2012 The Art of Photography


Just prior to enrolling with the Open College of the Arts, I attended a one day photography course with Maria Burton in Penrith  (www.lake-district-light.com).

This gave me the opportunity to try different camera brands and equipment and was my introduction to DSLR – a huge, yet very enjoyable, leap from compact digital. Maria’s “lessons”, her guidance and experience was invaluable, I came away from the experience enlightened and buzzing with enthusiasm. Maria’s passion for photography is infectious!

During my time with Maria I was introduced to a macro lens. I took some close up shots of a Marguerite daisy. I was amazed at the fine detail in the images. Maria showed me how to use Lightroom 4 to process and enhance the images, then to consider the intent – what did I want to use the images for? A greetings card maybe, as an advert or an “arty” poster?

Daisy 9

Image00001 - Copy

This is my favourite image from the course. I like it both in colour and  in sepia. I think it would make an effective large print particularly on canvas.

I discovered how to do “a study” by taking lots of shots of a subject – moving in and out, around, taking full and part shots of the subject.

Door knocker

Maria highly recommended Michael Freeman’s book “The Photographer’s Eye” which I have since purchased. I was thrilled to then learn that Michael is the OCA photography course author!


Armed with enthusiasm and my new Nikon D7000 with an 18-105mm lens. I began to get my head around how the camera works and what all the various buttons and dials are for – quite a challenging task. However, for the time being I am concentrating on the key features required to get me started on the OCA course. I have read the Nikon manual in parts, on a need to know basis rather than reading all the chapters at once.

….It’s starting to become clearer. Depth of field is something I am still trying to come to terms with e.g. low f-stop number = wide aperture ∴ minimum depth of field! The library book, “The Photographer’s Guide to Composition” by John Freeman, has proved useful for this, along with my husband’s diagrams!

depth of fieldEnthusiastic, excited and a little apprehensive about the OCA course, due to the study element and my limited technical ability. Lots of encouragement from others is helping though, particularly the OCA forums – very useful and it’s good to read that others are or have been in the same boat.

Getting bogged down with the concept of blogs and how to go about it. I have consulted others and read the booklet that came with the course info, once again the OCA forums have come to the rescue. I am able to log into other student blogs and read tips for the layout.

I am currently attending evening classes, a “taster course” in psychology. Discussing the human brain, our tutor made this comment and I think it’s an appropriate phrase to remember for photography; The brain has huge ability to record and retain memories, but is not so good at retrieval. Hence the importance of capturing moments in time/memories in the form of photographs – for easy retrieval!


Abandoned the blog idea for now – need to concentrate on my photography.

To feed my imagination: Books, mags, news, music, TV, film, poetry, dreams.

To observe:  people – families, actions, behaviour, comments, stance, mood.

Places:  shops, cafes, buildings, structures, parks, streets, markets, beaches.

Nature: animals, birds, greenery, flowers, hills, valleys, weather, water.

Still life: fruit, veg, objects, flowers,  items of clothing.

I drove past a characterful old book shop in Preston with an interesting window display. I wondered how I will photograph window displays. How do I photograph without catching the reflections from the street, pedestrians and me? I thought that maybe some reflection will add interest. I will do some research on this area, although I’m sure it will be covered at some stage of the course. The book shop is now on my list to be photographed.


One of the TAoP projects is photographing movement This is a new experience for me and I have instantly become absorbed by the effects of using fast shutter speed (to freeze) and slow shutter speed (to blur or show motion). I discovered how movement can bring life to a photograph and add many different dimensions from clear and factual to abstract and down-right spooky!

          018 f29 half


Lightroom 4 arrived today! Installed ….


Joe Cornish Gallery – Northallerton

J Cornish

Joe’s main concern is for landscape photography in North Yorkshire and Cumbria. His work is very popular and no doubt very good – who am I to judge at this stage! During a visit to his gallery, for some bizarre reason, the majority of his work did not inspire me. Maybe landscapes are not my bag? Lovely to see with the eye, but in print, they didn’t make me pause and consider or hold me. Hopefully with more experience of “reading” photographs, my views will change. More in research tab.

New_View_of_RoseberrySH_22cm_RGB_small_119_159       Rosedale_High_Res_23cm_300dpi_RGB_small_129_159


I always had the idea to use words, lines of poetry/fiction and overheard comments to build ideas and inspiration for my photographs. I enjoy poetry/verse and was delighted to read Michael Freeman’s article in thefreemanview.com , 27th June 2012, “Why Poetry Might Help Your Photography”

Willow and peach blossom,

“Willow and Peach Blossom” West Lake, Hangzhou, China.  Michael Freeman

I was blown away by this stunning photograph in his series featured in the article. I was immediately transported there and could almost smell the blossom and hear the gentle ripple in the water. The foreground is so crisp, sharp and fresh and the eye is drawn to the boat, somewhat hazy and distant adding an air of mystery.


Northallerton Library – local camera club display

Northallerton library is showing a display of  work by the local camera club (results of the annual photographic competition). I spent ages studying the work and  attempted to critique why some pieces had been awarded more merit than others and realised I still have a long way to go! I quickly learned that personal preference due to the subject matter should not take priority and found myself admiring a  print of “pop art”, not my taste at all. But, the detail, clarity and contrast of colour of the objects in the frame were superb.