Amateur Photographer: Devon Louise

Over the past 3 months I have been attending Teesside University’s ‘Introduction to Photography’ Course, an online learning experience with weekly classes. Before this course, I’ve loved capturing vistas and landscapes with my phone; especially holiday highlights and views from hilltops – I mean who doesn’t? I really thought that the more I captured, the better. Particularly greenery and red bricks against sunny blue skies. The contrast of architecture and nature never fails to capture my attention.

Here’s some examples from the Champs-Élysées in Paris, Whitby Harbour, and The British Museum in London:

However, as I expand my Marketing portfolio I realise that photography is an essential skill that I’m missing – and I can’t exactly help a small business take great shots with just my phone! So, where better to begin than with an online course and a borrowed high-end camera!

At the beginning, as if by some strange self-imposed pressure, I was stressing about capturing something striking or once in a life time. When looking at the work of professional photographers the results always seem to be unique and impactful, a shot they were lucky to get. However, if this course has taught me anything, it’s the value of noticing the mundane.

Following a few hiccups and a day of landscape shots that were all out of focus, I soon noticed that when I’m equipped with a high quality camera I find myself leaning in to capture the intimate details, instead of zooming out to get the wider picture. Slowly, I’ve found comfort in focusing on garden plants during the changing seasons, twisting my body to snap birds on the feeders, and posing houseplants in ‘the perfect lighting’.

Now, I’ve started to view the outdoors as an opportunity for exploration through the lens of a camera. I’m considering composition and colour with every view. When I watch small animals, like squirrels hanging upside down, I imagine how that would translate to the screen – what details would be stored in a single snap.

I’ve camped out at the back windows of my house just to spot Cyril the squirrel and hidden behind bushes to pinch a shot of a Blue Tit, Robins, and Great Tits (and hopefully some day soon a Bull Finch). Truly, this has been an exercise in how still and silent I can remain.

Though, my favourite subject has to be flowers. Possibly because they can’t run or fly away. But as we move into Spring, the vivid colours blooming around me are too beautiful to ignore. I love to focus on the wrinkling of petals, the blending of yellows and pinks, and the strength hardy garden plants.

Alongside my flower photography, I’m working on movement shots involving waterfalls and fountains – using a quicker shutter speed to pause the water mid-air. There’s still a little bit of blur in my final images, but with practice I should get better!

As the course comes to an end, I hope to continue developing my photography skills as a hobby: experimenting with settings, exploring new environments, and trying out portraiture. I will soon be entering the world of full-time employment where my skills are not yet needed, however as I get better I hope I can take on a few professional gigs just for fun.

Plus, I have plans to spend a full day capturing Lancaster when I return, so look forward to those shots! I know I only just published a post saying goodbye to the tiny city, but, I’ve been offered a job in Digital Marketing at my Alma Mater, the University of Cumbria. And I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to move back to a place I consider home and work for a University I truly adore.

I’m excited to return to Lancaster, especially so soon after leaving and believing I would never be able to.

If you’d like to join me on my photography journey, feel free to follow me over on Instagram! Or, stay tuned here where I’ll post new shots occasionally.

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