At the beginning of the year I signed up a for free course delivered weekly via email by Emma Davies to try and improve my photography skills. I started with a lot of enthusiasm then one week I got busy and missed a lesson, after that it snowballed and I now have 18 unread emails in my inbox. However despite this I have still been playing around with my camera on my own and beginning the course did have the desired effect of getting myself out there taking more photos. I still want to expand my skills and knowledge so I thought if I make a commitment to blog about my progress so far then it will spur me on to catch up with the rest of the course and really find out what I can do with my camera. I also want to push myself creatively to explore different aspects of photography and come up with new ideas.
This is my camera in the photo above, a Canon EOS 1100D, an entry level camera which has served me very well so far. I’m considering upgrading towards the end of this year as I think I’m starting to reach the limits of what I can do with this camera but I haven’t decided how much I want to spend yet. I also haven’t done much research into other cameras just yet but one thing I do know is that I will have to start saving up for one.
In addition to the 18-55mm kit lens shown above, I also have a f/1.8 50mm lens and a f/4:5.6 75-300mm lens. Neither of these are top spec lenses, I didn’t want to invest too much money on equipment until I knew how far I was going to get with photography. I also have a set of extension tubes and Polaroid close up lenses (not as good as the extension tubes) to use with the 50mm lens for taking close up and macro photos because this is a considerably cheaper option than buying a dedicated macro lens.
I take photos with my phone on a regular basis. I have two phones, the first is the one that I actually use as a phone, a Samsung S4 mini. It doesn’t have a particularly fancy camera but I have managed to take some surprisingly good shots with it when I’ve been out without the DSLR and spotted something interesting. My second phone is a Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, I bought this second hand around 18 months ago purely for the camera. It has a 20MP resolution, up to 20x zoom and can be used in a semi manual mode, I use this for the majority of my Instagram photos. However I wouldn’t recommend it as a phone, it’s far too heavy and cumbersome for that, very useful as a more portable camera than a DSLR though, with the advantage that photos can be uploaded straight away.
For the photography course, the first task was to choose a subject that could form the basis of a collection of photos that can be added to throughout the year. After a lot of thinking about it, I decided that I would take advantage of my job as a greengrocer and collect a series of images of purple vegetables. Purple is my favourite colour and I enjoy eating a wide variety of vegetables so it made perfect sense. I’ve discovered that many different vegetables come in a purple hue, it’s not just aubergines and red cabbages. There are also purple sprouting broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, beetroot, radishes, cauliflowers, turnips, swedes, sweet potatoes, kohlrabi and onions which can all be found in varying shades of purple.
My aim in creating this collection was to capture the diverse range of colours present in vegetables which can often be overlooked in favour of more attractive fruits. As I slacked off a bit for a few months in taking photos for my collection, I’ve missed out on getting the shots I wanted of purple asparagus as the season is so short and I’ve probably missed out on getting a good photo of a purplish artichoke as they are all coming in green now. I do however have plenty of time to catch up with other purple vegetables as most of them are available all year round. These are the photos that I have taken of purple veggies so far. For the collection I am attempting to create a ‘dark and moody’ style by shooting on a black background. My favourite photo of the collection so far is the January king cabbage which I am thinking about printing and displaying on the wall in my kitchen.
I will be posting updates of my progress through the rest of the course over the coming weeks and months and will also include additions to my purple veggies collection. I bought a purple kohlrabi home from work yesterday, the first of the season, and will be taking photos of that later today.
Note on the exposure times on some of the photos below, these were sometimes very long because I was taking the photos on gloomy winter afternoons and wanted to minimise noise in my photos by keeping the ISO low. I used a tripod and a remote shutter release cable for the longer exposures.