19th December 2014
Clearing away the waste
28th December 2014

Preparation and Review

There is of course the other type of photo. That time when I am out for a walk with my camera hung around my neck and I see something I want to capture. I raise my camera to my eye and shoot.  I do this lots and my success rate is higher now than it was before. It still takes thought and immersion in the moment, but it is much more immediate.

Preparation is the key.

Before I set off I decide what it is I am likely to be shooting. If I am walking alongside the river I am more likely to be shooting landscapes and close-ups of features and so my favourite 35mm lens is on the camera. If I am heading around the harbour and the light is good it is likely I am going to capture birds and distant landscapes so I attach a telephoto lens. I’ll preset both the ISO and also the aperture to one of its sharpest settings.

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 202mm, f/7.1/ 1/400 second. Hand held.

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 202mm, f/7.1/ 1/400 second. Hand held.

Then I review my shot to decide whether or not it makes the grade. I am quite critical of my photos. Here’s my critique of this image.

Although I am not a fan of pictures of birds just sitting there doing nothing, I was  pleased with the outcome of this shot. Photographing the great black-backed gull brings particular challenges because of the contrast between the pure blacks and whites. The water in the background and the ropes and chains on the quayside add context to the setting.

You don’t see as many photos of birds with ruffled plumage. The out-of-place feather was because it was really windy and I actually like this because it shows that this top of the food chain bird that was sitting there so boldly is still affected by the elements.

The only annoyance for me in the shot is the rope just obscures the ends of the feet of the bird.  I could have got around this by shooting from a higher vantage point, but getting at eye-level with the bird made for a much better overall shot.

There is a lot more to be learned from others’ critiques on the images instead of my own and I am always glad to hear them.


  1. Tammy says:

    The rope is not an annoyance to me at all, if anything it adds somewhat of a leading line to the bird!

    • Ivor says:

      I do like the rope in the shot as well, it’s just that the gull was just a little bit inconsiderate not moving back an inch so his toes were in view. 😀 😀

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