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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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