Rathlin Island, Co Antrim
(Nikon D750 / 24 to 70 mm f2.8 @ 34 mm - 1/200th Sec / f5.6 / ISO 100)
You are an Artist - Not a Technician
Photography is one of those activities where you can get lost in the technical detail. The specifications of the latest cameras & lenses. The parameters of 'that shot'. What shutter speed? What aperture? What ISO? What 'tweaks' - or more - do we do in what photo editing software?
And whilst that is certainly part of photography - it is really just the set of tools that you use for recording the picture. Do not lose sight of the fact that you are an artist first, and a technician second.
A painter, using water colours or oils, understands the subtleties of their paints, their brushes, their canvas. But their real gift is in seeing the picture first. If they can never see the picture, then they can never record it on canvas.
A writer can type a thousand random words, but it is not a story. The core of the story comes first. Then it is recorded onto the page.
As an artist, you need to see the picture first. Only then can you record it. You might be into wide vistas of dramatic landscapes. You might be into the macro-photography world of plants & insects. You might be into street photography. Or you might be into portraiture. But in all of these, your gear is your bag of tools for recording the picture that you see.
And, occasionally, your work might, just might, inspire others.
On a recent trip to the magnificent North Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland, the weather was worsening and I thought that picture taking was over for the day. We reached the town of Ballycastle and just offshore is Rathlin Island. A weather front had just arrived. The sea had turned dark and the rain clouds were gathering. I composed a few shots looking at Rathlin in this advancing gloom.
Later, I tweeted the picture on my twitter feed - @MBuntingPhoto - and it was seen by Mary Cecil - @RathlinPoet - who, as her twitter username would suggest is a poet who lives on Rathlin. (For Mary's work see Rathlin Poet )
Mary kindly sent me a copy of her poem which was inspired by the picture above of Rathlin Island.
So, by all means pay due attention to your gear, to the tools of your trade. But be under no illusion, you are an artist first and a technician second.
'Between Sea And Sky' by Mary Cecil
The heavenly horizons between sea and sky,
That drifts over oceans of enchantment
Where magical swans sailed,
Transported to the land of light
Where golden hares and mighty hawks,
Lie low through winter storms
Chastened by the roaring winds,
Where mythical creatures are born
Remote those beckoning shores,
Where monks in their fastness prayed
Against the godless Vikings,
On their killing raids
And all the dividing seas,
That shimmer far and near
Around the shores of Rathlin,
Standing proud and clear
(With many thanks to Mary for permission for me to use her poem.)