I discovered my love of taking photos purely by accident and entirely out of necessity.
When I began wanting to interview and share stories with you, I found myself in the rather boring position of simply having to take the pics myself – there was no budget floating around to hire a pro. It was pure bloody luck that I actually loved the photography the most (and that you guys seemed to like it too?!) and armed with a basic 15 min editing lesson from Camilla I began experimenting. I learnt that shooting in RAW meant I could rescue many of the muck ups I’d made with exposure etc in Photoshop and then tweak “actions” to suit my taste (which is still changing!).
This process is probably one of the most creative things I have done consistently since leaving school!
I’ve also found out what it is to be someone really interested in photography but be generally intimidated by the industry itself which can feel very techy, full of jargon and imply that it might be a maths equation to get the shot (and camera!)
I have watched many an eyebrow shoot up in surprise when arriving with my small compact camera to take photos for my website – to be honest, this actually felt good and kind of released me from the pressures of people assuming I was a “real pro” photographer! With this in mind, while I felt ready to move to something with a more manual set up (as I was advised when pointing out pictures that I really wanted to achieve!) there was no way I was willing to take on board the physical/mental/emotional burden of a full scale DSLR kit.
FujiFilm, much like me, has in recent years steered clear of the producing largescale DSLR cameras and instead concentrated on leading the way in digital devices that all level of photographers can use!
This couldn’t have been more evident when I visited their Auckland HQ to discuss what it was that I actually needed. They coped well with my chat about wanting something light, cool (of course!), basic in its set up so I didn’t get lost in the upgrade and when it came to lenses I just said “What would be the equivalent to an all mountain ski?”. Having a view finder, full manual control AND lens options felt intimidating enough!
The result is what I feel is a magical and manageable set up!
Fuji have been seriously mastering the mirrorless revolution and I jumped right on board with the XT1 – nice looking in a slightly retro way with a XF 16 – 55mm lens. When the lens is locked into the XT1 , it seals to create a robust water resistant unit!
I’ve had the last 3 months to get my head around this beautiful upgrade, stealing 30 mins from Joseph Michael to learn the fundamentals of shooting in manual, lots of photo taking of seagulls and my cat followed by the download of Lightroom CC and some hours watching editing tutorials on YouTube!!
There IS a reason I am sharing all this with you. Yes, hopefully you’ll enjoy an improvement in pics going forward BUT most of all I know that many of you out there would love to record your life and get creative with technology that isn’t just the latest smart phone release. I also know many of you might be reading this with a guilt knowing that you haven’t touched that enormous DSLR that you bought with the best intentions 2 years ago…but seriously…so BIG!
Tomorrow I am going to share with you all the little things that I personally have gleaned and discovered on my own search to be a great and happy photo taker without being an overtly expensive professional one! This will include some breakdowns of techy jargon (eg. what is RAW and why no Jpeg?), editing tools, programs, tutorials and some of the super futuresque features I am loving about the XT1. Yes, this thing talks directly to my phone..!
Below I am sharing travelling, family and general life photos from two recent stints I have had based in the South Island. I think this is what having a camera is about, snapping whatever seems to be cropping up each day and I wanted to spend some time recording whatever that may be instead of an organised shoot (like the pics above as taken by super sidekick, Sarah Allen!)
All are shot with the same camera and lens set up, downloaded as RAW files and edited in Lightroom. I am only just mastering this programme and have also been playing around with some VSCO cam presets. You will notice this perhaps in the inconsistencies of the pics but hey! learning in public here!
DOWN SOUTH WITH THE FAM
I spent some time creeping around documenting the hard renovation work being completed by my sister and brother in law in their sweet little workers cottage in Christchurch. Bike riding aside, they worked away diligently – even with drinks in hand by car headlight!
I was also reunited with that huge feline who took great pleasure in pretending he’d never met me in his life. No loyalty.
I then bounced north to Ashley to spend some time with the folks. The autumn Canterbury light was so beautiful and even made Mum doing her animal jobs look romantic! I also got to watch her zip around at Rangiora One Day Event.
On ANZAC day we gathered to follow Mum and a legion of 99 other horse and riders complete a historic ride to commemorate the horses that went to WW1. It was an amazing event to witness ! Much tea was consumed in Francesca the caravan as we followed the progress of the march until the terrific and emotional ceremony at the Waikari War Memorial.
Then, on managing to thieve a car from the family I dashed to Wanaka for a long weekend of birthday surprises, catch ups, ski boot finding and most importantly some time at my special place, Lake Pukaki at the foot of Aoraki-Mt Cook. I stopped to suck up the goodness on the way down and way back and had two distinctly different experiences as you can see!
All photos by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
Shot on Fuji XT1
I hope I see your here tomorrow!
If you have any questions at all that are amateur photo taking/camera wrangling related please feel free to ask in the comments below. If I don’t know the answer I will certainly endeavour to find out for you!