There’s a very common misconception that professional photographers are lumbered with. Firstly the myth that they take great pictures all the time with hardly any effort, and secondly they get paid loads of money for enjoying themselves. I remember my tutor saying to the class “If anyone here wants to learn about photography so they can ‘have fun’ ‘make Money’ and ‘become famous’ they should leave right Now”. Pointing out that through the day she was a full time photo journalist and at night a tutor working up to nine o’clock and beyond at least twice a week to make ends meet. Unsociable hours on projects she didn’t want for not much money, was mostly what the job was about.

Her advice to us all was deflating, and for some students decisive, as after only a matter of weeks class numbers began to fall and continued to fall to half it’s original number by the end of year, I stayed but never became a full time Pro, she was spot on with her advice, and a very good teacher, to boot, helpful and kind to a fault.

Although I did not make it my profession I did learn enough about Photography in those two years to know what a good image was and how to make one, how to accept failure with grace and success with modesty and the understanding that these are the traits of the dedicated and passionate Photographer.

The image attached to this blog is not the first I have taken of the Dovecote at Rivington (Lancashire UK) and probably wont be the last, but it is to date my favourite. The combination of Composition / Colour / Content & Sharpness have together served to create atmosphere and appeal. Had any one of these elements been missing it would have been a much less successful shot for me.

I use Canon Photo Pro for post processing, not that I do much aside from the usual Sharpening / Contrast thing, I try to keep them as close as possible to what came out of the camera. Although I have Photoshop 6, I don’t do heavy manipulation It’s not my bag & I’m no good at it. With this shot I was lucky (we all need a bit of that now and again ) when someone in the red coat walked into the scene as I was walking toward them and created an image of the tower I had not seen before. I had no idea how long they would stay sat on that rock, I just opened up my tripod and took a couple of shots, it was one of those moments that felt like it was set up by the gods to please me, and it did, my first shot of the day turned out to be the best.

I love it when a never to be repeated scene unfolds in front me as if by magic, the rush I get as I try to capture the image before it disintegrates is what it’s all about for me, and the best reason why a photographer needs to know their camera and equipment. If it’s not second nature you will probably miss the shots you wish you hadn’t. One good shot in a session is all I ask for, I move quietly and keep my attention focused until something opens up, then I Shoot..

For me Photography is Like Hunting, it often requires Knowledge, Stealth, Patience & the ability to fit into a scene without disturbing the natives, something I am very conscious of having been told to ‘fuck off’ more than once. In fact some folk get so exited they lose control a little and I find myself having to apologize and beating a hasty retreat. Picture a man on the veranda of a small beach house hurling abuse at me for poking my camera where it’s not wanted and your about halfway to how nasty things can get, but that’s another tale.

I only give names to some of my pictures so as to find them quickly,  but if had to give a name to this one it would have to have something to do with that ‘Red Coat’…

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