Photography for the Sake of Photography – A Somewhat Unsuccessful Photo Session

Almost verbatim, my words yesterday to my wife were I’m going to take my camera into town and take some photos, because I haven’t taken any for ages. I should have known at that point not to expect anything good to come out if it, as photography is about passion, not necessity. Well, photography as a hobby anyway, I can’t speak for the professionals, but I’d imagine passion plays a big part there too.

So off I strolled into town, took a few snaps, tried to be inspired, and these are the results.

First off was St Mary’s Church in Hitchin, which looks beautiful on a sunny day, especially reflected in the river that runs past. I took the obligatory straight on photo, and that can be seen below.

St Mary's Church Hitchin

It’s a pretty photo, but I’ve taken it so many times before, as have most people who walk past. In fact it’s probably the most regularly posted photo on Hitchin Facebook groups. So wanting to be a bit more creative I got down to ground level, and took what I thought was a much better photo of the church, through the stone pillars of the wall that surrounds the car park on the other side of the river.

St Mary's Church Hitchin

My first thought is that I should have taken the photo nearer to the wall and had the pillars as a thin frame on the two edges, and not as such a big feature of the photo as they are here. I could crop it down, but really the view of the church between the pillars is not sufficient that cropping will add anything. The sun was shining which made using my Sony DSC-WX500 a little tricky, even with the tiltlable screen. It’s times this that make you realise how useful a viewfinder is. But I’m not going to make excuses – I really didn’t take enough time composing the shot, and should have reviewed and retaken rather than the shoot and run tactics I used.

I used the black and white function and added a single colour tint to it in Photoshop, trying to convince myself that this adds something to my poorly composed shot, but I’m not sure it does.

Hitchin St Mary's Church

Next to the chruch is the town market, and thinking I could be clever and take a photo of the sign for the market, and have the actual market in the same shot, I took this next photo.

Hitchin Market

I think the bright colours betray the gritty atmosphere of the market so I added a steampunk filter using a Photoshop action downloaded from Spoon Graphics.

Hitchin Market

This one isn’t so bad, though the filter may be a bit strong – something to play with the next time I use it. Still, much better than the original colour vision and it gives the look of a photo from yesteryear, which is what I was after.

Around the corner and a particularly unflappable (terrible pun intended) bird sat atop a hedge, allowing me to get pretty close and take a few photos.

Bird on Hedge

Bird on Hedge

What I like about these two shots is how different the bird looks when stretching up, as opposed to just casually standing in a more relaxed pose. It’s almost like two different birds, especially being taken from different angles with different backgrounds. That’s 3 uses of the word different (4 now) in one sentence – I promise to improve both my photography and the depth of my vocabulary for the next article. The photos aren’t setting the world on fire for creativity, but the zoom on this little compact camera at least performs well.

An arty shot of a padlock on a fence was the idea in my head, but a rather pedestrian shot of said object was the result. I changed the photo from colour to black and white in Photoshop, because that automatically makes it more arty, right?

Arty Padlock Photo

This last photo utilised a function in my camera that turns the image black and white, except for one colour. Given the colour of my orange juice I chose yellow as the colour to keep.

Partial Colour Photo - Yellow

I’m sure there are better uses of this function and now I know it exists I can try to come up with some, but look closely and you’ll see other patches of yellow in the photo aside from just my drink. I particularly like the slight yellow colouration that appears on the first page of my book, projected from the orange juice in the glass with the sun behind it.

So that’s it, the fruits of my first photo session in quite some time, and while galleries are not going to be clamouring to display them, maybe they aren’t as bad as I first thought. I certainly need to work on my composition, something I sometimes find hard with a small compact, which is daft. Creativity comes from within, not from the equipment.

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