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I am Nikonians

Geoff Baylis (GBaylis) Interview

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2)


Keywords: landscape, architecture, photography, nikonians, gbaylis

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In working with the information and images Geoff provided I was disappointed on coming to the last of the photographs as I had enjoyed reviewing them.  Geoff has developed some innovative techniques as you will see later in the article.  His photography is captivating.

I retired in 2012 after working in IT ever since leaving school in 1971. Over that period the changes in both computer systems capability and camera technology were dramatic: the first IBM mainframe computer that I worked on had 64k of memory and each of its associated disk drives would now hold just two images from my D800. I was initially a computer operator, then a programmer for about 15 years and for my last 20 years was a project manager in one of the UK’s largest banks.

My wife and I live in an 18thCentury former rectory in Devon, in the south-west of the UK, close to the Exmoor National Park.

01

Our view of the Devon countryside
D800, 70-200mm f2.8 @ 58mm, f/11, 1/160s, ISO 200
Click for an enlargement

 

Having been a project manager it’s not surprising that I have an eye for detail and a desire for perfection, which has driven much of my photography towards macro subjects and focus-stacking. Working in Central London throughout my career also drove my love of architecture and large busy cities, such as Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

02

Stargazer Lily
D800, 105mm micro, @ f/6.3, 1/5s, ISO 320, stacked from 51 images
Click for an enlargement

 

03

The Lloyds of London Building
D800, 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 27mm, f/8, 1/1000s, ISO 200
Click for an enlargement

 

Landscape photography did not form much of my portfolio until I moved to Devon, so I have been gradually improving my skills and knowledge in that area, aided by the very green and spectacular land that I see every day.

04

The Palace of Westminster
D800, 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, f/8, 1/250s, ISO 200
Click for an enlargement

 

I switched in 2003 from a lifetime using Pentax film cameras to digital photography with an Olympus E-10. This spurred my desire for more photographic avenues, but the camera was limited by its fixed lens, so when the Nikon D90 was launched in 2008 I changed allegiance again. The enormous leap to a D800 in 2012 had me seeking more information –and help– with this technological marvel, and Google introduced me to Nikonians. It didn’t take long to appreciate the resource that was available to me here, so I immediately joined up.

05

Somerset Fields
D800, 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 45mm, f/16, 1/80s, ISO 100
Click for an enlargement

 

Apart from technical assistance always being on tap, Nikonians will always provide a wealth of knowledge and opinion about pretty much any subject. Quite often opinions vary considerably, but it is great that exchanges between members remain cordial (with the very rare occasional exception), unlike some other websites that I’ve visited.

If I were to give a word of advice it would be: Always ask yourself “How can I do that better?”  Every day on Nikonians you will see the “wow” images -the ones that you really wish you’d taken yourself– so just aim to do better by working out what makes those images special and how they could have been even better. Many are ‘once in a lifetime’ spontaneous moments but many more are meticulously planned to get the best angle, light, etc. Apply those techniques to your own photography to increase your “wow” factor.

My stand-out experience of 2016 was back in April when I’d been out in the Exmoor National Park researching a location that I would use for an exhibition contribution. While heading back home I was driving along a long straight road and saw a rider with three horses out for their morning exercise. I could see that when they breached the crown of the hill ahead, they would be silhouetted against the early sun, but I only had about 20 seconds to get ready for the shot. I accelerated until I was about 100 yards behind them, stopped, got my gear out from the back of the car, quickly changed from a wide-angle lens to my 70-200mm and crouched down to compose the shot, giving me just a few seconds to spare before they were in the perfect position. For me it was definitely my shot of the year.

06

Early Morning Exercise on Exmoor
D800, 70-200mm f2.8 at 200mm, f/11, 1/100s, ISO 100
Click for an enlargement

 

I have always had a creative mind and I love seeking new ways to use photography to create artistic images. My expanding knowledge of Photoshop has been a key area for my experimentation in 2016, but the work that I’m proudest of was my development of “Smoke and Bubbles” pictures in 2015. I’d previously seen many examples online of using just smoke to create amazing images, but after much experimentation with that, I wanted something more challenging and unique. Combining bubbles with the smoke was certainly challenging! Hours of being imbued with the smell of incense smoke accounted for over 1,000 images with very few ‘keepers’ but the pleasure when I’d perfected the technique made it all worth it. I was honoured to be asked to provide a featured article about it for Nikonians.

07

Simply Smoke
D800, 200mm f/4 Micro @ f/22, 1/250s, ISO 200
Click for an enlargement

 

08

Smoke & Bubbles
D800, 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 175mm, f/13, 1/250s, ISO 200
Click for an enlargement

 

I find that trying different techniques in Photoshop is a good way to understand (and remember) how the many features and functions can be combined for interesting effects… and YouTube has a tutorial for most things PS to give me inspiration.

09

Jigsaw Selfie Dilemma
Click for an enlargement

 

This was a challenge I set myself in order to learn more about Photoshop and Javascript. From a self-portrait, I created the jigsaw effect using a Javascript program, then superimposed my arms from the original image. The hardest part in Photoshop was getting the right perspective on the jigsaw pieces on the table.

Thanks to Geoff for his contribution for this feature.  It has been enjoyable learning more of him and hearing about his work, interests and picturing him in his home environment – a beautiful countryside.  He has always been open to sharing his creative techniques that are so popular with Nikonians.

Originally written on August 24, 2019

Last updated on August 24, 2019

Marsha Edmunds Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2)

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Awarded for her in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.

Lethbridge, Canada
Team, 8520 posts

8 comments

Gerald Oliver (geraldroliver) on September 6, 2019

Donor ribbon awarded for his contribution to the 2017 fundraising

Wonderful imagery, both in the narrative and the photographs. Thank you for sharing your insights, inspirational as always.

Tom Jacob (sevendayimages) on September 5, 2019

Awarded for his continuous knowledge and images sharing with community members Awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2016 Photo Contest Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.

Excellent article and a pleasure seeing your shots always Geoff :) I am with you when you say "Every day on Nikonians you will see the “wow” images -the ones that you really wish you’d taken yourself– so just aim to do better.." It just is the great thing about this community and the support you get. Hope we both can make it to an ANPAT one day! Cheers,

Gavin Duffy (Gaduf) on September 4, 2019

Congratulations Geoff, Superb article and insight into your photography background and passion for the subject and the Nikonians community. Enjoy your posts and experience. Regards Gavin

Geoff Baylis (GBaylis) on September 4, 2019

Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Awarded for his generous and continuous sharing of his high level skills with the Nikonians community Writer Ribbon awarded for his contributions to the Nikonians Articles. Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Ribbon awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2107 Annual Photo Contest Winner of the Best of Nikonians Images 2018 Annual Photo Contest

Thank you Bonnie, John, Marsha and Dave. I'm enjoying my photography more and more, hoping one day to come to the US for ANPAT. Geoff

Bonnie Christensen (BChrisRad) on September 4, 2019

Donor ribbon awarded for her most generous contribution to the 2017 campaign. Ribbon awarded for her most generous support to the 2018 fundraising  campaign

So happy to learn a bit more about your Geoff. Love your work. Jealous of your living in an 18thCentury former rectory. How cool. Have always enjoyed your puzzle image, along with may of your other images! Your creativity and perfection show in your very fine work.

John D. Roach (jdroach) on August 29, 2019

Fellow Ribbon awarded. John exhibits true Nikonian spirit by frequently posting images and requesting comments and critique, which he graciously accepts. He is an inspiration to all of us through constant improvement in his own work, keen observations and excellent commentary on images posted by others. Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Ribbon awarded for his generous contribution to the 2019 Fundraising campaign

Fine article and images. Always nice to see your work.

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2) on August 26, 2019

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Awarded for her in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.

I am in awe of the work that you do Geoff. Most recently the images you did of your town and surroundings at different times of day in varying light conditions were truly enchanting. You live in an area steeped in such history, architecture and culture. The images reflected all of those combined with mystery and mood. Very kind of you to spend the time on this project.

David Summers (dm1dave) on August 25, 2019

Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art a

Nice article, Thank you for your contributions to our community!

G