I don’t know why, but I have an irrational hatred of the the nickname “tog”. Maybe because it made me feel like an idiot – the first time I saw it used, I had no idea what it meant and it took me a while to suss it out. Tog = Photographer. Better than a “phot” or a “graph” or heaven forbid, a “her”, I suppose, but something about the sound of the word just jars with me.
I like being a photographer, or at least aiming to be one. To my ear it sounds elegant, masterful, the science of technology combined with the art of the eye. I’ve always been interested in technology – indeed currently I work in IT – but have always had an artistic side. When I was younger, it was dance. In the background was always writing, which never amounted to much beyond private diaries and a few travel blog posts, and in the background to all of that was photography. It’s only been in the last few years that I realised that photography is the expression of my artistic side that I revel in the most (well, and that my body can still do!).
Having spent years just taking photos however I felt like whenever I felt like it, with no thought to the technical side, I’m now catching up. Learning to use a DSLR has meant quite a lot of missed or ruined photos, but when I get it right… wow now that’s fun. The technical side of photography isn’t just the camera though, it’s everything around you. Choosing the light, considering the angles, determining the depth of focus, framing the world. Suddenly taking a photo of that neat looking tree takes on a whole universe of options. Practice practice practice will make this second nature, but for now I’m constantly evaluating and re-evaulating everything I do. Sometimes I suspect I get caught up too much in the details and lose my image. Other times I try so so hard but still miss one little thing that later I realised has ruined the shot. Sure, with digital there’s “no cost” in taking hundreds or thousands of images that are no good, but it’s still a blow when that I can’t translate what’s in my minds eye to the screen, and of course plenty of wasted time.
Recently my husband and I went to the Bunya Mountains for a long weekend getaway. I was determined to make the most of all the technical advice I’ve been soaking up recently. I searched google images for inspiration and learnt about the local famous flora, the distinctive Bunya Pine, and resolved to capture one. Sunsets were also supposed to be spectacular.
I didn’t get a good Bunya Pine photo, and the day I was ready for sunset disappointed me with an almost perfectly clear sky and not much of interest, so I came away feeling like I hadn’t really made full use of my time there, photographically speaking. Practice, practice, practice, so that’s what I’ve put that weekend down to.
Bunya Mountains themselves are a sliver of ancient bush surrounded by ploughed fields and tamed land, topped with mobile phone and tv towers. I’ve never been to a national park with better mobile coverage. We walked by day (over 13kms one day) and shivered by night, never quite getting the hang of lighting the fire on our cottage. There was phenomenal clear air at night when the clouds parted, but the impending super moon and the bitter cold kept me indoors. I wussed out, basically.
Still, here is a collection of images that despite my despondence on returning home, I’m actually fairly happy with. I may not have captured the images I was hoping for, but these aren’t a bad surprise (Mouse over for captions and in some cases, the story behind the image).