Year Two (55) – Learning

Monday night was members night at Southampton Camera Club, where 4 brave (or foolish) club members stand up in front of the rest of the membership and share something fascinating about their photography, and what an enlighting evening it was… with members talking about a variety of topics.

Colour Calibration

We had a great introduction to colour calibration – how many screen should be at a brightness of a maximum of 100cd – often our screens are too bright – and that our white balance should be set between 5000-6500k (to the brighter end if the colours are to be used on the internet, along with the importance of then calibrating the printer too, and using soft proofing to visualize our add results.

I always thought you needed a Spyder to calibrate – but we were introduced to a free colour calibration software – check out Colour Calibration – Dispcal 3  for more details. We were also then told about Darktable – an open source editor not that different from Lightroom. I came home with the intention of making sure my calibration was up to date!

Engineering

Our second speaker spoke how he used photography in his work as a structural engineer to record what you could see at a location, so you could measure the scale of cracks, the characteristics of the brickwork, and help plan engineering job – he was able to give us a peak into unfamiliar locations – the underground at night, railway bridges being worked on and views of London skyline from the railway line. None of the images were competition winning but as a set they told a great story of what was involved in his work, and helped highlight the value of taking and recording images so you can see comparisons over time. Good file management is essential, and properly keywording the images and locations so you can find them again.

Collages

Our third member took us on a very different journey – she loved to take photos of the beach and would head off for interesting beaches with different textured rocks and photograph the rock patterns in detail presenting 3 images together as a college. The colours were matched across the pictures, they had similarities and were of the similar pleasing tones – very abstract on the whole – but a glimpse into a very different world of photography. She also talked about how her photography had opened conversation up with other beach uses and she shared stories about how inclusive photography can be.

Horses

Our final talk was from a photographer developing his interest in Equine photography – he was taking photos of horses in various situations, with flash with out, at the stables and on location. He talked about how photography is about the opportunities that are available to you, the contacts you come to meet and how when working collaboratively you need to provide the shots that they would like as well as the pictures you would like to build and develop your portfolio.

Summary

All the talks were enlightening but they had a very similar message that I took away from the evening:

  • Creating images is about having the right opportunities – these opportunities are not open to everyone – some images are impossible to get without the right contacts, the right training / qualifications – but if you use those opportunities when you can your images can tell stories that no one else’s images can tell – they help you create a unique view.
  • The best camera / best lens / most expensive software is not the answer – if your screen and printer are not calibrated you are never going to get the best image out of it – you can pay for software to make this happen or you can learn the open source alternatives – so it is not out of reach.
  • The details and the moments matter – sometimes you only get one opportunity, once chance to create an amazing image … you have to make those opportunities count!
  • You have to photograph something you enjoy doing or seeing – your passion comes across in your images, your enthusiasm comes across in the way you talk and you inspire others to look differently.
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