Tuesday 18 April 2023

Photography Basics

 With my Artist Residency coming up quickly, I decided it was time to finally wrap my head around my camera and learn how to use it better. It's a Canon G7X, and it's great at point and shoot on auto, but with my hopes of photographing bioluminessence and snow and ice formations, I knew I'd need to be able to accommodate some pretty specific requirements. I enrolled in a small group beginners afternoon course held down at the Botanic Gardens at Benowa, and got myself a tripod as well.

Just finding out where the menu was for Program mode was great, as was learning what all the symbols meant and how and why to adjust and use them. In some ways it was a slow process, but there was also a lot to take in. We were also advised on which settings should be set and not moved!

How to zoom in properly was really helpful - it sounds so basic but it's something I mess up frequently, and there are some simple solutions. Then there is the blurring of the background for that special focus on the subject:

Changing the White Balance was another one I think will be very useful - especially if I get to shoot in the snow. It adjusts for colour casts from different types of lighting - shade, full sun, fluoro lights etc. so can can capture it more as it actually looks.

I think the most impressive one for the day for me was learning how to shoot water either moving or fully stopped - this is where the tripod came in to play, as I would never be able to hold the camera for the shutter speed length.

I have since diligently transcribed my notes, and tried to use them - thank goodness I did so straight away, as it was already a struggle! I actually left the workshop a little before it finished as I knew my brain was full and just wouldn't take any more in. I managed a couple of pics in the back garden, but I'd better get onto it again very soon!

Wednesday 12 April 2023

Studio Self-love

It seems as though it’s been a long time since I had a full studio day with no major making plans. Today dawned empty of any expectation other than reconnecting with and evaluating my recent work – almost a curatorial kind of day. Time to step back and assess what I’m making and why, think about how it will all sit together as an exhibition in a space, and re-inspire myself. I’ve been feeling a little distant from my next exhibition DistoMorph, as life has been very busy and lots of art time has been spent in the office rather than the studio. I started to feel doubtful and uneasy about everything. Another rejection letter yesterday didn’t help. I don’t get too worried about it these days, but it’s always nice to have that boost, and confirmation.

I walked for a few hours this morning, I napped, I took my time in approaching the task. Rushing in with angst and trying to ‘fix’ things is a surefire way to tie yourself tightly up in knots and spiral out of control.

 I viewed the photos I have of works already made, and found a lot to like about them, but saw that the relationship between them needed to be strengthened. It doesn’t take much to get a spark going, and sure enough, I was soon digging through sketches for Algalrhythms, and opening Photoshop and Illustrator files. DistoMorph is essentially a Part II of Algalrhythms (and a whole lot easier to spell) so it makes sense to return to some of the original source materials and ideas not completed, or even take some already used in a new direction. Briefly in the sewing studio, I played with some bits and piece literally hanging around.

Adding to it all, I leafed through this wonderful book I recently bought, which has some inceredibly creative use of materials and free-motion embroidery in it.

So an afternoon of play developed, with new ideas from old, and a settled feeling that I can see my path again.