shots better.
I have always judged and compared my shots against all I see on the internet. Apparently the majority of serious camera buffs all use photo editing software to enhance their pictures, which I was not aware of. I only use the basic
Windows Live Photo Gallery for cropping and small adjustments to exposure and colour settings. I try to keep my shots as original as possible.
I have added this self portrait as an example of the improvement I see using the new Nikon D5200 compared to similar shot using the Canon back in September 2013. PS the picture has so much more clarity that I took the liberty of retouching to remove some of the signs of ageing. An instant Botox treatment, at least on paper.