the early days of my photography

The early days… by guest contributor Derek Cummings When I was younger my passion was walking or mountain climbing. I loved nothing more than being in the wilderness with nothing […]

The early days…

by guest contributor Derek Cummings


When I was younger my passion was walking or mountain climbing. I loved nothing more than being in the wilderness with nothing more than a map and compass, or gps to keep me company. And of course my rucksack with which to keep my bad weather gear, sandwiches and bottled water.  I loved the outdoors. The last ten years though has been very different. Severe emphysema put an end to them activities.  I then needed a new activity to fulfil my life – to put passion into my soul. Enter photography.

I had always had an interest in photography. Although sadly in the early days I could not afford the countless rolls of film I would have needed. Nor did I have anywhere to make a ‘dark room’. But even if I could there would have been the cost of the chemicals, and photographic paper with which to make prints. At that time I had to abandon any thought of proceeding into the world of photography as wages, and savings at that time, did not allow for it.

The change started to come about in 1975 with the first ever digital camera made. True the first film less camera’s were low quality although this was soon to change. Now a good digital SLR can rival film, making photography affordable for most. Today we can shoot in lower light with better sensitivity. And best of all we can see immediately the image we have taken instead of waiting until the film has processed. This to me has many uses. I am sure all of you can remember in the days of film getting a roll or two of processed images back. Then proceed to throw in the bin what was considered not worth keeping. Sometimes leaving just a couple of prints out of a complete roll. In them days them couple of prints would have been very costly.

We can now go on a shoot, without the need for film, and providing we have enough, or a large enough memory card, can shoot to our hearts content. The problem being in many cases this to me has led to quantity rather than quality in some cases. Gone are the days when every shot was made to count. After all every shot was costing money. I have known photographers  taking many hundreds of images a day. Giving little thought to the shot. Resulting in a mish mash of quality. The idea being shoot enough and one will be good. This is the time we need to step back. Take stock. Look at what we intend to shoot with a critical eye. Think on what we want to portray. Then take a shot or two.

You can take wonderful images in your own back door know matter how mundane the area. If I was to show you a picture of the area I took the picture with this article you would think how unattractive it was. A new marina. Not yet completed. Looking more like a building site around it. I looked down into the basin from above the yacht in the image.   It was impossible to take a full image of it. As there would have been distractions. And not very attractive one either. It really is a case that often. Less is more.  I framed the shot. Set the camera on Aperture priory, ensured the shutter speed was high enough to ensure there was no camera shake and took the shot.  In my next article I would like to write about equipment on a budget. I look forward to you reading that soon.


Derek Cummings.

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