I've pained over the next blog post for a couple of weeks - my original intent was to explore left handedness in photography and post a few images as my usual fare. In the meantime I'd come across a few posts/ blogs/ vlogs of late discussing a photographer's journey that got the brain ticking in different directions. I'm inclined to write a little about those things instead.

If you don't know me I am a 3rd generation tradesman with most of the blokes in the family tradies (metal trades no less) my father was my TAFE teacher (welding). Dad taught me to appreciate the 'craft' of my trade rather than just how quick I could trowel through the job.. how comfortable I feel about the quality of the work later rather than just how many units I could get done, these aren't necessarily mutually exclusive BTW just a sign of good workflow - getting 'in the groove' I like to think. Also I've worked in engineering research for over 32 years where craft is as important as quantity.

I have very strong opinions on my work (you've got to back yourself they say) and it's hard to let the wisdom of others seep in most of the time. I've always claimed I've been a bit of a faulty computer .. you have to put the same info in over and over again till it sticks :-) so when it comes to being creative .. 'arty' as I think of it, I haven't really backed myself. I don't feel I've earned my trade enough to speak up. Rather, I'm inclined to put my work down in a preemptive strike w/out trying to understand what others may be offering or listening to how they connect with what I've done, getting out of the comfort zone really isn't easy.

Camera clubs and the structure they inherently run on can perpetuate a lot of road blocks on the way to what I consider being properly creative, it's inherent in their structure as voluntary associations. They have a high turnover of folks, usually at the beginning of their journey into photography with many differing goals - happy to find some structure and advice at which they can pit their wits and abilities. Camera club competitive structure - which helps teach the basics via repetition and adherence to the rules can lead to producing work that isn't as satisfying to the participant as perhaps they'd like - me personally I don't give a tinkers about credit/merit awards - rather to hear that someone connected in some way to a moment I experienced or to hear that "you know I really thought you might have something there and perhaps if you….."

Trying to review many hundreds of images at a sitting trying to find a difference between them with simplistic guidelines simply for gladiatorial success - quite often the story is thrown out simply as it didn't fit the rules, I'd seen it happen on many occasions and dependent upon the author it can have both positive and quite negative results.

Photographically we all like to say 'learn the rules then forget them' and as an altruism it works just fine - but, when you do forget them and start telling your own story, taking the journey to becoming unfettered you risk removing all the points of commonality that 'structure' that people are used to seeing the message through, it can be hard work you are after trying to define a new language, and without the likes of Insta/Facebook approval that following those rules gift you, doubt can start to cloud reasons for what your doing.

Photographically the last 3 or 4 years I feel like I've started to learn what would've be my preferred trade possibly (metal trades wasn't my actual choice but rather "it'll put food on the table and a decent roof over your head mate" - Thanks dad you weren't wrong and I'm eternally grateful - I'm just wired a little differently - Also photography was an interest that I couldn't really afford to explore back in those days truth be told).

On a post in facebook, note was made about the horrible editing techniques from the past and how mad were we at the time making horrible images like that. In defense we're all influenced by the images and the tools of the time we're in - remembering when Nik released HDR Effex pro came out? halo heaven, crunchy skies and lurid sea's. These weren't bad at 'that' time .. but now when I look back sheese! 🧐 just a part of the journey and, thru that journey you learn a lot about to manipulate images to a goal. There are no failures, only negative results as I say to students.

Being a good tradesman means being able to trust your hands and habits to do their job and execute the task at hand - being a good craftsman well that's a whole different kettle of fish, and, where all the pain, joy and self accomplishment can be. Photography involves complex tools and the need to be able to trust your hands and habits to do their thing at the time, but, like simply being a tradesman there's a long way from there to craftsman.

The biggest truth for me this weird, horrible bushfire/ covid year with it's lock downs and social distancing is that I've begun to reverse the curve where I manically had to get thru as many images from any given shoot and just blast them out there, now I'll do edit after edit on an image trying to stay in touch with my intent at the time I captured it - sticking to the brief - no matter tenuous that may be. The equation reaches a balance point where you can be comfortable spending an evening .. a couple of evenings revisiting that moment - exploring it and the tools at your disposal trying to make sense of it all.

Oh and left handed cameras .. I'm lost as to why folks keep insisting they need to be - no camera is left or right handed - which hand is more dominant in the process the left framing the shot, handling the zoom, focus, the mode dial, and switching between manual/auto or, the right hand .. pressing the shutter and adjusting the aperture and shutter speed. Both sides of the same coin. As a welder I've learned that my 'off' hand is often the stronger, more dextrous hand that does all those things the right couldn't be bothered to handle - yet I'm right handed or am I ?

I thought I'd throw a quick walk thru of my workflow on an image from beginning to end - it's a pretty quick walk thru I admit and if needs be I can doing slower more explained versions ?

Editing Werri Beach

Werri Beach Sunrise...

Visited 'home' for a sunrise a week or so ago, I grew up at Werri Beach spending much time 'up the rocks' as we'd put it .. exploring, swimming etc - this series of images are from the place of some of my earliest memories the 'south end' at Werri on a simply wonderful spring morning.

Opening Gambit..

Opening Gambit...

No Cloud, No waves, and the tide was too high for what I had in mind ... none of this matters when your here .. Werri Beach is a very special place.
One of the first frames from a sunrise this morning ..

Caramel Hour

Caramel hour....

More Werri Beach beauty.

Sunrise moves in stage for me ... also in focal lengths,,,I usually start out with the 15mm and end up with the 70-200.

Dawn in the North..

Dawn in the north...

More Werri Beach beauty.

Sunrise moves in stage for me ... also in focal lengths,,,I usually start out with the 15mm and end up with the 70-200.

Interface Point..

Interface Point...

More Werri Beach beauty.

Sunrise moves in stage for me ... also in focal lengths,,,I usually start out with the 15mm and end up with the 70-200.

Returning Home...

Returning Home...

More images from my Sunday morning sunrise visit to Werri Beach, Gerringong.

Gutter Ball..

Gutter Ball..

More images from my Sunday morning sunrise visit to Werri Beach, Gerringong.

Down the Drain..

Drain..

More images from my Sunday morning sunrise visit to Werri Beach, Gerringong.

Bubbles and Spray..

Spray ..

More images from my Sunday morning sunrise visit to Werri Beach, Gerringong.

A Far Flung Country..

Far Flung Country..

Well that's a wrap on another week and a very welcome beginning to a long weekend.

Three final images from the last week of September 2020.

A Rolling Stone..

Gathers no moss..

More images from my Sunday morning sunrise visit to Werri Beach, Gerringong.

Closing Argument..

Closing Argument...

Werri Beach ... Morning...

The Lady in Red..

Morning Swim...

When you've got the whole place to yourself..

Well that's the lot for this one, if you've stuck with me this far, my hats off to you please feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you think or would like to see ?  

Till next time:

Steev Selby, Shellharbour, Australia

Tools of the trade:
On1 Photo Raw
Lightroom Classic
DxO Photo Lab 3
DxO Collection
Topaz Denoise
Affinity Photo
Luminar 4
Aurora HDR 2019
ACDsee 2020
SilkyPix Pro 10
Magix Movie Edit Pro 2021

Gear:
Pentax K1
Pentax KP
Pentax K3
Pentax K200D
Irix 15/2.4
DFA15-30/2.8
DFA24-70/2.8
Tamron 70-200
Sigma 50-500APO HSM
SIgma Mini Wide II 28/2.8