Last weekend Dad and I had an outing which was part of his 80th Birthday present from the family. We enjoyed a day together doing a landscape photography course with Richard Bulley Photography.
Dad has been a keen photographer from well before I was born. He used to process his own negatives in a makeshift darkroom that he set up in our laundry when I was a kid. Once he moved into the digital age he stopped using the manual settings and let the camera make the choices for him. Richard was able to quickly get him back up to speed to take back control in manual mode. By chance, Dad and I have the same camera, the Nikon d7100, which we each purchased at a similar time on opposite sides of the world without the other knowing.
So while Dad has been a photographer for many years this was the first course he had done. Like me he is self taught. Although him mainly from a book, me from YouTube and from talking to professionals wherever I got the chance. Plus lots and lots of practise. I too started with a film camera as a teenager but never progressed to the dark room. This was also the fourth one day course that I had done with Richard, two through Nikon School Australia and two with Richard directly.
We started with photographing the beautiful view from Govetts Leap lookout in Blackheath. We experienced the challenges of photographing landscapes in bright sunlight. If you meter correctly for the mountains then the sky is over exposed. If you meter for the sky then the mountains are underexposed. We used a technique called bracketing to capture the image with 3 or more different exposures. I also had a play with my filters that I have had for probably a year but had never unpacked. Next time I would set my tripod up before attempting to use the filters.
Next stop was the Wind Eroded Cave in Leura. Just a short walk from the carpark through the bush, we came to the most beautiful rock that had been carved into the most amazing shape by wind. Due to its size and not being able to get very far back from the cave it was very difficult to photograph it and do it justice. There were so many interesting features, I attempting to capture some of those to show the character of the rock.
Lunch in the park was next followed by a quick lesson in panning using the cars on the main road. I definitely need more practise but one photo turned out not too bad. The idea of panning is to keep the moving object in focus while blurring the background to show movement.
The last stop of the day was to photograph another moving object, this time it was presented by nature. We finished off our day learning to photograph a waterfall while showing the movement in the water but keeping everything surrounding it crisp and clear. Using a tripod and a slow shutter speed we were able to capture the waterfall. Plus by using the slow shutter speed we could keep our iso low while allowing additional light in.
I love spending time with my camera and while practise is the best way to improve a few courses here and there certainly speed up that process. Dad and I had a wonderful day learning and exploring and I can recommend a Richard Bulley Photography course for a fun way to improve your knowledge of photography.