When the society announced the photography competitions last year, I decided to take part in the still life competition. I had never tried still life before and was excited at the prospect of learning something new. Little did I know how much I would come to enjoy the whole process. I set up a makeshift studio in my kitchen dining area and it stayed that way for about two months. I did the photography work at the weekends, but I left the setting in place during the week. I found that each time I walked by it, I would think of different ways of placing things. The lighting that I used came from household items e.g. reading lamp, torch, fairy lights, etc.
The photographs that I eventually submitted were completely different to what I started out with. It was only after a number of weeks of photographing scenes that I wasn’t entirely happy with, that it evolved into a cheese and wine setting. For the first photograph, the decor of a local restaurant provided the inspiration for the fairy lights. I used cheese and wine that I had at home. During the project, the cheese passed its use by date, so I had to suffer with the unpleasant smell until I finished!
For the second photograph, I disposed of the smelly cheese and got a variety of cheeses from my local supermarket. I shone a torch directly down onto the cheese board and a reading lamp onto the wine bottle and glass. The reading lamp just so happened to project a shadow of the wine bottle and glass onto the wall and I thought it looked interesting, so I decided to use it in the photograph. It took quite a few attempts before I could get the angle of the light to project the shadows the way I envisaged.
Two months, almost 20 different scenes and over 300 shots later, I was absolutely thrilled that the photographs I submitted won first and second place in the competition. I felt very humbled when the announcements were made, particularly when the standard of the photographs entered by the other society members was so high.
I really enjoyed working on the still life project and became totally absorbed in it, often working at it for hours at a time. It gave me the chance to apply the technical skills I had learned during my time with the society while learning something new. Still life allows me to be creative with a scene and experiment with different settings on the camera. If something isn’t working, I can easily change it and try something new. This isn’t always possible with other types of photography, where factors such as weather and natural lighting can be more critical.
I first became interested in night Photography in April 2011 when myself & Marina signed up to a ‘free’ group that went out once a month to take photos of a particular subject.
Armed with my trusty Canon Compact IXUS980IS & a newly acquired tripod, we met the group on the steps of Barlow House. We headed down to the car park at the Garda station to take photos of the monument that is on the banks of the River Boyne. I soon found myself with a case of extreme ‘lens envy’ when I saw the equipment that was was being set up around me. Paul was over to me quickly to assuage my fears by telling me that ’size’ doesn’t matter. Its all about how you use your equipment.
With tips from Paul & a few other members, I became engrossed with shooting at night, the different exposures, aperture settings & ISO numbers and the countless possibilities of combining all three. Myself & Marina both knew that to improve, we would have to get some proper guidance so we signed up to a couple of Paul’s courses & we haven’t looked back.
We are both more confident with our cameras (& yes, I upgraded to a DSLR) and our interest in photography has blossomed.
I still love shooting at night & have discovered the phenomenon of ‘Steel Wool Spinning’ & enjoy trying that out with a few other like-minded individuals.
I discovered the spinning on Instagram, a photo sharing app, where you follow & get followed by people worldwide, comment & discuss photos that you like. I found this a great way to share information & techniques with people from different backgrounds & cultures.
Projects for the future are star trails & light painting. And whatever else comes my way through Instagram & the people we’ve met through the Society.
It’s that time of year again!
We will be running two separate competitions for club members
which will be broken into Beginners and Higher level.
The attachments below from Paul Murray give some details on what will be required from entrants, and we will have more information soon.
This striking image above shows men trying to get a phone signal from their homeland of nearby Somalia as they stand on a moonlit shore in Djibouti across the bay.
Djibouti is known to be a stepping stone for migrants from Somalia and other countries nearby, who may try moving on to Europe or the Middle East to improve their lives.
This picture represents their last efforts to try and connect with loved ones via their phone provider in Somalia before embarking on their separate paths.
Below is a short video from John Stanmeyer on how it happened
Our next DPS monthly meeting takes place this Thursday 6th of March at Barlow House at 20:00
There will be a presentation by Paul Murray entitled “A brief history of photography”
See you there!