Photography & Social Media – Week 3

As part of the week 3 work on this course, I am asked to reflect on why I take photos. I am also asked what I want to achieve from creating and capturing images. One of the main enjoyments of taking photos is being in the moment. I can stand there with my eye on the viewfinder looking to compose a pleasing image and time seems to stand still. That’s the special part of doing landscapes where there is less pressure to capture the moment because it is usually within my control.

Another enjoyment I get is the challenge of getting a meaningful image when there are pressures involved. For example, capturing an image of an event where there is limited or no opportunity to reshoot. This challenge can take my mind off the other elements of my life and really make me focus on the current moment and getting the best out of what I have available.

As Marie (my wife) also enjoys photography, we can work together and bounce off each other with our ideas and techniques which is also a major benefit.

Throughout my life I have enjoyed the opportunities to be creative. In my younger days, writing poetry was a creative outlet. In my early working days in the new world of PCs and spreadsheets, designing models using macros as well as small software applications as my business creative outlet. I also learned piano and composition in my 40s as a creative outlet. And now photography is my creative outlet of choice.

So what do I want to achieve from creating and capturing images? At the moment it is the self-satisfaction of creating an image that I really like. It is also being able to push myself into directions I may not have thought of through camera club competition topics that expands my horizons and stretches me out of my comfort zone. Also, in trying to create images that I am happy with causes me to continue to learn and develop which is very stimulating.

Thinking about technique for taking selfies, which is the subject of the first assignment, is an ongoing challenge. I have kept to using my phone for these images and I still struggle to produce images I am happy with. The article Five Quick Ways to Improve Your Photography provided some useful insights for me to try. In terms of the rule of thirds, I have turned on the grid lines on my phone so that I can be guided and reminded of the rule.

Below are some selfies I took today. My aim was to improve the placement of myself within the frame, to portray myself as I am when I work outside on landscapes, and to improve my eyes by trying to look at certain points and hoping this leads to improvement.

The images all suffer from a number of things:

  • I am not holding the phone steady enough as a number of images were blurred.
  • The light source was not good enough to make an interesting image.
  • I am still struggling to work out where my eyes should look.
  • I sense that the images are distorted as I may be holding the phone too close.

Also, I may need to change my attitude. I have a belief that the best images come from my DSLR and that the phone is inferior. Yet, some people post magic images taken with their phones on the internet.

Maybe investing in a selfie stick may help with the issues of steadiness and distortion from being too close. Alternatively, I might revert to the DSLR on a tripod and use a remote device to take my selfies. However, I will try a few more attempts with the phone before heading down that path.

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