Taking Blurry Snapshots To Winning An International Photography Award.Learn How I Did It!
You know I still find it amazing.
It was just a normal afternoon, a soft breeze and gentle colors in the sky. There was no frantic preparation I had already put in the effort. There was not a hint of anything out of the ordinary.
As I walked down the hill to the local park I ran my fingers over my new camera searching for and reminding myself where I would find the controls. Being able to find the right buttons at the right time is so important. It helps to react to a situation instantly. We were going away on a trip photographing wildlife and the new camera was different to my old one so I was going down to the park for a practice.
Looking out across the water the clouds and the light at sunset was sometimes spectacular. Photographing the sunset was my aim. The park at the end of the street has wonderful sunsets.
In the park, strutting and hopping around on the ground, feasting on the grass seeds was a flock of corellas. I glanced at them and then turned my back on them and looked to the sun and the clouds. Far more interesting I thought. Wrong!
While I was looking for patterns in the clouds I heard the loud scrunching of the car’s wheels on the gravel road as it drove into the car park behind me. Frantic screeching made me spin around quickly. With wings beating furiously and strident calls the flock of corellas took flight and headed straight for me.
I instantly recognized the opportunity, but could I take advantage of it? I had to decide quickly. There was no time think. I just had to act, to react instinctively. Years of training came into play.
There was no time to do anything. I had my 70-400mm lens on the camera. It was not mounted on the tripod. This lens is hard to hold still in low light without a tripod but if I stopped to put the camera on the tripod the moment would have disappeared in a flash.
I was caught completely unaware I had no time to work out camera settings, only frantic thoughts and self-talk. “Brace your elbows, don’t let the camera shake, hold your breath while you are pressing the shutter you need a sharp image. Focus on the eye. Hold the button down so you get continuous shooting” The thoughts whizzed through my mind like lightning.
I held my camera and my breath while pressing the button. The camera whirred away as shot followed shot. It was one of those moments that seem to last far longer than it really did. I felt the wind and heard the soft swishing of the corellas’ wings as they just cleared my head. It was an experience that will stay with me forever.
When the moment was finished I stood still breathing deeply, just enjoying the action I had been part of.
Then I looked at the result on the camera screen. Disappointment washed through me in waves.
This was not what I had just been part of. There was too much blur. My finger hovered over the delete button. “Better luck next time I thought.” I moved my finger to delete the image.
Have you ever been in some situation where you were going to act but some inner voice said, “ Don’t do that wait till you can think about that a little more”?
I moved on to the water’s edge. The clouds, the sunset and the reflections in the water were beautiful so I added to my collection of images.
As I walked back up the hill to download the photos on the computer screen I relived the experience of the corellas and the hairs lifted on the back of my arms. Photo or no photo what a wonderful experience.
I sighed impatiently. The downloading seemed to take forever then, piece by piece the image slid into view. The ethereal beauty that couldn’t be seen in the small camera view burst onto the screen and took my breath away. I realized that I had captured the essence of flight.
That photo resulted in a Highly Commended Award from the British Natural History Museum. They had 35,000 entries from 78 different countries that year. I had to read the email over and over to make sure it was true. My husband is a practical joker.
I was invited to talk on BBC radio and at the opening of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition. I still get goose bumps thinking about it even now. It was unbelievable.
My photographic beginnings had been so humble. I started with a small compact camera photographing roses. I put the roses into pots because I was able to shift them around to get the best light. I then put the photos into cards and gave them to my friends.
I didn’t have the money for expensive courses and equipment so I set myself a challenge. Use the things around you to get where you want to go. I wanted to photograph like Ansel Adams, Ken Duncan and Steve Parish. When I first started that seemed like an impossible dream.
Another adventure in this vein was photographing the metamorphosis of a cicada. We had a big gum tree in our front yard and in spring the cicadas used this as their launching pad for a new life. When Nikon Australia set up the competition to tell a story with a series of three to four photographs I decided to use the cicadas.
Photographing them involved staying out late at night, improvising equipment and sweet-talking my husband into helping after work. I needed someone to shine a torch on the cicadas to get a modeling light. I didn’t have a dedicated macro lens so I had to improvise. The efforts were worth it. I was invited to publish my photo story and article explaining how I did it in Nikon’s birthday edition of Light Reading.
So many people have asked me “How did you take those photographs?” and “When are you going to give lessons?” I have decided to put together a photography course. Rather than work face to face as I have in the past I have put together an online photography course, Even
Easier Digital Photography. This means I can reach many more people in many different places. Also there is no problem with trying to fit in with the times people can be there. You can follow the lesson plans at any time that it suits you.
Even Easier Digital Photography is a step-by-step membership site with easy to follow instructions. I show you exactly what to do to take your photography to the next level. When you follow this course your ‘snapshots’ will change to photographs with that Wow! factor.
I have a strong belief that photography doesn’t have to be a mysterious, complicated, expensive process understood by a chosen few. My 40+ years of teaching experience and 20 years of creative photography have given me the skills to put together a step-by-step course written in a way that is easy to follow.
I have always said,
“When my students succeed I succeed and I love success.”
Details on how to fast track photographic progress are crammed into this course. It’s just waiting for you to open and take advantage of.
My hope for you is that you’ll take and use the information from the course to create the photographs you have always dreamed of taking
When you fill out your details in the boxes below, you'll get all the information you need to allow you to develop your talent and start taking those photographs that have always seemed beyond your reach.