I have been taking photographs since I was about 13 years old, when my sister bought me a 'Box Brownie' on HP from a catalogue. There was a camera club at school and I had free use of the darkroom facilities. Later, I joined a few photographic societies and learned a lot about the technical side of photography. I would turn up at club and regional competitions, convinced that I had a winner, only to be gently told that however good the idea, if you have to apologise for any aspect of the photo, it needs improving. Like in painting, I look back on some photos I thought were 'good' and smile. I learned two things, above all others:
1. There is no substitute for care and attention to detail in technique.
2. You have to be absolutely clear what it is you are trying to capture or convey. However much you are caught up with the emotion of the moment when you take the picture, it fades by at least 50% with later showing, especially for people who have not shared your experience.
So my golden rules are to make myself question why I am taking each photo, so that I take great care with composition, etc. I also set out to exaggerate the thing I am trying to capture. If it is colour, I go for STRONG colour. If it is a sky, I go for a wide angle lens and exaggerate the sky from a low viewpoint. If it is a person, I get clear what attracts me and emphasise it. The danger, particularly with digital cameras, is to take the 'Monkey with a motorised Nikon' approach. Shooting away at everything, never bothering to take time to compose, (or even move your feet for many people!). The number of times I have cringed at yet another (of 200) pictures where the horizon is tilted and the sea appears to be falling off the photo, or pictures taken from a boat half a mile from the object of interest ..... It gets even worse when the photographer starts to say "If you could see it, there is a really nice view. It's a pity the boat was just too far away!".
Whatever your standard. It doesn't take much to make sure that you know what you want to capture, to look carefully at the viewfinder and to occasionally think of looking for a better viewpoint. Above all ENJOY picture taking and be ruthless with rubbish. Nobody wants to see it and it clogs up your computer!
Most of my photos are of landscapes, flowers and wildlife subjects. I have recently started bird photography and have found it to be a real challenge..
The copyright of all of these images is owned by Tom Tomlinson
any unauthorised use is expressly forbidden