Tuesday, 11 September 2012

About me

When I retired in 2006 I decided to try my hand at photography. It turns out that I like to photograph smallish things like insects, spiders and snails, and flowers too.

I spent several years taking photos in our garden and learning about post-processing through lots of practice and experiments and plenty of reading, discussion and asking questions on line.

When I retired we moved to a mild, wet maritime climate near the edge of the Severn Estuary in North Somerset. This pleased my wife, Mrs G, who is a keen and knowledgeable gardener, because many plants grow very well here.  As we are on acid soil we can grow Camellias, Azaleas and Rhododendrons too.

Mrs G does not take photographs, but she has a very solid grasp of composition and an amazingly subtle appreciation of colours, which I have only realised since we started discussing my photos. It is very difficult to find meaningful constructive criticism, but Mrs G provides superb feedback, even if some people might think it rather harsh at times. (I just see it as rigorous and honest, and almost always valid and relevant, even if I sometimes don't see that immediately.)

For the past 18 months or so I have been visiting several nature reserves managed by the Avon Wildlife Trust in the Gordano Valley.

I photograph a lot of flies. This was at first because it was (and still is) what I mostly come across, but now also because I have come to like their exotic looks. I do enjoy it though when I see other invertebrates, of whatever sort, that hang around long enough to let me photograph them.

Several photographers have been a particular inspiration for me: Brian Valentine (LordV), John Kimbler (Dalantech), Mark Berkery and OrionMystery. I have been inspired both by the beauty of their images and their explanations of how they go about obtaining them and the underlying technical issues.

My style is to work a bit "further away" from the subject than these heroes of mine generally do. They tend to concentrate closely on the subject, often showing just part of it. In contrast I almost always have the whole of the subject in the image, and more or less context around the subject as well. When the circumstances permit, I often do a sequence of two or more images of a subject, starting with quite a lot of context around them and closing in to concentrate more closely just on the subject. Here is an example captured last September at Taggart's Wood, which is part of the Avon Wildlife Trust Weston Moor Nature Reserve.

Click on an image to see a larger version. 
Images will not be fully sharp unless displayed full height - 900 pixels high. 

 Lots of context, small subject.

A bit closer in.

This is as close in as I went for this subject.

I often go in a bit closer than this, and occasionally much closer. This one was captured in August last year at Weston Moor Nature Reserve.

I photograph a lot of flowers.  This was at first because there was a good variety of them in our garden, but I have come to appreciate the subtlety of their colours and textures, and the marvellous complexity and variety of their shapes. I still do most of my flower photography in our garden. On the nature reserves it is mainly invertebrates that I photograph.

I have not yet found inspirational gurus for flower photography.

Here is a flower photo that Mrs G rather likes. It is an Aquilegia. I photographed it in May this year in our garden.

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