Welcome to Photophaff!

Welcome to Photophaff

Posted by Christine Ody, 25 July 2012

Hello! First my thanks to the clever people at WordPress, who have created a blog/website constructing tool that even the completely uninitiated (ie me) can use to make a website. Ta-da!

AND it’s free.

I spent most of yesterday hunched over my computer at home (last day of leave, raining, cold) building the beginnings of Photophaff. I have been inspired to establish my own online presence after following colleague Darryn Morgan (AKA Derwood) via his WordPress blog about his adventure to Oshkosh this year. I don’t have anything as interesting as a fly-yourself-to-Oshkosh adventure to recount, however.

The name Photophaff is explained in the LEXICOLOGICALLY SPEAKING tab above. Dave started referring to the time I spend fluffing around with photos as photographaffing (pho-tog-ra-faff-ing). I thought this was an apt neologism, but a little bit long and difficult to say if you were reading it for the first time, so decided to abbreviate to Photophaff. I went with that spelling rather than Photofaff just because I liked it better. (“Ph” just looks a little more “posher”, no?)

I have nothing informed to say about photography–this is not a “I can teach you something about photography” blog/website. Far from it. It’s a “I like taking photos and I’m sharing them because I can” kind of website. My long-term goal is to have a level of photographic ability that enables me to make good images (artistically and technically speaking) in a consistent manner. That day is a long, long way off. However, to be fair, I’ve already made quite a bit of progress. For a start, I got a DSLR at the end of 2010, after deciding I was ready to move beyond AUTO on my bridge camera. I got learned up on ISO, shutter speed and f-stops (well, at least I learned a bit about them, anyhow), figured out how to set them on my new camera (a Canon 550D), and off I went.

I know I’ve made progress because yesterday I looked back at the six (yes six) Blurb books that I made about 18 months ago. At the time I thought they were the bee’s knees: now I look at them and cringe: “Ooh, grainy. Ooh, blown out. Ooh, over-exposed” or just, “Meh. Boring.” That means that in 18 months from now I’ll be looking at my current crop of “best efforts” with the same thoughts. At least I hope so, because that means I’ve learned something!

Down the sidebar to the right you will also see a category of links entitled MY PHOTOS ELSEWHERE. Entering competitions and taking photos with a purpose are great ways to practise. And practice equals learning. The best thing I’ve done to facilitate that practice is join a PSNZ-affiliated camera club–the Pukekohe Franklin Camera Club.

The club has monthly competition nights as well as intermittent workshops and “photographic outings”. Each month’s competition has a “set subject” category as well as an “open” category. The set subject forces me to try something new; workshops (run by club members or outside professionals) are a great way to acquire new knowledge; and the outings provide opportunities to “get out and do”. Club nights also offer inspiration: seeing the work of others proficient in the art is a great motivator.

My job also provides me with free opportunities to get my lens at some fresh locations–we overnight a few times a month in Wellington and Dunedin, and when the roster gives us downtime in either location I generally pack the camera and go for a walk. This doesn’t necessarily guarantee a time of day with great light, but I make do. (Like today–I’m in Dunedin and spent about an hour and a half in the Chinese Gardens late this morning. Fingers got so cold I couldn’t feel them enough to unscrew the polarising filter!)

Enough from me for a first (entirely unfocused) post! More later.

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