An Intention

21 02 2011

Everything begins with an intention, either consious or subconsious, and photography, or generally any process of creation, is no exception. Let’s think about the consious intention on field of creativity. I think that the more professional the person/creator is and the more experience (s)he has the more the intention is complete and thoughtful. I presume that when professional photographer is thinking about a photo (s)he is going to take (s)he has very precise idea what and how (s)he want to accomplish and (s)he will very probably end up with excellent photo.  A total amateur, on the other hand, knowing nothing about light and composition will end up with a great shot rather rarely and won’t be probably able to reproduce all steps leading to it.

~ Vintage Mum ~
0.8sec. @ 100mm, f/5.6, ISO 100

I must admit that I see myself somewhere between these two states. I am far way from a pro, nothing about it, but I am also far away from the total amateur, I would say. Still it is really rare for me to come up with concrete idea, an intention, that would lead to an excellent photo. More often my itention could be described as “to take couple photos of this flower and if I’ll end up with some really good one I’ll work with it more to get something original and nice”. This could be a description of my attitude to photography in last weeks. There are exceptions, of course. For instance, photos of cyclamen posted here were completely intended including light and composition.  But mostly it goes as it was just described. Photos accompanying this post are no exception.

~ Pastel Mum ~
1.3 sec @ 100mm, f/8, ISO 100

During winter time the only time that I can spent by taking new photos is 1-2 hours after noon during weekends and as this is very limited time I’m usually not very happy when we have some other plans. Nevertheless, two weeks ago we had no plans for weekend and so I bought this interestingly coloured Chrysathemum in a flower shop when we were out shopping. I was sure it will make a nice colourful contrast whith the central part in bright green and outer petals in pure white. Well, it was nice contrast but photos were still a bit average so I tried to give them some better look by additional post process.

Thinking about an intention – 2 years ago I wouldn’t be able to take such photos because I haven’t had the experience I have now. Being a pro, I would be probably able to visualize the result at the very moment of taking these or even before that and I would proably know the exact look and feel that I want to give them. Or isn’t it so? Are pros also relying on fortune sometimes?

I wish the spring was already here!

Technical notice: all photos in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens mounted to a tripod, under natural conditions, indoors.


Awakening interest

9 02 2011

My goal in photography for this year is to start offering my images for sale. I am thinking about the best way how to do it for some time now and it lead me to a question: how to attract possible viewers? How to awaken interest for my photos in them?

I don’t plan to make photography for a living. I want to take photos as I’ve been doing and I also think that my photos can make someone’s living place nicer or it can just make someone happy so why not to offer a print to them?

I’m thinking about possible communication channels which I can use for promoting my work not only for sale purposes but also for “showing my work to wider audience” because if something makes me happy in photography, it’s not when I take a good photo but it’s when others appreciate it or, on the other hand,  pinpoint to my faults so I can avoid them in future.

1.6 sec. @ 100mm, f/20, ISO 100

I am already using some ways of promoting my work such as posting on this blog, posting on flickr and sporadical posting on some forums of photographic communities. I must say that I was quite happy with my achievements in past but now I’d like to move a bit further.

When I was thinking about possible things that I can do, I got to a following list:

  • Posting photos on well known photo forums such as
    I did this in past but the community is usually either so diverse or often so huge that it’s almost impossible to “be spotted” with so specific sort of photography that I’m creating. 

  • Create my own web page only about my photography.
    This is something I am seriously considering to do during this year. 

  • Organize a photo show in some gallery or public place.
    This is something that some of my friends and fellow photographers did and do but I don’t feel for it. I feel that the time and energy spent on organizing such an event will not pay back. Maybe I’m wrong. 

  • Offer my photos to some image bank or to a company printing photographs.
    This is also something I’m seriously considering. I plan to offer my photos via printing firm with which I have great recent experience and which offers reselling  photographers’ work. 

  • Harold Davis in his great article “Finding an Audience for Your photos” published on mentions e.g. promoting your work by sending emails to a possible audience group but I would really feel like a travelling salesman when doing this which idea does not makes me very happy.
  • Searching for web sites of other photographers and commenting their work hoping for gaining some attention of the photographer and her/his readers.
    I used this in past and I gained attention of some of you this way, for which I am very happy, but in general I think that this doesn’t work and it is quite time consuming. You can get few new contacts but very probably not more.
  • I can’t forget to mention social networks such as twitter or facebook.
    We hear about them all the time but to be honest nothing convinced me to use them so far. I see them as another black hole consuming more of my free time which can be spent more reasonably. Maybe I don’t only know what I am missing?
  • Last thing which comes to my mind now is participation in some photo contest.
    This is quite hard for me because of specific kind of photography I am focusing on. Most of contests that I saw had wide range of topics (portrait, macro, landscape, wildlife etc.) or only one topic but quite general such as “nature”. It is truth that I haven’t searched for any specific contests though. I can imagine that positioning in top part of some rather known contest is good door-opener to wider audience.

1/25 sec. @ 100mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

Now I would like to ask you for sharing your thoughts about this. I guess that some of you were or are dealing with the same question and I would like to know your experience and recommendations on what may work and what not.

Thank you for your tips in advance and enjoy winter!

Technical information: all photographies in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens mounted to a tripod, in natural conditions, indoors.

The Nature Conservancy’s 5th Annual Digital Photo Contest

7 02 2011

Today I have received following letter prompting me and my readers to vote in photo contest so I am sharing it with you here.

Dear Thomas,

From now until only noon PST tomorrow, you and your readers have a great opportunity to choose the winner of The Nature Conservancy’s 5th Annual Digital Photo Contest. Monday, February 7th is the deadline and we need your votes to make sure the best photo wins.

Please help us gather as many votes as we can by posting this link to where your readers can pick their favorite. Every vote counts!

Great nature photography inspires people to go out and appreciate wild places or to just take a closer look at what’s right in their own backyards.

For more details, please see below and feel free to contact me with your questions.

Thank you for your participation,

Midori Matsuyama
Online Outreach

Background on Photo Contest:

You play a critical role in choosing the winner. This year, we received over 26,000 entries which have been narrowed down to the images of thirteen talented finalists. Their spectacular photos celebrate the natural wonders of our planet and the creatures that live here. It won’t be easy to choose one winner so we’re really counting on votes from you and the people who follow your blog.

The Grand Prize winner will be announced on February 14th and the winning photo will be featured on the cover of our 2012 calendar.

You and your readers have only until noon, PST on Monday February 7th to cast your votes so please post today if you can. You can rate each finalist, submit your vote and see some truly exciting nature photography. In addition, you are encouraged to submit your own photos of our natural world for consideration as the photo of the day on My Nature Page.

Maybe there are also your photos in the contest, who knows?