Seeing the world in focus

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I hope you’ll excuse the remodel of an old post… I’m a little tied up today, but as I was once again asked what camera I use, I thought I’d share this from a couple of years ago…

My camera, its constant presence over my shoulder, has become something of a standing joke… it is true that I seldom move without it. You just never know what you will see, and the when and where are even less predictable. You might expect photographs when you are going somewhere specific, like a stone circle. You may even expect them on a frosty morning when the world is limned in crystal. You don’t always think to take the camera to the pub or the supermarket, let alone to work pretty much every day, yet it is at such moments that the opportunistic photograph will present itself… even if, nine times out of ten, there is nowhere to park the car and you end up using words that would shock your sons.

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Several people have asked what camera I use… I would thoroughly recommend either the Lumix DMC FZ72, my current camera with a superb inbuilt zoom, or its predecessor, the Lumix FZ200, which has less zoom but makes up for it with a really nice Leica lens and takes pictures with a greater richness. Both have been dropped, drowned in wine or mud-slid down hills (inadvertently, I might add) and generally subjected to the kind of accidental misuse no camera should have to put up with. The FZ200 even jumped out of the car and into a deep and muddy puddle. Every time, they have survived. They are simple point and shoot cameras that do a lot of fancy stuff, including excellent video, if you know what to ask of them. The problem is, I don’t as a rule…I just play around sometimes and see what happens.

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I have the utmost admiration for real photographers. They can capture the most incredible moments in nature… set up their kit and wait hours for ‘that’ shot, bringing all their technical and artistic expertise to the perfection of a single image. You have only to look around some of the amazing photography blogs to see what can be done with a photographer’s gift, the right equipment and the patience and understanding of how to use it.

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Over the past few years I have taken thousands of photos and posted hundreds of them on the blog. I have had some wonderful compliments, yet I always feel a bit of a fraud, as I am not what I would call a photographer. I know very little of the ‘how to’ side of things and most of the technical stuff I have learned, my son taught me in the vain hope I might use it before I forgot about it. Most of the time though, I just point and press the shutter. I spend almost no time processing pictures, most are just resized to take up less online storage space. I do have decent software, donated by my son in a last ditch attempt to get me to use the camera to its full potential. It allows me to process RAW files… but as I’m not one for spending much time on processing pictures, and RAW takes up so much space on the hard drive, it seldom gets used. I usually shoot in .jpg and prefer a free, online programme that does what I need in the time it takes the posh programme to load.

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If there is any skill involved, it lies in seeing the picture in the first place. The trouble with that is the constant choice between being there to experience the time, place and atmosphere and clicking the button. Over the past couple of years, as we have travelled around researching for the books, I have become fairly good at taking pictures with no fuss to document the places we have visited as we have followed the trail the land has given us, without allowing the camera to intrude on the feel of the place. Learning to see the world through the lens, instead of, as you might think, hiding it behind technology, actually seems to focus the mind, teaching it to be more aware of details that would otherwise have been lost in the wider experience, missed as part of the whole.

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You learn to really see the light shining through a pile of boiled sweets at the market, or the peacock-blue sheen on the back of a fly. The luminescent, ever-changing sky and the shifting reflections of light on a rain-drenched path. You notice the frozen cobweb, the ant carrying a cut leaf and the crumpled veins of a rose-petal. Through the lens, you learn to see the world again with a child’s wonder… and with a child’s eagerness to share. I am not a photographer… I take photographs. The love-affair with the camera has given me the gift of being able to see what was always there before my eyes…the beauty in the images is not of my creation, it belongs to the earth, wind and sky that is there for each one of us.

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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com
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29 Responses to Seeing the world in focus

  1. Gastradamus says:

    Incredible shots. You are quite the photographer indeed. No need to apologize, keep reporting sister. Could really use your input on my new short called Lizard Guts. Really hope to see you there.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Seeing the world in focus – The Militant Negro™

  3. jenanita01 says:

    As the semblance of life returns to my recovering body, and I espy a world also returning to life through my window, I feel the familiar urge to take my camera for a walk…

    Like

  4. besonian says:

    I’ve always been impressed with your photographs Sue and have meant to ask a number of times what camera you use. You say you feel a fraud – you shouldn’t. You have the most important thing a real photographer needs – an instinctively good eye. It’s a gift – it can’t be taught. You have it or you don’t. As for the technical bit, if you ever need it, that easy – that can be taught.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thank you, Jeff. There are so many beautiful,curious and interesting things, I find it hard not to take pictures. And, looking through the viewfinder alters perception, teaching you to look at the world too.

      Like

  5. ksbeth says:

    you are an excellent photog

    Like

  6. WOW – Fantastic photos, Sue ❤ 😀

    Like

  7. tidalscribe says:

    Yes I love to point and shoot at anything and everyone. I then put my camera or phone away, fully intending to stride out, enjoy the day and most probably catch up with or work out where on earth Cyberspouse has got to… and then I spot another photo opportunity…

    Like

  8. Anne Copeland says:

    There is so much to be captured with a camera. This is an excellent article on cameras and using them. I have an old Kodak Easyshare, and I have been very satisfied with it as it pretty much gives me good photos all the time. Unfortunately, I believe that Kodak quit making them, but mine still works fine. One thing of interest is that the old cameras for which you need to develop the film, are to be found pretty much in many thrift stores. These are top brand cameras that would have cost hundreds in their day. We just found one the other day at a thrift store, and I think it was under $10 if I remember right. Had extra attachments with it too. You can get one that way and if you are worried about it working right, take it into a photo shop. They can clean and check it for you. There are so many things like that here in the U.S. – expensive pianos that people used to pay $5,000 and up, fur coats that were likewise expensive, and now there are numbers of them in the thrift shops. And you can also find things that the younger people no longer recognize or appreciate – often antiques.
    If you are not photo savy, or not sure you can ever take a good photo, invest in a photography class. They are generally inexpensive and you learn all the things you need to know to take good photos. The other thing available for you is good photography books, and most libraries have them if you are low on funds.
    Again, thanks for the great article on photography. While my daughter is a class A photographer, mine is just for my own enjoyment, and occasionally one comes out decent. She does sports photography, wildlife, and nature scenes and her company has published a number of calendars each year with her photographs. Those of us who are artists often use them for inspiration for our art. Great advice from you.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I loved the old film cameras, but the expense of having the photos printed now makes them impractical comared to digital.
      I do love how the lens makes you really look at the world though, no matter what type of camera you use.

      Like

  9. Eliza Waters says:

    I think you’re a wonderful photographer, Sue. There is a spectrum of skill, of course, and most cameras these days handle the technical stuff to leave us with the ability to express what the eye sees. Therein really lies the talent.

    Like

  10. Jennie says:

    A feast for the eyes, Sue.

    Like

  11. My view, for what it is worth, Sue, is that the cameras are so sophisticated these days that you don’t really have to know that much about photography to get great pictures. Have an artistic flair, like you do, is now the central theme.

    Like

  12. Pingback: Cadent- sketches within the Great- virtues – Nicolas Heartmann

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