I love to take photographs – and friends and family tell me I’m good at it – but it’s been a much maligned hobby in recent years, which is part of the reason the planned photo gallery has never made it onto this website (it will one day). I do dream though of making a living one day from creating fantastic images – making photographs rather than taking them (combining the art of creating a pleasing image that tells a story with the science of a technically perfect exposure) – and so I like to take in other people’s work for inspiration.
For many years, I have read photographic magazines like Practical Photography but, over time, I grew tired of the features (except for the odd two-page pages of commentary accompanied with a stunning image from professionals like David Noton) and found it all a little bit repetitive.
More recently I found alternative titles that catered to my needs like Digital SLR Photography but I just don’t have enough time to read photography magazines, computer magazines, IT trade publications, RSS feeds, and still fit in the odd interesting book, so I’ve started to listen to a new photography podcast when I’m in the car – This Week In Photography (TWIP).
I’ve not always been a fan of Scott Bourne’s work but Alex Lindsay really knows his stuff and, so far, TWIP has managed to avoid some of the pitfalls that have resulted in other podcasts (notably This Week In Tech – TWIT) from being removed from my iTunes subscription list, by keeping the show times down to around an hour, largely staying on topic (sticking with the content, rather than indulging in the “personalities”) and having interesting and varied content – covering the news. It’s also great that they use the chapter markings and enhanced functionality available in an AAC audio file (it’s really helpful to have an audio feature about photography that can actually show some images) as well as mixing video content into the feed to demonstrate some of the concepts.
The TWIP podcast also has a great blog – but, whilst there are other excellent resources on the ‘net (like ShutterBug and DP Review), it’s the podcast format that works for me – an hour of audio whilst I’m in the car or out walking, interjected with the odd short video. In the past I’ve tried other podcasts – like The Digital Story (audio) and PixelPerfect (video) but I’m surprised to find that the mixture of audio and video in the same feed has really worked for me.
In the last few weeks I’ve learnt a whole load of new stuff – like creating high dynamic range images (remembering to shoot using a tripod to keep the camera steady and aperture priority to control the focus); that not all megapixels are equal; that the rules of composition are different for panoramic images; how to stitch photos together in Adobe Photoshop (and that it may be necessary to adjust a stitched image as the exposure may vary slightly between the edge and the centre); how to create a Photoshop Action to emulate the saturation of Fuji Velvia film; and that Lexar cards are optimised for Nikon cameras (that’s lucky as that’s what I use, although I’ve not been able to find any evidence to back up that claim).