Interview. Stuart.

Today’s interview is with a photographer who concentrates on showing the beauty of the tiny worlds around us from insects and life in the undergrowth to stunning photos of flowers that highlight just how beautiful the world is. http://lazystu.deviantart.com

 

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello. My name is Stuart and I live in Bracknell, Berkshire with my Fiancee Jeni. I am 36 and work as a security officer for a upmarket Supermarket. I love music , mixture of all sorts and surfing on the net looking at photo based websites.

What first promoted your interest in photography and how old were you?

As a kid I was always in front of the lens and never really was interested in taking pictures, but as I got older I started to appreciate photography more and more.Two things spring to mind that helped my interest in photography take off, a trip to a London Gallery with my dad, to see a photo exhibit and a bloke I used work with, who used to take a lot of portrait photos and place them all over his house.

I was about 28/29yrs old when I got my first proper camera.

Aw that’s really nice. Where did you learn your craft, was it instinctive, progressive or did you take a photography course?

I first had a camera phone, so that was a case of point and shoot. Then I brought a Panasonic compact camera which helped me get the photography bug as I could do so much more than a phone camera. This also helped me gain a bit more knowledge about what photography was about. I am actually starting a basic course at college at the end of April to help with getting to know my camera, so I can do even better shots than I am doing now.

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I wish you good luck with the course, doing this course was the best thing I ever did. Would you, or have you, made photography your career?

No and I probably would not as I don’t think I am good enough.

I think your photos are awesome. Do you have a favourite subject to shoot such as landscape, macro eg?

Yes Macro. I love that you can take an object and make it three or four bigger and make people think ‘oh yeah thats a peg !’  I also like the amount of detail you can pick out of flowers or objects.

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Haha I love that look when people are so confused at what you’ve taken. You can find such beauty in ordinary objects. What was your first camera and your camera now?

A Panasonic TZ3 and now I have a Canon 650D

What are your tools of the trade? Do you have a favourite lens?

I got a standard kit lens 18-55mm with my 650D, and I wanted a little more Zoom so i brought a Tamron 55-250mm. Then I got a insurance payout and managed to buy a dedicated Macro lens, Canon 100mm which I absolutely love and remains on my camera most of the time. I also brought a 50mm Prime lens to start doing portrait shots, but have to find some victims first. It is quite addictive so I have just got a Canon 18-200mm to use on holiday so I’m not having to take too much abroad.

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That’s an amazing lens, I have an 18-135mm lens and it gives me so much reach. What camera accessories do you use, filters, tripod etc?

I have a basic tripod and a monopod . I have a couple of natural filters for my most used lenses. I use Hoya filters after a recommendation from a friend. They are very good. I also have a remote control and a Crumpler Singapore sling. And a wrist strap.

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How do you cope with the conglomeration of equipment?

We live in a two-bed house and we have a bedroom each so just enough room for all my photography stuff, magazines as well. I use a Crumpler sling bag on days out and a Lowepro small bag for small trips.

I think I need a room for all my photography books and magazines, they all fell out of the cupboard on top of me the other day! What’s you dream piece of camera equipment.

A Canon EOS 5D mark III with a Canon 800mm telephoto lens. So I could go and watch the MotoGP and take really good close ups.

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In your opinion what do you think is the best camera?

One that works and that you can get along with. With a good selection of accessories, hence I chose a Canon.

I love Canon too. Apart from your camera what do you always take with you?

A spare battery and a few memory cards. Just incase. Medication and depending on where we go, I sometimes pack my tripod/monopod. Loads of info cards from a camera magazine as well

The info cards are a great idea, I also carry a white balance card to get the perfect lighting. What settings do you use? I love wide apertures. Do you shoot on auto, manual, programme, av, tv etc?

I mainly shoot macro and know what settings I need so I don’t really change anything. I am going on a course to help me learn more about all the settings on my camera.

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What photography would you like to try?

I brought a 50mm prime lens to inspire me to do portrait shots. I really love the shots I see online and I really want too learn how to take portraits, and how to interact with the subject.

There is a great article about 50mm lens photography here. http://digital-photography-school.com/why-a-50mm-lens-is-your-new-best-friend/  As someone said once, your telephoto lens is your legs, get closer to the subject don’t just zoom. How does your photography stand out, what’s your personal style and how have you developed this?

I took a couple of macro shots and showed them to Facebook friends and was amazed at the response I got. I think my photography has grown and lots of people have said that I’m getting better and better. I sometimes feel frustrated and am very hard on myself because I feel like I could do a lot better if I knew more about photography, but its a large and difficult subject to learn.

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How do you go about shooting? Talk me through composition, lighting set up etc (if appropriate.)

For me I love flowers and sometimes I just get the urge to go out into the garden and just see what is out there. I do not set up shots per say, I just shoot what I think will be a great shot. I sometimes try to use the ‘ rule of thirds’ but not always because I do not always like being told what I should be doing. I rely on the exposure meter to get correct lighting and I check using the screen every so often.

 

How do you use colour?

Flower photography can be very colourful or sometimes very bland. I use the white balance depending on where I am shooting. I like bright colours and choose my shots carefully so to minimise post editing, but not always. Something else to learn more about.

 

What is your goal to achieve when you take a photo?

That I like the shot when I review it. And hopefully others will like it too.

We do. Do you try and achieve a story or a mood?

No not really.

What would be your ultimate dream shoot, money and place no object? 

A trip to Tokyo to take Architectural shots, with a Geisha girl thrown in as well.

Kind of like the film ‘Lost in Translation’

Sounds amazing. What unusual photos do you like, abstract etc?

I like photos that make you think what the heck is it and after a while you go ‘oh yeah I know what that is.’

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How do you think photography affects us? Do you feel it can change or help our world?

To me I think photography affects us all in many different ways and is individual as humans are. A photo of the same subject could affect people in many ways. It could cause one person to go, “Oh wow, that’s gorgeous,” to another it might cause hurt or pain and emotion distress. Some will see it as true art.

I have a picture of my late mum on the fire place right in view and see it everyday and it reminds me of all the good times we had together. This really did help me shortly after she passed. There is too much other stuff going on in the world for photography to make a really big difference, but to me, I think yes it change the world for the better. People get a lot of pleasure from looking at great photos. I know I do.

I’m sorry to hear about your Mum, it’s great having a photo though with all the good memories.

What are your worst photography disasters?

First trip out with my Canon, we went to a woodland area and started to take some photos and after about half an hour I went to review my shots and realised that I forgot to insert a memory card d’oh. Another session I took a lot of shots of a flower that turned out completely white as I had the camera on the wrong setting.

Oh no, that’s awful.

Do you use Photoshop, or any other editing software, extensively? 

I have Photoshop Elements 11 but have only used it a few times as it is a very complicated program to use. I have just started using the enhance button on my iPad to enhance a few shots that I post on FB.

Do you have any personal tricks or tips you’d be willing to share about photography?

When buying a DSLR camera always go for a camera that is at the top of your budget as the technology at the top end does not change as often as lower priced cameras. Always do research when buying anything, there are plenty of good websites that offer great buying advice.

WEX photography is a great website, I have used them and they are very good.

I have also used lensesforhire.co.uk to hire a Canon 100-400mm telephoto lens (retails at £1,500 ) when I went Motorbike racing. They are very good and the equipment was in excellent condition. Definitely recommend hiring lenses if you cannot afford a top end lens.

Don’t hold back when using digital cameras as you can delete shots.

That is an expensive lens! Which photographers have inspired you and who do you admire?

Tom Ang for inspiration and I admire the people at my work who are part of the Photography club as they are excellent photographers and are a great help if I have any questions.

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Tom Ang is my photography hero too 😀 Do you have a favourite photography quote?

Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject.

Eliot Porter

Love that. Can you recommend any good photography books?

International Garden Photography Of The Year book is a great book for inspiration, as it covers a wide range of themes. Any Tom Ang book as well, as he covers photography in a way that is easy to understand .

I’ll have a look for that, I have a lot of the Tom Ang books, they’re so inspiring.

Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

Hopefully with a kid so I can take loads of shots and create a life photo album.

Aww that’s so nice. Here are some photos to inspire you for when that time comes http://www.boredpanda.org/wengenn-in-wonderland-sioin-queenie-liao/  and this gorgeous list http://www.peninsulakids.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/embrace_photo_checklist.jpg

Where do you see photography in ten years?

Hopefully I would have won a few competitions and had some photos published in some magazines as that is my next goal. To have got a lot better at composition of shots and got a lot better overall understanding of photography as a whole.

Good luck 😀 What does photography mean to you?

Generally I’m quite lazy and have a short attention span and go through phases of liking things but photography has taken its grip and wont let go. It means we get to go out and visit places and take great shots and experience new places. I like the attention I get from fellow photographers and others when I post my shots online. I like the camaraderie when taking about photography in general with other like minded people.

Thank you so much for taking part, I really appreciate it.

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