My Photography

I have been interested in all manor of ‘art’ for many, many years, but it was only about a decade ago that I decided to take the plunge and buy myself a decent DLSR. My father, brother and nephew all had Canon so it was a natural choice for me. I failed to do what I should have done and that was to test out the different makes to see if they fitted me. Instead I read the magazines and chose the Canon EOS 40D with a small selection of lenses. The 40D was and still is a great camera and served me well for a few years until I got the hang of this photography lark!

In the last 10 years or so, I have bought and sold many cameras. You could say I have tried them all and with a few exceptions I have! The two systems that I have had almost constantly are the Canon APS-C DSLR’s and the Micro Four Thirds System. Today I can say that the M4/3 system image quality is just about as good as what APS-C cameras can produce but the size and weight is a real bonus when out and about. I really do think the future in camera design will be smaller and lighter cameras with fantastic image quality and functionality.  I have now settled on the Sony a7. This camera is great as it gives me 24 megapixels on a full frame sensor in a small, light package. The lenses are very good but at the present time there are only 6 to choose from. There will be more in the future so this system should be well supported. In the meantime I will probably get a Metabones Canon EF to Sony E mount adapter. This will let me use Canon lenses on the A7 and retain auto focus and image stabilization if the lens has it.

As for the images I take, well they are as varied as the cameras I have owned. I like to take images of just about anything that takes my eye. I do like to ‘catch a moment’ so Street Photography is one genre that interests me a great deal. I love old gritty black and white images so spend a fair amount of time trying to create the same mood. Landscape and Macro are also my other photographic interests. I do not have the patience for wildlife, which is just as well as some of those lenses, are huge and can be very expensive. Basically if it does not move I will photograph it!

Another aspect of creating images for me is post processing. I do not spend hours and hours on one image like some professionals but use software to do most of the work for me. I now always shoot in RAW, which gives me more data to process and really helps to get the exposure spot on. I have recently invested in a set of Lee filters that should get the exposure correct in camera. This will help when processing as I will have a little less to do and will have a better chance of editing parts of the image.

All images are imported into Adobe Lightroom where most of the work is done. All exposure and colour corrections are done before the fun starts. I use the Nik Software suite of plug-ins to enhance my images. I am a real fan of Black and White images so use Silver Efex Pro2 for most mono images. The Nik Software bundle is available from Google at a very reasonable price and is great value for money. Another piece of software that I have purchased recently is Tonality Pro from Macphun software. This software is being used a great deal at the present moment as it is fantastic for Black and White conversions and has some great tools to play with.

The Image below was taken at Scotney Castle during the summer of 2013. The camera used was a Canon EOS 6D with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens. It was shot in RAW and imported into Lightroom where all the exposure was corrected. The image was then imported into Color Efex Pro 4 where it was treated to some tonal contrast and various other effects. The image was then saved back into Lightroom and then cropped and a little sharpening added. I love this image as it had plenty of detail and the tree really pops due to the processing.

In the future I hope to get out more and take better images. I will still try out as many cameras as I can, as this is part of my photographic hobby.

Andy West

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