Wow, I am so behind. Apologies for not getting around to visiting blogs, commenting, and getting new posts up on here as often as usual. This particular guest blog has been sitting in my inbox for several days now and I'm only just getting around to uploading it. But, better late than never, hey?
Anyway, my guest blogger today is Dawn, who you may remember took photos at our wedding and also recently did a maternity photo shoot with me and Tim. She has agreed to be my "official photographer" and this is the first in a series of posts about photography that we have planned.
Dawn is a great photographer, and she is self-taught. This means that anyone could get similar results with time, patience and a few hints and tips. And that is where this series of posts is going to come in. So, without further ado I'm going to let Dawn explain to you just why she loves photography and how she came to be where she is today.
Photography: a Passion for Memories
Hello everyone! My name’s Dawn and I’ve been taking half-decent photos since I won a basic 35mm camera in a fancy dress competition when I was 8 or so. I originally hail from Essex and I now live in Nottingham, having moved here in 2002 to come to University: that’s how I know Amanda, as we did the same course. I live with my partner Matt (who’s from Lancashire) and I enjoy an awful lot of things, many of which will come out in this first post.
Amanda asked me to do a bit on photography. I’m not sure why; I’m one of those people who give ‘real’ photographers a bad name! I’m a dilettante with some basic kit and a knack for being in the right place at the right time, and I take an awful lot of photographs. A good example was 2nd August 2011, when I spent 4 ½ hours wandering around University Park campus in Nottingham and took 758 pictures… I also did a lot of photos for Amanda’s wedding, and was the Official Photographer at another couple of friends’ wedding recently. I don’t really ‘do’ people: I prefer when they’re acting up, being ‘normal’ and the like. Posed pictures are all well and good but, oh my, so boring! No doubt you’ll get to see some of the hilarious ones in my ‘Wedding Photography’ slot.
The story of how I got into photography is rather fun: I started back in the 80s with a free Kodak 110mm film camera which was so hard to use I couldn’t even get a single picture of any of the planes filling the sky at the 40th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain flypast down the Mall. I was 6. I moved on to my Mum’s old 110mm film camera and took pictures of my pet rabbit Charlie and all sorts of other things I’ve long forgotten. All these photos are at my parents house so I can’t show you!
After a few other 110mm film cameras, when I was 8 I entered a fancy dress competition at school as a dragon (the theme was fantasy so I was well prepared: I love dragons!) and won the first prize of a 35mm camera. It wasn’t a fantastic camera, but it taught me the principles of changing the film, getting the light right and where my focus limits were: it actually had an auto-focus! I enjoyed taking artsy pictures of my dinosaurs creeping through the long grass, aeroplanes hung in the ice in the freezer (on a snowy airfield!) and animals at parks, as well as my rabbit.
After that, I saved my pennies and bought a second-hand ‘posh’ camera (that’s an SLR) from Jessops which I used for years, and still have, until it started greying out the 35mm film and I moved to digital in 2004 just before I went on my Year Abroad: my parents furnished me with what was then a top-of-the-range Sony Cybershot plus memory sticks for £300. It started to misread batteries in 2008 so I re-upgraded to posh cameras and got the cheapest of the good ones, a Nikon D40. I have two lenses, one standard but quite wide-angle and one zoom. Last Christmas I spent my Christmas money on a little compact Samsung to take to parties and for everyday use: it also has a movie mode which my ‘cheap’ SLR lacks.
I have to thank my Dad for a lot of my prowess in photography: he taught me about f-numbers and light settings and aperture. He’s had the same Olympus 35mm film camera for donkey’s years and takes pictures of trains and stuff onto slide film. His pictures aren’t professional as such, but they’d be good enough to publish in a railway magazine or the like, if he ever submitted them!
So, what do I really like about photography? Why do I do it? Well, a big part of it is about showing off, to be honest. Showing off what I like, the awesome things I’ve made or painted, the reactions of people in all sorts of situations, the places I’ve been, that sort of thing.
I love painting models. This is a Trygon, a big plastic monster kit produces by Games Workshop for use with their Tyranid range for Warhammer 40,000. He’s called Boris and he stands about a foot tall: this is a close-up of his head. I took this in May 2010.
This is one of my classic holiday shots, designed for posting on Facebook or whatever comes out next, to show where I was, what I was doing and what hilarious things I’ve seen. I love travelling. This is from Antwerp, Belgium, while I was on holiday with my parents this summer.
It’s also because I like to archive what I’ve done, where I’ve been and, most importantly, what I’ve seen. I have a pretty good memory: I remember things in pictures, so aiding that memory is something I love doing!
I love aircraft and I love going to airshows. This is one of my favourite aircraft, the Avro Vulcan, and this is the last flying example. It’s owned and operated by a registered charity and I save my pennies to help keep her flying. Nothing can replicate the awesome roar of four Rolls-Royce Olympus engines propelling a beautiful example of British engineering into summer skies, but it’s a great reminder of those windy days taking in the kerosene. This was taken at The Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in July 2010.
Well, I think that brings us full circle: back to dinosaurs! I hope you’ve enjoyed me harping on about me and my awesome photos but, hey, we all need an ego boost at times! I really do love photography and perhaps love being on the other side of the camera more than taking the photos, so I feel I should end on a picture of me taken by my other half at Alnwick Castle in April 2011, where I was far too over-excited at the prospect of meeting a real dragon…