Bitching Brew

Sunday, May 18, 2008

May, Britain and Photography.

Long weekends keep me sane. I'm being careful not to eat away my annual leave; all my days off so far have been either public holidays or accumulated flexi-time credit. Next weekend though, I'll be using up my first two vacation days. I can afford to: after that, I'll still have another six weeks to play with this year.

Last month, I visited Edinburgh, Stirling and (briefly) Glasgow. I'm just back from Glasgow again, where I met travelling friends. Scotland is a lovely place. I'm going to return to Edinburgh during the festivals in August. Next weekend I'll be in London for four days. I'm really looking forward to it; I haven't "done" London properly before. There's so much to see - I'd take a week if I could, but the budget wouldn't stretch that far. Still, it'll be a fun four days - I can't wait to catch up with some friends.

I'm working hard at photography these days: practicing my technique and composition. I was dissatisfied with my autumn pictures last year: my skills and my camera both let me down. There were too many shots that I failed to pull off, sometimes through bad composition, but more often because of a lack of advanced technique. My camera was a fine starter model - a nice semi-automatic digital, but I ran up against its limitations as often as my own. It couldn't keep pace with my improving technique.

Thus, when money started to roll in this spring, I invested in some serious kit. It's not the top of the line, but it'll last me years. It's able to handle photojournalism, landscapes, urban photography and portraits, though I wouldn't risk it at an outdoor sports event. (Technically, it's excellent, but it doesn't have the durable build of the most expensive models.) I'll need to gradually invest in additional lenses, and a couple more accessories. My technique isn't yet strong enough to justify those, but I'm improving quickly.

Dublin's a fine city to learn photography. The cityscape is varied and beautiful scenery is within an hour of home. Alas, the days are too long now for me to shoot sunrises. I'm noting the best static photo-ops I come across; I plan to shoot each of them several times, at different times of day and year, as well as under varying weather conditions. Once I'm proficient at still life, urban and landscape photography, I'll switch to practicing portraits. You can't run without learning to walk. That'll be several months away at least...

Don't worry, I'm not deluded enough to expect a career out of this. Should I prove skilful, that could happen, but it's not worth thinking about now. I'm doing this for fun - it flows naturally from my love of travel, people and cityscapes.

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