My First Year In Photography

Back in March of this year, I picked up a camera and started to think seriously about photography. 10 months later and I’m starting this blog to document and discuss my progress. So I suppose the best place to start is the beginning. During that “getting-to-know-each-other-dating” stage my boyfriend mentioned he was really into his photography. Now I’d always had an interest but high school art and all it’s demands had knocked my confidence. And lets face it, what do they teach in high school that has any bearing on the real world?! So I said; “Hey, you should show me how to use this old camera my dad gave me!”.  That camera was my Dad’s Praktica Nova. This was one of the shot from the first roll of film I shot in it. (please note the contrast has been edited slightly due to the fact the film was expired).

© Katherine Broadbent
Despite all it’s imperfections I love this image. It’s the first image that I took that made me think; “I can do this.” Plus, y’know, I’m a Crazy Cat Lady to the max. I started to go out and shoot more. Not setting my goals too high. If I got one decent shot on a roll of 36, hey, that was a success. While I love the Nova, it is older than I am and almost as heavy! So my boyfriend, happy with my enthusiasm for something he was so passionate about, handed me his old Nion F55 to hold on to for a while. We enjoyed (and still do enjoy) many days out across the county. Him with his landscape and street and me in the early days getting to know my camera.
© Katherine Broadbent

This shot was taken on a day out at Overstrand. This was back when I didn’t edit my photos. Learning the manual controls and thinking about composition were challenge enough. Without worrying about scanning the film and blundering about in some editing software I began to get a sense of what I wanted to photograph. As my skill developed I started to put a little money away each month. In May I bought my first DSLR a Nikon D300s which I got second hand, along with a Nikkor 35 prime from the lovely folks at Wex Photographic.

© Katherine Broadbent

By now I had learnt the basic techniques needed to get the shot I wanted ‘in-camera’. But when I moved onto digital, I began to experiment with editing. I use Nikon Picture Control & GIMP (both free). The image above I straightened then added a vignette with a gausian blur to intensify the dark without blowing out the light. One of my days off I have to myself. So I take myself off on an adventure to shoot! I try to go every week but life occasionally demands my presence elsewhere.Once I got the basic functions of the camera right, I started to think about what I wanted to shoot and where I might find it. I now keep a note book of locations I have been to or have heard about, where I might find something that catches my eye.

© Katherine Broadbent
© Katherine Broadbent

These shots were taken below a flyover on the outskirts of my city. I almost didn’t get there as the path was overgrown with nettles. I almost didn’t stay because of all the graffiti and discarded beer cans creating a rather intimidating atmosphere. But I am proud to have the shots proving I overcame my hesitation and fear.

© Katherine Broadbent

Another big milestone I reached this year was having my photo ‘Warriors’ noticed by some actual experts. The photograph (above) was picked by WEX as runner up in there weekly Twitter competition as well as a runner up in Ted Forbes’ Art of Photography Book Give Away Competition. I’ll sign off this post with a shot I took just last week. 

© Katherine Broadbent

  I’ve recently been experimenting with botanical photography. Prompted by the awesome Ted Forbes (check out his YouTube vlog The Art of Photography) running a botanical themed photography competition. (Via Twitter #AOPBG) To get the shot I wanted I experimented with: Presenting my subject, Framing, Lighting & Editing (mainly dodge/burn). Until they all came together to form an image I was proud of. All in all I’m more proud of how far I have come in such a short space of time. Here’s to an even better year of shooting in 2015!


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