How photography helped me

After my big tongue op in 2009, I needed months to heal and get my speech back to some sort of normal so I stayed off work and took a photography course online. It was far too hard for me. I don’t have the technical understanding to get to grips with the manual functions of a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera and I just wanted to take pretty landscape pictures. I completed the course with a pass grade  and ever since then have enjoyed the five or six basic skills I took away from it. I’m going to share them with you because going out with camera or phone, taking pics of our world and sharing them is therapeutic.

Here are five skills in brief – for landscapes:

1.Edit. Every phone or computer will have basic editing software. Straighten the horizon! Crop. More later.

2. Hold the camera down low.

3. Obey the rule of thirds which means dividing the screen in 3 vertically and horizontally and placing the object of interest in the intersection of these lines.

4. Frame the object for a special effect with a tree for example.

5. Use the vanishing point sometimes – a road disappearing into the distance. Very emotive. 

Rule of thirds

Why edit? Digital photos often need sharpening. Do “Auto Enhance” or use the sharpen/clarify function. Be subtle. Crop and straighten if need be. A little crop will often bring the subject into better focus. Takes seconds/minutes.

Why a low angle? Makes the pic look more dramatic and adds some foreground like the grass on the foreshore of a beach – leads eye in and frames the pic.

Why the rule of thirds? It’s a art concept where an object not placed in the middle of a pic but to one side is more pleasing to the eye. The horizon in top third or bottom third looks better for example.

Framing? Things look more striking through a natural frame – but only sometimes.

Vanishing point. Eye is drawn into the picture and the point itself is filled with mystery, the unknown. Always makes an impact. Avenues of trees are good. 

Vanishing point

More stuff. The best pictures tell a story. I can’t do that yet. I’m a bit too impatient to wait for objects to be in place to make the pic more than a calendar shot but that would be another point for improvement. There’s also the idea of lines or objects leading the eye into the picture – a log of driftwood on the beach for example. Some of the ideas I’ve stated are cliches but good ones like the lonely tree representing the loneliness of the universe – or again shooting past the driftwood to add some feeling to a beach pic. 

Yep, taking some pics, editing them and then sharing them is a thing I enjoy and feel I can still do even if my health doesn’t persist. Sharing is so easy in today’s world and part of me wants to advocate for the conservation of New Zealand’s natural environment.

Good for the soul. 

And here is a website taking it up a level. Very easy to read.