Welcome to my first blog entry!

Firstly, thank you for dropping by - I've been tempted to start a photography blog for some time now, but was a little worried about the size of the audience that would be interested in reading my ramblings (i.e. nobody ha!), but I figure that if even one person reads one of my posts and goes on to create something great as a result I would have succeeded. I can't guarantee how often I'll post new content, but I'm going to do my best to share my views & thoughts on photography as often as I can.

Over the past 2 years photography has really taken a hold of me, I've been gripped by the thrills that come with taking a "successful" image, I'm still learning every day and with each shoot I discover something new. I'm by no means an intellectual on photography, I just want to (hopefully) help aspiring photographers find their feet and learn by some of my mistakes.

Onto the first thing I've discovered recently, it might help to:

Stop chasing colour...

I'm always on the lookout for signs of the elusive "fiery" sky around sunset, if there's clouds above and a break on the horizon around the sun I get quite excited about the possible shots to be had, so when I started to see some familiar signs one Sunday evening I darted out the door to my local river at Canford School.. I arrived with little to no idea what I was going to shoot, with vein naivety I thought so long as the sky was filled with colour, the rest would fall in to place.

Right on queue the sky turned a lovely shade of pink and orange, it's always amazing to watch, but I felt like all the photos I was taking were lacking a major element - light. Looking back from this moment it seemed so obvious, photography is ALL about light - the sensor/film in your camera is sensitive to light, all photos are based on the capturing of light, so - good photography must originate from good light!

... & start chasing light.

With hindsight, and looking back over my previous photos that I felt were successful, it all seemed really obvious - I should be aiming to shoot the hour just after sunrise and just before sunset, not the other way around. Previously, I would pack up my gear and head home once the sun had broken the horizon, as I'd assumed the good "colour" had been and gone.

I wish I was writing this blog saying that every photo I've taken since having this moment were brilliant and contained perfect light, but the reality is actually the opposite - I feel I am now more critical of my work and no longer rely on nice colours to make an image work.

Photography, for me, is a big learning experience - but I love it, with each failure I learn something new, and the big thing I'm starting to learn is that there's no right or wrong, just right for you.

That's all for now... I hope this post has inspired something and you'll be back to read the next post soon!

Owen Vachell (@orvphotos)

Really enjoyed reading this Daniel. Thanks for sharing, I'm looking forward to the next one!

Andy Luddington

Hey Dan, good article. It's easy to understand and follow. Not too long either which is good. A few questions that I have - How has shooting light changed the way you process images? Is it easier or more enjoyable? And; Is there a balance of capturing both good light and colour?

Daniel Sands

Hi Andy, thank you for your feedback. Some very interesting questions!

I think my post-process flow has actually dramatically reduced as a result of shooting light. Whereas previously I might have had to process an image to bring detail out of the shadows or employ some kind of HDR technique using luminosity masks, I now find that if in image has been taken with the right light in the first place there's really not much processing required, beyond the basic camera profile adjustments. So it's definitely easier, and with the reduced pressure that comes from not having to push an image to make it work the end result is more enjoyable.

I think you can most certainly capture beautiful colours combined with nice light, but this colour comes from the scene, rather than the clouds, so it's a change of emphasis for me really - I would rather capture a scene with a plain white or blue sky with nice light in it, than capture a scene with a fiery orange sky and flat light across the scenic elements. I think there has to be a choice, given that you generally get the fiery type skys before the sun has risen, and after it's set you cannot capture a fiery sky with light.

I hope this helps answers your questions, and thanks again for your feedback.

Jack Taylor (@JTaylorPhotog)

Good little post that chief! Looking forward to seeing what else you’ve got in store for us 👍

Bob Sanders (@bob_bs1234)

Quite agree with @JTaylorPhotog keep it coming. I too am torn between the sun / colours / light. But I think my best stuff happens when the light is right for the composition / subject / mood . Then the results can be great.

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