Almost Weekly Photo

Always Inspiring!

Remnants of a flood, Wendover, UtahNikon D850, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm…

A Grand Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Detail Phase One XF 100MP Trichromatic, 110mm Schneider…

Finding Good Influences

When I was at school, I was struggling with a…

On the road to Maymand, Iran.
Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon XF200mm f2 R LM OIS WR, f5 @ 1/3000 second, ISO 200

Over the years, I've always felt rather lucky with the weather, but I'm wondering if it's just the city-slicker in me who is so out of touch with Mother Nature that I'm pleasantly surprised every time I venture out!

Down in Antarctica earlier this year, I remember watching the low pressure systems scream around the continent and thinking how good our chances were of getting some wonderful weather changes (I'm currently using the Windy app on my smartphone). Let's face it, the most exciting landscapes are taken when the weather is doing something a little unusual - or at least different to that boring blue sky shown in all the travel brochures.

More recently, I've had snow storms in the USA and Georgia, huge thunderstorms in Kazakhstan and in Iran, we followed some heavy rain systems which produced a completely different desert vista. Normally when travelling in these areas, the flat salt pans are dry and dusty, but for our trip, we were presented with a thin film of water and some wonderful reflections. Given this is a desert area, it can't be that common, but then again, is it that rare?

So, are we lucky or is it just that in many parts of the world, the weather is changeable? If you take a two or three week road trip, is there a very good chance you'll cross some interesting weather patterns and then it's just a matter of being prepared?

This photo was taken with a 200mm lens (300mm full-frame equivalent) and then the image cropped top and bottom to create a more appropriate framing. I like the 'width' in the composition. The foreground sands were darkened, colour-enhanced and I also added a little clarity to bring out the texture. If nothing else, the colour contrast will get people looking at the photo!

Bakery, Kashan, Iran
Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon XF8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR @ 8mm, f6.4 @ 1/80 second, ISO 3200

There's a part of me that is really enjoying isolation. It's not that I'm anti-social or I'm getting tired of travelling, far from it. Rather, it's just so nice to sit down and work on photos that have escaped my attention.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend sent me her photo book of Iran - and I seem to remember it was only volume one of three that are planned. As I flipped through the pages and relived the photo tour through her wonderful photographs, there was a pang of jealousy - not because she had photos I didn't (and she did!), but because she'd made the time to edit the shoot.

My problem is that a week later, I received another photo book from another friend who had travelled to the USA with me earlier this year, and I had the same feelings. Some of us are lucky enough to travel to some pretty amazing places, it's almost a crime not to do something with the images, more than just a few blog posts or an Instagram feed.

On the plus side, I have designed a photo book on Antarctica and three on Bhutan while stuck on the ship a couple of months ago, so I will get there - if I have the time! I wonder if some readers are feeling the same?

On the ground, the people of Iran are incredibly friendly. We walked into this bakery with big smiles and our cameras - and were received with equally large smiles and a couple of loaves - or sheets - of wonderfully hot and tasty bread. I think if you're interested in street photography that regional towns rather than large cities provide more accessible opportunities. The locals have a slower pace of life and seem more responsive to an inquisitive photographer.

There were a couple of fluorescent lights above playing havoc with the colour balance, but by tweaking the colour temperature here and there, I'm actually quite pleased with the play of colour across the scene. Thank heavens I lead the photo tour to Iran with Nuran Zorlu - if I'd been with David Oliver, he'd be telling me to switch it to B&W!

So, where do great ideas come from? And is every shot taken by a 'famous photographer' a winner? Australian photographer and photographic artist Murray Fredericks is well known for his amazing photos of the salt flats in Lake Eyre. One of his comments in this month's interview was really enlightening - and reassuring.

“I try a lot of different ideas, but only a fraction of what I shoot ever makes it into an exhibition or onto a website - and that’s a huge part of working as a photographer. You have to fail 1000 times to get that one great shot.

“For me, a photograph has to be more than a record of a landscape. I want people to see a message in my work, not just the literal message of, ‘This is the landscape’. It might be something as simple as the power inherent in nature or our response to that power.

“Many times with the mirror set-ups [for the Vanity and Array images], we took the photographs but got nothing. It was just a mirror in a salt lake. In comparison, the photos that made the exhibition are the ones which have something subconsciously engaging that holds people to the image."

I know when I lead photo workshops that a lot of the participants are a little disappointed that many of their photos don't work, but if only they looked on my computer to see how many duds I have as well. Perhaps a better approach is to think of our photography as practice, and every now and then we manage to play a perfect tune.

Better Photography magazine is full of ideas - ideas that will inspire you, console you and take you to new places with your photography. Don't rely on Google to dish you up something useful, try a subscription to our magazine today!

S5 Box

Login

Did you know we have 2 websites? This login is for newsletters, workshops and book orders. To see your online subscriptions, log in at: www.betterphotographyeducation.com.

If you're having trouble logging in, you might be on the wrong site! To see your subscriptions, log in at: www.betterphotographyeducation.com.

S5 Register