I consider myself a photographer – amongst other things – but I’m definitely a photographer by artistic inclination rather than technical skill. I have taken many shots that I’ve really liked with nothng more than a basic shoot and snap camera – that’s how low tech my approach has been! However, my Secret Santa gift this year was a Hoya Digital Filter kit for my Canon EOS 500D, so I’m taking my first steps into technical photography by getting out and about trying out the three filters: UV, Circular Polarising Filter and ND8.
The UV filter is a good lens protector and makes images clearer and crisper: the Polariser cuts down glare for water and is also good for taking photos of clouds and the ND8 will be useful in situations where I want to emphasise movement – wind through a grassy meadow, or a waterfall, for example.
Here’s one of my first batch of trial pics. The water was looking good, bouncing off the sea wall near Clevedon Pier, which I think set up the vibrantions in the water which give the stripey effect. The water is never blue, but it’s silty nature adds to a metallic sheen, which I rather like.
So I’ll have some more experimenting to do to work out how I like to use the filters. There are plenty of manuals to help, but really there is no substitute for trying the filters out for different subjects and in different conditions to find out what works for me.
Certainly my route into photography has been a slow one. I bought my camera second-hand, with a good all-purpose lens, and later bought a wide angle lens too. The filters have come next, and then in a few months I’ll think about how to add to the lens options. This will really be led by decisions on the sort of photographs I want to take more of.
If you got camera equipment for Christmas and are new to photography, my advice would be to try out the simplest options first just to begin to get used to the kit and find out what it can do. As your confidence grows, you can add to your equipment and to the types of shots you get, until you find out what works for you.