A week or so back, I needed a walk. I needed to get outside, into the autumnal sunshine for some fresh air. I grabbed my camera and decided I’d snap whatever caught my eye.
A few months ago, when showing someone one of my shots, I got the response that every photographer hates… “Wow, you must have an amazing camera!” Really? Would you say to a chef who had cooked you a wonderful meal, “Wow! You must have an amazing oven!”
The reality is that today’s digital cameras, from the phone cameras, to the most expensive pro cameras, are excellent, and anyone can learn to take well-exposed shots. What none of these cameras can teach you is how to see a scene, how to spot interesting light, shape, and form. Or, indeed, how to take these elements and put them interesting and unusual compositions, which capture how you felt about the scene in front of you. The only way to learn these skills is to practise. You can get coaching and help from others more experienced than you, but ultimately, just like learning a language or instrument, you have to practise. Practise as much as you can.
The problem with practise is that it can lead to disappointment. Never feel as though you should come home from every trip out with a Magnum standard shot. None of the shots I took yesterday are award winning, but it allowed me to look at a familiar place with new eyes.
Here are a few of my practise shots from yesterday.
The ear of grass was a specific shot to experiment with the different focus settings in my camera.
The dense grasses interested me because of the patterns, but it was devilishly difficult to capture any sort of sensible composition. I’m not entirely happy with this, but it was the best of the bunch that I shot.
Finally, this cow posed for me, and I couldn't resist a photograph of her.
How often do you practise?